How to Best Serve Children at Risk of Entering the Foster Care System?
Around 6% of all children and 10% of Black and poor children are placed into foster care by age 18. They have significantly worse outcomes than their peers in terms of educational achievement, mental health and substance abuse. State agencies provide a host of family preservation programs with the aim of keeping families together and children out of foster care. But despite being widely used, there is little high-quality evidence on their effectiveness. We are seeking funding to design a randomized evaluation of several prominent prevention models in Michigan. Our anticipated RCT design will evaluate up to three programs that target children at varying risks of future maltreatment. Our primary outcome variables of interest are subsequent child removal and the reoccurrence of child maltreatment. We will also investigate the feasibility of examining other outcomes, including educational achievement and other measures of well-being collected via surveys.