IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Reunification from foster care: Informing measures over time


  • Shaw, Terry V.


Children's paths through the child welfare system to permanency (adoption, reunification or guardianship) are complicated. Currently, federal policy and the child welfare literature point to reunification with the birth parents as the preferred type of permanent exit. The time it takes to move children towards a permanent exit is an important metric for child welfare. Traditionally, survival analysis was the method utilized when examining exits over time. One of the primary assumptions necessary for survival analysis is that the censoring be uninformed (i.e. that there is no underlying mechanism driving the censoring events). This assumption is violated when the probability of one event occurring is not independent of another outcome. A multi-step statistical model was developed to overcome the informative censoring present in the analysis of child welfare exits to permanency. Results suggest that, for reunification, the standard survival analysis model overestimates the amount of time children spend in care prior to reunification by not accounting for informative censoring. Overestimating the time children spend in care could lead to incorrect caseload projection, inaccurate fiscal projections, and imprecise measurements of time to reunification.

Suggested Citation

  • Shaw, Terry V., 2010. "Reunification from foster care: Informing measures over time," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 475-481, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:32:y:2010:i:4:p:475-481

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wells, Kathleen & Guo, Shenyang, 1999. "Reunification and reentry of foster children," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 273-294, April.
    2. Courtney, Mark E. & Needell, Barbara & Wulczyn, Fred, 2004. "Unintended consequences of the push for accountability: the case of national child welfare performance standards," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(12), pages 1141-1154, December.
    3. Shaw, Terry V., 2006. "Reentry into the foster care system after reunification," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(11), pages 1375-1390, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Landers, Ashley L. & Danes, Sharon M., 2016. "Forgotten children: A critical review of the reunification of American Indian children in the child welfare system," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 137-147.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:32:y:2010:i:4:p:475-481. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.