The second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II) is a longitudinal study intended to answer a range of fundamental questions about the functioning, service needs, and service use of children who come in contact with the child welfare system. The study is sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It examines the well-being of children involved with child welfare agencies; captures information about the abuse or neglect that brought the child into the study; collects information about the child’s family provides information about child welfare interventions and other services; and describes key characteristics of child development. Of particular interest to the study are children’s health, mental health, and developmental risks, especially for those children who experienced the most severe abuse and exposure to violence.
The study includes 5,873 children ranging from birth to 17.5 years old at the time of sampling. Children were sampled from child welfare investigations closed between February 2008 and April 2009 in 83 counties nationwide. The cohort includes substantiated and unsubstantiated investigations of abuse or neglect, as well as children and families who were and were not receiving services. Infants and children in out-of-home placement were oversampled to ensure adequate representation of high-risk groups. Face-to-face interviews or assessments were conducted with children, parents, and nonparent adult caregivers (e.g., foster parents, kin caregivers, group home caregivers), and investigative caseworkers. Baseline data collection began March 2008 and was completed in September 2009.
The purpose of this sixth NSCAW II Baseline Brief Report is to describe child and family contact with investigative caseworkers and the child welfare system during the first wave of data collection (baseline). Included are descriptions of the investigative caseworkers assigned to children in the cohort, the service needs of these children and families, their reported interaction and satisfaction with the caseworker and child welfare system, and the reunification and placement experiences for the subset of children in out-of-home care.