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Evaluation of Allegheny County's homebuilders

Duncan, Frank (2018) Evaluation of Allegheny County's homebuilders. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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OBJECTIVE: This evaluation seeks to meet the following objectives: (1) to provide a descriptive analysis of youth served by Homebuilders in Allegheny County; and (2) To determine if Homebuilders is effectively reducing future placements among targeted youth.
METHODS: In this quasi-experimental study, the placement rates of 426 youth, 218 in each group, were compared for 12 months after following referral date. First a comparison of placement rates between the two groups at three follow-up periods. Second, a survival analysis to compare the likelihood of being placed over time. In the survival analysis, the time variable was measured in terms of days that elapsed from the date of a child’s referral to their home removal date.
RESULTS: At three-month follow-up, 32 children (14.7 percent) in the Homebuilders group were placed a slightly less than the control group with 36 placed (16.5 percent). At six months, the groups had a nearly equal number of youth placed, 47 (21.6 percent) from Homebuilders and 45 (20.6 percent) from the comparison group. At one year after referral date, the Homebuilders group had a higher placement rate compared to the comparison group, 30.3 percent and 26.6 percent respectively. No significant differences were observed at any of these three follow-up periods. A survival analysis was also completed and after testing for significant difference across three different statistical methods, Log Rank, Breslow, and Tarone-ware, no statistical differences were discovered between the group receiving Homebuilders and the control group.
CONCLUSION: The reduction of unnecessary out-of-home placements of a child remains a significant public health issue. Children, which are removed from their home, are at higher risk for numerous negative health outcomes that may persist into adulthood. This evaluation failed to find any evidence that youth receiving Homebuilders are less likely to be placed when compared to youth at similar risk. Previously, the logic behind the Homebuilders’ model may have been an effective method for addressing the needs of at-risk families. If the stressors facing families today are attributable to systemic conditions then it may seem illogical to address such issues using a brief intensive service like Homebuilders.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Duncan, FrankFOD2@PITT.EDUFOD2
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAlbert,
Committee MemberTerry,
Committee MemberRafael,
Date: 28 June 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 18 April 2018
Approval Date: 28 June 2018
Submission Date: 5 April 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 63
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: family preservation services, homebuilders, placements, foster care, child welfare, child abuse
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2018 19:39
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2018 19:39


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