Reentry into Out-of-Home Care: Implications of Child Welfare Workers' Assessments of Risk and Safety


This longitudinal analysis examined predictors of reentry to foster care among children and youths who entered foster care between 2001 and 2007. Three sources of administrative data (Chapin Hall Center for Children longitudinal files, National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, and structured decision making) from one state were used to assess whether Child Protective Services workers' risk and safety assessment decisions are predictive of reentry into foster care. Cox regression modeling identified characteristics associated with reentry during this period. Findings suggest that current neglect assessment, problems with parenting skills, motivation to improve parenting, safety assessment decision, length of stay, substantiated allegations, and unsubstantiated allegations were associated with likelihood of reentry. The results suggest that child welfare systems could more effectively use assessment tools to match families with needed services.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Social Work Research


Oxford Journals

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type