Ms. Manning joined the Foster Care Utilization Review Program as a Research Data Analyst in 2000. She holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an M.S.W. from Hunter College School of Social Work in New York City. She has 25 years of child welfare experience in direct service provision (child protection and foster care), and quality improvement. Currently, she supports the child welfare community in the achievement of positive safety, permanency and well-being outcomes for children and families through the provision of project management, training and technical assistance to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and private sector partners.
Ms. Manning's current research and practice interests are focused on supporting direct service staff and families involved with DCFS achieve positive outcomes through improved data collection, analysis and data-driven decision-making.
Jennifer Manning provides direct expertise, leadership support, and assistance to the Deputy Director of the Office of Quality Enhancement for the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Currently, Ms. Manning is leading the statewide implementation of the Outcome Enhancement Review Plus (OER Plus) for DCFS, a qualitative case record review process that mimics the federal Child and Family Services Review (CFSR). The OER Plus is being used to establish the federally required Illinois Program Improvement Plan (PIP) Baseline. Ms. Manning expects to continue implementing the OER Plus over the next many years in order to provide annual monitoring data to DCFS regarding progress toward meeting safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children and families identified in the CFSR PIP.
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.
This study used content analysis and qualitative analysis to examine reasons for moves in 53 child welfare cases with placement instability. Coding from case records of reasons for placement moves revealed three categories in most cases: 1) caregiver-related reasons, such as maltreatment by caregivers or changes in caregivers' lives; 2) child behavior-related reasons such as aggressive behaviors; and 3) system- or policy-related reasons, such as the need to use temporary placements or the aim of placing children with siblings. Children's previous instability should be considered in choosing and supporting caregivers, providing mental health resources, and considering moves to improve care.
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.
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.
This presentation reports quantitative results from the Multiple Move Study, a joint Illinois DCFS and CFRC project to explore the reasons underlying placement instability for youth who move multiple times in substitute care. Factors explaining instability were analyzed in matched samples of 61 multiple move cases and 61 matched stable cases. Child behavior, system issues, and caregiver issues all contributed to instability - in many cases child behavior problems emerged only after earlier placement instability due to other causes. Findings on Child and Youth Investment Teams (CAYIT) program designed to address instability are also presented. Presented at the Illinois Child Welfare Data Summit: 1st Annual Leadership Summit, Chicago, IL.
The report provides detailed case summaries on the 121 cases included in the "Multiple Move" study.
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.