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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: 10594
Date: 2019-03-04

Author:Dustin Steinacker DHS

Subject:Re: reason for placement

Joseph, To echo what Andrea is saying, in practice we find that most home-of-origin removals for foster care involve some sort of substance abuse. However, for the state of Utah, and I suspect for many other states, substance abuse is not in itself a primary reason for foster care. The actual primary reason must be some form of abuse, neglect, or dependency, which can and does often stem from drug abuse on the part of a caregiver. For example a child is exposed to drug paraphernalia, left unsupervised or physically abused, or exposed to an unsafe home environment or abusive figures (who then abuse) as a result of a caregiver's drug abuse. The actual allegation types could be just about anything. You'll see a lot of indirect language which references drug abuse in the context of foster care. We track characteristics for clients associated with individual cases, and for AFCARS in particular have a list of "removal conditions" which include child and caretaker alcohol abuse. I see these flagged in the system as being required for AFCARS but I don't recall whether the system requires caseworkers to verify that they've reviewed them all. I suspect that for many states the "reasons for placement" also involve ad hoc coding used mainly for AFCARS, or other "contributing factors" or "caregiver characteristic" coding which can be a little more indirect. I also wonder at the extent to which opioids are differentiated from other drugs which may be abused. We have work to do there. Hope this helps. This is an informal response from me and not an official statement from Utah's Division of Child and Family Services. On Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 8:18 AM Joseph Ryan > wrote: 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 -- Dustin Steinacker Senior Business Analyst, DCFS 801-538-4018 (office) 385-214-7059 (work cell)

Joseph, To echo what Andrea is saying, in practice we find that most home-of-origin removals for foster care involve some sort of substance abuse. However, for the state of Utah, and I suspect for many other states, substance abuse is not in itself a primary reason for foster care. The actual primary reason must be some form of abuse, neglect, or dependency, which can and does often stem from drug abuse on the part of a caregiver. For example a child is exposed to drug paraphernalia, left unsupervised or physically abused, or exposed to an unsafe home environment or abusive figures (who then abuse) as a result of a caregiver's drug abuse. The actual allegation types could be just about anything. You'll see a lot of indirect language which references drug abuse in the context of foster care. We track characteristics for clients associated with individual cases, and for AFCARS in particular have a list of "removal conditions" which include child and caretaker alcohol abuse. I see these flagged in the system as being required for AFCARS but I don't recall whether the system requires caseworkers to verify that they've reviewed them all. I suspect that for many states the "reasons for placement" also involve ad hoc coding used mainly for AFCARS, or other "contributing factors" or "caregiver characteristic" coding which can be a little more indirect. I also wonder at the extent to which opioids are differentiated from other drugs which may be abused. We have work to do there. Hope this helps. This is an informal response from me and not an official statement from Utah's Division of Child and Family Services. On Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 8:18 AM Joseph Ryan > wrote: 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 -- Dustin Steinacker Senior Business Analyst, DCFS 801-538-4018 (office) 385-214-7059 (work cell)