Date of Award

5-1-1999

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Social Work

Degree Name

M.S.W.

Department

Social Work Policy Planning and Administration

First Advisor

Naomi T. Ward

Abstract

The purpose of this exploratory descriptive study was to compare the length of time foster care children were spending in care two years prior to the passage of Senate Bill 611 and two years after the legislation took effect in one Northwest Georgia county, Floyd County. Length of time in care was also examined to determine if differences existed among age, reason for placement, and racial background. An interview was utilized to complete the Agency Protocol and Procedures instrument with the local county Director of the Department of Family and Children Services and the Floyd County Juvenile Court Judge. Findings indicated that new written policies are in place and extensive training has been completed in the Floyd County Department of Family and Children Services in relation to the changes associated with Georgia’s Senate Bill 611. A case study method was employed to complete the study of a sample size of forty children in foster care reviewed by the Citizen Review Panel of the Floyd County Juvenile Court.

Descriptive and inferential statistics were used. Paired t-tests were conducted to determine if the mean length of time in foster care for children sampled differed prior to the passage of Georgia Senate Bill 611 from July 1, 1994 to June 30, 1996 as compared to after its passage and implementation for the period of July 1, 1996 to June 30, 1998. Non-significant results were found when comparing all children as a group. However, the average placement time from pre and post legislation was found to be 16 months. Similar results were found when making comparisons by age, racial background, and reason for primary placement. Almost all age, racial background, and primary reason for placement subgroups were found to show large reductions in mean length of time in foster care. However, when considering age subgroups, mean increases were actually found in the two youngest categories. Small numbers of children within subgroups and large variability may contribute to the non-significant results even though some large reductions in mean length of time were found.

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