Factors that Affect the Stability of a Family

Goals

To understand the factors that affect the stability of a family. Factors could hypothetically be financial difficulties, balancing of responsibilities, illness, and/or substance abuse. An ideal response would have 7-10 relevant factors that would have a description and why they are a factor (why we chose them). The aim of this research is to better inform a family preservation service organization so that they are in a better position to help keep families healthy and together to prevent children from entering the foster care system.

Early Findings

Key Factors that Affect the Stability of a Family

  • In 2018, the number of children in foster care according to the most recent report from the Children’s Bureau, was 437,283 American children in foster care. This rise can be attributed to many factors including how states determine the need for foster care, support services available or not available to families, and an increase in opioid use and addiction.
  • According to this same report, the factors that were responsible for a child's removal from their home were neglect (62%), drug abuse by the parent (36%), the caretaker's inability to cope (14%), physical abuse (13%), housing issues (10%), child behavior problem (9%), parent incarceration (7%), alcohol abuse by the parent (5%), abandonment (5%), sexual abuse (4%), drug abuse by the child (2%), child disability (2%), relinquishment (1%), parent death (1%), and alcohol abuse by the child (0% — which actually translated to 1.032 children).
  • Out of the top ten factors, the numbers translate this way: Out of the 437,283 American children in foster care: 163,543 children are there for neglect, 94,386 children because of drug abuse by the parent, 35,802 children because of the lack of coping skills from the caretaker, 33,672 children because of physical abuse, 27,323 children because of housing issues, 22,868 children because of the child's behavior, 19,719 children because the parent is incarcerated, 13,871 children because of alcohol abuse by the parent, 12,088 children because of abandonment, and 9,894 children because of sexual abuse.
  • For the top ten factors combined, 433,166 out of the 437,283 are in foster care.
  • If we further examine those top ten factors, we can then narrow the top eight factors to neglect, substance abuse (both alcohol and drugs), lack of coping skills for the caretaker, physical abuse and sexual abuse, lack of or improper housing, behavioral issues with the child, incarceration of the parent, and abandonment, We did this as physical and sexual abuse are often bucketed together with research, as are drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Because researchers were able to properly inform policymakers about the positive outcomes families and communities experience when child welfare systems devote more resources to preventing the need for foster care in the first place, The Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law in February 2018. Usually, resources have always been available to families who have had their children placed in foster care, but very there are very few resources are available to strengthen families and prevent foster care from happening at all.

General Findings Surrounding the Key Factors

  • A March 2018 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed that the foster care population jumped by more than 10 percent between 2012 and 2016, the last year for which data is available. The agency attributed the increase in child welfare caseloads to the United State's opioid epidemic, which is destroying families.
  • The law also removes the stipulation that states can only use prevention services for very poor low, or no income, families. As income standards had not been adjusted in two decades, dwindling numbers of families qualified for the services. Now, states no longer have to show that an at-risk family meets those past income standards. As abuse happens in rich homes, middle-class homes, and poor homes, this is a significant policy change because states can really increase their efforts to provide innovative prevention services to troubled families.

Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals

  • Our initial hour of research was spent finding the significant or key factors that affect the stability of a family. Many sources we scanned were merely providing opinion, with very little data to back it up, but we finally found a definitive source that provided the top ten key issues, and we narrowed that down to eight after combining two of the categories that were very similar.
  • We were not given a geographic focus for this in the chat, so we assumed a United States focus. If a more broad approach is required, for example, a global look, this will significantly change the entire scoping that will be offered below, and a call to our client team would have to happen.
  • Please select one or more of the options provided in the proposed scoping section below.

Proposed next steps:

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