Emergency Shelter Care Utilization in Child Welfare Research paper

The research article I chose to read for this assignment was titled Emergency Shelter Care Utilization in Child Welfare: Who Goes to Shelter Care? How Long Do They Stay? The article was written by Dr. Scott Leon, a professor in the Department of Psychology at Loyola University Chicago, and three of his students, Grace Jhe Bai, Anne K. Fuller, and Michelle Busching. This article is about how emergency shelters are used to "initially house and care for children entering the foster care system" (Oakes & Freundlich, 2005). The study was conducted in Illinois to see the different variables that were associated with children that were placed in a shelter instead of placed with any kin and with how long children spent in the shelter. The study was comprised of 123 children and adolescents between the ages of six and thirteen who had entered the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services between the dates of October 1, 2011 and March 1, 2014. The 123 participants were spilt up into two different groups with 100 of them being children who had entered care and were automatically placed with a relative and the other 23 were children who were placed with a relative after spending time in a shelter. The demographics of the participants in this study were female (52.7%), African American (57.1%), Latino (20.5%), Biracial (11.6%), Caucasian (8.9%), and Asian American (1.2%). The reasons for referral were neglect (75%), physical abuse (25%) sexual abuse (10.7%), and dependency (7.3%).
In this study there were two different assessments done to collect information about the participants and their kin. The first assessment that was done was The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS). The CANS is part of the Integrated Assessment during the first 45 days after a child has entered the care of the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services. This is a 105-item assessment that assesses the needs and strengths of youth across 7 areas of functioning: trauma experience, traumatic stress symptoms, youth strengths, life domain functioning, acculturation, youth behavior and emotional needs, and youth risk behaviors. After the participants were assessed on these 7 areas, the research team reported all of the information on a 4-point Likert scale of 0-3, with "0" indicating no evidence of any needs, "1" indicating need for monitoring, "2" indicating needs for addressing the problem, and 3" indicating need for immediate action.
The second assessment that was completed was the Kin Identification and Level of Engagement Form which was used to obtain the information of the type of kinship support that was provided to the participant. There were 8 different categories on the form that included visitation, phone calls, homework help, mentoring, transportation assistance, sending birthday cards, attendance at important events, and support to biological parents and foster parents. This assessment was set up in two different phases, Phase 1 and Phase 2. In Phase 1, a Loyola evaluator searched the Illinois SACWIS system to identify kin and fictive kin information on each participant. In Phase 2, the Loyola evaluation team contacted the participants social worker and conducted an interview to confirm their kin and fictive kin and the types of support given to each participant. After the team collected all of the data from the categories, they computed 16 family related variables which included: total number of relatives, total number of relatives with barriers including: substance abuse, perpetrator, criminal history, prior DCFS involvement, lives out of state, cognitive disability, mental illness, medical disability, incarceration, domestic violence, limited financials, relative barrier ratio, total number of relatives involved in childcare, total number of relatives who visited the child, total number of relatives who called the child, support to the biological parents, foster parent support, and total great grandparent, great aunt and uncle, grandparent, aunt and uncle, and cousin support.
After both of these assessments were completed, the evaluation team reported that age was the strongest variable associated with length of stay and that it was children older than 12 that were more likely to stay more than 30 days. They also found that children 12 and older who were part of a sibling group of five or more were less likely to spend 30 days or longer compared to a small sibling group. The Children and Adolescent Needs and Strength variable associated to length of stay was neglect. Children that had low to mild neglect reported were more likely to stay fewer than 30 days while children in the moderate to severe neglect were more likely to stay 30 days or more. This study showed the Loyola evaluation team that whether or not a child starts in shelter care or with kin or whether they spend more or less than 30 days in care, shelter utilization is associated with a range of variables throughout a child’s life.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Overall, I thought this was a very well put together article with a lot of information. The strengths that I noticed in this article were the participant size. I thought the number of participants they used in the study was a good amount and they were very diverse. They also used two very thorough assessments that provided them with a good amount of information on the participants and their kin. One of the important weaknesses I noticed in this article and the Loyola team even pointed out was that there is very limited research on emergency shelters so there wasn’t much data they could compare with theirs. Also, I thought that the length of time they used was quite a bit of time. They used information from October 1, 2001 to March 1, 2014 and I feel as if things could change over that amount of time. Also, there weren’t any males in the participant group.


The theory that I chose that I thought was reflected in this article was Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development Stage 4: Industry vs. Inferiority. I decided to choose this stage for my article because this stage happens between the ages of six and twelve and the age of the participants were ages six and thirteen and this is when children are becoming aware of themselves as individuals. The industry part of this stage consists of, "children who are accomplished compared to their peers can develop self-confidence and pride and will be praised for their achievements can boost their self-esteem" and the inferiority stage happens when "children do not achieve certain milestones may doubt their abilities or self-worth and when children are constantly criticized, they may develop feelings of inferiority" (GoodTherapy). With children moving around from home to home or shelter to shelter, they might not reach the industry stage because they might not have someone there to praise them for their accomplishments. If they don’t reach the industry stage, then they would be in the inferiority stage and it could be hard for them to develop their self-confidence and they could not reach certain milestones and doubt their self-worth.
Relevance to Social Work Practice & Social Policy
Social workers are to keep children safe and plan for a permanent solution to provide for their long-term care and as a social worker you also want to make sure the children feel comfortable in the new environment they are in and try to find family for them to go to if they aren’t going back with theirs. If I was a social worker, I would want to try as hard as I could to help these children find a place with any family for them to go to if they are being removed from their home. I currently work at an emergency placement shelter and when these kids first come in they are so scared and upset because they are in a new environment that they may have never experienced. After reading this article and experiencing this at work, as a social worker I would try my hardest to find family of their own they could stay with. 2019-12-06 06:04:35
She is my happiness!―she is my torture, none the less! Pearl keeps me here in life! Pearl punishes me too!"(Prynne 104) Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book, The Scarlet Letter is about a woman named Hester Prynne, who has committed the sin and crime of adultery and is marked by the letter A. The novel is set in a village in Puritan New England. Roger Chillingworth arrives in New England and soon learns that the man his wife committed the sin with is Arthur Dimmesdale, a young minister and makes it his mission to torment him. The result of Hester and Dimmesdale’s sin is Pearl, their daughter. Pearl is a curse to Hester because she always reminds her of the sin she committed, has caused her a lot of pain, and is very disrespectful towards her.
Pearl is a curse to Hester because she was the result of breaking the law. Hawthorne is describing Pearl in great detail. "In giving her existence, a great law had been broken…" (Hawthorne 84) This quote supports my thesis by saying Pearl was the result of breaking the law. It is very clear and cannot become more simpler than that. Hawthorne is again describing Pearl in great detail. "An imp of evil, emblem , and product of sin." (Hawthorne 85) This quote supports my thesis by by proving Pearl is the product of sin. It is said countless times she is evil and impish. She is not like the other kids.
Since Hester sinned, no one wanted to be associated with her and she was shunned by the community. Hawthorne is describing Pearl in great detail. "Men had marked this woman's sin by a scarlet letter, which has potent and such disastrous efficiency that no human sympathy could reach her, save it were single like herself." (Hawthorne 83) Hester has two reminders of the scarlet letter. One was the letter on her bosom, and Pearl was her physical reminder. This quote supports my thesis because it shows that Pearl was always there to remind her of what she had done.
Hester admits herself that Pearl torments and tortures her. Hester is trying to prove to the governor that she needs to keep Pearl and that they cannot take her away. "She is my happiness!- she is my torture, none the less! Pearl keeps me here in life! Pearl punishes me too!" (Prynne 104) Hester directly says here Pearl is her torture. Although she does bring her happiness, torture overrules happiness. This quote supports my thesis by showing that.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is about a woman named Hester Prynne who has committed the sin and crime of adultery and is marked by the letter A. Pearl is a curse to Hester because she always reminds her of the sin she committed, is very disrespectful towards her, and has caused her a lot of pain. Pearl is a curse to Hester because she was the result of breaking the law, has made her mother shunned by the Puritan community, and Hester herself has admired Pearl is her torture. These three points are significant because it supports my thesis tremendously. Pearl is Hester’s torture.
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