Fatherhood in the Child Welfare System: Fourth Research Progress Report.

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Washington State Office of Children's Administration Research.
National Family Preservation Network.
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This demonstration program tested a model for addressing the systemic factors that influence father involvement in case planning in the state of Washington, such as staff training and agency policies. Pilot programs were implemented in four offices in one region of Washington, as well as in San Mateo County, California. This fourth report of the project highlights findings from three waves of data collection activities with fathers of children who entered the child welfare system between September 2002 and February 2003, and from families that were identified as eligible between March 2003 and August 2003. Outcomes for children and changes in agency policies and practices during the first two years of the project are highlighted. The study compared the involvement of primary caregivers and non-primary caregivers in terms of agreement with case plan, compliance with case plan, location of the non-primary caregivers, identification as a resource, and involvement of extended family members. In general, the Washington sites significantly increased the number of fathers considered to be a resource for the child. Barriers to identification as a resource included the unknown location of some of the fathers, lack of motivation of fathers, incarceration, mental illness, and federal goals for permanency. California child welfare programs reported a major increase in the number of cases that engaged extended family members. Numerous tables.

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