Additional analyses could be done on these data. Data obtained from caretakers on social support have not been analyzed. The data on services might be examined further, for example, determining the relationship between services generally and particular types of service and outcomes. The role of foster parents and of visitation might be more extensively examined.
But the data of this study are limited, particularly because the interviews were retrospective, conducted sometimes long after caretakers and caseworkers were involved in services. Prospective studies of managed care efforts, studies employing strong evaluation designs, preferably with randomized comparison groups, are needed. Data need to be collected from participants (perhaps including children) before, during, and after the intervention.
The results suggest further study of a number of issues. Prominent here is the question of the conditions under which changes in fiscal incentives and other features of managed care have the effects theoreticians ascribe to them. Since social programs are never implemented under ideal circumstances, there is a need to better understand the interaction between new programs and context. Beyond that, further study is needed of important components of reunification programs: how critical decisions get made, the importance of intensive services, the role of foster parents, and the place of aftercare services. Future experiments in this area should explore the use of clear protocols for decision-making about cases, the use of triaging strategies, and the availability of data systems for case and program management.
"appa.pdf" (pdf, 120.49Kb)
"appb.pdf" (pdf, 623.25Kb)