Achieving Better Results for Kids in the Child Welfare System

Combining Policy Practices

Withdrawn pending further review.
RAND researchers built a quantitative model that simulated how children enter and move through the nation's child welfare system. They then used the model to project how different policy options (prevention services, family preservation efforts, kinship care efforts, and a policy package that combined prevention services and kinship care) would affect a child's pathway through the system, costs, and outcomes in early adulthood. Our findings indicated that striking a better balance between programs to prevent child maltreatment and services for those who have already suffered from abuse could improve long-term outcomes for children while also significantly reducing child welfare system costs in the United States.

However, in the wake of the release of our study on May 23, 2017, including an infographic outlining the high-level findings, we received some feedback from the wider child welfare research community about several of the inputs used in our model — specifically those related to lifetime rates of child maltreatment and resulting engagement with the child welfare system. We are currently evaluating how altering our assumptions to reflect higher lifetime rates would affect the policy scenario results. Based on preliminary modeling, we don’t think the results will change materially. But RAND's commitment to accuracy and quality compel us to take these concerns seriously, and so we have withdrawn the report and related products and will publish revised and updated versions as soon as possible.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation infographic series. RAND infographics are design-focused, visual representations of data and information based on a published, peer-reviewed product or a body of published work.

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