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Factors Predicting Service Referrals for Youth in the Child Welfare System
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal  (IF1.862),  Pub Date : 2021-04-27, DOI: 10.1007/s10560-021-00760-1
Heather M. Thompson, Marianna L. Colvin, Morgan E. Cooley, Bethany Womack

Youth involved in the child welfare system and specifically those in foster care disproportionately experience concerns related to their psychosocial needs compared to youth who are not in care; consequently, assessment of those needs and referral to appropriate services is critical. The purpose of this study was to examine whether needs (i.e. behaviors) of youth involved in the child welfare and foster care systems and organizational culture and climate are associated with caseworkers’ recommendations for services, considering youth and caregiver report, as well as other individual and family factors. The sample came from Wave 2 of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being II and weighted data were used for the analyses (n = 462). Logistic regression was used to analyze factors, such as youth behavior and organizational culture and climate, that predict a referral for various youth services for youth who experienced maltreatment and remained in home or were placed in foster care. Results indicate that youth behavior was most likely to predict referral services, as well as other youth characteristics, but organizational culture and climate of agencies did not influence referral recommendations. These findings highlight the need for more research examining the decision-making and assessment practices of child welfare caseworkers and use of appropriate assessments for youth involved in the child welfare system.