Contextual and individual-level predictors of abused children's reentry into out-of-home care: A multilevel mixture survival analysis
ABSTRACT This study examined the effects of individual and contextual factors on reentry into out-of-home care among children who were discharged from child protective services in fiscal year 2004-2005. The objectives were to: (1) examine individual and contextual factors associated with reentry, (2) explore whether there are meaningful groups of youth who differ in terms of risk for reentry, and (3) determine whether relatively homogeneous clusters of child welfare agencies, based on contextual characteristics, differ significantly in terms of the reentry rates of the children whom they serve.
The study design involved a multilevel longitudinal analysis of administrative data based on an exit cohort. Two Cox proportional hazards multilevel mixture models were tested. The first model included multiple individual level predictors and no agency level predictors. The second model included both levels of predictors.
The results of multilevel Cox regression mixture modeling indicated that at the individual level, younger age, being placed in out-of-home care because of neglect and having physical, health problems corresponded to a decreased likelihood for reentry. At the agency level, lower average expenditures per child and contracting out case management services were associated with faster reentry into out-of-home care.
This study demonstrates that children who reenter out-of-home care appear to be a homogeneous population and that reentry is associated with both contextual factors and individual characteristics.
The most important implication that can be drawn from the study findings is that reentry may be most effectively prevented by focusing on such factors at the organizational level as contracting out case management services and funding allocation. Child welfare agencies that are responsible for an array of services and decide to contract out case management should consider the use of performance-based contracts and emphasize and strengthen quality assurance approaches for contracted services. In addition, to compensate for lower funding allocated for children served in out-of-home care, child welfare workers should become more familiar with community resources and help connect families to these supports.
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ABSTRACT: This study seeks to advance our understanding of how modifiable and non-modifiable factors may impact the likelihood of re-entry into foster care. Children who entered foster care for the first time following at least one report of maltreatment and were then reunified were followed from exit to re-entry, age 18 or the end of the study period using longitudinal administrative data. Risk of re-entry was explored according to a range of modifiable and non-modifiable case and service characteristics. Children removed from homes with parents who had multiple risk factors (e.g., no high school diploma, mental health diagnosis, criminal record, or teen parents) or were receiving AFDC prior to entry were more likely to re-enter. The receipt of in-home child welfare services during or after foster care was associated with reduced risk of re-entry. Having the longest placement with a relative was associated with decreased risk of re-entry. In conclusion, both modifiable and non-modifiable factors are associated with re-entry into foster care. Among modifiable factors, services appear to have a particularly strong relationship to re-entry. Our data also suggest that in-home child welfare services provided during and after foster care may be associated with improved long-term permanency after return home. Given the continued import of caregiver risk factors even among reunified families, services provided to support reunification should include attention to caregiver needs outside parenting.Children and Youth Services Review 09/2012; 34(9):1825-1833. DOI:10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.05.007 · 1.27 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A human rights perspective places the care for children in the obligation sphere. The duty to protect from violence is an outcome of having a declaration confirming inalienable human rights. Nationally, rights may be reflected in constitutions, charters, and criminal codes. Trans-nationally, the United Nation's (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) prioritizes a child's basic human rights, given their dependent status. UN CRC signatory countries commit to implementing minimal standards of care for minors. Laws requiring professionals to report child maltreatment to authorities is one practical strategy to implement minimal child protection and service standards. Mandatory reporting laws officially affirms the wrong of maltreatment, and the right of children. Mandatory reporting can be conceptualized as part of a resilience process, where the law sets the stage for child safety and well-being planning. Although widely enacted law, sizeable research gaps exist in terms of statistics on mandatory reporting compliance in key settings; obstacles and processes in mandatory reporting; the provision of evidence-based training to support the duty to report; and the training-reporting-child outcomes relationship, this latter area being virtually non-existent. The fact that mandatory reporting is not presently evidence-based cannot be separated from this lack of research activity in mandatory reporting. Reporting is an intervention that requires substantial inter-professional investment in research to guide best practices, with methodological expectations of any clinical intervention. Child abuse reporting is consistent with a clinician's other duties to report (i.e., suicidality, homicidality), practice-based skills (e.g., delivering "bad" news, giving assessment feedback), and the pervasive professional principle of "best interests" of the child. Resilience requires the presence of resources and, mandated reporting, is one such resource to the maltreated child. Practice strategies identified in the literature are discussed.Child abuse & neglect 01/2013; 37(2-3). DOI:10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.11.005 · 2.34 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This article presents the findings from a systematic review of the literature regarding factors related to positive placement outcomes. Children in care are particularly vulnerable to problems with their emotional and behavioural development. It is important to know which factors affect whether children will have a positive placement outcome or not. Previous research has aimed to examine this, and has found that certain child characteristics can affect placement outcome. Reviews have not reported their search strategy in line with PRISMA guidelines, nor have they always reported the source of the data. This review was particularly interested in which studies had contact with the children or carers themselves, as opposed to a reliance on administrative data. There appear to be child characteristics that affect placement outcome, but findings need to be interpreted with caution due to a high volume of results from administrative data. Future research should aim to conduct full assessments with children when they come into care.Children and Youth Services Review 09/2013; 35(9):1333–1341. DOI:10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.05.001 · 1.27 Impact Factor