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Feb 2017 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for February 2017

In this issue: The long and the short of the newly-released B.H. Report, a talk with Dr. Braun about CFRC's Adverse Childhood Experiences brownbag, and much more!

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Jan 2017 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety

Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: 2015 Monitoring Report of the B.H. Consent Decree

Tamara Fuller, Martin Nieto, Xinrong Lei, Satomi Wakita, Saijun Zhang, Yu-Ling Chiu, Michael Braun, Theodore P. Cross

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety, family and placement stability, continuity, and permanence. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by child gender, race, age, and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Jan 2017 / Research Brief / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety

Five Findings from the 2015 B.H. Monitoring Report

CFRC

This research brief describes highlights from the most recent monitoring report of the B.H. Consent Decree. Highlights include details on the use of emergency shelters, a look at the increase in maltreatment of children in care, and a comparison of runaway rates in Cook County and statewide.

Nov 2016 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for November 2016

In this issue: Pictures from our 20th anniversary celebration, completion of the 2016 B.H. Report, a new CFRC website launch, and much more!

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Aug 2016 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for August 2016

In this issue: Notes from a recent DCFS town hall in Springfield, an ‘Inside the CFRC’ feature on the 4th annual LGBTQ Research Symposium, updates on our Differential Response and Title IV-E waiver evaluations, and much more!

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Jun 2016 / Research Brief / Child Welfare Administration and Policy

What Happens When a Child is Reported to Child Protective Services?

Theodore P. Cross, Betsy Goulet, Jesse J. Helton, Emily Lux, Tamara Fuller, and Michael T. Braun

All 50 states have systems for reporting suspected abuse and neglect to child protective services (CPS), and reports are made on thousands of children every year. Outcomes of reporting vary widely, ranging from screening out with no further action at one end to out-of-home placement at the other. Someone making a report to CPS might naturally wonder: What are the chances the child will be visited by child protective services workers, offered services, or even removed from his or her home? But there has been little systematic analysis of the outcomes of reporting to CPS. This brief, adapted from the authors’ chapter in a book on child maltreatment reporting, helps answer these questions using published results and new data analysis from two national data sets on children involved in reports to CPS.

May 2016 / In the News

CFRC's Ted Cross Presents at Military Sexual Assault Prevention Summit

CFRC Senior Research Professor Ted Cross was invited to present his research at the First Responders Summit held April 14-15 by the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office at historic Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu, HI.

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May 2016 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for May 2016

In this issue: Child well-being data collection, an interview with Dr. Judith Havlicek about Illlinois’ Youth Advisory Boards, a heads-up on the second CQI Conference, our ‘What We’re Reading’ feature, and much more!

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May 2016 / Research Brief / Safety

Understanding Child Death Review in Illinois

Tamara Fuller, Michael T. Braun, and Saijun Zhang

This research brief, the first in a series that highlights the important work of the Illinois Child Death Review Teams (CDRTs), provides an introduction to child death review in Illinois. The brief discusses the circumstances in which the CDRTs will review a child’s death, the review process, and the impact of child death reviews.

May 2016 / Research Brief / Safety

Examining Child Deaths in Illinois: Highlights from the Child Death Review Team Annual Report

Saijun Zhang, Tamara Fuller, and Michael T. Braun

This research brief, the second in a series that highlights the important work of the Illinois Child Death Review Teams (CDRTs), highlights key findings from the most recent CDRT annual report, which is written by the CFRC. It presents summary information about child deaths in Illinois examined by demographic characteristics such as age and race, as well as by manner and category of death.

May 2016 / Research Brief / Safety

Trends in Illinois Child Deaths Between 2004 and 2013

Tamara Fuller, Michael T. Braun, and Saijun Zhang

This research brief, the third in a series that highlights the important work of the Illinois Child Death Review Teams (CDRTs), uses historical data to describe trends in child deaths in Illinois from 2004 to 2013. The brief describes trends in total child deaths and trends in the number of deaths by child age, race, manner of death, and category of death.

May 2016 / Report

Parents’ Experience of Pediatric Onset Multiple Sclerosis

Ted Cross, Alane Shanks, Lisa Duffy, Mark Gorman, Susana Camposano, Tanuja Chitnis, David Rintell

This report presents findings from a study of families with a child who has pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS). Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that impairs communication within the brain and between the brain and body, leading to a range of unpredictable and often disabling symptoms. Once thought to affect adults exclusively, pediatric-onset MS has increasingly been diagnosed in recent years. MS can cause children considerable pain and distress and impair their movement, vision, speech, and thinking. It can be extraordinarily stressful for children and their families, and cause considerable stress as children adapt to the effect of MS on learning, functioning at school, peer relationships and life in the family. Parents of children with MS were interviewed to assess the impact of the disease on the child and family, to understand families’ experience with the health care system, and to profile the ways that children and families cope. The families affected by pediatric multiple sclerosis whom we interviewed face significant challenges, but in the course of meeting these challenges, have demonstrated notable resilience.

Mar 2016 / In the News

Video: A Brief Tour of the Center's Outcome Charts Tool

The CFRC has created a video demonstrating some of the features of our latest data visualization project — the Outcome Charts tool. You can view the video here, or download it via the link below.

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Mar 2016 / Research Brief / Foster Care

Youth Who Run Away From Substitute Care in Illinois: Frequency, Case Characteristics, and Post-Run Placements

Theodore P. Cross, Saijun Zhang, and Xinrong Lei

Significant percentages of youth in substitute care run away at some point during their stay. Running away can be a signal of distress or of difficulties adjusting to a placement. For these reasons alone it deserves attention. It could also disrupt foster care placements, place youth in risky environments, and decrease the chances that youth in care will find a permanent home. This brief reports on the frequency of running away from substitute care in Illinois and compares rates of running away by type of placement. It also explores the case characteristics that are associated with running away, and examines the types of placements that youth are placed in after returning to substitute care. Finally, it breaks new ground by analyzing how often runaway youth who return to the same type of setting nevertheless change specific caregivers and change institutions or group homes.

Feb 2016 / Report / Permanency, Safety, Well Being

Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: 2014 Monitoring Report of the B.H. Consent Decree

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety, family and placement stability, continuity, permanence, and child and family well-being. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by child gender, race, age, and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Feb 2016 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for Februay 2016

In this issue: The Center’s latest monitoring report of the B.H. consent decree, an ‘Inside the CFRC’ article on the Continuous Quality Imrovement conference, an update on our Wisconsin and Oregon evaluation projects, and more!

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Feb 2016 / In the News

Video: Highlights from 2014 B.H. Consent Decree Monitoring Report

The CFRC has created a video highlighting some key areas of our latest monitoring report of the B.H. Consent Decree. You can view the video here, or download it via the link below.

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Jan 2016 / In the News

2015 CQI Conference Videos & Materials Now Available

The first-ever conference of the CQI (Continuous Quality Improvement) Community, held on November 6th, included many informative presentations, all of which are available for viewing and reading on their website at the link below. 

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Nov 2015 / In the News

Center's Michael Braun Featured on University of Illinois Blog

The University’s “A Minute With” interview focuses on Dr. Braun’s research into lie detection. You can read the article at the link below.

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Nov 2015 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for November 2015

In this issue: An ‘Inside the CFRC’ article on the writing of Research Briefs, conference and presentation updates, a new batch of reccommended readings, and other news on Center activities and projects.

External Link

Sep 2015 / Presentation / Sexual Abuse and Assault

When the Victim Is a Child: 30 Years of Progress for Child Victims in the Criminal Justice System

Debra Whitcomb and Theodore Cross

Prosecution of child abuse often depends on the ability of children to testify in court, but this places enormous demands on children and risks exacerbating the effects of the abuse. This presentation provides an overview of research and legal and practice development on child abuse victims in the courtroom in recent decades, and presents new survey data from prosecutors and Children's Advocacy Centers about current challenges of prosecuting child abuse and what steps professionals are taking to protect and support children in court. It was originally presented at annual conference of the Institute of Violence, Abuse and Trauma in San Diego, CA in September 2015.

Aug 2015 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for August 2015

In this issue: Updates on B.H. and CERAP reports, a look at our website’s new Outcome Charts tool, new features including ‘What We’re Reading’ and ‘Comings and Goings,’ and much more!

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Jul 2015 / In the News

New Data Chart Tool Launched

A new tool for viewing data has just been launched on the CFRC website. The “Outcome Charts” tool—accessible within the website’s Data Center here—features a subset of our child welfare outcome indicators, along with indication rates, placement type breakdowns, and annual counts of children in and entering care. You can customize or “slice” the data however you like: Choose either line- or bar-graphs for the whole state as well as a variety of population subsets. Layer demographic (age, race, gender) and area (region, sub-region) series onto the charts to visualize change over time. Explore the Outcome Charts tool for yourself by clicking here, and feel free to let us know what you think by emailing its developer, Dan Phillips, at danzap@illinois.edu.

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Jul 2015 / Presentation / Sexual Abuse and Assault

DNA, Biological Evidence, Injuries and Arrests for Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Victims with Acute Medical Examinations

Ted Cross

This presentation compares child, adolescent and adult cases receiving forensic medical examinations following sexual assault. Data come from a National Institute of Justice-funded study of 563 medical examinations conducted across Massachusetts from 2008 to 2010, which included data from medical, crime laboratory and police reports. Results suggest that adolescent victims present severe challenges that are different from those of younger victims, challenges similar to those faced by adults. Adolescents were at higher risk for injury than younger children, and for cases being dropped by police. Biological evidence was more prevalent too, which can enhance opportunities for pursuing justice but also places a premium on adolescents undergoing medical examination. The needs of the adolescents, who were as young as 12, are different from both younger children and adults, and systems and practice models have not been developed that are specifically tailored to this age group. These results could help inspire the development of enhanced models of care specifically aimed at adolescent victims of sexual assault.

Jun 2015 / Presentation / Sexual Abuse and Assault

Children’s Advocacy Centers and Research: A Review of What We Have Learned and a Look to the Future

Theodore Cross and Wendy Walsh

Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) are multidisciplinary centers designed to coordinate all professionals involved in the investigative and service response to child abuse. They provide forensic child interviews with interviewers trained in best practice and a multidisciplinary team to coordinate the work of child protection, law enforcement, prosecution, health, mental health and other professionals. Over 700 CACs are providing services across all 50 states and in several foreign countries. This presentation presents an overview of research involving CACs. Several studies suggest the efficacy of CACs for improving several aspects of the response to children, and a number of important studies expanding knowledge on child maltreatment have been conducted in CACs. Several opportunities and challenges of doing research in CACs are discussed, and new results from a survey of CAC directors on Center practice are presented. This presentation was originally given at the One Child, Many Hands Multidisciplinary Conference on Child Welfare in Philadelphia in June 2015.

May 2015 / In the News

Inaugural CQI Conference Coming in November

Join us in Urbana on November 6th, 2015 for our inaugural CQI Conference. To submit a presentation, or just to learn more about the conference, click through to the conference website.

External Link

May 2015 / Report / Child Welfare Practice, Safety

Illinois Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol: FY2015 Annual Evaluation

Yu-ling Chiu, Martin Nieto, Satomi Wakita, and Tamara Fuller

The Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) is a safety assessment protocol used in child protection investigations and child welfare services in Illinois. Workers utilize the protocol at specified milestones throughout the life of an investigation or child welfare case to help focus their decision-making to determine whether a child is safe or unsafe, and if unsafe, decide what actions must be taken to assure their safety. The current report examines CERAP use among placement cases in order to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the compliance rate of CERAP assessment at each of the following milestones for placement cases:
    • Within 5 working days after a worker receives a new or transferred case, when there are other children in the home of origin?
    • Every 90 calendar days from the case opening date?
    • Within 24 hours prior to return a child home?
    • Within 5 working days after a child is returned home and every month thereafter until the family case is closed?
  2. Do compliance rates vary by region?
  3. What is the relationship between the safety decision of the CERAP completed every 90 calendar days from the case opening date and reunification date?

Feb 2015 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for February 2015

In this issue: ‘CFRC begins work on the Oregon Differential Response Initiative,’ ‘Evaluating Post-Reunification Services in Wisconsin,’ ‘Monitoring Critical Child Welfare Outcomes in Illinois,’ and ‘Examining Child Fatalities in Illinois.’

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Jan 2015 / Presentation / Child Welfare Practice, Juvenile Delinquency

The Developmental Trajectories of Delinquency Among Adolescent Females

Yu-Ling Chiu

Most trajectory research related to crime focuses on males and studies the offending behaviors from childhood to adulthood. Only very few studies focus on developmental trajectories of female delinquency during adolescence. Given that increasing girls appear in the juvenile justice system, given that the offending behaviors of females and males are not identical, and given that insufficient empirical studies provides good foundation to design effective interventions for delinquent girls, it is important to understand girls' offending trajectories. In order to address the needs of different types of girls in the juvenile justice system and provide suggestions of informing practice, the current study aims to answer the questions concerning how girls' offending behaviors develop over time during adolescence.

Jan 2015 / Report / Permanency, Safety, Well Being

Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: 2013 Monitoring Report of the B.H. Consent Decree

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety, family and placement stability, continuity, permanence, and child and family well-being. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by child gender, race, age, and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Nov 2014 / Presentation / Sexual Abuse and Assault

Prosecutor Assessment of the Value of Physical and Forensic Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases

Theodore Cross, Megan Alderden, Alex Wagner, Lisa Sampson, Brittany Peters, Kaitlin Lounsbury, Laura Siller

The use of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases is prominent in TV crime dramas, but no studies have examined how prosecutors actually use forensic evidence in these cases and what impact it has in trials. This presentation provides preliminary qualitative results from a mixed methods study of the role of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases in an urban district attorney's office. Assistant district attorneys were interviewed about their experience in using forensic evidence on sexual assault and their observations about when and how it can be employed to effectively prosecute these crimes. They reported that forensic evidence can be effective in a variety of ways as part of a prosecution strategy with multiple forms of evidence.

Oct 2014 / Presentation / Substance Use

Meta-Analysis of Substance Abuse Treatment Intervention on Child Welfare Outcomes

Saijun Zhang, Hui Huang, and Meirong Liu

Substance abuse has been a serious problem among families involved in child welfare systems. Much effort has been devoted to improve caregivers' engagement and retention in substance abuse treatment programs for better child welfare outcomes, but there is a lack of systematic review to synthesize the effects of these programs. The current study identifies 7 studies and applies meta-analysis technique to examine, compare, and synthesize the program effects. The pooled sample consists of 2,876 subjects in the experimental groups, and 1,711 subjects in the control groups. The analysis generates a synthesized odds ratio of 2.29 (z=4.77. p<.0001), suggesting that on average, the odds for experimental groups to have the favorable outcome is 2.29 times as that for the control groups. This paper was presented at the 60th Annual Program Meeting of Council on Social Work Education in Tampa, FL.

Oct 2014 / In the News

CPS Investigators Sought for Comparative Study

Illinois Child Protective Service investigators are invited to participate in a comparative study of CPS processes and decision-making in US and Korea.

External Link

Sep 2014 / Report / Sexual Abuse and Assault

Forensic Evidence and Criminal Justice Outcomes in a Statewide Sample of Sexual Assault Cases

Theodore P. Cross, Megan Alderden, Alexander Wagner, Lisa Sampson, Brittany Peters, Meredith Spencer, and Kaitlin Lounsbury

Biological evidence like DNA can be central to the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault, as can evaluation and documentation of injuries. But data are lacking on the actual impact of these forms of forensic evidence on the criminal justice system. Through a grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), CFRC researcher Theodore Cross headed a team that examined the frequency and timing of forensic evidence and its relationship to arrest in a statewide sample of cases. Most arrests took place well before crime laboratory analysis could be conducted, but DNA profiles and matches to suspects were prominent in a small set of cases in which police had access to crime laboratory results prior to arrest. The final report to NIJ that we link to here highlights these results and many others on how often and when forensic evidence is available is a wide array of different types of sexual assault cases.

Jul 2014 / Presentation / Child Welfare Practice

What Will Happen to This Child If I Report?: Outcomes of Reporting Child Maltreatment

Theodore Cross, Betsy Goulet, Jesse Helton, Emily Lux, and Tamara Fuller

Individuals considering reporting child maltreatment to protective services would naturally consider what would result from the report for the child and family. This could affect both their opinion about the value of reporting and their decision to report. This presentation profiles outcomes of reporting and considers the implications for understanding and improving the reporting situation. It briefly reviews research on the frequency and predictors of five different decisions: screening out, substantiation, CPS service delivery, child placement and providing differential response Then, using new analysis of national data, we profile the different decisions that are likely to be made for a hypothetical 100 cases. Findings suggest how modest the protective service response is in most cases, how much communities differ in outcomes of reporting, how much of a difference case factors like child age make, and how resources affect the profile of outcomes. Finally, this presentation discusses how understanding what outcomes of reporting are likely and what factors affect these outcomes could influence policy, practice and training regarding reporting.

Jul 2014 / Presentation / Differential Response, Program Evaluation

Differential Response

John Fluke, Lisa Merkel-Holguin, Ying-ying Yuan, and Tamara Fuller

Presented at the 16th annual child welfare waiver demonstration project meeting in July 2014, this presentation highlights the status of Differential Response (DR) implementation in the U.S.; summarizes the results of the "first generation" of DR evaluation research on key indicators including parent engagement with CPS, child safety, and program costs; and suggests areas for the next generation of DR research.

Jul 2014 / Presentation / Program Evaluation

The P.S. Program: Using Predictive Analytics in Program Implementation

Tamara Fuller, Theodore Cross, Vaughn Brandt, and Colleen McGroarty

As part of their Title IV-E waiver demonstration project, the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) was interested in developing a way to target post-reunification services to those families that were at highest risk of re-entry into substitute care. The CFRC used historical data to develop a predictive risk model, known as the Re-entry Prevention Model (RPM) that was implemented in each county that was part of the waiver demonstration project. The CFRC and DCF gave an overview of the RPM development and implementation process at the 16th annual child welfare waiver demonstration projects meeting, including a discussion of the lessons learned.

Jul 2014 / Journal Publication / Sexual Abuse and Assault

The Timing of Forensic Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases

Megan Alderden and Theodore P. Cross

This newsletter article presents a brief overview of key findings from a study of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases and its relationship to arrest, focusing particularly on the role of timing. Most arrests took place well before crime laboratory analysis could be conducted, but DNA profiles and matches to suspects were prominent in a small set of cases in which police had access to crime laboratory results prior to arrest. Readers who want to glean important knowledge from this National Institute of Justice study with a brief investment of time can seek this article from the Sexual Assault Report newsletter.

Alderden, M & Cross, T.P. (2014). The timing of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases. Sexual Assault Report, 17, 83-84.

External Link

May 2014 / Presentation / Differential Response, Program Evaluation, Safety

Examining Outcomes of Differential Response: Results from Three Randomized Controlled Trials in Colorado, Illinois, and Ohio

Tamara Fuller, Raquel Ellis, and Julie Murphy

Jurisdictions across the country have adopted dual-track systems and there has been increasing focus on building the evidence base around this innovative approach to CPS services. In 2009, Colorado, Illinois and Ohio were selected by the National Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response in Child Protective Services (QIC-DR) to implement Differential Response and conduct rigorous, multi-year evaluations of their DR approaches. During this panel, evaluators from the three sites will discuss highlights from the outcome evaluations, focusing on outcomes related to parent perceptions of CPS and child safety. An interactive discussion of the implications of the findings for practice and future research will follow.

Feb 2014 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for February 2014

In this issue: ‘CFRC Releases Differential Response Final Evaluation Report,’ ‘FY2013 B.H. Monitoring Report Now Available,’ ‘2nd Annual LGBT Research Symposium: Call for Papers and Presentations,’ and ‘LGBTQ Youth Ages 14 - 18 Sought for Participation in Survey.’

External Link

Feb 2014 / Journal Publication / Foster Care

What Explains Instability in Foster Care? Propensity Score Matching of Children with Stable and Unstable Placements

Eun Koh, Nancy Rolock, Theodore P. Cross & Jennifer Eblen-Manning

This study investigates what characteristics explain placement instability for children in foster care. Using a matched sample of children experiencing stable and unstable placements, bivariate and logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify factors for placement instability. The study also examines specific reasons for placement changes for a group of children who experienced multiple placements. Findings from this study highlight the following three components that contribute to placement stability for children in foster care: a) a caregiver's commitment to a child's legal permanence; b) the absence of a child's mental health diagnosis; and c) placements with a relative caregiver. The findings of the study also illustrate that while system- or policy-related reasons explain the largest proportion of placement changes for children's earlier stay in foster care, a majority of placement changes are attributed to either foster family-related or child behavior-related reasons over time. This is a companion article to Cross and colleagues (2013) publication, Why Do Children Experience Multiple Placement Changes in Foster Care? A Content Analysis on Reasons for Instability, which is cited elsewhere in this listing of publications.

Koh, E., Rolock, N., Cross, T.P., & Eblen-Manning, J. (2014). What explains instability in foster care? Propensity score matching of children with stable and unstable placements. Children and Youth Services Review, 37, 36-45.
Jan 2014 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Permanency, Safety, Well Being

Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: 2012 Monitoring Report of the B.H. Consent Decree

CFRC

This annual report provides information on the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services with regard to the outcomes for children who are in or at risk of substitute care. This monitoring report, required as part of the B.H. Consent Decree, examines measures of child safety, family and placement stability, continuity, permanence, and child and family well-being. Detailed break-downs of each indicator by child gender, race, age, and geographic region are provided in the appendix.

Jan 2014 / Presentation / Child Welfare Practice, Differential Response

Inside the 'Black Box': Parent Perspectives On Differential Response in Child Protective Services

Tamara Fuller, Megan Paceley, and Jill Schreiber

Many Child Protective Services (CPS) systems have implemented Differential Response (DR) in efforts to improve child and family outcomes by providing a wider array of concrete and preventative services with a less adversarial and more supportive approach. Quantitative survey data confirms that parents who receive DR services are more engaged, receive more concrete services, and have higher overall satisfaction than those who receive a traditional investigation; yet we still have little knowledge of what occurs inside the “black box” of service provision. This qualitative study provided an in-depth analysis of parents’ perspectives of the effectiveness of the services they received through a non-investigative CPS approach.

Dec 2013 / In the News

CFRC Site Selected for Library of Congress Archive

The United States Library of Congress has selected the CFRC website for inclusion in its web archive, a historic collection of Internet materials related to public policy topics. The Library of Congress preserves the Nation's cultural artifacts and provides enduring access to them.

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Nov 2013 / Presentation / Sexual Abuse and Assault

The Impact of Forensic Evidence on Sexual Assault Cases

Theodore P. Cross, Megan Alderden, Alex Wagner, A., Daniel Bibel, Lisa Sampson, Brittany Peters, Saijun Zhang, and Meridith Spencer

This presentation reports on a study of the relationship between injury evidence and crime laboratory evidence and police unfounding and arrest in a statewide sample of Massachusetts sexual assault csaes. Most arrests took place rapidly--before crime laboratory analysis was conducted, but in the small number of cases in which arrests took place afterwards DNA evidence was common--suggesting the importance of DNA when probable cause cannot immediately be established. Arrests were more likely when there were injuries, though the causal relationship is unclear. Additional predictors of unfounding and arrest were identified.

Oct 2013 / Report / Child Welfare Practice, Differential Response, Program Evaluation, Safety

Differential Response in Illinois: Final Evaluation Report

Tamara Fuller, Martin Nieto, and Saijun Zhang

In December 2009, the State of Illinois was selected by the National Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response in Child Protective Services (QIC-DR) as one of three sites to implement and evaluate Differential Response (DR). This report presents the final findings of the outcome evaluation and cost analysis, which compared the newly implemented family assessment child protective services (CPS) response (known as "DR" in Illinois) to the traditional investigation response to answer three research questions: 1) How is the assessment response different from the investigation response in terms of family engagement, caseworker practice, and services provided? 2) Are children whose families receive an assessment response as safe as or safer than children whose families receive an investigation? 3) What are the cost and funding implications to the child protection agency of the implementation and maintenance of a differential response approach? The report provides an overview of the development and proliferation of Differential Response over the past two decades, summarizes previous research, and provides descriptions of both the traditional investigation response (IR) and the new differential response (DR). A description of the research design and data collection instruments is offered. Findings are presented that compare the two CPS responses (IR and DR) with regard to parent engagement and satisfaction; service provision; child safety and family well-being; and costs per-case.

Oct 2013 / In the News

Obesity Found to Be Higher in Preschoolers Suspected of Being Maltreated

Obesity rates among preschoolers who have been investigated by child protective services for alleged maltreatment are nearly three times as high as children in the general population, a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois suggests.

External Link

Jun 2013 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for June 2013

In this issue: ‘New CFRC Study Examines Families with Chronic Maltreatment,’ ‘Collecting Forensic Evidence in Child Sexual Abuse Cases,’ and ‘Post-Reunification Services to Prevent Re-entry into Substitute Care.’

External Link

May 2013 / In the News

Study Examines Risk Factors in Recurrent Child Abuse, Neglect

The shorter the intervals between previous reports of child abuse/neglect, the greater the likelihood that the children will experience another incident within five years, suggests a new study co-written by School of Social Work researchers, from left, Saijun Zhang, Tamara Fuller and Martin Nieto in the Children and Family Research Center.

External Link

Mar 2013 / In the News

Negative Public Images Hamper Child Welfare Investigators

Child welfare agencies struggling to increase parent engagement and counter negative stereotypes might consider enhancing social workers? communication skills and creating public service announcements, suggests a new study by Jill C. Schreiber, Tamara Fuller and Megan Paceley.

External Link

Feb 2013 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for February 2013

In this issue: ‘New Research Grant Examines Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Telenursing Center,’ ‘Study Sheds Light on Engaging Parents in Child Protective Services,’ and ‘Use of Recovery Coaches Examined in CFRC Evaluation.’

External Link

Jan 2013 / Presentation / Well Being

Obesity Prevalence Among US Children and Adolescents Investigated for Maltreatment

Jesse J. Helton & Janet Liechty

No study to date has examined the prevalence of obesity in a nationally representative sample of children who were part of a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation for abuse and neglect. Further, no study has been able to examine differences in obesity risk by child and family demographics and maltreatment case characteristics. Therefore the purpose of this study is to (1) determine the prevalence and correlates of obesity among children investigated for abuse and neglect in the U.S. and (2) examine associations between obesity, child race/ethnicity and family material hardship, history of a prior investigation, type of alleged maltreatment, and credibility of allegation by child sex and developmental age.

Jan 2013 / Presentation / Foster Care, Well Being

Children with Chronic Health Conditions in Foster Care: Differences in Health Care Service Utilization by Placement

Jesse J. Helton and Theodore P. Cross

Children entering foster care are at high risk for chronic physical, developmental, and psychological conditions requiring intensive health and rehabilitative services. Even though Medicaid covers all children in foster care, research shows that many children with chronic health conditions (CCHC) do not receive the necessary specialized or primary care services they require. CCHC with kin caregivers may be at a particular disadvantage, according to previous studies. This study assesses health care utilization for CCHC and those without in a large sample of children entering either kinship or traditional placements.

Jan 2013 / Presentation / Safety

The Pattern of Chronic Maltreatment: A Latent Growth Curve Analysis

Saijun Zhang, Tamara Fuller

Chronic child maltreatment, which typically refers to three and more maltreatment incidents associated with a child or family, has gained increasing concerns because of its persistent harm to the children and its disproportional consumption of child welfare resources. Using data from the Illinois child welfare administrative dataset, the study analyzed 2,781 children who had at least two re-reports of child abuse and neglect during the two year observational period from July 1st 2009 to June 30th 2011. The two year period was divided into four 6-month consecutive observation sessions. Maltreatment reports were summed within each session for each child, which yielded a repeated measure of maltreatment count every 6 months. Mplus 7 was used for the Latent Growth Curve Modeling estimation. The results show a declining slope (change rate) of maltreatment counts over time, and identify a series of covariates affecting the slope. The findings have useful implication for child welfare policy and practice concerning chronic maltreatment issues.

Dec 2012 / Research Brief / Well Being

Paternal Involvement in Child Care: Do Bad Neighborhoods Keep Fathers Away?

SaiJun Zhang & Tamara Fuller

A large proportion of children live apart from their fathers among unwed birth families. Lack of paternal involvement has been shown to have a negative impact on child development, and federal and state programs have been initiated to improve paternal engagement among families without a resident father. It is important to understand factors that hamper or promote paternal engagement. This study explores the influence of neighborhood environment on paternal engagement beyond individual and family characteristics, and compares the difference between resident father families and nonresident father families.

Dec 2012 / Research Brief / Sexual Abuse and Assault

Forensic Evidence in Child Sexual Abuse Cases: The Experience of Using a Statewide Pediatric Forensic Evidence Collection Kit

Theodore P. Cross, Joan Meunier-Sham and Cynthia L. Moore

This brief presents data on statewide implementation of the Massachusetts Pediatric Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit, a specially designed non-invasive kit for victims of child sexual abuse receiving acute forensic medical examinations. The kit yielded biological evidence in 33% of 283 cases, a rate that was comparable or higher than previous studies using traditional, more invasive methods.

Nov 2012 / Presentation / Child Welfare Practice, Differential Response

The Family Voice in the Evaluation of Differential Response

Tamara Fuller, Raquel Ellis, Julie Murphy, and Marc Winokur

Family perspectives are often overlooked when data is collected in child welfare proigram evaluations. To elicit the family voice from caregivers involved with Child Protective Services in Differential Response systems in Illinois, Colorado, and Ohio, the evaluators designed and administered a family exit survey. This presentation, given at the 7th Annual Conference on Differential Response in Child Welfare, describes the instrument development process and presents preliminary findings. The presentation also focuses on special considerations when collecting data from child welfare populations, including the importance of cognitive testing and strategies for enhancing response rates. Finally, results of a qualitative study with families conducted in Illinois are presented.

Nov 2012 / Presentation / Sexual Abuse and Assault

Forensic Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases

Megan Alderden, Theodore P. Cross, Alexander Wagner, Daniel Bibel, Marjorie Bernadeau, Lisa Sampson, Saijun Zhang, Kaitlin Lounsbury and Brittany Peters

This presentation reports preliminary results from a study of forensic evidence in 587 adult sexual assault cases (victim age 12 and older) seen by medical providers in Massachusetts from 2008 to 2010.Non-genital injuries were found in 53% of victims, genital injuries in 41.1% of victims, and biological evidence in 86.9% of cases (the last included semen, blood, a saliva enzyme and/or other biological evidence). Over two thirds of medical examinations were conducted by nurses from the statewide Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) program, who are specially trained to conduct forensic medical examinations in sexual assault cases, and less than one-third by other medical providers, primarily emergency department physicians. Black and Hispanic victims were significantly less likely to have non-genital injuries identified, which may relate to the contrast in color between the injury and skin. SANE nurses were significantly more likely to identify genital injuries; there was no significant difference on non-genital injuries. In 40.9% of cases in which some biological evidence was found, the crime labs were able to extract a DNA profile. In 37.9% of the cases with DNA profiles generated, the DNA matched the suspect in the case, in 8.3% the DNA matched the DNA in another investigation in a national DNA database, and in 17.5% the DNA matched a convicted offender in that database. There were no significant differences between SANE nurses and other medical providers on likelihood of forensic evidence, even though the SANEs, whose philosophy stresses empowering patient choices, were significantly less likely to use certain procedures such as pubic hair combings.

Oct 2012 / In the News

Troubled Neighborhoods Deter Some Fathers from Child Involvement

Environmental factors such as crime and poverty rates in the neighborhood where children live influence nonresident fathers' engagement with their children, suggests a new study by the Center's Saijun Zhang and Tamara Fuller.

External Link

Oct 2012 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for October 2012

In this issue: ‘The Illinois Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being,’ ‘Infants and Toddlers In the Child Welfare System Face Developmental Problems,’ ‘Food Issues a New Area of Concern for Child Welfare,’ and ‘Abused and Neglected Children at a High Risk for Unhealthy Weight.’

External Link

Sep 2012 / Presentation / Child Welfare Practice, Sexual Abuse and Assault, Well Being

Forensic Evidence Recovery in Pre-pubertal Children: The MA PEDI Kit Experience

Joan Meunier-Sham, Theodore Cross, and Cynthia Moore

This presentation reports research on Massachusetts Pediatric Forensic Evidence Collection Kit, the first evidence kit in the country specially created to collect forensic medical evidence in acute child sexual assault cases. The kit is designed to follow a set of "first do no harm" principles that make use of the kit less invasive and more supportive of children than traditional methods of medical examination. Statistical results are presented that show that the kits yield biological evidence following crime lab analysis at rates that are comparable to previous studies even while following the "do no harm" principles.

Jul 2012 / Report / Child Welfare Administration and Policy, Foster Care

Illinois AODA IV-E Waiver Demonstration Final Evaluation Report

Joseph P. Ryan and Hui Huang

This report presents findings from Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Title IV-E Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) Waiver Demonstration. Implemented in 2000, the AODA waiver randomly assigned substance-involved parents with children in substitute care to either a control group (services as usual) or a treatment group (services as usual plus the services of a recovery coach). Results indicate the parents assigned to the recovery coach group are more likely to achieve family reunification as compared to parents assigned to the control group. In addition, children in the treatment group spent significantly fewer days in foster care as compared to children in the control group. It is estimated that the waiver demonstration saved the State of Illinois at least $6,141,925 through March 2012.

Jul 2012 / Research Brief / Child Welfare Administration and Policy, Sexual Abuse and Assault

Concurrent Criminal and Child Protective Services Investigations

Theodore Cross, Jesse Helton, and Emmeline Chuang

Some advocates argue that police too rarely conduct criminal investigations in Child Protective Services sexual abuse cases, while policy regarding police involvement in CPS physical abuse and neglect cases is not well developed. However, little research has examined how often police investigate in CPS cases and what factors predict involvement. Using two cohorts of cases (1999-2001 and 2008-2009) from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, a national probability study of children involved in CPS investigations, this presentation examines the frequency of criminal investigations in CPS cases and the factors predicting criminal investigation. Across cohorts, criminal investigations took place in 21% to 24% of all cases, 47% to 49% of sexual abuse cases, 24% to 27% of physical abuse cases and 15% to 18% of neglect cases. Police investigated more often when caseworkers reported greater risk and harm to the child and greater evidence, but variables like child age and relationship to perpetrator were not significant. Which county was involved, however, was a major predictor, with enormous variation in rates of police investigation across counties. Thus the likelihood of a criminal investigation depends on severity but also agency differences in practice. Equity suggests the need to discuss these differences.

Jul 2012 / Presentation / Child Welfare Administration and Policy, Sexual Abuse and Assault

The Criminal Justice Response to Child Abuse: Lessons Learned and Future Directions for Research and Practice

Theodore Cross

This day-long workshop presents a more comprehensive overview of 25 years of research on the criminal justice response to child maltreatment. Topics include the progress of child abuse cases through the criminal justice system, the effect of multidisciplinary teams, the impact of the court experience and testifying on child victims, factors associated with prosecution, and research on evidence and offender confession.

Jul 2012 / Presentation / Safety, Well Being

Does Child Disability Increase or Decrease the Risk of Victimization? Divergent Results Depending on Level of Functioning and Type of Disability

Jesse Helton, Theodore Cross and Tatiana Gochez-Kerr

Although studies have shown that children with disabilities are at an increased risk for both intrafamilial maltreatment and extrafamilial victimization, few examine how specific forms of disability and level of impairment predict risk, and most examine only one type of victimization. This study examines the association between levels of social abilities, everyday living skills, and internalizing and externalizing behaviors and the prevalence of single or multiple types of victimization. The analysis used baseline and 18 month follow-up data for youth ages 8 to 17 in a longitudinal national probability study of children involved in maltreatment investigations in 2008. Youth with very severe impairments in living skills were at a decreased risk of both single and multiple victimizations than low to normal functioning peers. Youth with very severe internalizing problems were at an increased risk of a single type of victimization – either sexual abuse or neglect - than low to normal functioning peers. Youth with very severe to severe externalizing problems were at an increased risk of a single type of victimization – sexual abuse, neglect, or assault - than normal functioning peers. Presenters will discuss plausible explanations of why children at different levels of these types of functionality may be more or less likely to experience single or multiple forms of victimizations.

Jul 2012 / Presentation / Child Welfare Practice, Well Being

Child Maltreatment Victims Age Zero to Five: Developmental Challenges and Program Opportunities

Theodore P. Cross, Jesse J. Helton, Sandra Lyons & Judy Havlicek

Young child maltreatment victims are extremely vulnerable to compromised development. Using the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, this presentation reports Illinois and national research on developmental challenges for child victims age 0 to 5 and on interventions to address developmental lags. Large proportions of these children show delays in cognitive and language development. Gaps exist in providing early intervention, though children in foster care are more likely to receive it.Obstacles to identifying children with developmental need, referring them to early intervention (EI), and providing EI services limit the number of children receiving help and the positive impact of their involvement with EI. However, a large majority of Illinois substantiated child victims are enrolled in early child education programs, significantly more than in the rest of the country.

Jul 2012 / Research Brief / Well Being

The Need for Food: Families Served by Child Welfare in Illinois

Jesse Helton and April Diaz

The purpose of this research brief is to examine the use of community food services (such as food pantries and soup kitchens) and state-provided food assistance programs among families involved in child welfare investigations in Illinois. The percentage of families in substantiated investigations in Illinois that use community food service and food assistance programs is compared to the percentage of these households that are eligible for assistance.

Jun 2012 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for June 2012

In this issue: ‘2012 Illinois Family Impact Seminar Focuses on Differential Response,’ ‘CFRC Partners with Lawrence Hall Youth Services to Receive Grant,’ and ‘CFRC Sponsors Family Reunion for Former Youth in Care.’

External Link

Jun 2012 / Presentation / Child Welfare Administration and Policy, Sexual Abuse and Assault

How Can We Be Effective in Pursuing Justice in Child Abuse Cases?

Theodore Cross

This 90 minute workshop presents a brief overview of 25 years of research on the criminal justice response to child abuse. Topics include the progress of child abuse cases through the criminal justice system, the effect of multidisciplinary teams, the impact of the court experience and testifying on child victims, factors associated with prosecution, and research on evidence and offender confession.

Jun 2012 / Report / Outcome Monitoring, Well Being

The Well-Being of Illinois Children in Substantiated Investigations: Baseline Results from the Illinois Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being

Theodore Cross and Jesse Helton

This report provides results from the Illinois Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (ISCAW), an intensive study of the well-being of a random sample of 818 Illinois children involved in substantiated child maltreatment investigations. The study is a component of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW). Using data from interviews and standardized instruments used with caseworkers, caregivers, teachers and children themselves, ISCAW provides a broad profile on how child and youth victims function, how they are developing, and what services they receive. Chapters review child and adolescent well-being and services in five domains: child development; education; physical health; social, emotional and behavioral well-being; and risk in children's environment. Disproportionate percentages of children in each domain have significant problems needing intervention, but many children are resilient as well. Although many children receive services to address these problems, there is frequently a gap between the services needed and those delivered.

Jun 2012 / Presentation / Child Welfare Administration and Policy, Foster Care

Foster Families and Food Assistance: Results from a National Study

Jesse Helton

The objective of this presentation is to estimate the risk that a child place in out-of-home foster care following a maltreatment investigation will encounter times when adequate food is unavailable. The sample is derived from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being Cohort 2 (NSCAW 2), which is a study of children who have come into contact with the child welfare system in 2008. The results indicate that 40% of kinship caregivers report receiving food stamps at the time of child placement, which is substantially higher rate compared to 7% of foster parents. Results also indicate that, regardless of placement type, being divorced, separated, or never married, having less than a high school degree, and having a lower family income were all associated with increased risk for food stamp receipt. Although there are many advantages to being placed with kin, children in kinship foster care are at a high risk of encountering times when adequate food is unavailable. These instances have the potential to seriously endanger a child’s already compromised health and may have implications for maltreatment recurrence.

Jun 2012 / Poster / Foster Care, Well Being

Foster Youth and Obesity: Who is At Risk?

Jesse Helton and April Diaz

Although the special health care needs of children entering foster care is a major concern, little is known about child obesity and the factors associated with its risk for this population. The objective of this poster is to estimate the rate of childhood obesity in a cohort of youth entering care in 2008 and the child, investigation, and environmental correlates associated with obesity. The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being Cohort 2 (NSCAW 2), a national study of children who have come into contact with the child welfare system, was used for this study. The results indicate that 21% of youth over the age of 1 in foster care, 28% in kinship care, and 37% in residential facilities are obese. Further, being African-American, sexually abused, and investigated in high poverty counties were all associated with higher rates of obesity. There were no gender or age differences, or differences in rates of obesity between children with and without severe emotional problems. These findings have significant implications for child well-being. Bearing in mind that poverty and child maltreatment are two leading causes of obesity, foster care providers and families will continue to disproportionately serve children who are obese.

May 2012 / In the News

CFRC's Jesse Helton Receives CLOCC Grant

The CFRC's Jesse Helton recently received notification that funding for his Healthy Agencies, Healthy Kids initiative was accepted by the Seed Grant Program at the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC).

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May 2012 / In the News

The CFRC's Judge Kathleen Kearney Receives William D. Reynolds Award from Notre Dame

With this award, Judge Kathleen A. Kearney is honored for three decades of work on behalf of abused and neglected children.

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Apr 2012 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for April 2012

In this issue: ‘llinois Differential Response Evaluation Releases First Report,’ ‘Research Explores the Link Between Community Violence and Aggressive Child Behavior,’ ‘The Foster Care Utilization Review Program (FCURP),’ and ‘CFRC Highlights.’

External Link

Apr 2012 / Presentation / Child Welfare Practice, Differential Response

Differential Response: Sounds Great! But Does it Work?

Tamara Fuller

Presented at the 2012 Family Impact Seminar and Council on Contemporary Families (CCF) annual conference. As more and more states adopt Differential Response and other front-end child welfare system reforms, it is important to stay informed of the current evidence base for these practices. This presentation reviews the most recent evidence on the effectiveness of Differential response in relationship to: family engagement and satisfaction, service delivery, repeat maltreatment, family functioning and well-being, and cost-effectiveness. The importance of continued rigorous evaluation of Differential Response is emphasized.

Mar 2012 / Report / Child Welfare Practice, Differential Response, Program Evaluation, Safety

Differential Response in Illinois: 2011 Site Visit Report

Tamara Fuller, Kathleen Kearney, Sandra Lyons

This report summarizes information on the implementation of Differential Response (DR) in Illinois by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) as of July 1, 2011. The State of Illinois is one of three sites selected by the Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response in Child Protective Services (QIC-DR) to implement and evaluation a DR program, and the only one of the three to implement DR statewide. The Illinois Site Visit Report examines the exploration and adoption phases of DR implementation in Illinois; provides a detailed description of the DR program that was developed; presents findings on the fidelity of DR practice to the program described in policy and statute; and assesses the core competency and organizational drivers used in the first year of project development. Information for this report was collected through three primary methods: (1) document review, including legislation, rules, procedures, protocols, and contracts; (2) statewide focus groups with both workers and supervisors who provided DR services and conducted child protective investigations; and (3) individual interviews and a focus group with key informants critical to DR implementation and program development.

Mar 2012 / Report / Child Welfare Practice, Differential Response, Program Evaluation, Safety

Differential Response in Illinois: 2011 Site Visit Report Executive Summary

Tamara Fuller, Kathleen Kearney, Sandra Lyons

This executive summary provides a brief summary of the full Differential Response 2011 Site Visit Report. It includes an overview of the DR Program that was implemented statewide in Illinois on November 1, 2010. It also summarizes findings from the site visit data collection that occurred in June 2011. The Illinois Site Visit Report examines the exploration and adoption phases of DR implementation in Illinois; provides a detailed description of the DR program that was developed; presents findings on the fidelity of DR practice to the program described in policy and statute; and assesses the core competency and organizational drivers used in the first year of project development.

Feb 2012 / Presentation / Child Welfare Administration and Policy

Leading Change: Using Performance Based Contracting to Improve Outcomes for Children and Youth in Residential Care

Kathleen A. Kearney and Mary Hollie

This presentation discusses the critical role collaboration places in the success of performance-based contracting. Information about how the State of Illinois developed goals and specific performance measures for residential care is presented with an emphasis on the impact in private sector agencies. The lessons learned from the first three years of implementation are shared. Presented at the Alliance for Children and Families' Senior Leadership Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 27, 2012

Jan 2012 / Research Brief / Well Being

Community Violence and Aggressive Child Behavior: The Role of Aggressive Parenting

Saijun Zhang & Mary K. Eamon

This brief reports on a study that shows how community violence is related to aggressive parenting which in turn is linked to children's aggressive behavior. In a sample of 2,247 mothers of 5 year olds, one-third of the effect of community violence on children's aggressive behavior was explained by the fact that mothers exposed to this violence were more aggressive in their parenting with children. Steps to address the effect of community violence are discussed.

Jan 2012 / Research Brief / Permanency

Post-Adoption and Guardianship Services in Illinois: Results from a Statewide Caregiver Survey

CFRC

This brief reports results of a survey of parents who had adopted children through DCFS about their families' service needs and financial situation post-adoption, and about the adoption subsidies they received. Most families obtained the services they need, but some service needs were unmet. Most families were limited financially, and for some, the subsidy was their primary source of income. Most families thought the subsidy was inadequate to meet their child's needs.

Jan 2012 / Research Brief / Foster Care

Placement Stability and Number of Children in a Foster Home

CFRC

Increasing the number of children placed in a single foster home is an understandable response to a shortage of foster care providers, but may stress both children and families, heightening the risk that children will need to be moved to a different foster home or will run away. In this report of an analysis of Illinois DCFS administrative data, the number of unrelated children in the home was significantly related to the risk of placement disruption and running away. However, the number of siblings living together in a foster home had no effect on the risk of disruption and actually was related to a lower risk of running away.

Jan 2012 / In the News

CFRC Releases Report on DCFS Performance

The CFRC is pleased to announce the release of the Conditions of Children in or at Risk of Foster Care in Illinois: 2010 Monitoring Report of the B.H. Consent Decree. Each year since 1998, the CFRC has produced an annual report documenting the performance of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in providing adequate care to children in foster care. The report provides multi-year data on indicators of repeat maltreatment, continuity with family members and community, placement stability, placement restrictiveness, length of time in foster care, and the achievement of permanence through reunification with birth parents, adoption, and guardianship. The report also includes a chapter that examines Child Well-Being that provides an in-depth look at mental health service need and service receipt among children in substantiated investigations. This year's report has been significantly updated to improve the readability and usefulness of the data to a variety of consumers - including child welfare workers, researchers, and policy-makers.

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Jan 2012 / Research Brief / Safety

Ongoing Safety Assessment and Maltreatment Recurrence

Tamara L. Fuller and Martin Nieto

This research brief summarizes the results of an evaluation of the use of a safety assessment instrument, known as the Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol or CERAP, on rates of maltreatment recurrence in Illinois. Findings indicate that although most Child Protective Services (CPS) investigators complete a safety assessment at the initiation of the investigation, less than half complete a follow-up safety assessment at the conclusion of the investigation, even if conditions in the household led the investigator to conclude that household conditions were unsafe. Additional safety assessment at the conclusion of the investigation was associated with lower recurrence rates in the 6-month period following the initial maltreatment report date.

Jan 2012 / In the News

The CFRC Newsletter for January 2012

This debut issue of the newsletter includes: ‘CFRC Releases Report on DCFS Performance,’ ‘Evaluating Differential Response in Illinois,’ and ‘CFRC Receives Grant to Reduce Childhood Obesity Among Foster Children.’

External Link

Dec 2011 / In the News

Parental Response to Sexual Abuse Varies by Age of Victim and Suspect, Study Finds

A new study co-written by Ted Cross, a faculty member in the School of Social Work, indicated that child victims of sexual abuse are less likely to receive parental support when the alleged perpetrator is an adolescent rather than an adult.

External Link

Nov 2011 / In the News

CFRC Researcher Theodore Cross Funded to Study Forensic Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases

The CRFC's Theodore Cross recently was funded by the National Institute of Justice to study the frequency and impact of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases.

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Nov 2011 / Presentation / Child Welfare Practice, Differential Response

"They Treated Me Like a Real Person": Family Perspectives on Effective Engagement Strategies

Tamara Fuller & Megan Paceley

Despite being a central concept of most family-centered service interventions, including Differential Response, very little is known about the best ways to engage families in child welfare services. The small amount of literature that exists typically focuses on engaging families in mental health or substance abuse treatment, rather than the mandated or involuntary services often provided by child welfare. What little evidence has been collected within child welfare points to very low or uneven levels of parent engagement, even within interventions designed to encourage parent participation. This presentation highlighted the results of a qualitative study of family engagement strategies used by both DR caseworkers and investigators in Illinois. Individual interviews were conducted with approximately 40 caregivers who provided in-depth accounts of their experiences and responses. Responses were transcribed and analyzed to reveal those strategies that were most effective (and least effective) in making families feel engaged.

Nov 2011 / Journal Publication / Well Being

Children with Behavioral, Non-Behavioral, and Multiple Disabilities, and the Risk of Out-of-Home Placement Disruption

Jesse J. Helton

This study examined the relative risk of placement disruption for 3 - 10 year-old children placed in out-of-home care based on the biological relatedness of the placement caregiver and child disability status: no disability, a non-behavioral disability only, a behavioral disability only, or both a non-behavioral and behavioral disability.

Jesse J. Helton. (2011). Children with behavioral, non-behavioral, and multiple disabilities, and the risk of out-of-home placement disruption, Child Abuse & Neglect, 35, 956-964.

External Link

Aug 2011 / Presentation / Child Welfare Administration and Policy

Building and Sustaining University-Agency Research Partnerships: Lessons from the Trenches in Illinois

Erwin McEwen, Bob Goerge, Dana Weiner and Tami Fuller

The need for effective partnerships between public child welfare agencies and research institutions has never been greater. Although some states and localities have created child welfare research partnerships with universities, there has been little discussion of the mechanisms that make these research partnerships work. By any account, the State of Illinois has been successful in leveraging the resources of its academic partners to build evidence, strengthen practice, and inform policy. This presentation at the 2011 National Child Welfare Evaluation Summit described the key elements that have allowed Illinois to both build and sustain their effective university-agency collaborations. The presentation also highlighted three research partnerships in Illinois and how each partner works with the Department to provide data that informs practice and improves outcomes.

Jul 2011 / In the News

CFRC Researcher Jesse Helton Receives Grant from Food and Family Program

The CFRC's Jesse Helton recently received funding for his Fostering Health and Nutrition program. The proposal was accepted by the University of Illinois Family Resiliency Center's Food and Family Program (supported by the Christopher Family Foundation). The genesis of this grant was from caregiver reported estimates of child weight and height from the Illinois Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (ISCAW) that indicates children in Illinois foster are at an increased risk for childhood obesity.

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Jul 2011 / Presentation / Child Welfare Administration and Policy

Using Performance Based Contracting to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes: Results from the Illinois Striving for Excellence Project

Kathleen A. Kearney, Mary Hollie

This workshop discusses lessons learned from statewide implementation of performance based contracting for residential treatment, independent and transitional living programs in Illinois. Challenges faced by both the public child welfare system and private agencies are examined. Specific strategies employed by a large, multi-service child welfare agency to adapt to a performance-based contracting environment are highlighted to give a "real world" example of implementation. (Presented July 26, 2011 at the Foster Family-Based Treatment Association 25th Annual Conference in Orlando, FL.)

Jul 2011 / Presentation / Child Welfare Administration and Policy, Child Welfare Practice

Engaging Families in Child Welfare Services: Successful Strategies and Promising Practices for Courts

Kathleen A. Kearney & Anita Horner

The American child welfare system is adopting a more family centered practice approach which recognizes the complexity of working with families with multiple service needs. This presentation discusses research on the use of power and its impact upon engaging families involved in the child welfare system. Promising practices which have incorporated family engagement strategies are highlighted to help courts in their dependency court improvement efforts, including Differential Response (DR) and Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM). (Presented July 25, 2011 at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges 74th Annual Conference in New York, NY.)

Jul 2011 / Presentation / Foster Care

Understanding the Reasons for Placement Instability: Lessons from Case Data

Ted Cross, Eun Koh, Nancy Rolock and Jennifer Eblen-Manning

A troubling percentage of children in substitute care bounce from placement to placement, with a negative effect on both their chances of having a permanent home and their well-being in both childhood and adulthood. This presentation reports results of the Illinois Multiple Move Study, a joint CFRC-Department of Children and Family Services analysis of the reasons underlying instability in a sample including the most unstable cases in the state (click the link for the complete Multiple Move study report in PDF format). Child behavior, caregiver factors and system and policy issues all contributed to instability in most unstable cases. The presentation identifies a number of the specific triggers leading to multiple moves and discusses some ways to adjust practice to prevent placement instability.

Apr 2011 / In the News

Child Abuse Risk Tied to Type, Degree of Disability, Study Finds

Researchers have long known that children with disabilities are at increased risk of being abused by their caregivers. But a groundbreaking new study by Jesse Helton, a faculty member in the Children and Family Research Center in the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois, indicates that the risk and degree of physical abuse varies according to the child's type and level of disability -- and those at greatest risk of maltreatment may be those with average functioning or only mild impairments.

External Link

Apr 2011 / In the News

Illinois a Leader in Providing Early Learning Programs to At-Risk Children

According to a new study by the CFRC's Ted Cross, Illinois leads other states in the U.S. in ensuring that at-risk young children are provided with early childhood education.

External Link

Apr 2011 / Research Brief / Well Being

Enrollment in Early Childhoood Education Programs for Young Children Involved with Child Welfare

Theodore P. Cross and Jesse J. Helton

Early childhood education programs show promise for helping ameliorate the negative effects of growing up with maltreatment, environmental risk, and disadvantage. A new CFRC study shows that child maltreatment victims involved with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services are 1.3 times more likely than comparable children in the rest of the country to be enrolled in these programs.

Mar 2011 / Presentation / Juvenile Delinquency

The Disproportional Use of Detention Following a Parental Assault and the Risk of Re-Offending

Jesse Helton

Many youth report assaulting a family member and domestic battery represents a sizable proportion of juvenile arrests. However, little is known about those youth involved in the juvenile justice system because of a domestic assault. The purpose of this study is to address the following questions about youth who are arrested for domestic battery: (1) are these youth different in terms of demographic characteristics and disposition compared to youth arrested for other types of offenses; (2) are these youth more likely to re-offend compared to youth arrested for other offenses; (3) due to the nature of their offense (i.e., family dispute), are these youth more likely to be placed in detention rather than returned home to their parents; and (4) has the child welfare system been involved with families of youth arrested for domestic battery prior to the arrest, and does the involvement reduce the likelihood of re-offending? Results show that once a youth is arrested for a domestic dispute their juvenile justice experience is disproportionately punitive, leading to a greater risk of reoffending and further system penetration. Presented at the Midwest Socialogical Society Annual Meeting on March 26, 2011.

Jan 2011 / Presentation / Substance Use

Intensive Case Management for Substance Abusing Mothers in Child Welfare: Timing Matters

Joseph P. Ryan, Hui Huang and Jeanne Marsh

Presented at the Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, Tampa FL, January 2011.

Jan 2011 / Presentation / Child Welfare Practice, Juvenile Delinquency, Well Being

Behavioral and Delinquency Referrals in Child Welfare: Well-Served or Wishful Thinking?

Joseph P. Ryan, Hui Huang and Yu Ling Chiu

Presented at the Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, Tampa FL, January 2011.

Jan 2011 / Poster / Child Welfare Practice

Pathways to Service Use Among Families at Risk of Child Maltreatment

Jiyoung Kang

This study examines if different factors predict service use of caregivers at risk of child maltreatment depending on their perceived service needs. The study used data from the Longitudinal Studies in Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN).

Jan 2011 / Presentation / Child Welfare Practice, Substance Use

The Severity of Substance Abuse and the Effectiveness of Recovery Coaches in Child Welfare

Hui Huang, Joseph P. Ryan, Sam Choi and Jeanne Marsh

Presented at the Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, Tampa FL, January 2011.

Dec 2010 / Research Brief / Child Welfare Practice, Foster Care

Understanding Placement Instability in Illinois: An In-Depth Case Review

Nancy Rolock, Eun Koh, Theodore P. Cross and Jennifer Eblen-Manning

To understand placement instability in foster care, a CFRC study compared matched samples of stable and unstable cases from the Department of Illinois Children and Families and identified key factors to explain the movement of some children through multiple homes during their stay.

Nov 2009 / Report / Foster Care

Multiple Move Study: Understanding Reasons for Foster Care Instability

Nancy Rolock, Eun Koh, Ted Cross, Jennifer Eblen Manning

This study sought to understand the reasons for placement instability among children in substitute care in Illinois. A sample of 61 children with a high number of placements (3 placements within 18 months) was selected, and propensity score matching was used to obtain an equal number of children with similar characteristics that who did not experience such high levels of placement instability. An in-depth case file review was completed on all children in the sample, and the two groups were compared to determine the possible causes for placement instability.

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