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ERIC Number: ED529452
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 162
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
The Palm Beach County Family Study Second Annual Report
Spielberger, Julie; Lyons, Sandra; Gouvea, Marcia; Haywood, Thomas; Winje, Carolyn
Chapin Hall Center for Children
The Children's Services Council (CSC) of Palm Beach County commissioned Chapin Hall Center for Children to conduct a longitudinal study to examine the effects of this service system on children and families. The goal of the longitudinal study is to describe the characteristics and needs of families the service system is intended to serve, how they use the services that make up the service system in Palm Beach County, and how service use is related to indicators of child well-being and family functioning, and child and family outcomes. This 8-year study uses a mixed-methods approach with three primary sources of data: (1) administrative data on a birth cohort of 30,133 children born in Palm Beach County in 2004 and 2005, half of them to families living in the targeted geographic areas (TGAs); (2) annual structured interviews with a sample of families in the TGAs with children born in 2004 and 2005; and (3) in-depth, qualitative interviews with a small subsample of families. This report focuses on findings from the second year of the study, which included analysis of administrative data from Vital Statistics, the Right Track database for the Healthy Beginnings maternal child health system, and Department of Children and Families (DCF) reports of child abuse and neglect; structured in-person interviews with 444 mothers, and the first two waves of qualitative interviews with 50 mothers. Overall, mothers' service usage was characterized by four distinct service patterns, which were differentiated by both the number and the kinds of services used. "Low service users" typically reported using only two or three kinds of services, primarily family health care and food assistance, the previous year. Two groups of "moderate service users" each reported using, on average, four services. Large percentages of mothers in both groups received food assistance and family health care, but mothers in one group also used family planning services whereas mothers in the second group received services for their children's physical health and illness. "High service users" received seven or eight services, on average, across multiple service areas. Collectively, the Year 2 findings suggest there are opportunities to improve service access and use in the TGAs, but there are also challenges. Given the variability in family circumstances, services that have more flexibility to adapt to the circumstances of the low-income families they are intended to serve may be more likely to reach these families. In other words, services will be most beneficial if they are designed to fit into, and add to the stability of, families' daily lives. Families are less likely to use services such as child care that do not fit well with their daily routines, are not easy to get to with available transportation or do not fit with their work hours, or that conflict with their values. Thus, several challenges for improving access to and use of CSC's prevention and early intervention services discussed in the second year report include: (1) Keeping families involved in services over time; (2) Making location and timing of services convenient for families; (3) Providing continuity of services during periods of instability; (4) Improving channels of communication for service information; (5) Strengthening relationships with community organizations and other service systems; and (6) Engaging immigrant and other harder-to-reach families. Appended are: (1) Longitudinal Study Sample and Methods; (2) Sample Characteristics; and (3) Additional Data Tables and Summary Measures. A bibliography is included. (Contains 1 figure, 88 tables and 46 footnotes.)
Chapin Hall Center for Children. 1313 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 773-753-5900; Fax: 773-753-5940; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County
Authoring Institution: Chapin Hall Center for Children
Identifiers - Location: Florida