The Revolving Door of Families in the Child Welfare System: Risk and Protective Factors Associated with Families Returning to the System
AdvisorBeck, Connie J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe number of families involved in the child welfare system (including child protective services, foster care, juvenile court) has steadily increased since 2011(Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, 2015). Based on recent evidence (Harris-McKoy, Meyer, McWey, & Henderson, 2014) and anecdotally, professionals involved in the child welfare system have discussed the increase in number of families who return to the child welfare system after an initial case. The aim of the current study is to identify risk and protective factors associated with families returning to the child welfare system within a social ecological framework. In addition to investigating families with a successful reunification, families with a successful reunification and then re-entry/reactivation into the system, we also included families with a previous termination of parental rights who returned with a new child. The current analyses indicate that individual level factors, such as child age and child sex were not associated with likelihood of returning to the system. Several microsystem (relationship) level factors were associated with likelihood of returning. Families with two or three children were at less risk of returning, while when children were removed for substance use related reasons, they were at increased risk of returning to the system. Ecosystem/community such as neighborhood unemployment rates were associated with increased likelihood of re-entering/reactivating into the system. In contrast to previous findings, increased neighborhood poverty rates and urbanization were associated with decreased likelihood of re-entering/reactivating into the system. Future research on the child welfare system should include an emphasis on interactions between social ecological levels and shift focus towards protective factors and investigating avenues in which to mitigate the impact of identified risk factors.
Degree ProgramGraduate College