Family and Caretaker Functioning. Three scales were constructed based on items in the caseworker interview, as follows:
- Household condition, proportion yes on 13 yes-no items on problems (caseworker interview, question 22a);
- Caretaker problems, proportion yes on 21 items (caseworker interview, question 24); and
- Caretaker functioning, average of 9 items, scaled from 0-4, not adequate to very adequate (caseworker interview, question 23).
Two of the nine within-agency comparisons on these scales were significant at .1; in both, the control group was doing better (HD: caretaker problems, LF: caretaker functioning). As with caretakers, caseworkers were asked for their overall assessments of improvement in the families. There were no significant differences within agencies in the responses to this question.
It would be desirable to have records of subsequent allegations of abuse or neglect from the administrative data. Unfortunately, such records were not available. As an alternative, workers were asked whether there had been subsequent allegations and whether they had been substantiated. Table 3-21 shows the results. As can be seen, there were relatively few substantiated allegations. Differences between experimental and comparison groups were small and not significant, due in part to small numbers of families.
Child Functioning. Caseworkers were asked two series of questions about child functioning problems. The first asked about the children collectively, as part of a question on problems in the family (this question included the items on caretaker problems discussed above) (caseworker interview, question 24). There were 10 yes-no items in this question (e.g., physical or mental health problems, substance abuse, learning problems, behavior problems), and a scale consisting of the proportion "yes" was formed. There were no significant differences between experimental and control groups within agencies on this scale.
A second set of eight questions was asked about each child in the family (caseworker interview, question 25). These questions were:
- Is the child alert and interested in what is going on?
- Does the child appear to be small in size and light in weight for his/her age?
- Does child appear to be irritable and easily upset?
- Do you think the child's use of language and vocabulary is adequate for his/her age?
- Is the child aggressive toward the caretaker?
- Does the child have problems in school?
- In the last 3 months has the child been truant from school?
- In the last 3 months has the child run away from home?
Whether any child in the family had a problem in any of these eight areas was determined. A count of the number of problem areas for any child in the family was then formed. None of the mean differences between the experimental and control groups were significant on this scale.
Summary. As with the caretaker interviews, the caseworker interviews provided little evidence for differences between experimental and control groups in child and family functioning outcomes.
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