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Factors precipitating agency care of children Dodd, Paul W. 1967

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FACTORS PRECIPITATING AGENCY CARE OF CHILDREN by PAUL D0DD 3 JOAN KONON, SHIRLEY LANG STAFF, PAH MANSON, DONNA MOROZ, MIRIAM SCHACHNER, THOMAS WILLIAMS A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK in the Department of SOCIAL WORK We accept this thesis as conforming to the required^atandard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December, 1967, In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and Study. I f u r t h e r agree that p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h.i.is r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s understood t h a t copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date -yfl In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that th,.-: L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r re f e r e n c e and study i f u r t h e r agree that p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be all o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n Depa rtment The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada D a t e Mcxsj q. (c-wg-In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and Study. I f u r t h e r agree that p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h.ils r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s understood t h a t copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and Study. I f u r t h e r agree that p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by nils r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department of The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and Study. I f u r t h e r agree that p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h.i.'S r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department of The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and Study. I f u r t h e r agree that p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h.iis r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s understood t h a t copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department of <— The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and Study. I f u r t h e r agree that p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h.iis r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s understood t h a t copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Table of Contents I Acknowledgements II Abstract i III Introduction 1 IV Assumptions 4 V Hypothesis 5 VI Variables 6 VII Recommendations 18 VIII Appendix 1 - Schedule 22 IX Tables - i Breakdown of Variables 13 i i Coping Questions 16 i i i Graph 14 X Bibliography 30 i II Abstract This study, undertaken at the Children's Aid Society of Vancouver, B. C., was an attempt to isolate and identify certain social and environmental factors which precipitate agency care of children. Such a study should be of value to any Child Welfare Agency concerned with strengthening the family and maintaining the child, whenever possible, in his own home. The rationale for the study was based on three major assumptions: 1. that service to families and children in need of pro-tection has been hampered by lack of foster home resources. 2. That in providing substitute care for children Child Welfare agencies have emphasized the psychological dynamics of the family situation, attributing the need for agency care to the personal pathology of one or more members, and have paid insufficient attention to the possibility that social and en-vironmental conditions may have contributed to the need for foster home placement. 3. That whenever feasible the child should remain in his own home. In fomaulating these assumptions we were influenced by the findings of other researchers. Alfred Kadushin in his article "Intro-duction of New Orientations in Child Welfare Research" (The Known and Unknown in Child Welfare Research, Miriam Morris & Barbara Walters eds., Child Welfare League of America, N. Y., 1965) pleads for greater understanding of the social situation of families, since i t is his opinion that adverse environmental conditions play a significant role in the placement of children. Similarly Jenkins and Sauber (Paths to Child Placement, Community Council of Greater New York, N. Y. City Department i i of Welfare, 1966) emphasize the importance of social conditions, particu-l a r l y income, housing and health on a family's a b i l i t y to remain together and function effectively. From both these research findings i t was apparent that the provision of community resources such as homemaker service and day care centres could reduce the number of children requiring placement away from their own home by supporting and supplementing the family during periods of situational stress. With this i n mind our study was to be concerned with identifying the social and environmental factors which played a role i n developing conditions requiring agency care of children. In addition we were also concerned with the process that went on prior to agency contact, spec-i f i c a l l y how families coped with their adverse situations before accepting or requesting agency intervention. Such information would serve as a basis for developing community resources to increase the family's a b i l i t y to withstand pressure and stress. We hypothesized that the findings of other researchers as mentioned above were as va l i d i n Vancouver as elsewhere and should there-fore be of equal concern to Child Welfare Agencies here. Our original design was to develop a schedule to provide data for testing the significance of certain social and environmental factors that we had identified by consulting the literature and agency personnel. The variables to be tested were: 1. Household composition 2. Housing 3. Neighbourhood i i i 4. Health 5. Income 6. Employment 7. Education In order to discover the problem solving a c t i v i t i e s of the families i n relation to these variables, coping questions were inserted into the schedule. These questions were designed to e l i c i t information about the client's perception of the problem, his i n i t i a l response and i t s effect, and the people and/or organizations he involved i n his coping attempts. A draft schedule was devised to be administered over a one month period during the intake process to a l l persons requesting or referred for service with the exception of transients. The schedule was to be. readministered six months later and a comparison made to determine the differences, i f any, between the social and environmental situations of those families whose children were placed and those families who remained together. Unfortunately at this time the agency was unable to participate in such a project and the administration of the schedule was abandoned. We were not free to take on this task ourselves and i t had been our intention from the beginning to introduce a research element into the agency as part of professional practice by the involvement of personnel in this effort. We s t i l l believe that the agency would find the schedule useful and have included i t i n Appendix I with the recommendation that i t be considered for inclusion i n any future project in this area. As an alternative, agency personnel suggested that we examine existing Intake data to see i f the information we sought might not be already a v a i l a b l e i n the f i l e s . T h i r t y - s i x f i l e s were examined and t h i r t e e n workers consul ted. We found that informat ion regarding the v a r i a b l e s was e i t h e r i n c o n s i s t e n t l y recorded or absent e n t i r e l y . Where in format ion regarding the coping patterns of these f a m i l i e s was recorded i t tended to be l i m i t e d to the source of r e f e r r a l without any f u r t h e r e l a b o r a t i o n . Our f i n d i n g s i n d i c a t e d that a review of agency records was not adequate f o r research purposes s ince the v a r i a b l e s sought were not s y s t e m a t i c a l l y recorded during the in take process. Time ran out on us f o l l o w i n g an examination of the f i l e s and we were unable to consul t again w i t h s t a f f or to discuss a l t e r n a t i v e ways of obta in ing the in format ion . We d i d , however, make a number of recommendations based on our experience which may serve as a guide f o r cont inuing research i n t h i s a r e a : 1 . that an exploratory study be conducted using an i n t e r -view schedule which inc ludes the v a r i a b l e s suggested above. Our d r a f t schedule i s a v a i l a b l e i n the body of t h i s repor t . 2. That the schedule be administered through the Intake Department w i t h a fo l low-up study several months l a t e r . The use of an independent researcher seems to be warranted since agency personnel are not a v a i l a b l e to take on t h i s added task due to time pressures of t h e i r own. 3. That the intake face sheet be rev ised to inc lude i n -formation per ta in ing to the s o c i a l and environmental s i t u a t i o n s of c l i e n t s as an a i d i n i d e n t i f y i n g r e c u r r i n g patterns of s t ress that may necess i ta te s u b s t i t u t e care of c h i l d r e n . I Ackaowl ed,; em en t s The research group wishes to express i t s sincere thanks to Mr, R. C, McClelland, Field Supervisor from University of B r i t i s h Columbia, for his guidance and support in helping us to carry out this project. We also extend our appreciation to Mrs, M. Murdoch, Director of the Children's Aid Society, King sway Branch, and to Miss Joan Kolson, Supervisor of Intake, Children's Aid Society, Kingsway Branch, for their time and patience i n considering the theoretical and practical problems with us, We also wish to acknowledge Miss P. Hicks and Miss E. Kinaird, both Supervisors of Protection, Children's Aid Society, Kingsway Branch, for the helpful information they provided. To Mr, Louis Reimer, Research Director of Children's Aid Society for Greater Vancouver , our appreciation for helpful direction. 1 I I I Introduction The number of children brought into "care" has increased i n the last decade. If the number of children admitted to "care" annually con-tinues to increase, Child Welfare Agencies such as The Children's Aid Society of Vancouver w i l l be faced with serious d i f f i c u l t i e s i n coping with the situation. Foster homes, adoption homes and supporting services are i n short supply and these are becoming increasingly expensive to establish and service. Large caseloads and high staff turnover i n agencies are placing severe limitations on the quality and quantity of service available. F a c i l i t i e s are not available to adequately cope with the number of children requiring substitute parenting, children are not receiving the type of care that j u s t i f i e s their removal or separation from their parents. The problem i s that reliable, valid and empirically tested knowledge i s not available as to why children are coming into "care" i n the Province of Br i t i s h Columbia. As Kadushin has stated, "Child Welfare lacks the es-sential basic s t a t i s t i c a l data about phenomena which are i t s prime concerns." There i s an obvious dearth of information on, "... the kinds of children i n foster care, the reasons for how they came into such care, and for how long, the likelihood of their being returned home, how many children re-quire placement, for what reasons, and the social characteristics of the homes from which they come." (5. p. 38). It i s this last area, regarding the social characteristics of the homes, with which the present authors concerned themselves. If the contributing factors to child placement can be established, particularly i n the realm of environmental factors, some other means of treating the situation might be more efficient than removal of the children. 2 If certain unique clusters of social and environmental features within families who have children i n "care" can be distinguished, agencies and social workers w i l l be enabled to: (a) recognize these potential break-down families before an irrepairable transaction leads to a c r i s i s situation; (b) work more effectively with the families, and (c) pressure for the creation of necessary services and resources that w i l l minimize the stressors of a social and environmental nature. The result of recog-nizing the precipitating factors and of making the necessary changes, i n the light of this knowledge, would be: (a) a decrease i n the need for emergency action i n bringing children into "care"; (b) a decrease i n the need for the provision of substitute parents, and (c) an increase In the effort s toward preventive, i n s t i t u t i o n a l service rather than residual, emergency service, and, directly related to this would be an increased emphasis on the research and community organization aspects of social work i n Child Welfare agencies, so that the purposive element of social work i s always existent. Results of a recent study suggest that less than a desirable amount of exploration and work i s being done prior to the admission of children to "care". Alfred Kadushin has pointed out the trend toward new orientations i n Child Welfare Research. (5 . p. 29). He explained that the new "research orientation" i s more highly differentiated than the "practice orientation" which was so prevalent i n the past. The research orientation suggests that "... the family and the social milieu as an open system i n interaction, and the placement decision as the result of a variety of vectors ..." (5. p. 29) some of which are rarely included i n the psychotherapeutic interaction of the latter. It i s this research orientation which has colored the frame of reference underlying the study 3 conceived by the present authors. The emphasis on the " . . . impact of environmental s t ress f a c t o r s on the f a m i l y w i t h the current l i f e s i t u -a t i o n <,.,", i s c i t e d as, " . . . p r e c i p i t a t i n g the d i f f i c u l t i e s r e s u l t i n g i n separat ion f a c t o r s such as l i m i t e d income, d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , poor housing, poor h e a l t h , chronic f a t i g u e , mental d e f i c i e n c y , unremit t ing c h i l d care , the presence of unwanted pregnancies , " (5, p. 29) Another study conducted i n New York ( 4 ) lends support to t h i s view by po in t ing out that a prime f a c t o r p r e c i p i t a t i n g placement of c h i l d r e n was the absence of other preventive resources i n the community w i t h which the f a m i l y was i n t e r a c t i n g and i n v o l v e d . Often, foe a v a i l a b i l i t y of a Homemaker or Day Care Service would have been s u f f i c i e n t to curb i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n of a lready e x i s t i n g s t ress a r i s i n g out of psycholog ica l and s o c i a l f a c t o r s , A study by Reimer et a l , (2) has i n d i c a t e d that s o c i a l workers ' o r i e n t a t i o n s t o , and perceptions o f , the s e v e r i t y and nature of events was r e l a t e d to f a c t o r s such as : sex of the worker, work d i s t r i c t , and s i z e of the coramunity i n which the s o c i a l worker was r a i s e d . The i m p l i -c a t i o n i s that placement dec i s ions across a province f o r ins tance , are made w i t h l e s s than a h igh degree of consis tency. This study attempts to i d e n t i f y a number of c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s prevalent i n f a m i l i e s whose c h i l d r e n come i n t o care. A t the request of The C h i l d r e n ' s A i d Society we are a lso examining the coping patterns of these f a m i l i e s p r i o r to t h e i r current contact w i t h the agency. IV Assumptions Two assumptions which were bas ic to formulat ing an instrument f o r determining f a c t o r s p r e c i p i t a t i n g the admission of c h i l d r e n to "care" were e s t a b l i s h e d . These were: (1) s o c i a l and environmental f a c t o r s play a r o l e i n p r e c i p i t a t i n g the need f o r " c a r e " , that i s , at l e a s t , as important as the r o l e played by the f a c t o r of the p s y c h o l o g i c a l state of the parents or guardians of the c h i l d r e n , and (2) c l u s t e r s of unique and d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l and environmental f a c t o r s are present as s t ressors i n those f a m i l i e s whose c h i l d r e n eventual ly come i n t o "care" that are not present as forces i n those f a m i l i e s whose c h i l d r e n do not come i n t o " c a r e " . 5 V Hypothesis The hypothesis which guided the present authors in the attempt to create an instrument of measurement, for the purpose of this type of research, was as follows: Social and environmental factors have a prominent role as factors contributing to family breakdown and the need for the service of Child Welfare "care". The greater the stress exerted by these clusters of factors, the greater the probability that the family will break down and one or more of the children w i l l be brought into "care". Therefore, i t is hypothesized that a positive correlation exists between the degree of stress exerted by a particular cluster of social and environmental factors and the probability of admission of the children into "care". The level of the research design which was seen to be required, in the light of current knowledge about factors precipitating the agency "care" of children, was "exploratory". VI V a r i a b l e s In order to determine those v a r i a b l e s which might be r e l a t e d to those children coming i n t o "care", a survey of literature and recent studies was undertaken that provided a bas i s from which pertinent v a r i a b l e s could be selected. As a result of t h i s , a number of factors were postulated as social and environmental variables, p o s s i b l y precipitating agency "care" of children, and, these were incorporated into a rough draft schedule which i s the type of research design o r i g i n a l l y se lected f o r t h i s study. With a view to e x p l o r i n g the factors which precipitate agency "care" of children, the authors proceeded according to the following pattern of action, The specific goals, which were i n i t i a l l y established, involved: the specification of assumptions underlying the study; the exploration of concepts, utilized; the development of a hypothesis; the elaboration of variables to be tested, and the creation of an instrument of measurement with which to observe the relevant factors. Following this, another aspect of the original goal was to pretest the instrument and to revise i t where necessary, and, to report upon the activity in order to facilitate the implementation of the measurement instrument, in a formal study to be conducted by subsequent research groups. When the rough draft of the designed measurement instrument was presented to the agency, i t was considered necessary to validate the choice of variables and the type of research design which was selected. The original goals, with regard to finalizing the research measurement instrument, were altered in order to validate the need for the instrument. Because the proposed schedule was deemed, by the agency, to be too extensive for the staff to administer, a t the present time, the following 7 reformulated, specific objectives were undertaken in order to re-examine the method required for studying the area of difficulty. The reformu-lated objectives therefore, required the authors to undertake, with the agency personnel; a re-evaluation of the variables to be researched; the establishment of what information is already available in the agency, and the presentation of recommendations with regard to methods for obtaining the data which is not available for research purposes. As mentioned, the conceived research was not carried out, as planned. Research of this nature required clo se co-operation and relationship between the researchers and the agency personnel, however, the particular agency, in which the research was to be administered, was undergoing a major reorganization and restructuring of the roles of each of i t s departments, consequently, Intake procedures were s t i l l in the process of becoming established. Time was not available for collabor-ation with researchers, or for the introduction and administration of such a comprehensive schedule, and, i t was not deemed feasible to conduct this kind of research in this agency at this particular time. In response to this situation, the plan of action which was originally conceived, had to be altered. To promote implementation of any research endeavour, i t was felt that the immediate needs and concerns of the particular agency involved in the administration of the research instrument, must be given precedence above any general research ideals. The aim of the present authors, therefore, became that of focussing on the six following tasks: 1 establish with the agency personnel a close involvement in the research process. 8 2 D e t e r m i n i n g , c l e a r l y , what t h e e x p e r i e n c e d a g e n c y p e r s o n n e l c o n s i d e r t o be a r e a s o f t h e i r i m m e d i a t e c o n c e r n w i t h r e g a r d t o r e c u r r e n t f a c t o r s l e a d i n g t o " s e p a r a t i o n " , a n d , c o l l a b o r a t i n g t h e i r c o n c e r n s w i t h t h e r e s e a r c h e r s ' c o n c e r n s f o r r e l i a b l e a nd v a l i d r e s e a r c h . 3 E x p l o r i n g t h e o p i n i o n s o f t h e a g e n c y p e r s o n n e l w i t h r e g a r d t o t h e t y p e o f r e s e a r c h d e s i g n w h i c h t h e y c o n s i d e r w o u l d y i e l d p r a c t i c a l l y a p p l i c a b l e f i n d i n g s by t h e m ost e c o n o m i c a l means —> i n t e r m s o f t i m e a n d f i n a n c e . 4 D e t e r m i n i n g what r e s o u r c e s a r e r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e , w i t h i n t h e a g e n c y , f o r u t i l i z a t i o n f o r t h e p u r p o s e o f y i e l d i n g t h e i n f o r m a t i o n r e q u i r e d a b o u t t h e f a c t o r s c o n c e r n i n g t h e a g e n c y p e r s o n n e l . 5 D e t e r m i n i n g where t h e g a p s e x i s t between, t h e i n f o r m a t i o n r e q u i r e d and t h a t w h i c h i s , a l r e a d y , r e a d i l y a v a i l a b l e , 6 P r e s e n t i n g r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s r e g a r d i n g m e t h o d s o f o b t a i n i n g t h e n e c e s s a r y b u t u n a v a i l a b l e i n f o r m a t i o n . A r e - e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e v a r i a b l e s t o be r e s e a r c h e d , i n c o l l a b o r a t i o n w i t h t h e e x p e r i e n c e d a g e n c y p e r s o n n e l , r e s u l t e d i n a d e l i n e a t i o n o f s p e c i f i c p r e c i p i t a t i n g f a c t o r s w h i c h w e r e t h o u g h t t o be r e l e v a n t v a r i a b l e s t o be m e a s u r e d . C o n s u l t a t i o n w i t h t h e p e r s o n n e l a l s o l e d t h e p r e s e n t a u t h o r s t o v i e w t h e c o p i n g component a s a n i n t e g r a l p a r t o f t h e i r c o n s i d e r a t i o n , E s s e n t i a l l y , t h i s i n c o r p o r a t i o n i n v o l v e d t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f a more b a l a n c e d o r i e n t a t i o n r e g a r d i n g e n v i r o n m e n t a l and p s y c h o d y n a m i e f a c t o r s i n r e l a t i o n t o t h e phenomenon o f s e p a r a t i o n . S e ven m a j o r v a r i a b l e s were d e l i n e a t e d w h i c h , i n i s o l a t i o n o r i n combination, might be p r e c i p i t a t i n g f a c t o r s of separat ion. W i t h i n each, d e s c r i p t i v e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s were inc luded as o p e r a t i o n a l d e f i n i t i o n s i n order to a i d the researchers to i d e n t i f y the v a r i a b l e s as they appear i n agency f i l e s or i n the d iscuss ions w i t h the agency personnel. For the purpose of the researchers , the in format ion regarding these v a r i a b l e s was a v a i l a b l e i f i t could be defined as being found i n the recording i n the f 3~ 1 €i 8 The o u t l i n e of the v a r i a b l e s i s i n c l u d e d , below, however i t should be noted that the v a r i a b l e s about which the agency f e l t the greatest concern, were the three major areas of housing, income and h e a l t h . These, however, could not be deal t w i t h i n i s o l a t i o n because they tended to appear i n combination wi th one or more of the other v a r i a b l e s they r e l a t e d . VARIABLES ( 1 ) Household Composition (2) Housing (3) Neighbourhood ( 4 ) Health (5) Income (6) Employment i , e . presence of both parents absence of bread-winner presence of step-parent(s) or s t e p - c h i l d r e n presence of non-family member i . e . s t r u c t u r a l defects overcrowding inadequate i n t e r i o r f a c i l i t i e s (plumbing, heating) number of bedrooms i . e . a v a i l a b i l i t y of f a c i l i t i e s i n the neighbourhood f o r school , r e c r e a t i o n a l a c t i v i t i e s , church, shopping, e tc . i . e . mental or p h y s i c a l i l l n e s s of parent, c h i l d or breadwinner nature and onset of i l l n e s s i . e . l e v e l of income source one or both parents working i . e . nature ( u n s k i l l e d , s k i l l e d , 1 0 white-collar, etc.) stability and frequency shift work (7) Education i . e . l e v e l of parents child ' s performance i n relation to age presence or absence of learning or discipline problem Because of the focus on, not only those variables that present problems for the client, but also, on the c l i e n t ' s means of coping wi th the problems, the following questions were formulated to guide the re-searchers i n exploring: the effectiveness of coping, the lack or availability of resources, and the client's knowledge and perception of these. The questions were posed to the regular workers of the sample clients in order to determine what information about precipitating factors they had retained for their own knowledge but had not recorded on the f i l e . I t should be noted that the coping questions were in relation to whichever of the major variables was seen to be a contributing or pre-cipitating factor in that particular case. The questions were: COPING QUESTIONS (1) What is the client's perception of the problem, i f any? (2) What was the client's i n i t i a l response to the problem? (3) Did he try to solve the problem? (4) To whom did he turn for help ( i . e . family, friends, community resources)? (5) Why did he try to solve the problem in this way? i.e. Did he not know of available resources, or the source had been helpful in the past, ( 6 ) What happened when he sought help? i.e. He was turned down, given the run-a round, or was helped. 11 (7) Did he seek help from the C h i l d r e n ' s Aid Society? I f not, why not? (8) What does he think of the C h i l d r e n ' s A i d Society? (9) What is the worker 's percept ion of the problem? (10) What i s the worker 's rating of the objectivity and validity of c l i e n t ' s perception? An exploration of the sources of data, which are available in the agency, therefore was undertaken. A sample of thirty-six f i l e s was u t i l i z e d for the purpose of e x p l o r i n g whether they contained information regarding the se lected v a r i a b l e s to be s tudied. The sample consisted of only those fi l e s which were opened or re-opened in the month of October, 1967. The category of Unmarried Parents ' f i l e s was inc luded i n the sample because the agency personnel felt that the children involved tended to, eventually, be taken into "care"„ A problem which had not been a n t i c i p a t e d when Intake was deemed to be the most feasible department in which to administer the study, was that their summary recording in the re-opened f i l e s was usually very brief and did not contain much of the information that i s required for the study. It is logical to assume that some of the essential information was contained i n previous recordings , however, the sample f o r the purpose of t h i s study was l i m i t e d to the informat ion contained i n recording that was done subsequent to the most recent Intake contact. Of the thirty-six f i l e s which comprised the sample, twenty-three were categorized as Protection Cases while thirteen were the f i l e s of Unmarried Parents. Following, i s Chart I which i l l u s t r a t e s the availability of information according to the selected variables and their descriptive characteristies. Information on the variable of "household composition" was found to be such that the recording listed the names of the family members, however, i t was difficult to ascertain whether or not they were a l l actually living in the same home. with regard to "housing", minimal d e s c r i p t i v e material was available in the f i l e , although, in our discussion with agency personnel, this variable had been heavily weighted as an area of concern. Recording about the client's "neighbourhood", was practically non-existent in any of the sample fi l e s . This was probably due to the urban nature of the geographic area , therefore, there i s no information available about the client's relationship with the community and i t s services. "Health", as a variable, appears to be a frequently mentioned area, however, precipitating health factors, as related i n their effect upon family members and work relationships, are not consistently recorded. The actual income level is not usually stated, explicitly in the fi l e s , although occupational descriptions frequently appear. The source of the income is frequently mentioned, however, i t i s , sometimes difficult to ascertain who the breadwinner is , or, the stability or duration of his employment, i f any. Income is not correlated with the other relevant variables such as health and housing or other living expenses. The problem of availability of information was largely due to the lack of consistency in the various workers' style and recording. ON LO to QN Informat-i on not available per case Information available per case K> Household composition NJ to Housing U> ON O Neighbourhood -P- Physical NO Mental 00 CO Pregnancy ~J No i l l n e s s Employed M Unemployed ON S. A. o Ln I—• U> S k i l l e d Unskilled 00 White c o l l a r i — 1 o h-' Regular Ir r e g u l a r t-> t o Education a o a H (0 8) a. o o l-h < SB i-l H -SO cr GT Graph I i o i Percent of Information 80 a v a i l a b l e 60 40 58,4 61.2 72,3 77, 8 88.9 88.9 20 Neighbourhood Education Housing Employment Health Income Household composition Information with regard to "education" offers nothing about the parental educational background, and, also relatively l i t t l e about the child's school adjustment. Chart II, which follows, illustrates the availability and un-availability of information regarding questions dealing with the effectivene of the client 1 s "coping behavior". Generally speaking, the kind of information that is useful for research purpose i s not explicitly available. For example, information on the question numbered " 2 " , which most nearly gives an indication of the client's coping ability, was, for the most part, not available. Another example, following in this same vein, was the indication that the majority of clients, seeking help from the Children 1s Aid Society, were referred to the agency from other sources, however, there was no inform-ation as to the nature and amount of help which was forthcoming from these other resources. It was apparent that the information which was available in the fi l e s contained some descriptive aspects of coping behavior, but, this gave no indication of the evaluative aspects of this behavior. Chart I I Coping Questions Coping Questions 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10* Information available per case 32 15 yes no 31 15 24 33 26 0 22 10 Information not ava i l a b l e per case 4 21 4 5 21 12 3 14 10 36 Total 36 36 36 36 36 36 36 36 36 36 * Information was not a v a i l a b l e on the f i l e s with regard to t h i s question, A sample of 13 workers was approached with t h i s question. In general workers were not able to contribute any a d d i t i o n a l information, as most of them had not as yet v i s i t e d the c l i e n t . Refer to Coping Q u e s t i o n s on Pages 10 and 11 Interviews and consul ta t ions w i t h the workers of the c l i e n t s whose f i l e s were used i n t h i s study, i n d i c a t e that workers tend to record most of the in format ion about s o c i a l and environmental f a c t o r s that they are aware of . For the purpose of obta in ing the k i n d of in format ion that i s r e q u i r e d , w i t h regard to the s p e c i f i e d v a r i a b l e s f o r t h i s study, consul ta t ions w i t h the workers tend not to add supplementary in format ion . They were unable, g e n e r a l l y , to add supp 1 ernentc.ry in format ion about s o c i a l and environmental f a c t o r s , a l though, they were able to do so w i t h regard to p s y c h o l o g i c a l aspects . V I I Recommendations Since the fi l e s did not provide adequate information regarding the selected variables, i t is suggested, at this time, that the resources within the agency should, most profitably, be used only as a supplement to information which is obtained by some other instrument of measurement, which would be more capable of yielding objective, systematic and comprehensive data. The rationale underlying this suggestion lies in the structure of communication within the agency itself, more specifically, the recording itself. The quality and quantity of recording available in the f i l e s does not lend itself, particularly well, to the needs of research. Understandably, the worker must individualize their recording for the particular client whom they are describing, but this process, together with the variations in workers' styles of writing, renders i t dif f i c u l t to establish the operational definitions of the variables, that could be applied to a l l of the files, Further, the research group felt that the tremendous amount of work required of the Intake staff at this particular phase of agency reorganization, did not afford them the time required to conduct the study. Our specific recommendations are as follows: 1 Administration of the measurement instrument in the Intake Department, Although the issues of time and manpower should be considered, the possibility of using an independent interviewer for administering this could prove to be economical and practical in relation to the quality of information which could be attained, and, in relation to the long-run benefits. This department is recommended because i t is here that the s o c i a l and e n v i r o n m e n t a l f a c t o r s i n t h e c l i e n t ' s s i t u a t i o n a r e e v a l u a t e d i n t e r m s o f n e e d f o r s e p a r a t i o n or i n t e n s i v e p r e v e n t a t i v e work. The u s e of a schedule,, w h i c h i n c o r p o r a t e s t h e v a r i a b l e s , s p e c i f i e d a b o v e , and t a k e s t h e form o f a n e x p l o r a t o r y l e v e l o f r e s e a r c h . See A p p e n d i x I. The s a m p l e p o p u l a t i o n o f t h e p r o p o s e d s t u d y s h o u l d be a l l c h i l d r e n ( a n d t h e i r f a m i l i e s ) c o m i n g i n t o c o n t a c t w i t h t h e I n t a k e D e p a r t m e n t o f t h e C h i l d r e n ' s A i d S o c i e t y o f V a n c o u v e r , d u r i n g a p a r t i c u l a r p e r i o d o f t i m e w h i c h w o u l d be s p e c i f i e d b y t h e p e r s o n s a d m i n i s t e r i n g t h e s c h e d u l e . O n l y t h e c o n t a c t s by p e r s o n s who a r e c l a s s i f i e d a s " T r a n s i e n t s " s h o u l d be e x c l u d e d f r o m t h e s a m p l e p o p u l a t i o n , b e c a u s e of t h e s p e c i a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s o f t h e i r s i t u a t i o n . S i n c e i t i s recommended t h a t t h e I n -t a k e D e p a r t m e n t be u s e d , i t w i l l n o t be p o s s i b l e t o d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r t h e c o n t a c t s r e s u l t i n " s e p a r a t i o n " of t h e c o n t a c t i n g f a m i l i e s . A f o l l o w - u p o n t h e s a m p l e p o p u l a t i o n , t h e r e f o r e , w i l l be r e q u i r e d i n o r d e r t o d e t e r m i n e i n a s p e c i f i e d t i m e s u b s e q u e n t t o t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f t h e s c h e d u l e , w h e t h e r t h e c o n t a c t s r e s u l t i n t h e a d m i s s i o n o f t h e c h i l d r e n t o "ward c a r e " , "non-ward c a r e " , o r i n r e f e r r a l t o a v a i l a b l e r e s o u r c e s w i t h no s u b s e q u e n t a d m i s s i o n of t h e c h i l d r e n i n -v o l v e d , t o " c a r e " . F o r t h e p u r p o s e o f t h e s t u d y c o n c e i v e d , t h e s t u d y g r o u p w o u l d b e , t h o s e f a m i l i e s whose c h i l d r e n came i n t o " w a r d c a r e " ; t h e c o n t r o l g r o u p w o u l d be t h o s e f a m i l i e s whose c h i l d r e n came i n t o t e m p o r a r y "non-ward" c a r e , o r do n o t come i n t o "care" at a l l , and, the total population, as represented by the information of the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, would also form a c o n t r o l group, for the purpose of the study. The rationale f o r choosing t h i s plan f o r carrying out the research, and for choosing t h i s sample, is that this approach is the one which would i n v o l v e the least b i a s ; the b ias of the workers' var ious s t y l e s of recording, and of the researchers' interpretation of the recording, are felt to be sources of research error which negate the value of a study i n retrospect by utilizing the m a t e r i a l in f i l e s . This type of research instrument i s suggested i n preferance to a questionnaire despite the fact that a questionnaire would be less expensive, in terms of time and manpower, because there would be inconsistency in the way the questions i n a questionnaire would be answered, and also, there would be a problem of dealing with the falsification of facts, and, perhaps failure to return the completed questionnaire. A revision of the Intake face sheet so as to include some statistical data regarding household composition, client's perception of the problem and the reasons underlying i t , the kinds of responses to the problem, and the contacts w i t h other agencies about the problem. These factors are suggested to be included, in addition to, those that are already there. This would provide necessary information without necessitating r e f e r r a l to the content of the f i l e 2 1 and i t might enable future studies to obta in informat ion at l e s s e r cost . V I I I Appendix I Schedule 1, In your o p i n i o n what was the main reason for your contact wi th t h i s agency? f i n a n c i a l 1 m a r i t a l 2 h e a l t h 3 behaviour problems of c h i l d r e n 4 i n t e r f e r e n c e from outside agency 5 2. How many times have you moved i n the past year? 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 or more 4 3. How would you describe your present housing accommodation? very s a t i s f a c t o r y 1 s a t i s f a c t o r y 2 u n s a t i s f a c t o r y 3 4. Which of the f o l l o w i n g best describes your l i v i n g accommodations? s e l f - c o n t a i n e d apartment 1 housing project 2 p r i v a t e home 3 housekeeping room or rooms 4 other 5 5. How much per month do you pay for your present l i v i n g accomrnod-? tions? under $50 1 $51 - 74 2 $75 - 9 9 3 $100 or more 4 6. I f you are not paying rent , do you l i v e w i t h other 1 own your own home 2 other (please specify) 3 7. I f you own your own l i v i n g accommodation what do you consider your 23 home i s worth? up to $10,000 1 10,000 - 14,000 2 15,000 - 19,000 3 20,000 - 30,000 4 31,000 or over 5 8. How many bedrooms are there i n the home? 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 or more 4 9. In your opinion how do members of the family get along with one another? very satisfactorily 1 sat i s f a c t o r i l y 2 unsatisfactorily 3 10. Did family relations have anything to do wi th your coming to the agency? yes 1 no 2 11. Did you seek help from any other individual or agency prior to contact here? yes 1 no 2 12. If answer to the above i s yes, from whom did you seek help? (a) relatives or friends (b) school (c) police (d) public welfare agency (e) family service agency (f) health services (g) other 13, I f answer to 12 (a) above i s yes, how were you helped during past year by relatives or friends? financial child care household help moral support 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the 1 2 3 4 24 14. Who is/are the wage-earner(s) i n your family? husband and wife 1 husband only 2 wife only 3 children 4 other 5 15, If regular wage-earner i s not present ly employed from what other sources are you receiving f i n a n c i a l assistance? public welfare 1 benefit payments (please specify) 2 relatives 3 friends 4 contributions from absent mother, father or spouse 5 other 6 16. What i s your t o t a l income per month? $ 1 - 75 1 76 - 150 2 151 - 200 3 201 - 250 4 251 - 300 5 301 - 350 6 351 - 400 7 401 and over 8 17. How many jobs has the husband/father held i n the past year? 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 - 6 4 6 or more 5 18. How many jobs has wife/mother held during the past year? 1 2 3 4 - 6 6 or more 19. What was the longest period of employment during the past year? 1 - 3 B I O S . 4 - 6 mos. 7 - 9 mos. 10 - 12 mos. 20. If you received social assistance at anytime during the past 25 year how long did payments continue? 1 - 3 mos, i 4 - 6 mos. 2 7 - 9 mos, 3 10 - 12 mos, 4 21. Was your income for the past month adequate for meeting everyday living expenses? yes \ no 2 22. Do you think your financial situation had anything to do with your coming to the agency? yes 1 no 2 23. Was any child in your family absent from school frequently during the past year? yes (please specify) 1 no 2 24. If the answer is yes how many of your children were absent frequently? 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 or more 5 25. Based on the last report card check the boxes which best describe the school performance of each of your children. Above Below Unsatis-Excellent Average Average Average factory child number 1 # 2 # 3 # 4 # 5 # 6 26 26. In your o p i n i o n d i d any of your c h i l d r e n have problems w i t h teachers or a p r i n c i p a l during the past year? Check the appropriate boxes below. c h i l d number had problems d i d not have problems 27. As far as you know, do any of your c h i l d r e n have close school f r iends? c h i l d number Ji££_____________.™JH__™_- not sure 1 28. Did you ever t a l k to anyone at the school (eg, counse l lor , p r i n c i p a l , nurse, teacher) about your c h i l d ' s performance or behaviour i n the past year? c h i l d number y_es no 6 27 29. Which of the f o l l o w i n g categories best describes the educat ional l e v e l of the wife/mother? h igh school 1 elementary 2 u n i v e r s i t y 3 post-grad 4 v o c a t i o n a l 5 t e c h n i c a l 6 s p e c i a l c l a s s 7 30. Which of the f o l l o w i n g categories best describes the educat ional l e v e l of the husband/father? h igh school 1 elementary 2 u n i v e r s i t y 3 uost-grad 4 v o c a t i o n a l 5 t e c h n i c a l 6 s p e c i a l c l a s s 7 31, I f you have school age c h i l d r e n check the box which best describes t h e i r performance l e v e l . Above the usual In the usual Below the usual c h i l d grade f o r h i s age grade f o r h i s age grade f o r h i s age 32. Are the members of your fami ly i n good health? yes no don' t know 3 33. I f the answer to the above i s no and i f one or more a d u l t s are i l l check the box which best describes the person, h i s i l l n e s s , i t s 28 duration. Nature of I l l n e s s Duration Person Acute Chronic Physical Physical 1 - 6 2 mos. -Emotional wks. 6 mos. 6 12 mos. -mos. more than 1 yr. Mother/ Wife Husband/ Father Other 34. I f one or more chi l d r e n . are i l l , check the box which best v.cribes the person, h i s i l l n e s s , and i t s dura t ion . Person Acute Chronic Physical Physical 1 - 6 2 mos. -Emotional wks. 6 mos. 6 12 mos. -mos. more than 3 yr. #1 #2 #3 #4 35. Did the health problem of any member of your family have anything to do with your coming to the agency? yes 1 no 36. Was looking a f t e r and supervising your ch i l d r e n a problem i n the l a s t year? yes 1 no 2 37. Did anyone from a school, s o c i a l agency, or any other o f f i c i a l ( l i k e the police) ever contact you about the behaviour of your children? yes 1 no 2 38. Which of the following best describes the way i n which you came i n 29 contact w i t h the agency? re fe r red by the p o l i c e re fe r red by parents re fe r red by r e l a t i v e s or f r i e n d s r e f e r r e d by h o s p i t a l or doctor re fe r red by court r e f e r r e d by school re fer red by s e l f r e fe r red by another agency (please speci fy) others 39. Have there been any changes i n f a m i l y composition during the past year? yes 1 no 2 40. I f answer i s yes, check the way or ways i n which the change arose. death desertion, marriage remarriage b i r t h placement of c h i l d or c h i l d r e n 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 B i b l i o g r a p h y 30 A n t o n t o v s k y , Aaron and K a t s , R a c h a e l B l a k e l y , S. O h a t w i n , N, R e i m e r L. and Venon , J , "The L i f e C r i s i s History as a Tool i n E p e d e r o e o l o g i c a l Research" Journa1 of Health and Socia1 Behaviour M a r c h 1967 Social Workers Perceptions of Chi Id Neglect and A b u s e MSW Thesis U~B.C. 1967 Canadian Welfare Council National Urban Low Income Family Evaluation 1966-68 Vancouver, Winnipeg and H a l i f a x J e n k i n s , S h i . r l e y a n d S a u b e r , M i g n o n Paths to Child Placement; Community Council of Greater New York, New York C i t y Department of Welfare 1966 K a d u s h i n , A l f r e d "Introduction of New Orientations i n C h ild Welfare Research", "The Known and Unknown i n Chi Id Welfare Research" by I n s t i t u t e on Chi l d Welfare Research: Ed, Miriam Norris and Barbara Wallace 1965 New York Child Welfare League of A. PL W, Kaplan, Abraham Maas, Henry The Conduct of Inquiry Chandler Publishing Co, , C a l i f o r n i a , 1964 Children ..In.^Needjgf Pa rents published University o f Columbia, New York, 1959 Parker, R. A. Ripple, L i l i a n Decisions i n Ch i l d Care a Study of Predi c t i o n i n Fostering London, George A l l e n and UNWIN Ltd, Ruskin House 1966 Social Work Research by Norman A, Volansky, University of Chicago Press, 1960 10. S a u b e r , Mignon "Preplacement Situations of Families Data for Planning Services" i n Chi l d Welfare, League o f America, Vol. X L V I No. 8, Oct. 1967 31 11. Special Placement D i v i s i o n C h i l d Welfare Department Burnaby 12, U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, Research Unit "Survey of the Number and Needs of Children i n B, C. with Special Placement Problems " Eredemeological Survey of the Admission of Children to the care of the Child Welfare Agencies from A p r i l 1, 1966 to March 31, 1967 13. Weinstein, Eugene The Self-image of the Foster Child Russel - Sage Foundation New York 1960 14. Young, Leontine Wednesday's Children Pub. McGraw H i l l New York, 1964 

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