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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

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Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages (10,000+). The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - June 11, 2019 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 10592
Date: 2019-03-04

Author:Stoltzfus, Emilie

Subject:RE: reason for placement

Joe, I don’t have a good empirical way to test validity of these administrative data. However, I think some earlier responses suggesting some limits to data/how the data are reported make sense. The guidance accompanying AFCARS Assessments instructs that each of the listed actions or conditions associated with a child’s removal should be marked as either applies or doesn’t apply. (See https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcars_assessment_review_guide.pdf#page=71 .) At the same time, the data suggest this doesn’t necessarily happen. When I looked at these AFCARS data a few years back (FY2014): Among entering children who had at least one circumstance of removal given, the average number of applicable conditions nationally was 1.69, with the average number (in each of the 50 states) ranging from a low of 1.00 to 2.93 circumstances or removal. A first glance at the comparable data for FY2017 shows a national average of 1.73 and a range across the 50 states of from 1.08 to 3.03 Because the complexity of circumstance surrounding children’s entry to foster care seems unlikely to vary this much by state boundaries, I assume the difference reflects state reporting instructions or reporting practices (i.e., how data are extracted to be sent to HHS) more than differences in children’s experiences. That said I don’t see the data as completely without merit. At the least I’d argue they provide a conservative national estimate of circumstances at children’s removal. Comparing data across states are hanging a lot on “trends” might not make sense. Emilie Emilie Stoltzfus Specialist in Social Policy Domestic Social Policy Division Congressional Research Service Library of Congress 101 Independence Ave. S.E. Washington, DC 20540-7440 202-707-2324 estoltzfus @crs.loc.gov This information is intended only for the congressional addressee or other individual to whom it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of this information is only at the discretion of the intended recipient. If you received this in error, please contact the sender and delete the material from any computer. The foregoing has not been cleared by CRS review and is not for attribution. This response is provided to help in time limited situations. From: bounce-123383134-64972558@list.cornell.edu On Behalf Of Joseph Ryan Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2019 11:17 AM To: Child Maltreatment Researcher List (CMRL) Subject: reason for placement Hello list members. I am wondering about the accuracy of the "reasons for placement" category reported in AFCARS. Are States confident about how these data are collected and reported? I am particularly interested in the substance abuse indicator. There seems to be consistent stories about the opioid crisis and large increases in the foster care populations around the country. The AFCARS estimates indicate small increases in substance abuse as a reason for placement. I am just curious as to whether there are any studies on how accurate this item is captured. I know several States that suggest this measure is not to be trusted. Just looking for something a bit more empirical. Any leads would be appreciated. Joe -- Joseph P. Ryan, Ph.D. University of Michigan Child and Adolescent Data Lab ssw-datalab.org

Joe, I don’t have a good empirical way to test validity of these administrative data. However, I think some earlier responses suggesting some limits to data/how the data are reported make sense. The guidance accompanying AFCARS Assessments instructs that each of the listed actions or conditions associated with a child’s removal should be marked as either applies or doesn’t apply. (See https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcars_assessment_review_guide.pdf#page=71 .) At the same time, the data suggest this doesn’t necessarily happen. When I looked at these AFCARS data a few years back (FY2014): Among entering children who had at least one circumstance of removal given, the average number of applicable conditions nationally was 1.69, with the average number (in each of the 50 states) ranging from a low of 1.00 to 2.93 circumstances or removal. A first glance at the comparable data for FY2017 shows a national average of 1.73 and a range across the 50 states of from 1.08 to 3.03 Because the complexity of circumstance surrounding children’s entry to foster care seems unlikely to vary this much by state boundaries, I assume the difference reflects state reporting instructions or reporting practices (i.e., how data are extracted to be sent to HHS) more than differences in children’s experiences. That said I don’t see the data as completely without merit. At the least I’d argue they provide a conservative national estimate of circumstances at children’s removal. Comparing data across states are hanging a lot on “trends” might not make sense. Emilie Emilie Stoltzfus Specialist in Social Policy Domestic Social Policy Division Congressional Research Service Library of Congress 101 Independence Ave. S.E. Washington, DC 20540-7440 202-707-2324 estoltzfus crs.loc.gov This information is intended only for the congressional addressee or other individual to whom it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of this information is only at the discretion of the intended recipient. If you received this in error, please contact the sender and delete the material from any computer. The foregoing has not been cleared by CRS review and is not for attribution. This response is provided to help in time limited situations. From: bounce-123383134-64972558list.cornell.edu On Behalf Of Joseph Ryan Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2019 11:17 AM To: Child Maltreatment Researcher List (CMRL) Subject: reason for placement Hello list members. I am wondering about the accuracy of the "reasons for placement" category reported in AFCARS. Are States confident about how these data are collected and reported? I am particularly interested in the substance abuse indicator. There seems to be consistent stories about the opioid crisis and large increases in the foster care populations around the country. The AFCARS estimates indicate small increases in substance abuse as a reason for placement. I am just curious as to whether there are any studies on how accurate this item is captured. I know several States that suggest this measure is not to be trusted. Just looking for something a bit more empirical. Any leads would be appreciated. Joe -- Joseph P. Ryan, Ph.D. University of Michigan Child and Adolescent Data Lab ssw-datalab.org