This study utilizes a quasi-experimental propensity score matching design to assess the causal impact on child welfare outcomes when parents facing an abuse or neglect case in the New York City Family Court were provided interdisciplinary law office representation as opposed to a standard panel attorney. The interdisciplinary law office approach includes social work staff and parent advocates for the parent, and salaried attorneys working in nonprofit organizations. Using administrative child welfare data, the study assesses the foster care and safety outcomes of 9582 families and their 18,288 children. The propensity score matched results do not indicate a preventive effect toward foster care entry nor any difference in children's likelihoods of experiencing a subsequent substantiated report of maltreatment. However, when children's parents received the interdisciplinary representation and those children did enter foster care, children spent 118 fewer days on average in foster care during the four years following the abuse or neglect case filing. Subsequent competing risk models show that children whose parents received the interdisciplinary law office model achieved overall permanency, reunification, and guardianship more quickly. These results provide evidence that interdisciplinary law office parental representation is an effective intervention to promote permanency for children in foster care.
This brief discusses trends in youth employment and workforce development to set the context for efforts to improve economic outcomes for New York City (NYC) foster youth. Several common measures have moved in positive directions in recent years. The number and rate of youth disconnected from school and work has dropped as has the youth unemployment rate, while hourly wage rates have risen. These improvements mask some troubling trends showing youth participating in more part-time as opposed to full-time work and stagnant earnings. NYC has a robust set of youth workforce initiatives, including several targeted at foster youth. Workforce experts credit these programs for contributing to improvements, but the absence of greater gains among youth during the tightest labor market on record is cause for concern.
This brief discusses some of the trends among New York City’s (NYC) children and families that may impact the future of child welfare services in NYC, including transition age youth in foster care. Most trends among NYC’s children and families show marked improvements in living conditions and child well-being over the last several years. In tandem with reforms at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), these improvements likely contributed to the long-term declines in foster care entries and census. Some data points, such as the increase in children living in concentrated poverty, raise concerns that more children and families may experience child welfare interventions.
This brief focuses on teen pregnancy and births in New York City (NYC) to place the measures used in the Foster Youth Initiative in context. Consistent with national and statewide trends, the most widely used measures of teen pregnancy and birth rates show marked and sustained declines in NYC over the last ten years. Still, areas that have high rates of child maltreatment investigations have teen pregnancy and birth rates that can be twice as high as the citywide rate. This brief discusses trends in NYC, the potential impact on NYC’s foster care system, and a measure that may help track trends among NYC youth in foster care.
This first policy brief focuses on the state of child welfare in New York City in 2018 and draws upon several sources including media and advocacy reports; experience with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS, the city’s child welfare agency), other city agencies, and contracted service providers; and attendance at the January 22, 2018 forum entitled Toward a 21st Child Welfare System. The memo begins with a short discussion of the system’s strengths and looming challenges followed by a description of some of the strategies ACS uses to grapple with challenges faced by transition age youth (TAY). The memo then describes the topics of future policy briefs.
This policy brief focuses on the child welfare reforms implemented in New York City from 2002 and 2013 that many believe contributed to the decline in the number of children in foster care. Many of these reforms were triggered by the tragic death of seven-year-old Nixzmary Brown at the hands of her parents, despite several previous reports of maltreatment, in 2006. It also identifies challenges that the city is likely to encounter in the future in its efforts to sustain and expand these reforms.