Engaging Fathers in Child Welfare Case Planning: A Secondary Analysis of Administrative Data

A major challenge in child welfare and child protection services includes a large number of children living in households with absent fathers. To date, few studies have explored individual efforts by states to engage and involve fathers in child welfare case planning. Focus of Inquiry: This study explored the perspective of both fathers and families as well as the agency practices in an effort to better understand the practices, strengths and challenges to engaging fathers in case planning by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) caseworkers. Methods: The study utilized de-identified administrative mixed data from a sample of 91 case reviews gathered from the Federal Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSR); the CFSR assesses a state's performance in achieving safety, permanency, and well-being for children and families. Results: The study found 45.5% of father's received a comprehensive assessment, 36% of fathers received services, 48% were involved in case planning and 51.4% had quality visits. Discussion: Future studies should continue to make fathers a priority, conduct more studies using larger samples.