Thursday, January 11, 2018: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Marquis BR Salon 16 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Child Welfare
Nancy Rolock, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
The purpose of this symposium is to present analyses conducted as part of the National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation (QIC-AG), and summarize implications for intervention research. The QIC-AG is a multi-site, federally funded project intended to improve outcomes and experiences for children who exit the foster care system to adoption or guardianship. Since the early 2000's, there has been a shift in public child welfare services in the U.S., with more children now residing in legally permanent adoptive and guardianship homes than in temporary foster homes. Although this shift has generally been seen as a positive development, research suggests that post-adoption and guardianship families face elevated risks for strained relationships, child behavioral difficulties, and placement discontinuity. Yet families receive limited support once adoptions and guardianships are finalized. Thus, the QIC-AG project is intended to not only explore the service needs and difficulties experienced by families with children who exit foster care to adoption or guardianship, but also identify and evaluate potential interventions to support families along a continuum of child welfare services and across varied cultural contexts. Four separate research projects analyzed data from six QIC-AG sites (North Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, New Jersey, Vermont, and the Winnebago Tribe in Nebraska). The projects included a range of qualitative and quantitative research studies, with primary qualitative and quantitative data collected through interviews and surveys, and secondary data obtained from child welfare administrative datasets. For the quantitative studies, univariate, bivariate, and multivariate statistical analyses were conducted, including chi-square and t tests, multivariable regressions, and survival analysis. Finally, several validated scales were used in studies, such as the Behavior Problem Index (BPI) and Belonging and Emotional Security Tool (BEST). Findings across sites provide evidence that most adoptive and guardianship families adjust well after permanency, and do not report immediate needs for services. However, results also showed that a significant proportion of families experience substantial challenges and are at higher risk for child placement discontinuity. Further, data indicates certain factors that may be associated with post-permanency discontinuity, including caregivers seeking services from local agencies, an older child age, and more reported child behavioral difficulties. Finally, results indicate that post-permanency interventions may need to be tailored to specific community needs, or adapted to fit certain cultural contexts, with particular attention paid to the unique strengths and experiences of Native American communities. This symposium suggests implications for intervention research with children who exit foster care to adoptive or guardianship homes and their families. First, results provide insight into which factors may be associated with family difficulties after adoption and guardianship, and thus, which families are most likely to benefit from intervention. Also, this symposium highlights many of the issues faced by researchers when working with adoptive and guardianship children and their families, such as the need to adapt interventions to fit the strengths of minority group cultures, and the difficulty of securing permissions from multiple agencies to access and link multiple streams of data.
* noted as presenting author
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