Assessing the Quality of Foster Family Care: An Initiative for the Integration of Research and Practice

The underlying mission of this project is to promote quality in the caretaking environments of foster children. The overall goal of the research is to fill the gap in the literature on foster family care by examining the individual characteristics of foster parents across domains, as well as the environmental characteristics of the home. The research design will include a comparison of relative and non-relative foster homes, and a comparison of African-American and Caucasian foster homes. The participants in this study will be drawn from the pool of foster parents and children in Prince George's and Montgomery Counties, MD, which border three quadrants of Washington, D.C. Both counties are socioeconomically and ethnically diverse, and have had an increase in their high-risk populations due to migratory patterns from the District and foreign countries. It is anticipated that 120 families will be recruited from each county for a total of 240 families. Project results will be presented at national and local conferences, submitted to professional journals, and disseminated to policy and program development entities. A major objective of the proposed project is to produce an instrument that can be utilized by social service staff to assess the quality of foster home placements.

AGENCY SPONSOR: Administration on Children, Youth and Families

FEDERAL CONTACT: Wave-Rice, Geneva
202-205-8654

202-205-8654

PIC ID: 6850

PERFORMER: University of Maryland, Institute for Child Study
College Park, MD

EXPECTED DATE OF COMPLETION: 09/30/2000

Factors Related to the Quality of Family Foster Care

The purpose of this study is to determine the quality of the foster care experience and the factors that influence it, based on data collected from a sample of 500 families whose children spent time in foster care in Wayne County, Michigan, during 1993. The study examines the relationship between the agency and services characteristics (e.g., private versus public agency, caseload size, staff turnover, continuity of case services, provision of family preservation services, and use of kinship care) and quality foster care. The five components of the quality of foster care experiences are: (1) the health and well-being of the child while in care; (2) maltreatment in care; (3) family continuity; (4) types and numbers of placements; and (5) duration of care and recidivism. Examining the experiences of families whose child(ren) entered care in 1993 will allow analysis of the entire stay in foster care for the majority of foster children, and analysis of a four year span of experiences for those children who remain in care through the end of the study or return to care during that time frame. Analysis of these data will proceed in three stages: (1) determination of the quality of the foster care experience for the children in the sample; (2) multivariate analysis of the factors leading to different levels of quality; and (3) development of alternative models of foster care which maximize the quality of foster care experiences for different types of families. Characteristics of the family, characteristics of the child, and reasons for the child coming into care will be included in the model. This research aims to discover which factors are most significant in affecting the foster care experience for which types of children and families. This study will produce a handbook that can be used for informing agency policy, improving agency practice and training agency staff.

AGENCY SPONSOR: Administration on Children, Youth and Families

FEDERAL CONTACT: Wave-Rice, Geneva
202-205-8654

202-205-8654

PIC ID: 6849

PERFORMER: Ryan, Patricia, Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, MI

EXPECTED DATE OF COMPLETION: 09/30/2000

How Decisions to Change the Case Plan Goal Are Initiated

The Jane Addams College of Social Work, in collaboration with the National Resource Center for Permanency Planning at the Hunter College School of Social Work of the City University of New York, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the New York City Child Welfare Administration proposes a three year study of children entering State custody as infants in Chicago and New York City. The purpose of the study is to identify the factors which facilitate or delay changes in the case plan goal. Data will be collected through in-depth interviews with caseworkers responsible for selected cases. Approximately 600 cases will be selected for interviews to be conducted around the child's anniversary date of entering State custody. Half of the children in each cohort will be living with relatives and others will be living in non-related family foster care at the time of the first case selection. Caseworkers will complete brief follow-up questionnaires at 6 months and 12 months following the initial interviews to determine if the case plan goal changed, who initiated the change, and what factors facilitate or delay the change. In this way, barriers and facilitating conditions which occur in a child's second, third and fourth year in care will be identified. Key informants will be interviewed in the final year of the project to develop an understanding of systems factors which appear to facilitate or hinder changing the case plan goal. Key informants and the questions they are asked will be determined through analysis of data collected at the case level. Products of this study will include three major reports and policy and practice recommendations for facilitating permanence for children entering State custody as infants.

AGENCY SPONSOR: Administration on Children, Youth and Families

FEDERAL CONTACT: Wave-Rice, Geneva
202-205-8654

202-205-8654

PIC ID: 6848

PERFORMER: Jane Addams College of Social Work, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, IL

EXPECTED DATE OF COMPLETION: 09/30/1999

National Longitudinal Study of Children and Families in the Child Welfare System

The purpose of this study is to describe the outcomes experienced by children and families who come to the attention of the child welfare system, and to gain an understanding of the factors, including system-level and service factors, as well as child and family characteristics, that contribute to those outcomes. The study will select a nationally representative sample of 6,000 children upon entry into the child welfare system. Information on this sample will be collected at baseline and at three annual follow-up interviews from the children and their caregivers, caseworkers, and other agency personnel and service providers. Public use data sets will be prepared following each wave of data collection.

AGENCY SPONSOR: Administration on Children, Youth and Families

FEDERAL CONTACT: Bruce-Webb, Mary, Ph.D.
202-205-8628

PIC ID: 6748

PERFORMER: Research Triangle Park
Research Triangle Park, NC

EXPECTED DATE OF COMPLETION: 09/30/2003

Partner and Father Involvement in the Lives of Low-Income First Time Mothers and Their Children

This project will investigate the role that fathers and partners play in improving the material, emotional, and developmental well-being of low-income women and children. It consists of a set of secondary analyses using data from three longitudinal experiments of a program of prenatal and infancy home visitation serving first time mothers from various ethnic and racial groups.

AGENCY SPONSOR: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

FEDERAL CONTACT: Wolf, Lawrence
202-401-5084

PIC ID: 6799

PERFORMER: Children's Hospital
Denver, CO

EXPECTED DATE OF COMPLETION: 09/30/2000

Prevention of Foster Care Placement of Children at Risk for Domestic Violence

The Family Advocate Project (FAP) will build on the existing programs operated by the Family Intervention Center of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, which provides medical and psychosocial evaluations to battered women and their children. The study will examine 150 mothers assigned to either a study or a control group. The mothers in the study group will receive intensive services in the areas of counseling, housing assistance, legal assistance and health care. Upon entry into the study, the mothers will undergo an extensive evaluation that will focus on control, maternal support, depression symptoms and attitudes toward discipline. The study will look at ways to alleviate the emotional trauma of battered women, and will explore whether the provision of support services to increase self-esteem and coping skills can prevent out-of-home placement or reduce the length of time children spend in foster care. FAP also will develop a replicable foster care prevention model. Finally, FAP is following both the experimental and control groups for a specified time after services are delivered.

AGENCY SPONSOR: Administration on Children, Youth and Families

FEDERAL CONTACT: Wave-Rice, Geneva
202-205-8654

202-205-8654

PIC ID: 4378

PERFORMER: Children's Hospital
Pittsburgh, PA

EXPECTED DATE OF COMPLETION: 10/01/1999