Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Public Opinion on Child Welfare Celinda Lake Developed for Georgetown University PIO Training Program.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Public Opinion on Child Welfare Celinda Lake Developed for Georgetown University PIO Training Program."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Opinion on Child Welfare Celinda Lake Developed for Georgetown University PIO Training Program

2 Public Views on the Well-being of Children Almost half of adults believe that 30 percent of children are living in poverty, nearly twice the actual poverty rate. Roughly half of adults blame individual parents for impoverished children while less than a third blame social and economic problems. Four in ten adults incorrectly believe that more children are now receiving welfare than before welfare reform was passed. More then three-quarters of adults believe that there has been an increase in the number of children living in single-parent homes.

3  Child welfare, foster care and its problems are not top priority for most Americans.  Majority of Americans generally favorable to child welfare system. However, nearly half believe that the foster care system in their state is doing too little to try to identify children at risk and remove them from their parents’ custody.  Majority felt either child welfare system “needs quite a few changes and improvements” or system needs “complete overhaul.”  These impressions are likely shaped by local media coverage which, by its very nature, focuses on the negative. Public Views of the Child Welfare System

4 The Well-Being of Children Americans recognize, and even overestimate, the challenges facing our children today.

5 Almost half of adults believe that 30 percent of children are living in poverty, nearly twice the actual poverty rate. As far as you know, what percent of children are living in poverty? Italics mark the correct response. Princeton Survey Research/KIDS COUNT/Casey Foundation. Child Trends Research Brief, 07/03

6 Roughly half of adults blame individual parents for impoverished children while less than a third blame social and economic problems. Which is the bigger reason for American children being raised in poverty these days? Is it because of social and economic problems or is it because of the failure of their parents as individuals? Which is the bigger reason more than ten- million American children are being raised in poverty these days? Is it because of social and economic problems or is it because of the failure of their parents as individuals? *Split sampled questions; Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 2002

7 Four in ten adults incorrectly believe that more children are now receiving welfare than before welfare reform was passed. Since welfare reform was passed in 1996, do you think the number of children receiving welfare has: Italics mark the correct response. Princeton Survey Research/KIDS COUNT/Casey Foundation. Child Trends Research Brief, 07/03

8 More then three-quarters of adults believe that there has been an increase in the number of children living in single-parent families. During the last five years, do you think the percent of children living in single-parent families has: Italics mark the correct response. Princeton Survey Research/KIDS COUNT/Casey Foundation. Child Trends Research Brief, 07/03

9 Typically, when men and women have misperceptions about children and their hardships, women tend to overestimate and men to underestimate problematic circumstances. Surprisingly, parents are no more informed about how well America’s children are doing than adults without children. However, married adults and more educated adults tend to be better informed than their respective counterparts on these issues. Princeton Survey Research/KIDS COUNT/Casey Foundation. Child Trends Research Brief, 07/03

10 Foster Care While foster care is not a salient issue among Americans, they do support kinship care and believe that the foster care system should be extended to include 18 to 21 year olds.

11 Few Americans are paying attention to issues involving the foster care system. Foster care is the system run by state governments mainly to provide homes for neglected or abused children. How much attention have you personally paid to issues involving the foster care system--a great deal, a good amount, just some or hardly any? Conducted by ABC News, May 10-May 14, 2006 and based on telephone interviews with a national adult sample of 1,000.

12 Over half of adults believe that the foster care system in their state is being run well. From what you know about it, do you think the foster care system in your state is run very well, somewhat well, somewhat badly or very badly? 53% 30% Conducted by ABC News, May 10-May 14, 2006 and based on telephone interviews with a national adult sample of 1,000.

13  Whatever views the public has of the child welfare system, there are a number of vital services they say are important:  providing adequate educational opportunities;  providing adequate health care;  keeping siblings together; and  promoting adoptions for children who can’t go home. Vital System Elements the polling company TM inc. and Lake Research Partners for Casey Family Programs March 2003

14 There is support for kinship care and keeping siblings together verges on basic values.  Voters would like kinship care families to receive the same financial and emotional support as licensed foster families.  More than eight out of ten voters favor allowing funding from the public foster care system to support children being placed with relative foster parents with nearly half strongly favoring (83 percent favor, 47 percent strongly).  Even when voters consider bypassing licensing requirements support only decreases slightly (three fourths of voters still remain in favor of kinship care (73 percent percent favor, 38 percent strongly). the polling company TM inc. and Lake Research Partners for Casey Family Programs March 2003

15  Americans believed children adopted out of foster care were likely to:  have behavior problems (68%)  have problems in school (62%)  have problems with drugs or alcohol (55%)  less likely to be self-confident (53%)  less likely to be happy (42%) Who Is the Child? National Adoption Attitudes Survey: Research Report, a national opinion poll by Harris Interactive for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (June 2002)

16 And when Americans compare foster children with other children, nearly two-thirds think that foster care children are more likely than other children to have behavioral problems. They split regarding learning difficulties and problems with drugs and alcohol. In general, do you think foster care children are more likely than other children to have _______, less likely, or is it about the same? Conducted by ABC News, May 10-May 14, 2006 and based on telephone interviews with a national adult sample of 1,000.

17 Over a fifth of Americans report that they would seriously consider becoming a foster parent or adopting a child. Would you seriously consider becoming a foster parent or adopting a foster child, or not? Conducted by ABC News, May 10-May 14, 2006 and based on telephone interviews with a national adult sample of 1,000.

18  Public holds conflicting views of foster parents and their motives.  Believe foster parents motivated by good intentions and a desire to “help kids.”  Generally comfortable with trans-racial adoptions and foster care arrangements. Yet some polls indicate African Americans and Hispanics less favorable to concept.  Public perceives “some foster parents are in it for the money.” Women said foster parents did it to help children, while more men said foster parents did it for money. The Foster Parents A Qualitative Exploration of Adoptive Parents Toward the Process of Adoption, results from a set of two focus groups conducted by Pathfinder Research Group for the Massachusetts Department of Social Services (March 1993) Summary of Focus Group Findings in California, Kentucky, Colorado, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, from 41 focus groups conducted by Triad Research Group for Public Children Services Association of Ohio on behalf of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (2000)

19 In polling, a plurality say people become foster parents because they want to help children, while a third said for the money. Do you think people are most likely to become foster parents because (ROTATE) they want to help children, they want to expand their families, or they do it for the money? the polling company TM inc. and Lake Research Partners for Casey Family Programs March 2003

20  Public expects family protective services to carefully monitor children in foster care.  Public sympathizes with individual case worker. But are not confident that frequent and effective monitoring occurs in foster care.  Public cites what they perceive as heavy caseloads and long hours as barriers to effective case management and monitoring. The Case Worker Reactions to Child Abuse and Neglect: Findings from Ten Focus Groups, results from a set of 10 focus groups by the bi-partisan team of Lake Research and Research/Strategy/Management, Inc. for the American Public Welfare Association (May 1996)

21  Public approves of the current role of the judiciary process.  Focus group work among judges found:  Judges deeply frustrated with their perceived lack of power over primary players in the child welfare system.  They feel unable to hold local social services caseworkers accountable.  One-on-one interviews found other views held by judges:  Much shorter time horizon than general public in placing foster child;  More likely to view child welfare from child’s perspective;  Think aging out of foster care not always negative; and  Cautiously embrace case-tracking measures but worry about potential for political and journalistic abuse and data misinterpretation. The Judges Pew Foster Care Focus Group Transcripts: Community Leaders and Voters, a series of focus groups and on-on-one interviews conducted by Hart Research for the Pew Charitable Trusts (February 2003)

22  Have “limited knowledge about the child welfare system and judges’ role with the system.”  Knowledge of child welfare varies widely.  Unsure about exact role of the federal government.  Believe child welfare is mostly a state-level responsibility. The State Legislature Pew Foster Care Focus Group Transcripts: Community Leaders and Voters, a series of focus groups and on-on-one interviews conducted by Hart Research for the Pew Charitable Trusts (February 2003)

23  If there is a negative incident, the public wants to be reassured it won't happen again.  Although public identifies child “safety” as key concern, other factors enter into equation, as removal decisions are being considered:  Definitions of Neglect/Abuse: Public is confused and assumes caseworkers face same difficulty;  The public is extremely leery of what they see as government intervention in a family matter;  When asked what to do? keep the family together? or foster care? The answer is: IT DEPENDS. Abuse, Neglect and Removal Summary of Focus Group Findings in California, Kentucky, Colorado, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, from 41 focus groups conducted by Triad Research Group for Public Children Services Association of Ohio on behalf of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (2000)

24 Americans split on where a child should go after having been removed from an abusive or neglectful foster home. In the case of a child who has been removed from home because of abuse or neglect, which of these do you think should be the main goal of the foster care system--to send the child back to live with his or her parents once the parents have gone through counseling or rehab, or to permanently place the child with another family? Conducted by ABC News, May 10-May 14, 2006 and based on telephone interviews with a national adult sample of 1,000.

25 Nearly half believe that the foster care system in their state is doing too little to try to identify children at risk and remove them from their parents’ custody. Do you think the foster care system in your state is doing too little, too much or about the right amount to try to identify children at risk and remove them from their parents' custody? Conducted by ABC News, May 10-May 14, 2006 and based on telephone interviews with a national adult sample of 1,000.

26  Only a quarter of respondents felt they were protected and cared for “all the time.” A majority felt otherwise.  Half said “they did not have their basic needs taken care of all the time during their years in foster care.”  Among the basic needs respondents felt needed improvement, nearly unanimously, were:  access to doctors, dentists and counselors  help in school  trying hard to keep siblings together  more support and training for foster parents  more support and training for case workers How Foster Care Alumni Rate System Foster Care, Aging Out and The Opportunity Passport, five focus groups and a national opinion poll conducted by Lake/Snell/Perry for the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative (January 2003)

27 A majority of Americans favor extending state support to foster care families until the child reaches the age of 21. States pay money to foster parents, usually about 15 dollars a day, ending when the foster child reaches age 18. Would you favor or oppose extending this support for foster care families up to age 21? Conducted by ABC News, May 10-May 14, 2006 and based on telephone interviews with a national adult sample of 1,000.

28 Nationally, the total number of children in foster care is decreasing, but the number of youth “aging out” and leaving foster care at age 18 has been increasing. US Department of Health and Human Services Number of youth who aged out Total Number in Foster Care

29 Children in foster care face the unique challenge of aging out of foster care at the age of 18, sometimes with serious consequences. One in four will be incarcerated within the first two years after they leave the system. a Over one-fifth will become homeless at some time after age 18. b Approximately 58 percent had a high school degree at age 19, compared to 87 percent of a national comparison group of non- foster youth. a Of youth who aged out of foster care and are over the age of 25, less than 3 percent earned their college degrees c, compared to 28 percent of the general population. d a. Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning Former Foster Youth: Outcomes at Age 19 b. Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study, Casey Family Programs, 1998 c. Improving family foster care: Findings from the Northwest foster care alumni study. Casey Family Programs d. National Census Bureau. “Educational Attainment in the United States: 2004”

30 An overwhelming majority believe that families should be given financial incentives, including tax breaks, to adopt older children out of foster care. Do you think families should or should not be given financial incentives, including tax breaks, to adopt older children out of foster care? Conducted by ABC News, May 10-May 14, 2006 and based on telephone interviews with a national adult sample of 1,000.

31  Keeping siblings together;  Placement with relatives “or other adults who share a bond with the child”;  Helping foster care youth become self-sufficient through investments in job training, health care and education;  Finding ways to relax and expedite “kinship care, adoption procedures and flexibility with foster care”; and  Finding children permanent families quickly; and families for children and teens, NOT children for families. Strong Public Support for: the polling company TM inc. and Lake Research Partners for Casey Family Programs March 2003

32 Voters agree that a broad range of services provided by the foster care system are important, offering respectable support for each of them. Educational opportunity and health care are particularly important. Now let me read you a list of services provided by the foster care system. For each one, please tell me how important it is to you that the foster care system provides this service on a scale which goes from 0-10, where 0 means you do not think this service is very important and 10 means this service is extremely important. (Mean scores provided; split sample) the polling company TM inc. and Lake Research Partners for Casey Family Programs March 2003

33 They are less intense about keeping families in the same neighborhoods or with the same race. Now let me read you a list of services provided by the foster care system. For each one, please tell me how important it is to you that the foster care system provides this service on a scale which goes from 0-10, where 0 means you do not think this service is very important and 10 means this service is extremely important. (Mean scores provided; split sample) the polling company TM inc. and Lake Research Partners for Casey Family Programs March 2003

34 Public Opinion Child Welfare Celinda Lake Lake Research Partners 202.776.9066 clake@lakeresearch.com


Download ppt "Public Opinion on Child Welfare Celinda Lake Developed for Georgetown University PIO Training Program."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google