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Title: Child Welfare Research: How Adequate Are the Data?
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Waldfogel, Jane
Child Welfare Research: How Adequate Are the Data?
Children and Youth Services Review 22,9-10 (2000): 705-741.
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): Adoption; Children, Well-Being; Data Analysis; Data Quality/Consistency; Exits; Foster Care; Kinship; Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID); Welfare

This article discusses research on child welfare, focusing on efforts to improve data collection and outcome measurement for children at risk of abuse or neglect, placement in foster care or kinship care, or adoption. Three studies of outcomes of children in foster care illustrate trends in child welfare research: Maas and Engler's 1959 cross-sectional study, Fanshel and Shinn's 1978 longitudinal study, and the Wald, et al. 1988 study. Wald found that foster children may not be as disadvantaged as the two previous studies found, illustrating that more advanced study designs produced different results. Cross sectional datasets, however, have become more formalized through the development of the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), which coordinates data collected from state level agencies. To formalize data collection on foster care, the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) required states to submit data. This sharply increased the amount of data available. More data is needed for researchers to be able to compare child welfare systems across states and over time, as well as to analyze factors associated with entry and re-entry into care, exits from care, and other variables. Kinship care and adoption are other areas that can benefit from enhanced databases. Child welfare researchers must have access to longitudinal data. One development is the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW), which provides descriptive data on children and families involved with the child welfare system, their experiences with the system, and their long- and short-term outcomes. The NSCAW follows children and their families for three years, collecting data from parents, children, caseworkers, caregivers, and teachers. NSCAW also collects data on foster care, kinship care, and adoption. AFCARS also has the potential for collecting longitudinal data; other surveys include the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics (PSID) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). Outcome assessment can be summarized in three categories: safety, permanency, and well being. Of the three, permanency is the category for which the most data exists. Child and family well being is the category in the most need of a formalized system of identifying and tracking. The most pressing need in child welfare research is for a population-based sample of children at risk for abuse and neglect.
Bibliography Citation
Waldfogel, Jane. "Child Welfare Research: How Adequate Are the Data?" Children and Youth Services Review 22,9-10 (2000): 705-741.