Featured Publications In partnership with researchers at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota:
Safe Passage recognizes that good research is an important tool for improving the child welfare system. To that end we have collaborated with researchers at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, and produced two published articles.
The co-authors are:
Canan Karatekin — Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota
Richard Gehrman — Safe Passage for Children, St. Paul, Minnesota
Jamie Lawler — Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota
Children and Youth Services Review published part I: "A study of maltreated children and their families in juvenile court"
There is little empirical research on the families referred to court (juvenile, family or dependency court) for child maltreatment. To fill some of the gaps in this area, we reviewed publicly available court records of 88 cases referred to juvenile court for maltreatment in Hennepin County, MN between 2008 and 2012. In the current paper, we focused on the conduct of the court case, such as appointment of guardians ad litem, compliance with permanency deadlines, and the frequency and outcomes of protective supervision by the court. Children were on average 7.5 years old at the time of the petition. Presenting maltreatment types commonly included alcohol or substance abuse of the parents (to the extent that they could not take care of their children), failure to provide supervision, and exposure to domestic violence. African-American, Native American children and children of two or more races were over-represented, whereas white children were underrepresented in the sample. However, there were no significant ethnic/racial differences on any of the variables examined. Guardians ad litem were appointed for almost all children, and the judges' orders were consistent with the guardians' recommendations in the large majority of cases. Most of the children kept with, or reunified with, their parent(s) were placed under Protective Supervision of the court; however, about a third suffer again from maltreatment while under Protective Supervision. Permanency deadlines were followed or extended with reason for most of the cases. Nevertheless, a third of the children whose cases ended with family preservation were deemed to be still at risk for maltreatment at case dismissal. Finally, 15% of the cases returned to court with a new petition within the study period. These results suggest that although certain aspects of court procedure (e.g., appointment of guardians ad litem, permanency deadlines) have improved over time, there is still more to be done to ensure the safety of the children from maltreatment.
© 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
The Juvenile Family Court Journal published part III: "A Study of Maltreated Children and Their Families in Juvenile Court. III. Case Plans"
We reviewed publicly available court records of 88 cases referred to juvenile court for maltreatment in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The goal of the current study was to examine the content of, and extent of compliance with, case plans. There was an average of 9.5 items per child on the case plan. About half the case plans did not address at least one presenting maltreatment type. Compliance was generally high for items ordered for the children, and for cases that ended in family preservation. However, information on compliance was not included in the court records for many of the items.