Across sites, 831 families were referred: 386 were randomly assigned to receive the intervention, and 445 families received services as usual. This paper presents findings from the cross-site evaluation which consider child welfare and housing outcomes of all five sites as one group.
Methods: To consider child welfare outcomes, administrative child welfare data were used to examine the probability of removal (for intact families) and probability and speed of reunification (for families with a child in out-of-home care). For all families, the probability and speed of case closure, and the probability of a new maltreatment report for intact and reunified families is examined. Housing impacts were based on a survey of families from the program and services-as-usual group one year after randomization. Several measures are reported including being housed with a lease (versus doubled-up, in a homeless shelter, living in a place not meant for habitation), number of moves over the past year, evictions, periods of homelessness, and expectations about the permanency of their current housing situation. The survey also measured self-reports of housing quality and neighborhood quality. Impacts were estimated using probit regressions for limited-dependent variables, OLS for continuous variables, and survival analysis for measures of time.
Results: Results based on roughly half of the final sample indicate that, compared with the services-as-usual group, program group families had lower regression-adjusted rates of removal (9% v. 15%), higher rates of reunification (50% v. 30%), and lower rates of new reports of maltreatment (34% v. 42%). Analysis of survey data indicate that, across all measures, the program group had more stable and higher quality housing than the services-as-usual group, although it was not necessarily in better neighborhoods. In particular, 86% of the treatment group had a regression-adjusted rate of being housed with a lease of 86% and only 2% had a homeless spell, compared with 45% and 18%, respectively, for the services-as-usual group.
Implications: Permanent supportive housing clearly accomplishes its goal of providing stable housing to high need families. It also holds promise for reducing families’ involvement with the child welfare system and with time children spend in out-of-home care. Conclusions based on the entire sample will be drawn on the effectiveness of the program overall and how site-level differences may explain its strengths and limitations.