Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Department

Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

First Advisor

Jones, Mittie Davis

Subject Headings

Foster children -- Services for -- Ohio, Foster home care -- Ohio, Social group work -- Ohio, Public administration -- Ohio, Child welfare -- Ohio, foster care permanency for foster children networks

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify possible factors that may contribute to the variations in effectiveness of foster care networks in a rural and an urban Ohio county. The effectiveness of the networks was assessed based on the success of the foster care networks to provide permanency for children who are placed in out-of-home care. For the purpose of this study the foster care network organizations in each county included the child welfare agencies, the juvenile courts, private foster care agencies and foster families. The child welfare agencies in each of Ohio counties operate independently, and their success in securing permanency for foster children varies for each county. This variation is particularly evident when comparing the Ohio's rural and urban counties. The available descriptive data indicates that the foster care networks in Ohio's smaller rural counties are on average more successful in securing permanency for children than the larger urban counties. The existence of such variations was confirmed through comparison of existing descriptive data for 40 counties (20 rural and 20 urban) for the child permanency indicators. Since this researcher could not find information in the existing literature to explain these variations, this study was designed to identify the possible factors that may be responsible for such variations through exploring the perceptions of individuals who are closely connected with the foster care networks. This study explored the perceptions of 30 foster care network stakeholders through in-depth field interviews. The individuals interviewed for this study (15 from each of the urban and rural counties selected for this study) included staff from the child welfare agencies, the juvenile courts, private foster care agencies, as well as the foster families. The staff members from various levels of each organization were interviewed, which included child welfare agency directors, juvenile court judges, private foster care agency directors, as well as supervisors and

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