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NCJ Number: 208505 Find in a Library
Title: Professionals' Decisionmaking About Out-of-Home Placements Following Instances of Child Abuse
Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect  Volume:26  Issue:4  Dated:April 2002  Pages:317-332
Author(s): Preston A. Britner; Daniel G. Mossler
Date Published: April 2002
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined how different groups of child welfare professionals prioritize and use information in making placement decisions in child abuse cases.
Abstract: The study selected five Virginia jurisdictions that represented rural, suburban, and urban settings. Questionnaires mailed to 150 professionals yielded 90 questionnaires completed and returned by 4 groups of placement decisionmakers: 6 juvenile judges, 8 guardians ad litem, 10 court-appointed special advocates (CASA), 43 social workers and child protective services personnel, and 23 mental health experts/consultants. The questionnaire described four case studies of child physical abuse in which a parent was the perpetrator, the child was either 2 years old or 6 years old, and the abuse was either the first time or chronic. Respondents rated the influence on their decisions of various pieces of information on the child, the family, and system-level characteristics. The findings show that the four professional groups gave differing priorities to various pieces of information when making decisions about foster-care placements for the abused children. Social workers and mental health providers relied on information about the severity and pattern of abuse as well as information about services provided in the past and parental responses to those services. Judges and guardians ad litem, on the other hand, relied more heavily on information about the likelihood of a reoccurrence of abuse and the child's ability to recount the abuse. CASA volunteers relied on information related to family stability. These results suggest that training for those involved in placement decisions should include a review of the research on factors that affect placement outcomes as well as the use of reliable and valid family assessments; it should also address the importance of understanding the orientations of the various professional disciplines involved in placement decisions. Greater collaboration and input across professional disciplines before making placement decisions are also indicated. 3 tables and 34 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Case management; Child abuse situation remedies; Child placement services; Decisionmaking; Staff development training; Virginia
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