ERIC Number: ED478703
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Jul-24
Reference Count: N/A
National Standards in the Child and Family Services Reviews: Time To Improve on a Good Idea. JCPR Working Paper.
Courtney, Mark; Needell, Barbara; Wulczyn, Fred
Scandal has once again brought attention to the nation's child welfare system. In response to the news that Florida's child welfare bureaucracy could not account for hundreds of children supposedly in its care (2002), investigative journalists have found evidence of similar problems in other states. Ironically, the news that some states cannot even locate children comes at a time when the federal government is in the midst of trying, for the first time, to hold states accountable for achieving quantifiable outcomes for children involved with the child welfare system. These outcomes focus on the safety, permanency and stability of living arrangements, and well-being of children. The juxtaposition of high hopes for improving state accountability for foster children and the continuing legacy of poor performance by child welfare bureaucracies calls for a sober assessment of current federal efforts to help states improve outcomes. This paper critiques the national standards used in the new Child and Family Service Reviews being conducted by the federal government and suggest new directions. First, a historical perspective is provided on current federal policy and a description of the new performance measurement system. The paper then points out the conceptual limitations of the current national standards and uses empirical evidence to illustrate some of these limitations. The paper concludes with recommendations for new standards and additional efforts that will be necessary to ensure that state performance can improve. (Contains 23 references.) (Author/HTH)
Descriptors: Change Strategies, Child Welfare, Children, Federal Legislation, Federal State Relationship, Government Role, Performance Based Assessment, Program Evaluation, Public Policy
Joint Center for Poverty Research, University of Chicago, 1155 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 773-702-0472; Fax: 773-702-0926; Web site: http://www.jcpr.org. For full text: http://www.jcpr.org/wpfiles/needell.pdf.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.
Authoring Institution: Joint Center for Poverty Research, IL.