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Children of parents with cognitive limitations and their parents' involvement in mandated parenting education

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Title:
Children of parents with cognitive limitations and their parents' involvement in mandated parenting education what conditions affect child placement?
Creator:
Schwarzinger, Dana Rotello
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Language:
English
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xii, 89 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Parents with mental disabilities ( lcsh )
Children of parents with mental disabilities ( lcsh )
Parenting -- Study and teaching ( lcsh )
Foster home care ( lcsh )
Children of parents with mental disabilities ( fast )
Foster home care ( fast )
Parenting -- Study and teaching ( fast )
Parents with mental disabilities ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 85-89).
General Note:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Dana Rotello Schwarzinger.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
519492506 ( OCLC )
ocn519492506
Classification:
LD1193.L65 2009m S33 ( lcc )

Full Text
CHILDREN OF PARENTS WITH COGNITIVE LIMITATIONS AND THEIR
PARENTS INVOLVEMENT IN MANDATED PARENTING EDUCATION:
WHAT CONDITIONS AFFECT CHILD PLACEMENT?
by
Dana Rotello Schwarzinger
B.A., University of Colorado Denver, 2002
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Social Science
2009


This thesis for the Master of Social Science
degree by
Dana Rotello Schwarzinger
has been approved
by
Virginia S. Fink
//

Date


Schwarzinger Rotello, Dana (M.S.S. Social Science)
Children of Parents with Cognitive Limitations and their Participation in Mandated
Parenting Education: What Are The Placement Outcomes for these Children?
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Sara E. Yeatman
ABSTRACT
This study asks under what conditions children of parents with cognitive
limitations benefit from parenting education. Specifically, it addresses how
accounting for intervening factors such as substance abuse, depression, partner
involvement, and domestic violence alters the relationship between parenting
education and child placement? The intake and discharge data of 183 parents with
cognitive limitations and their 349 children describe the relationships between child
protective services and children of parents with cognitive limitations participating in
mandated parenting education program. This study found that child placement is
dependent on the presence or absence of intervening factors and the placement of
children at the beginning of the parenting program. These findings support using
constructivist pedagogy in parenting education. Given the number of parents with
cognitive limitations involved with child protective services, and the wide use of
parenting education in child abuse and child neglect investigations, these findings and
their implications potentially impact intervention programs designed to reduce the
incidence and reoccurrence of child abuse and child neglect.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend its publication
Signed


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis to my family, who has supported me throughout this long
journey. I am blessed that in the chaos of raising a family my own dreams and
aspirations have been a priority. I would especially like to dedicate this work to my
oldest daughter who has spent her entire life with her mom in school. I hope that
when she is old enough to understand the details of the process she will be proud. I
would also like to thank my husband who, amidst his own advancing career, made
every effort to be available for me in any capacity I asked of him. I am particularly
grateful for his mastery of English grammar. Who knew that a native German
speaker would end up being my most trusted editor? From reading my thesis to
taking care of the kids, he was dedicated to supporting me in this achievement. I
hope that I have shown each of them my gratitude. Most importantly, I would like to
dedicate this work to a high school dropout I once knew. This work is evidence that
your life is not defined by a single moment in time or a perceived mistake.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Sara E. Yeatman for her insight
and advice. She was an integral part of this research project from the proposal to the
defense. When I encountered obstacles, her willingness to step-in made certain that
this process came to fruition. I would like to thank Myra O. Bookman who has been
my advisor and mentor from the beginning. Her support has been invaluable.
Additionally, I would like to thank Virginia S. Fink who, in a pinch, signed on as a
reader. These women represent the outstanding teaching faculty at the University of
Colorado Denver. I would also like to thank the parenting program for the data used in
this project. Their contribution made this work possible.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Tables .................................................................ix
Figures ...............................................................xii
CHAPTER 1................................................................1
INTRODUCTION......................................................1
Previous Literature...........................................4
Historical Context............................................4
The Prevalence of Cognitive Limitations.......................5
Parenting Education and Parents with Cognitive Limitations....6
Intervening factors...........................................7
Program Description...........................................8
CHAPTER 2...............................................................10
THEORETICAL RELEVANCE............................................10
Situated Cognition...........................................10
Historical Background........................................11
Influential Theorists........................................12
vi


CHAPTER 3
17
METHOD...........................................................17
Research Design & Procedure..................................17
Obstacles to Evaluation......................................18
Parenting and Parenting Education............................18
Measurement..................................................21
Population...................................................23
Variables....................................................26
CHAPTER 4...............................................................31
DATA ANALYSIS....................................................31
Number of children per parent................................32
Intervening Factors (IF).....................................33
Child placement data.........................................36
Four Placement Groups.....................................42
Prior Program Participation..................................54
Termination of Parental Rights...............................57
vii


CHAPTER 5............................................66
INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS.......................66
CHAPTER 6............................................75
CONCLUSION......................................75
APPENDIX A...........................................80
BIBLIOGRAPHY.........................................85
vm


List of Tables
1. Coding of placement group...............................................28
2. General statistics on the study population in terms of children of
parents with cognitive limitations only and children of parents with
cognitive limitations and intervening factors by participation year....35
3. Child placement at intake...............................................36
4. Child placement at intake in relation to cognitive limitations only and
cognitive limitations and intervening factors..........................37
5. Child placement at discharge............................................38
6. The odds of being placed in the home at discharge when placed in the
home at intake.........................................................39
7. Placement at discharge: the odds of being either cognitively limited
or having intervening factors..........................................40
8. Total enrollment per placement group....................................43
9. The relationship between placement groups and cognitive limitations
only or intervening factors............................................45
10. Successful versus unsuccessful placement outcomes and it
relationship to children of parents with cognitive limitations and
children of parents with cognitive limitations and intervening factors.47
11. Total percentage of successful outcomes: comparison between
participation year, enrollment of children of parents with cognitive
limitations only and children of parents with cognitive limitations and
intervening factors....................................................49
IX


12. The relationship between partner involvement, children of parents
with cognitive limitations, and children of parents with cognitive
limitations and intervening factors.......................................52
13. The relationship between placement outcomes and partner
involvement...............................................................54
14. Total Enrollment, prior program participation, and number of months
in program as related to cognitive limitations and cognitive
limitations and intervening factors ......................................55
15. The relationship between placement outcomes and prior program
participation.............................................................56
16. Termination of parental rights and its relationship to cognitive
limitations and cognitive limitations and intervening factors.............58
18. Two-sample t test: terminations and average length of participation
by cognitive limitations only and cognitive limitations and
intervening factors.......................................................59
19. Terminations by placement group and its association with children of
parents with cognitive limiations and children of parents with
cognitive limitations and intervening factors.............................61
20. Terminations and its relationship to prior program participation...........62
21. Terminations and its relationship to prior program participation as
related to children of parents with cognitive limitations and children
of parents with cognitive limitations and intervening factors.............63
22. Terminations by participation year, cognitive limitations only, and
cognitive limitations and intervening factors.............................65
23. Variables and their respective units of analysis...........................80
x


24. Placement at discharge: the odds of being in the home at discharge
when placed in the home at intake for children of parents with both a
cognitive limitation and intervening factors..........................81
25. Placement at discharge: the odds of being in the home at discharge
when placed in the home at intake for children of parent with
cognitive limitations only............................................81
26. Successful outcomes and partner involvement when considering
children of parents with cognitive limitations only...................82
27. Successful outcomes and partner involvement when considering
children of parents with cognitive limitations and (a) intervening
factors...............................................................82
xi


List of Figures
1: In Home Placement at Intake Versus Discharge & the
Differences Between Cognitive Limitations Only, Cognitive
Limitations and Intervening factors, and the Total Study
Population..........................................................41
2: Percentage of Enrollment by Children of Parents with CL and
Intervening factors versus Percentage of Success per
Participation Year..................................................50
3: Two Group Mean Comparison Test: Average Length of
Participation.......................................................83
Xll


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Child abuse and child neglect are important issues to public health. In 2006,
3.5 million children were involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) in the United
States (Department of Health and Human Services, 2006; Casanueva, Martin, et al.,
2008). Given the prevalence of child abuse and child neglect, it is necessary to
identify the risk factors involved in order to develop interventions that effectively
target these risk factors.
The perpetrators of child abuse and child neglect are most frequently the
parent(s) of the victim (Sedlak, 1996; U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, 2005; Department of Health and Human Services, 2006). Certain parental
characteristics put children at increased risk for child abuse and child neglect. These
characteristics include poor parenting skills, substance abuse, and/or mental health
issues (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005). In CPS
investigations, 1 in every 3 parents used poor parenting skills (U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, 2005). CPS workers identified a large number of
parents as actively abusing substances and 15% of parents with mental health issues.
In 'A of the mental health cases, the parent (s) had a cognitive limitation.
Cognitive limitations are difficult to define since the symptoms and
difficulties are extremely varied. In general, cognitive limitations are understood as
the reduced capacity for intellectual tasks such as planning, decision-making, and
coping1 (North Carolina Division of Social Services and the Families Resource
1


Program, 2004).
In most cases, when parents are involved in CPS investigations, their children
remain in the home. In contrast, children placed out of the home frequently have
parents who show signs of poor parenting skills, excessive discipline techniques,
substance abuse, and mental health issues (including cognitive limitations). Active
substance abusers are more likely to have their children removed from the home.
Research indicates that the proportion of parents with serious mental health issues is
highest among children placed outside of the home (U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, 2005). Although substance abuse and mental health issues are
significant risk factors, the issue of poor parenting skills is the most significant factor
influencing placement decisions. Consequently, parenting education is the second
most common service offered to parents involved in CPS investigations as a means to
reduce incidence and re-occurrence of child abuse and child neglect (U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services, 2005; Casanueva, Martin, et al., 2008).
Parenting education is an intervention used to reduce the incidence and
reoccurrence of child abuse and child neglect. This intervention allows CPS to
comply with its legal obligation to make reasonable efforts to preserve the family
(Goldman, 2003; Dagenais, Begin, et ah, 2004; Barth, 2005; U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, 2006). The term reasonable efforts refers to CPSs
duty to offer support services that potentially reduce the risk of placing children
outside of the home. Although parenting education is a widely used intervention, 1
1 A person is considered mentally retarded when their intellectual quotient (IQ) is below 70-75 on the
Weschler Test. However, this study uses the term cognitive limitations because individuals above 70-
75 may have difficulty with higher-level tasks intrinsic to parenting and as such require services and
support. Additionally, persons with cognitive limitations frequently are unidentified and therefore
undiagnosed by the Weschler Test. Thus IQ score alone is not a sufficient measure of intellectual
capacity in terms of this research and parenting education (North Carolina Division of Social Services
and the Families Resource Program, 2004).
2


there is minimal research evaluating its effectiveness (Courtney, 2000; Barth, 2005;
Casanueva, Martin, et al., 2008).
Many children of parents with cognitive limitations (CL) are involved in CPS
investigations. Given the wide use of parenting education, parents with CL often
participate in this abuse intervention. However, research that assesses the degree to
which parenting education is an appropriate intervention for this population is
lacking. Few studies objectively measure how parenting education benefits the
children of parents with CL. Additionally, studies have not specifically measured the
extent to which parenting education curricula are appropriate for these parents. Thus
parenting education as a suitable child abuse and/or child neglect intervention is
unsubstantiated. Moreover, research has failed to explicate the relationship between
parenting education, parents with CL, and other intervening factors such as substance
abuse and co-occurring mental health issues (i.e., depression, bipolar disorder, etc.).
The frequent use of parenting education as an intervention for this population
indicates that evaluating its effectiveness has important implications for child abuse
and child neglect research.
The present study evaluates a parenting program, contracted by CPS, to
provide parenting education to parents with CL involved in child abuse and child
neglect investigations. It examines the placement outcomes for children of these
parents, who are involved in a CPS investigation, and are required to participate in a
parenting education program. This research seeks to identify important intervening
factors that may influence child placement.
The hypothesis of this study asserts that the degree to which parents with CL
benefit from parenting education is dependent on the presence or absence of co-
occurring intervening factors, placement of children at the beginning of the program,
and the length of time in the program.
3


Previous Literature
Historical Context
Throughout history, individuals with CL have faced extreme discrimination.
The Zeitgeist of the nineteenth century understood CL as the external manifestation of
ones immoral character. As such, individuals with CL were denied marital,
procreative, and parenting rights (Field, 2001; Murphy and Feldman, 2002). Like
other marginalized groups, individuals with CL also endured the eugenics movement
of the twentieth century (Field, 2001). In an effort to restrict childbearing, the
majority of the United States enforced legal doctrine to prevent individuals with CL
from entering into marriage. Moreover, forced sterilization was in practice. One
example of this practice is the historic case in 1927, Buck vs. Bell, which approved
the sterilization of a woman with CL2 (Hayman, 1990).
By 1971, the United Nations adopted The Declaration of General and
Specific Rights of the Mentally Retarded (Field, 2001). This document asserts that
all individuals have the inalienable right to, participate in all aspects of community
life. This declaration marked the point at which legal doctrine began to shift from
marginalization to protection of persons with CL.
Protecting the rights of individuals with CL has changed substantially over the
last few decades; however, protecting their parental rights continues to pose unique
challenges (Murphy and Feldman, 2002). During certain periods in history, parenting
rights were restricted based on an individuals Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Today, the
law cannot intervene in the parent-child relationship because of IQ or perceived
2 It is important to note that cognitive limitation was not the official term used. Hayman, in this case,
referred to the woman as mentally disabled. Other historical terms commonly used were imbecile or
mentally retarded.
4


mental capacity. Additionally, the law assigns the legal obligation to CPS to make
reasonable efforts to preserve the parent-child relationship. In this spirit, CPS offers
certain services (i.e., parenting education, life skills training, etc.) to accommodate a
parents CL.
The Prevalence of Cognitive Limitations (CL)
According to the US Census Bureau, nearly 6% of the total population3 had a
cognitive limitation4 5 6 in 2006 (US Census Bureau, 2006). Additionally, 5% of the
population ages 16-64 had a cognitive limitation5,6. With respect to CPS investigations,
child welfare workers identified 7% of parents as cognitively impaired (U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services, 2005). Experts estimate that when parents have a CL,
their children are more likely to be removed from their care (Feldman, 1994; Perkins,
Holbum, et al., 2002; North Carolina Division of Social Services, 2004; Booth, 2005;
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005; Ward, 2007). Parents of
children living out of the home are significantly more likely to have a cognitive
impairment than parents of children living in the home (U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, 2005). Research suggests that parents with CL are overrepresented in
cases where parental rights are terminated (Aunos and Feldman, 2002).
The aforementioned evidence suggests that children of parents with CL are at
increased risk of child abuse and child neglect. These children are overrepresented
among children in placement, and their parents rights are more likely to be terminated.
Thus, it is necessary to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between parents
3 This statistic results from the following equation: (Pop. Ages 5-15 w/ mental disability = 2,279,536)
+ (Pop. Ages 16-64 w/ mental disability = 9,291,274) + (Pop. Ages 65 and older w/ mental disability =
4,410,737) / (Total pop. In 2006 = 273,835,465) =5.8%
4 The US Census Bureau uses mental disability where this study uses cognitive limitation
5 This statistic is important because it roughly estimates the population likely to be parents.
6 It is important to note that cognitive limitations are difficult to identify, and thus the population
prevalence of cognitive limitations is likely underestimated.
5


with CL and CPS investigations. Such an understanding will have important implications
for the CPS goal of family preservation, and more generally, for risk factors of child
abuse and child neglect.
Parenting Education and Parents with Cognitive Limitations (CL)
Experts in the field assert that IQ is not a sufficient predictor of an
individuals general (Whitaker, 2008) or parenting capacity. Contrary to
misconceptions, parents with CL have the ability to benefit from family centered
parenting education (Feldman, 1994; Field, 2001; Aunos and Feldman, 2002;
Llewellyn, McConnell, et al., 2002; North Carolina Division of Social Services, 2004;
Ward, 2006; Ward, 2007).
Parenting education is the second most common intervention used in CPS
investigations (Casanueva, Martin, et al., 2008). Since parents with CL represent a
large number of parents involved in CPS investigations, and CPS investigations
commonly offer parenting education, parents with CL are likely to participate in this
type of education. For the most part, parenting education programs neither consider
nor implement the unique needs and learning styles of parents with CL into their
curricula or design. Thus, a parents inability to benefit from parenting education
may indicate the programs inability to educate this population rather than the
parents inability to parent (Hayman, 1990). The law intervenes only when parents
demonstrate themselves as unfit. Experts speculate that the overrepresentation of
parents with CL with children in placement, coupled with the overrepresentation of
parents with CL who have their parental rights terminated, suggests that these parents
continue to be judged as unfit based on their mental capacity (Feldman, 1994;
Booth, 2005; Ward, 2007). Research in the field of parenting education for parents
with CL is limited; the use of parenting education in CPS investigations and the
6


prevalence of parents with CL involved in such investigations indicates the necessity
for further research.
Intervening factors
Intervening factors such as substance abuse, mental health issues (other than
CL), domestic violence, and single parenting put children at increased risk for child
abuse and child neglect. Research indicates that a significant relationship exists
between child abuse, child neglect, and substance abuse. Children of parents who
abuse substances are 3 times more likely to be abused and/or neglected compared to
children of parents who do not abuse substances (Goldman, 2003). As previously
mentioned, many parents were actively using substances at the time of the CPS
investigation (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005; Barth, Gibbons,
et al., 2006). Parents of children living in placement are significantly more likely to
abuse substances than parents of children living in the home (U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, 2005).
Depression and other serious mental health issues increase the risk of child
abuse and child neglect (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005;
Bolen, McWey, et ah, 2008). Mental health issues often co-occur with substance
abuse, domestic violence, and single parent households. Depression and substance
abuse are frequently linked, thereby increasing the risk and severity of child abuse
and child neglect (Bolen, McWey, et ah, 2008). Research suggests that the
relationship between depression and single parenting also has significant implications
for child placement. Children of single parents are at greater risk for child abuse and
child neglect compared to children in two parent households (Sedlak, 1996; U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, 2005; Bolen, McWey, et ah, 2008). This
increase in risk is attributed to the heightened level of stress and depression connected
7


to single parenting. Thus, the degree to which depression (and other mental health
issues) alone affects child abuse and child neglect is difficult to estimate. However,
its frequent presence in these cases of child abuse and child neglect indicates that
research in this field should consider the influence of depression.
Domestic violence frequently co-occurs with child abuse and child neglect
(Goldman, 2003; Kelleher, Barth, et al., 2005; Landsman and Hartley, 2007).
Research suggests that 1/3 of parents have been the victim of domestic violence (U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, 2005). Child abuse and child neglect
investigations are complicated when a parent is also an abuse victim (Landsman and
Hartley, 2007).
The prevalence of intervening factors such as substance abuse, mental health
issues (other than CL), domestic violence, and single parenting suggests that research
in the field of abuse and neglect should consider their respective influence. Since this
study population is parents with CL involved in a parenting education program and a
CPS investigation, this research considers the influence of these intervening factors.
Program Description
A variety of parenting programs exists, and their processes, mechanisms, and
curricula are vastly different. Thus, a brief description of the philosophy and practice
of the parenting program in question is important to contextualize the rationale of this
study. If a relationship exists between child placement and this parenting education
program, then an understanding of the program will inform the interpretation of this
relationship. The design of the parenting program evaluated in this study, in terms of
educational processes, mechanisms and curriculum addresses the unique needs of
parents with CL. A variety of the services offered meet the best practices criteria set
forth by experts in the field.
8


Best practice for parents with CL is family centered and includes assessment,
regular home visits, individualized education, and coordination of services (Hayman,
1990; Feldman, 1994; Green, 2000; Llewellyn, McConnell, et al., 2002; Llewellyn,
McConnell, et al., 2003; Barth, 2005; Dunst, Trivette, et al., 2007; Ward, 2007).
Further, appropriate instruction for parents with CL is concrete and includes
modeling, repetition, and real life examples. This parenting program incorporates all
such elements as fundamental to its educational approach.
Parents who participate in this program receive instruction based on the
specific needs of the parents, children, CPS investigation details, and other relevant
circumstances. A parent educator identifies the parents specific areas of need from a
90-day initial evaluation period. During this evaluation period, the parent educator
directly observes the parent(s) with their children, reviews the historical background
of the family, and communicates with other service providers.
Each week a qualified parent educator meets with the family in the home for a
minimum of two hours. The home environment is the site for the majority of parent
education and life skills training. The parent educator uses hands-on demonstration,
repetition, role modeling, and teaching moments that arise during visits. This
method maximizes the degree to which parents comprehend and implement the
presented material. Moreover, parent educators are available for consultation outside
of home visits; for example, educators provide after hours crisis intervention and
crisis management. This particular component allows parents to receive education
and assistance in the moment, thereby maximizing skill integration.
9


CHAPTER 2
THEORETICAL RELEVANCE
Situated Cognition
The educational philosophy of the parenting program is rooted in the tenets of
situated cognition. This theory understands learning as inextricably bound to the
native context. With respect to parenting education, comprehension of parenting
skills is optimized in the environment to which the skills will be applied. According
to situated cognition, the home environment and surrounding community is the ideal
environment for parenting education. In effect, the home and community are bound
to parenting skill.
It is important to clarify some definitional points related to situated cognition.
Situated cognition is also referred to as situated learning theory, participatory
learning, and experiential learning. For the purposes of this research, any learning
theory that emphasizes the importance of learning by doing is applicable. Social
learning theory is frequently related or conflated with situated cognition. This study
is concerned with the physical learning environment and the social dynamics of the
family home. To this extent, social learning theory is relevant. The primary focus of
this research is situated cognition rather than social learning theory, since the former
emphasizes the native environment, while the latter generally emphasizes social
relationships. The intrinsic relationship between child placement and social
relationships is difficult to quantify. Thus, the childs placement (i.e., environment)
is the central variable.
10


Historical Background
Situated cognition is a constructivist philosophy conceived from the twentieth
century debate between realism and post-modernism. The debate centered on the
ontological structure of the world in terms of the relationship between the thinking
subject and objective reality. For realism, the subject (or learner) is independent from
the object (environment, context, or world). Habermas characterized the realist
position in, Knowledge and Human Interests is (Habermas, 1968/1972), as the
basic ontological assumption of a structure of the world independent of the knower
(Habermas, 1972). According to this ontological paradigm, the world exists
independent of the knower and as such, facts about the world are immutable. From
an educational perspective, the appropriation of a realist paradigm assumes that
learning a fact about the world is possible despite the situational context of that fact,
since that fact remains constant across diverse contexts. Thus, learning is irrespective
of its situational context.
The postmodern philosophical paradigm differs from realism in that the
subject (learner) is essentially involved in the object (environment, context, or the
world). That is, the learner cannot be abstracted from the surrounding environment.
Further, there is no absolute objective mechanism whereby a fact about the world is
revealed, learned, or transmitted.
Empirical science and traditional educational models appropriate the realist
paradigm and thereby ignore the situational context in which learning a fact occurs.
These educational models are closely related to many positivist models, particularly
the behaviorist model. For behaviorism, learning is a process that involves physical
stimuli and behavioral responses to those stimuli. This pedagogical philosophy
focuses on repetition, practice, and reinforcement. Behaviorist education is the
educational model of modem day in that it assumes,
11


...that observations, listening to explanations from
teachers who communicate clearly, or engaging in experience,
activities, or practice sessions with feed-back will result in
learning and...that proficient skills will quantify to produce the
whole, or more encompassing concept (Fosnot Twomey, 1996).
This perspective does not consider the environment as intrinsically related to
the acquisition of knowledge. For positivist models like behaviorism, the subject is
distinct from objective reality, and the facts about objective reality can be transmitted
regardless of the context to which they belong.
Contrastingly, constructivism, ...breaks radically with the foundations of
empirico-realism, which claims to encode reality in terms of substances and
phenomena which are independent of the observers involved (Larochelle, 1998). For
constructivist theories, learning and ultimately knowledge are intrinsically connected
to their contextual environment. Thus, constructivism is firmly rooted in the
postmodern movement.
Influential Theorists
From an educational perspective, constructivism is founded from many
philosophies; however, most scholars recognize its fore fathers as John Dewey, Jean
Piaget, Jean Lave, L.S. Vygotsky, and Maria Montessori among others. This analysis
will specifically focus on the philosophies of Jean Piaget and L.S. Vygotsky since
each is considered formidable contributors to constructivist pedagogy. Although
these thinkers have substantial differences, they both assert that, human beings have
no access to an objective reality since we are constructing our version of it, while at
the same time transforming it and ourselves (Fosnot Twomey, 1996). For Piaget and
Vygotsky, knowledge is constructed from the interaction between the individual and
the surrounding environment. For example, in Psychology of Intelligence, Jean
Piaget writes,
12


The human being is immersed right from birth in a social
environment which affects him just as much as his physical
environment. Society, even more, in a sense, than the physical
environment, changes the very structure of the individuals,
because it not only compels him to recognize facts, but also
provides him with a ready-made system of signs, which modify
his thought...It is therefore quite evident that social life affects
intelligence through the three media of language (signs), the
content of interaction (intellectual values), and rules imposed on
thought (collective logical or prelogical norms (Elkind, 1969).
Most of Piagets works focuses on the human development and its
relationship to learning; however, his position that the learning subject is intimately
connected to the contextual environment is a consistent theme. For example, in
Piagets discussion of causality and its evolution in the learner, it is clear that this
essential concept is bom from the interaction of the mind with the world. Piaget
asserts, intellectual evolution requires that both mind and environment should make
their contribution (Gruber, 1977). Thus, the interaction of the learner and the
environment are necessary conditions for knowledge.
Contemporary educational psychology recognizes Vygotsky as immensely
influential in the development of constructivism in education (Sternberg, 2002). For
Vygotsky the construction of knowledge requires more than a contribution from both
mind and body. The learner is not distinct from the contextual environment, and
therefore knowledge and learning cannot be understood distinctly from the
environment (Daniels, 2007). Vygotskys theory of mind was fundamentally a theory
of social construction, since it hinged on his concept of human perception. For
Vygotsky perception is,
.. .an act that always seemed to be an act wholly
subordinate to elementary natural laws, and we shall try to show
that, in the child, this developmental process, most dependent on
the actual given situation, is reconstructed on a completely new
base and, preserving external, phenotypic similarity to the same
13


function in the animal, in its internal composition, structure, and
method of action, in its whole psychological nature, belongs to
higher function established in the process of historical
development and has a special history in ontogenesis (Rieber,
1987).
The most fundamental element of the human mind is perception and the most
fundamental field of perception is the actual given situation. Vygotskys
explanation illustrates the interdependence of perception and environment. This
interdependence shapes his concepts of knowledge acquisition and ultimately
pedagogical philosophy.
Vygotsky was interested in the social formation of pedagogy, and his modem
predecessors developed concepts like cognitive apprenticeship, anchored instruction,
and scaffolding. Situated cognition is one modem pedagogical translation of
constructivism which developed from the principles set forth in cognitive
apprenticeship, anchored instruction and scaffolding. Cognitive apprenticeship refers
to, an instructional model informed by the social situation in which an apprentice
might work with a master craftsperson in traditional societies (Daniels, 2007). From
this perspective, everyday situations provide the most authentic environment for
learning. Cognitive apprenticeships are anchored in real life situations and allow
the learner to benefit from the associations provided by the whole environment.
These situations include the community and the social skills that are transmitted only
through authentic social contexts. For Vygotsky and his modem predecessors, even
scientific concepts are made manifest in the everyday world. Daniels writes,
Vygotsky argued that the systematic, organized, and hierarchical thinking that he
associated with scientific concepts becomes gradually embedded in everyday
referents and, therefore, achieves a general sense in the contextual richness of
everyday thought (Daniels, 2007). That is, those skills that are thought to be wholly
abstract and derived from pure concepts rather than experience become an intrinsic
14


part of the experiential world. Thus, the everyday world is fertile ground to transmit
all knowledge from the purely practical to the purely conceptual.
A unique feature of Vygotskian philosophy is its concern with children with
special needs learning and the environment. For Vygotsky children with cognitive
limitations require different types of instruction compared to their non-disabled peers,
since their disability potentially impedes the appropriation of certain tools that allow
them to normally acquire knowledge. For Vygotsky, the socio-cultural milieu and the
everyday context is particularly important for individuals contending with cognitive
limitations. The pedagogical approach for persons with cognitive limitations, as
understood through Vygotskian theory, is individualized instruction tailored to the
specific needs of the individual within their native context (Daniels, 2007).
In the contemporary perspective of situated cognition, learning remains
inextricably tied to a particular situation. In other words, situations structure
cognition (Brown, Collins, et al., 1989). According to Tara Fenwick in Expanding
Conceptions of Experiential Learning: A Review of the Five Contemporary
Perspectives on Cognition, Lave and Wenger argue,
.. .the understanding that emerges in and helps a person to
participate in a situation are intimately entwined with the
particular community, tools, and activity of that situation. In other
words, individuals learn as they participate by interacting with the
community (with its history, assumptions, and cultural values,
rules, and patterns of relationship), the tools at hand (including
objects, technology, languages, and images) and the moments
activity (its purposes, norms, and practically challenges)
(Fenwick, 2000).
Parenting education is well suited to appropriate the tenets of situated
cognition since its application is always contextual. When parenting education occurs
in the home and/or in the community, the learner is connecting with the specific
features of his/her native environment, thereby maximizing skill integration because
15


the skills are contextualized within the history, assumptions, cultural values, rules,
and patterns of the family. Further, parenting education that is specifically focused
on individuals with cognitive limitations is in alignment with situated cognition since
the adaptations necessary to accommodate the specific needs of the individual are
frequently present in the native context and are universally instantiated in that specific
context. Thus, the home environment allows parents with cognitive limitations to
learn skills within their context and implement scaffolding that allows them to
maximize skill integration.
The educational philosophy of the parenting program is rooted in the tenets of
situated learning theory. With respect to parenting education, comprehension of
parenting skills is optimized in the environment to which the skills will be applied.
Thus, the home environment and surrounding community is, according to situated
learning theory, the ideal environment for parenting education. In effect, the home
and community are bound to parenting skill.
16


CHAPTER 3
METHOD
Research Design & Procedure
This research design follows the tenets of a descriptive longitudinal protocol
(Neuman, 2003). This type of design circumvents the ethical dilemmas involved with
this study population and a research design that includes a control arm.
Control Arm
Research in the field of CPS investigations and parents with CL poses ethical
concerns (Llewellyn, McConnell, et al., 2003). Including a control arm in a study
design presents unique risks to the study population. As discussed, CPS has a legal
obligation to make reasonable efforts to maintain or reunite a child with his/her
family. Implicit within this obligation is the federal requirement to accommodate a
persons disability. In this sense, CPS mandates parenting education to parents with
CL as a means to accommodate their disability. In cases where termination of
parental rights is at issue, such accommodations demonstrate that the State has
complied with its duty to make reasonable efforts to preserve the family (Dagenais,
Begin, et al., 2004). If a research design involving this population included a
treatment group (which received parenting education) and a control group (which did
not receive parenting education), then the control group would not have received
services to which they were entitled. The State would not be fulfilling its legal
obligation to these parents or their children. Research on parenting education for
parents with CL that incorporates a control arm fulfills its ethical obligation of
beneficence only if parents with CL are not also involved in an open CPS case. With
17


respect to the study design, a control arm is unethical since parents with CL were
involved in an open CPS investigation in all cases.
The ethical dilemma hinges on refusing services to which participants are
entitled for the benefit of research purposes alone. Only in cases where the absence
of treatment (parenting education) results from circumstances irrespective of research
could a control group be ethically included in a research protocol. Thus, in terms of
future research, a study design could include a control arm if certain conditions were
satisfied.
First, if the participating parent were not involved in an open CPS case, then
randomly assigning parents into a treatment group and a non-treatment group would
not preclude a participant from receiving services to which they were entitled. Thus,
voluntary participation is one condition under which a control arm could be included
in the study design. Secondly, a control group could be included if data was collected
from parents awaiting services. In some cases, parenting programs have extensive
waiting lists. If data were collected from these lists, then the differences between
parents that receive services versus parents that did not receive services could be
compared. In these cases, the absence of services would not be an effect of their
participation in research. As a result, a research design that uses this procedure would
avoid the aforementioned ethical dilemma.
Obstacles to Evaluation
Parenting and Parenting Education
Minimal research has evaluated parenting education for families in CPS
investigations. There are many obstacles to evaluation research in this field (Barth,
2005; Casanueva, Martin, et al., 2008). Some barriers apply to evaluation research in
18


general, others are specific to the needs and the situational context of parents with CL
(Llewellyn, McConnell, et al., 2002). It is necessary to understand these barriers in
order to recognize how this research design compensates for them.
One obstacle to evaluation research in this field is the definition of adequate
parenting. This definition is ambiguous and imprecise and creates a barrier to
determining the effectiveness of parenting education programs (Feldman, 1994;
Ehlers-Flint, 2002). What are the parenting skills that universally count as
appropriate? What measurements should determine parenting ability? How can
evaluation research account for the significant impact of a parents cultural, historical,
and financial background (Courtney, 2000; Field, 2001)? When is a parent successful
(Courtney, 2000)? What change occurred that indicates the level of success a parent
has achieved? Subjective criteria often determine parental success. The imprecise
definition of parental success limits evaluation of parenting education.
With regard to parents with CL, societal stigma compounds the problem of
defining successful parenting. Professional misconceptions about parents with CL
can inform decisions which profoundly affect the family (Ward, 2007). In short, the
institutions and professionals, that subjectively define successful parenting,
potentially embed within that definition the societal stigma (Murphy and Feldman,
2002).
Another obstacle to evaluation research of parenting programs is the wide
variety of parenting education models. That is, not all parents involved in CPS
mandated parenting education are participating in the same type of program.
Programs differ in terms of curriculum, location, mode, and duration. Some
parenting education programs disseminate general parenting information and
parenting technique in a class. Others disseminate individualized information during
19


home visits. Some programs offer weekly classes for six months, while others offer
weekly in-home visits for as long as 2 years (Barth, 2005).
A fourth obstacle to evaluation research of parenting education is the absence
of a control group (Field, 2001). Evaluation research, with regard to parenting
programs, is often unable to compare results against a group of like individuals who
did not receive the intervention. Therefore, research is unable to establish an
explanatory relationship between parenting education and child abuse and child
neglect.
Data Collection
Data collection occurred prior to and independent of this study. Data
collection was part of the routine record keeping procedures of the program. The
director of the program was responsible for all aspects of data collection and data
input. The data set included eight variables. These variables are child placement
data, number of children per parent, length of participation, partner involvement,
prior participation, intervening factors, termination of parental rights, and
participation year. This study distinguishes between participants through numerical
identifiers. There is no association between these identification numbers and the
identifiable personal information of the participants.
Institutional Review Board (IRB)
According to The Basic Policy Protection of Human Research Subjects (Subpart A,
Section 46.102) this research does not require approval from the Institutional Review
Board (IRB). IRB approval was not needed for the following reasons (U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, 2005):
a) The data was not collected for research,
20


b) This research did not obtain data through intervention or interaction with the
individual,
c) The data does not reveal identifiable personal information.
Measurement
Child Placement as an Outcome
Child placement refers to the living situation of children whose parent(s) are
involved in CPS investigations. For the purposes of this study, a child is either living
in the home or out of the home. This dichotomous positioning does not accurately
depict the range of child placement options within CPS. However, this definition of
child placement is useful to compare the rate at which children of parents with CL are
in the home versus out of the home before and after participation in this parenting
education program.
Whether child placement is the measurement for child abuse and child neglect
prevention, the measurement of program effectiveness, or the measurement of
parental ability, its suitability should be justified (Courtney, 2000).
There are several advantages to analyzing child placement in relation to
program effectiveness. It is in the best interest of children to live with their parent(s)
when their home environment is safe and nurturing. This precept guides the legal and
ethical obligations of CPS. Therefore, the goal of CPS and the programs contracted
by CPS is to preserve or reunify children with their parents. With regard to this
parenting education program, the primary objective is the safety and well-being of the
child and its secondary objective is the preservation or reunification of the family. In
this sense, child placement data is an appropriate measure of the extent to which
children of parents benefit from parenting education since it is in alignment with the
founding principles of the governing system.
21


A second advantage to analyzing child placement is the degree to which such
data reflects parenting ability in terms of observed practice. One obstacle to
evaluation is the imprecise, subjective definition of parenting ability. Some research
evaluates program effectiveness by pre and post-tests given to parents. This method
measures program effectiveness by self-report. This is problematic for parents with
CL for a variety of reasons; namely, their disability may affect their comprehension,
thus affecting the validity of the results (Hartley and MacLean, 2006). A parents
post-test which indicates an improvement in parenting ability does not indicate that
the parent has translated that improvement into parenting practice. That is, a parent
may know how to answer a question appropriately but not know how to translate that
knowledge into everyday parenting. In the case of this parenting education program,
CPS determines child placement, both before and after participation. In effect, when
children are in the home, CPS has determined that parenting practice is, for the time
being, adequate. In this sense, child placement is indicative of parenting practice.
A third advantage is the degree to which child placement as an outcome is
objective. As discussed, CPS determines child placement. The caseworker, guardian
at lidum (GAL), judge, and others evaluate the elements of the case, and determine
the best interests of the child. Sources external to and unaffiliated with the parenting
program determine child placement. Therefore, child placement, as an outcome, is an
objective measurement of the extent to which children of parents benefit from this
program.
A fourth advantage to analyzing child placement is its practical use. When a
child is in the home, appropriate decision-makers agree that the living situation fits
the interests of the child. In these cases, CPS considers the risk of child abuse and
child neglect to be minimal. In principle, child placement directly reflects the child
abuse and child neglect risk in the family home. This risk is minimized with
22


increased parenting ability and as such, parenting education (which aims to increase
parenting ability) potentially reduces the risk of child abuse and child neglect. From
a pragmatic perspective, using child placement has direct implications for abuse and
neglect risk, and as such directly affects child placement. Therefore, it is an
appropriate measure in assessing the extent to which children of parents benefit from
parenting education.
A fifth advantage to using child placement as an outcome is that it
circumvents the ambiguities described under Obstacles to Evaluation (Refer to page
19). This research does not aim to assess the improvement in parenting but rather, it
aims to assess the change in child placement, which is an indicator of improved
parenting practice. By using this outcome, the mechanisms used to evaluate the
program will be in alignment with the criteria used in CPS. The intake data is one of
the independent variables in this study.
There are some limitations to child placement as a reliable measure of
program effectiveness. An explanatory relationship between child placement and
parenting education is difficult to establish, given the complexity of CPS
investigations and family dynamics. For example, a parent may improve her ability
to provide stability for her children, and thus her children are returned to her care.
However, this improvement may or may not be the direct result of the parenting
education. Therefore, child placement may be indicative of a confounding variable.
Research should consider a study design, which incorporates a control group in order
to control for confounding variables.
Population
The sample consists of the de-identified intake (pre) and discharge (post) data
of 224 parents with CL and their 443 children who participated in the parenting
23


program from June 1, 2004 to May 31, 2009. The parents and their children were
involved in a CPS investigation and required to participate in an in home parenting
education program. These parents lived in vicinity of the Denver metro area in one of
five counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, and Jefferson.
Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria
Generally, the enrollment criteria for the parenting program are identical to
the inclusion criteria for this research. This study used data from parents who were
required to participate in the parenting education program. Participation was part of
the parents Family Service Plan (FSP) set forth by CPS. The data analysis excluded
parents whose program participation was voluntarily. The basis of the exclusion
criterion is the assumption that parents with CL who participate in the program
voluntarily and do not have an open CPS investigation are fundamentally different
from parents with CL whose participation was mandatory. A focus of this study is
parents with CL who were involved in an open child abuse and child neglect
investigation, thus the exclusion of voluntary participants ensures that the results
reflect only child abuse and child neglect investigations.
The enrollment criteria for the program are designed to provide all parents
with CL parenting education. These criteria attempt to compensate for the difficulties
inherent in identifying this population by using a broad definition of cognitive
limitations. CPS service providers refer parents to this program. Service providers
(i.e., parents caseworkers) make this referral because they understand the parent to
have a cognitive limitation7. In many cases, a presiding judge/magistrate mandates
7 Often parents have additional characteristics that further substantiate their cognitive limitation. In
many cases, parents were involved in special education services throughout their school career.
Additionally, these parents frequently have psychological evaluations that indicate cognitive
24


participation. Theoretically, the opinions of the service providers inform this judicial
decision. Thus, mandated participation implies that the professionals involved agree
that the parent has a cognitive limitation.
The data analysis phase of this research did not use data from parents whose
program participation was less than three months. The discharge data of these parents
is frequently identical to their intake data. In general, these parents either actively or
passively refused to participate. In these cases, child placement data is likely
representative of a variable other than participation in the parenting education
program.
The data analysis phase of this research excludes the data of the children who
were bom during program participation. Children who were bom during program
participation do not have pre data to compare to their related post data. In such cases,
it is difficult to identify a relationship between child placement before and child
placement after the parenting program. In short, there is no independent variable (i.e.,
Tl) against which other dependent variables can be compared.
The final data set used in the analysis phase includes the pre and post, de-
identified data, of 183 families and their 349 children. The first phase of exclusion
removed from the data set families and children who participated in the program for 3
months or less. After this phase, the data set included 194 families and 391 children.
The second phase of exclusion removed the children who were bom during program
participation. Finally, children and families that participated in years prior to 2004
were excluded, since this study did not have access to the complete data from prior
years. Ultimately, 41 families and 94 children were excluded from the data set.
limitations. These particular criteria, though important, are not included in this study since such
criteria did not apply to all parents.
25


Variables
Variables and Coding
This study uses the variables in the data set to describe salient features of
parents and their children. The primary unit of analysis for this study is the children
of parents enrolled in the program. All children in this study had parents with a CL
and were involved in a CPS investigation. In addition, the program collected other
variables that were significant to the family dynamics at the time. As discussed
including these variables allows the analysis to identify specific features that may
influence child placement.
Variable 1: Number of children per parent
Each child was assigned a unique numerical identifier. The four-digit prefix
of this identifier signifies the childs family. Thus, the three-digit suffix signifies the
child. Siblings are distinguishable in this data set since the prefix of their
identification numbers correspond. For example, a childs identifier could be
1002002. In this case, the prefix 1002 identifies the family to which this child is
associated. The three-digit suffix 002 is combined with the four-digit prefix to create
a unique identifier that represents this child.
26


Variable 2: Intervening Factors
Children are at greater risk for abuse and/or neglect when their parent abuses
substances, has mental health issues, or is involved in domestic violence.
This study considers each of these factors under one category, intervening factors.
The co-morbid nature of these factors, coupled with the objective of this research,
indicates that these factors should be considered as one category. For this study, these
factors are in addition to a parents CL. This research examines child placement data
in relation to parents with CL and these intervening factors. Each child is assigned a
(0) or (1) in this category. A (0) indicates the absence of intervening factors and a (1)
indicates the presence of intervening factors.
Variable 3: Child placement data
Child placement data refer to the living situation of children both before and
after their parents participation in the parenting program. Children are assigned
either a (0) or (1) to describe their living situation both before (T1: intake) and after
(T2: discharge) parental participation in the program. A (0) indicates that the child
lived out of the home and a (1) indicates that the child was in the home. This
quantitatively describes the continuity or change in child placement before and after
participation in the program. Intake refers to the placement of children when their
parents enter the program. The discharge data is one of the dependent variables.
There are various reasons why a parents discharge from the parenting program. Some
parents discharge from the program because they are successful, yet others discharge
because they are not cooperative. Some parents discharged because they have been
unsuccessful and CPS has filed to terminate their parental rights. This dependent
variable has numerous triggers.
This coding strategy derived four mutually exclusive groups that compare
child placement at intake and discharge. These groups are the Maintenance Group,
27


the Returned Group, the Removed Group, and the Continued Removal Group.
Children in the Maintenance Group were in the home at intake and remained in the
home at discharge. Children in the Returned Group were out of the home at intake
and returned home at discharge. Children in the Removal Group were in the home at
intake and removed by CPS by discharge. Children in the Continued Removal Group
were out of the home at intake and remained out of the home at discharge. Table 1
describes child placement at intake and discharge and the codification process used to
describe this relationship.
Table 1. Coding of placement group
DISCHARGE
T2=l T2=0
INTAKE Tl=l MAINTENANCE GROUP REMOVAL GROUP
T1=0 RETURNED GROUP CONTINUED REMOVAL GROUP
SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME UNSUCCESSFUL OUTCOME
28


Variable 4: Length of participation
The length of parental participation in the program is described in terms of
months for each child.
Variable 5: Partner Involvement
Children are at greater risk for abuse and/or neglect in single parent
households. This parental feature may directly affect child placement. Each child
was assigned a (0) or (1) in this category. A (0) indicates that the parent did not have
an involved partner and a (1) indicates that the parent had an involved partner.
Variable 6: Prior Program Participation
Parents with CL can be required to participate in this parenting education
program more than once. In some cases, CPS has re-opened its investigation. This
parental feature could have implications for child placement and as such is assigned a
(0) or (1) in this category. A (0) indicates no prior involvement and a (1) indicates
prior involvement.
Variable 1: Termination of Parental Rights
Termination of parental rights refers to the judicial decision to permanently
sever the parent-child relationship. The termination of parental rights of one child in
a family does not necessitate the termination of parental rights of all the children in
that family. Thus, this factor has implications for child placement. Parents with this
feature were assigned a (0) or a (1) in this category. A (0) indicates that the parent-
child relationship is intact and a (1) indicates termination of parental rights.
29


Variable 8: Participation Year
Participation year refers to the year the parent entered the program. Isolating
this variable allows the analysis to identify relationships influenced by the year the
parent entered the program. Each child is assigned a year corresponding to the year
their parent entered the program.
30


CHAPTER 4
DATA ANALYSIS
The objective of this study is to compare the child placement data of the
children of parents with CL both before and after the parenting program to ascertain
under what conditions children benefit from parenting education as measured by child
placement. The primary focus is the relationship between program participation and
child placement. The hypothesis asserts that the degree to which children of parents
with CL benefit from parenting education, as measured by child placement, is
dependent on the presence or absence of co-occurring intervening factors, placement
of children at the beginning of the program, and the length of time in the program.
More specifically, the individual premises of this hypothesis are:
a) Placement outcomes of children whose parents have other
intervening factors (i.e., substance abuse, depression, bipolar disorder,
homelessness, etc.) conceal the extent to which children of parents without
such factors benefit from parenting education. Intervening factors are
intervening variables between parenting education and child placement.
b) Child placement at the beginning of the parenting program is
predictive of child placement at the end of the program. Children are in the
home after the parenting program more frequently when they were in the
home before the onset of the program.
c) The length of time in the parenting program influences child
placement outcomes. Children of parents who participated in the program for
longer periods are more likely to be in the home at discharge.
31


This study used descriptive and inferential statistics to understand the
relationships associated with child placement and participation in a parenting
education program (Neuman, 2003). It used the statistics program StatalO Special
Edition (SE) to analyze the data. Primarily, this study used odds ratios, t-tests, and chi
squared tests to quantify the relationship involved with this study population. To
explicate the likelihood a specific variable was associated with another variable this
study calculated odds ratios. Odds ratios were used for those analyses that involved
binary outcomes and considered to distinct exposure groups (Kirkwood, 2003). This
sort of statistical analysis measures the effect/outcome in relation to a specific
exposure group. In many instances, this study considers the outcome as child
placement and the exposure variable as the presence and/or absence of one of the
eight variables of interest. T-tests were conducted to compare the means of two
exposure groups in conjunction with the same variable. For example, this type of
statistical test was used to compare the average length of participation for children of
parents with CL only and children of parents with CL + IF. Chi squared tests
measure the strength of association between one variable and another (Kirkwood,
2003).
Eight variables in the data set describe the salient features of parents and their
children. This section will take each variable in turn to describe the more
complicated statistical relationships.
Number of children per parent
The total study population was 349 children and 183 parents. Using unique
numerical identifiers, the number of children per parent was calculated. On average,
each family had 2 (1.9) children.
32


This examination revealed that the results from each group were consistent
with the overall study population. One hundred and sixteen parents with CL and their
223 children were included in the analysis. Parents with CL had an average of 2
children (1.9). Of 67 parents with a CL and intervening factors, there were 126
children. Thus, parents with a CL and intervening factors had an average of 2
children (1.8).
Intervening Factors (IF)
Of the study population, 223 children had a parent with a CL only, and 126
had a parent with at least one other intervening factor such as substance abuse,
domestic violence, mental health issues, and/or homelessness. One hundred and
eighty three parents were included in the study population, 63.4% (116) had a CL
only, and 36.6% (67) had a CL and at least one intervening factor. Children of
parents with CL represented 63.1% of the population, and children of parents with CL
and intervening factors made up 36.9%. The enrollment proportion of parents with
CL to parents with CL and intervening factors corresponds to the enrollment
proportion of their children.
The total number of children enrolled in the program ranged from 51 to 88 per
participation year. Similarly, the number of children of parents with CL and the
number of children of parents with CL and intervening factors varied. In 2004, the
parenting program had an enrollment of 76 children. Of these 76 children, 59.2%
(45) were children of parents with CL only, and 40.8% (31) were children of parents
with CL and intervening factors.
Eighty-eight children were enrolled in the program in 2005. Of these 88
children, 52.3% (46) were children of parents with CL only, and 47.7% (42) were
children of parents with CL and intervening factors.
33


The parenting program had a total enrollment of 60 children in 2006.
Children of parents with CL comprised 76.7% (46), and children of parents with CL
and intervening factors made up 23.3% (14) of the total enrollment.
In 2007, 74 children were enrolled in the parenting program. Of these 74
children, 64.5% (48) were children of parents with CL only, and 35.1% (26) were
children of parents with CL and intervening factors.
Fifty-one children were enrolled in the program in 2008. Of these 51
children, 74.5% (38) were children of parents with CL only, and 25.5% (13) were
children of parents with CL only and intervening factors.
The average lengths of time children were enrolled in the program varied by
participation year. In 2004 and 2005, the average lengths of participation were 10.4
and 11.1 months respectively. The length of participation in 2006 was 9.9 months
and in 2007, the average was 9.6 months. In 2008, the average participation
decreased to 7.7 months. From 2005 to 2008, the length of participation steadily
declined. For the overall study population average participation was 9.9 months.
Table 2 depicts these relationships.
34


Table 2.
General statistics on the study population in terms of children of
parents with CL only (CL Only) and children of parents with CL
and intervening factors (CL + IF) by participation year
PARTICIPATION YEAR CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL STUDY POPULATION
2004 59.2% 40.8% 21.8%
Number of children 45 31 76
Number of parents 17 15 32
Children per parents 2.6 2.1 2.4
Average number of months in program 9.5 11.7 10.4

2005 52.3% 47.7% 25.5%
Number of children 46 42 88
Number of parents 26 19 45
Children per parents 1.8 2.2 2.0
Average number of months in program 11.8 10.3 11.1

2006 76.7% 23.3% 17.2%
Number of children 46 14 60
Number of parents 24 9 33
Children per parents 1.9 2.1 1.8
Average number of months in program 9.3 11.7 9.9

2007 64.7% 35.1% 21.2%
Number of children 48 26 74
Number of parents 25 15 40
Children per parents 1.9 1.7 1.9
Average number of months in program 10.2 8.4 9.6

2008 74.5% 25.5% 14.6%
Number of children 38 13 51
Number of parents 24 9 33
Children per parents 1.6 1.4 1.6
Average number of months in program 7.7 8.3 7.7

Totals 63.9% 36.1% 100.0%
Number of children 223 126 349
Number of parents 116 67 183
Number of children per parent 1.9 1.9 1.9
Average number of months in program 9.7 10.2 9.9

35


Child placement data
Child placement data refers to the living situation of children both before and
after their parents participation in the parenting program. Of the 349 children
included in this analysis, 48.1% (168) were in the home at intake (Tl), and 51.9%
(181) were out of the home at intake (Tl). Thus, 168 children were assigned a (1) at
Tl, while 181 children were assigned a (0) at Tl. There were more children out of
the home than in the home at intake. Refer to Table 3.
Table 3. Child placement at intake (Tl)
INTAKE
Tl=1 T1=0 TOTAL STUDY POULATION
Percentage of Children 48.1% 51.9% 100.0%
Number of children 168 181 349

At intake, the child placement data of children of parents with CL only and
children of parents with CL and intervening factors corresponded to each groups
respective enrollment percentage. Children of parents with CL represented 63.9% of
the total study population. Of children of parents with CL, 50.7% were in the home,
and 49.3% were out of the home at intake. Children of parents with both a CL and
intervening factors represented 36.1% of the total study population. Of these
children, 46.0% were in the home at intake, and 54.0% were out of the home. From a
statistical perspective, children of parents with CL only and children of parents with
both a CL and intervening factors had equal odds of being in out of home placement
at intake. That is, there is no significant difference between the intake data of
children of parents with CL only and children of parents with CL and intervening
factors. Table 4 presents these relationships.
36


Table 4. Child placement at intake (Tl) in relation to cognitive limitations
only (CL Only) and cognitive limitations and intervening factors
(CL + IF)
GROUPING
CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL STUDY POPULATION OR
INTAKE T 1=1 49.3% 46.0% 48.1% 1.1
110 58 168
T1=0 50.7% 54.0% 51.9%
113 68 181

TOTALS 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
223 126 349
P =0.554
Of the 349 children included in this analysis, 53.3% (186) were in the home at
discharge, while 46.7% (163) were out of the home. Thus, 186 children were
assigned a (1) at T2, while 163 were assigned a (0) at T2. At discharge, more
children were in the home than out of the home.
The 186 children in the home at discharge belonged to 99 parents. The
average number of children per parent in this category was 1.98. The 163 children
out of the home at discharge belonged to 100 parents. Therefore, the average number
of children per parent in this category was 1.6. Table 5 presents child placement at
discharge.
8 It is important to note that an individual parent could have a child in the home at discharge and a
child in the home at discharge. Thus, the sum of parents included in T2= 1 and T2=0 exceeds the total
number of parents in the study.
37


Table 5. Child placement at discharge (T2)
DISCHARGE
T2=l T2=0 TOTAL STUDY POPULATION
Percentage of Children 53.3% 46.7% 100.0%
Number of children 186 163 349

It is important to explore the relationship between child placement at intake
versus child placement at discharge. When these two variables are considered in
isolation, the statistical results are remarkable. The odds ratio for discharge (T2) and
intake (Tl) is 6.05. That is, when a child is in the home at discharge, he/she is more
likely to have been in the home at intake. In other words, a child with a successful
outcome is 6 times more likely to have been in the home at the beginning of the
parenting program. This also suggests that a child with an unsuccessful outcome is
more likely to have been placed outside of the home at intake. Child placement at
discharge is strongly associated with child placement at intake. Table 6 depicts this
association. When the population is stratified into children of parents with CL only
and children of parents with CL and intervening factors, the results are similar. In the
former case when children are in the home at intake, they are 6.3 times more likely
than children of parents with CL who are out of the home at intake to have a
successful outcome. In the latter case, when children are in the home at intake, they
have nearly 7 times the odds of having a successful outcome compared to children of
parents with CL and intervening factors (Refer to tables 22 and 23 in Appendix.)
38


Table 6. The odds of being placed in the home at discharge when placed in
the home at intake
INTAKE
Tl = l T1=0 TOTAL STUDY POPULATION OR
DISCHARGE T2=l 36.1% 17.2% 53.3% 6.05
126 60 186
T2=0 12.0% 34.6% 46.7%
42 121 163

TOTALS 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
168 181 349
P= 0.000
Unlike child placement at intake, the child placement data at discharge does
not correspond with the general study population data. Children of parents with CL
only represent 63.9% of the total study population. Of children of parents with CL,
61.4% (137) were in the home, and 38.6% (86) were out of the home at discharge.
Children of parents with CL and intervening factors represent 36.9% of the total study
population. Of children of parents with CL and intervening factors, 38.9% (49) were
in the home, and 61.1% (77) were out of the home at discharge. Children of parents
with CL and intervening factors are overrepresented in out of home placement. In
contrast, children of parents with CL only are overrepresented in children placed in
the home. A child placed in the home at discharge had 2.5 times the odds of being a
child of a parent with CL only. This difference is significant with a p-value <0.000.
Table 7 depicts these relationships. Figure 1 illustrates the differences regarding in
39


home placement at intake and discharge in relation to CL only, CL and intervening
factors and the total study population.
Table 7. Placement at discharge: the odds of being either cognitively
limited (CL Only) or having intervening factors (IF)
GROUPING
CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL STUDY POPULATION OR
DISCHARGE T2=l 61.4% 38.9% 53.3% 2.5
137 49 186
T2=0 38.6% 61.1% 46.7%
86 77 163

TOTALS 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
223 126 349
P =0.000
40


Percentage of Children
70.0%
60.0%
50.0%
40.0%
30.0%
20.0%
10.0%
0.0%
CH3CL ONLY
TOTAL STUDY POPULAITON !
Cl ONLY
INTAKE DISCHARGE
49.3% 61.4%
46.0% 38.9%
48.1% ' 53.3%
|[=ICLONLY MCL + IF TOTAL STUDY POPULAITON~]
Figure: 1 In Home Placement at Intake Versus Discharge & the Differences Between Cognitive Limitations Only (CL Only),
Cognitive Limitations and Intervening factors (IF), and the Total Study Population


Four Placement Groups
This general placement data, though informative, cannot quantitatively
describe the actual change in placement for each specific case. In general, there was
an 11.6% increase in children living in the home at discharge. This represents a net
increase of 18 children living in the home at discharge. At first glance, this net
increase indicates that these children returned home after their parents participation
in the program. In actuality, 63 children returned home during their parents program
participation. Thus, these crude numbers fail to describe the complexity of the child
placement data.
Four child placement outcomes were possible while a family was participating
in the program. Throughout participation, children could remain in the home
(Maintenance Group), children could be removed from the home (Removal Group),
children could be returned home (Returned Group), or children could remain living
outside of the home (Continued Removal Group). The Maintenance Group and the
Returned Group are different from the Removal Group and the Continued Removal
Group since the former two groups represent a successful outcome (in both cases the
children are in the home) while the latter two groups represent an unsuccessful
outcome. The child placement data of children of parents with CL only and children
of parents with CL and intervening factors was analyzed in terms of these four groups
to quantitatively describe these complex relationships.
One hundred and twenty-six children were assigned a (1) at T1 and a (1) at
T2, thus 36.1% were included in the Maintenance Group. There were 60 children
assigned a (0) at T1 and a (1) at T2, thereby assigning 17.2% of children to the
Returned Group. Forty-two children were assigned a (1) at T1 and a (0) at T2.
42


Therefore, the Removal Group included 12.0% of the study population. The
Continued Removal Group included 121 children and as such, 34.7% were assigned a
(0) at T1 and a (0) at T2. These statistics indicate that 53.3% (186) had a successful
outcome, and 46.7% (163) had an unsuccessful outcome. In addition, 70.8% (247) of
children had no change in placement, while 29.2% (102) of children had a change in
placement. That is, for 70.8% of children their intake data (Tl) was identical to the
discharge data (T2), and for 29.2% children, their intake data (Tl) was different from
there discharge data (T2). More children had no change in their placement data.
Table 8 depicts enrollment in relation to these four child placement groups.
Table 8. Total enrollment per placement group
DISCHARGE
T2=l T2=0
Tl=l MAINTENANCE GROUP 36.1% REMOVAL GROUP 12.0%
INTAKE T1=0 RETURNED GROUP 17.2% CONTINUED REMOVAL GROUP 34.7%
SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME 53.3% UNSUCCESSFUL OUTCOME 46.7%
Children of parents with CL are overrepresented in the Maintenance group
compared to children of parents with CL and intervening factors. Of children of
parents with CL, 40.4% (90) were included in the group. This contrasts children of
parents with CL and intervening factors, who represented 28.6% (36). Children of
43


parents with CL only have 1.69 times the odds of being in this group when compared
to children of parents with CL and intervening factors. This difference is significant
with a p-value of 0.028. The average length of participation for children in the
Maintenance Group was 8.9 months.
Like the Maintenance Group, children of parents with CL were
overrepresented in the Returned Group. Twenty-one and one tenth percent (21.1%)
(47) of children with parents of CL were in this group. In the case of children with
CL and intervening factors, 10.3% (13) of children were assigned to the Removal
Group. With children of parents with CL as the exposure variable, the odds ratio was
2.32. That is, any case that is included in this group is more likely to be a child with a
parent who has a CL only compared to a child of a parent with CL and intervening
factors. This difference is significant with a p-value of 0.011. For children in the
Returned Group, the average length of participation was 12.0 months.
With respect to the Removal Group, children of parents with CL and
intervening factors are overrepresented. Of children of parents with CL and
intervening factors, 17.5% (22) were included in this group. In contrast, 9.0% (20) of
children of parents with a CL only were assigned to this group. When intervening
factors is used as the exposure variable for the Removed Group, the odds ratio is 2.14.
Again, any case that is included in this group is more likely to be a child of a parent
with CL and intervening factors compared to a child of a parent with a CL only. This
difference is significant with a p-value of 0.019. The average length of participation
for children included in this group was 11.1 months.
The Continued Removal group is similar to the Removal Group in that
children of parents with CL and intervening factors are overrepresented. Of children
of parents with CL and intervening factors, 43.7% (55) were included in the
Continued Removal Group. With respect to children of parents with CL, 29.6% (66)
44


were assigned to this group. In this case, children of parents with CL and intervening
factors are overrepresented in the Continued Removal Group. When intervening
factors is the exposure variable for the Continued Removal Group, the odds ratio is
1.84. Any case included in this group is more likely to be a child with a parent who
has a CL and intervening factors compared to a child of a parent with a CL only.
This difference is significant with a p-value of 0.008. For this group, the average
length of participation was 9.5 months. Table 9 illustrates the four placement groups
and their respective associations including their average lengths of participation.
Table 9. The relationship between placement groups and cognitive
limitations only (CL Only) or intervening factors (CL + IF)
GROUPING CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL STUDY POULATION MOS IN PROGRAM OR P VALUE
Maintenance Group 40.4% 28.6% 36.1% 8.9 1.7 .02
Number of children 90 36 126

Returned Group 21.1% 10.3% 17.2% 12 2.3 .01
Number of children 47 13 60

Removal Group 9.0% 17.5% 12.0% 11.1 .5 .01
Number of children 20 22 42

Continued Removal Group 29.6% 43.7% 34.7% 9.5 .5 .00
Number of children 66 55 121

TOTALS 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 9.9
223 126 349
The Maintenance Group and the Returned Group are groups with successful
outcomes and the Removal Group and the Continued Removal Group represent
unsuccessful outcomes. Of children of parents with CL, 61.4% (137) were successful
cases, while 38.6% (86) were unsuccessful cases. With respect to children of parents
45


with CL and intervening factors, 38.9% (49) were successful cases and 61.1% (77)
were unsuccessful cases. Thus, children of parents with CL only are overrepresented
in successful cases, while children of parents with CL and intervening factors are
overrepresented in unsuccessful cases. These differences are significant with a p-
value of 0.000 (Refer to Table 10). When comparing unsuccessful versus successful
cases, having a parent with CL and intervening factors puts children at increased risk
for out of home placement (unsuccessful outcome). Children of parents with CL and
intervening factors have 2.5 times the odds of out of home placement compared to
children of parents with CL only. The inverse holds in successful cases. Children of
parents with CL only have 2.5 times the odds of being in the home at discharge
compared to children of parents with CL and intervening factors.
Children who were in the home at discharge or had a successful outcome had
parents who participated in the program for an average of 9.9 months. Children of
parents with CL only with a successful outcome were in the program for an average
of 10.08 months. Children of parents with CL and intervening factors with a
successful outcome were in the program for 9.48 months.
Children who were out of the home at discharge or had an unsuccessful
outcome had parents who participated in the program for an average of 9.88 months.
Children of parents with a CL only with an unsuccessful outcome were in the
program for an average of 9.19 months, and children of parents with CL and
intervening factors with this outcome were in the program an average of 10.65
months. This information is presented in Table 10.
When the entire study population is considered, there is not a significant
relationship between length of participation and successful outcomes. Stratifying the
study population into children of parents with CL only and children of parents with
CL and intervening factors revealed no significant relationship between length of
46


participation and success. Additionally, no significant relationship exists between
length of participation and unsuccessful outcomes.
When general success is measured, the success rate of the parenting education
program is 53.3%. However, when successful outcomes are examined in terms of
cognitive limitations, intervening factors, and the four possible placement groups, this
outcome is understood differently (Refer to Table 10).
Table 10. Successful versus unsuccessful placement outcomes and it
relationship to children of parents with CL (CL Only) and
children of parents with CL and intervening factors (CL + IF)
CL ONLY CL+ IF TOTAL STUDY POULATION OR
SUCCESSFUL 61.4% 38.9% 53.3% 2.5
Number of children 137 49 186
Number of months in program 10.1 9.5 9.9

UNSUCCESSFUL 38.6% 61.1% 46.7% .40
Number of children 86 77 163
Number of months in program 9.2 10.7 9.8

TOTALS 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Number of Children 223 126 349
Number of months in program 9.7 10.2 9.9
Another important relationship is the proportional differences in enrollment of
children by participation year and the percentage of successful cases in that particular
participation year. In 2004, 42.1% (32) of cases had a successful outcome (the child
was in the home at discharge). In this year, the ratio of children of parents with CL
only to children of parents with CL and intervening factors was nearly 1.5 to 1. The
following year, 47.7% (42) of cases had a successful outcome. In this year, the ratio
was also nearly 1:1. The percentage of successful cases in 2006 was 61.7% (37). In
47


this year, the ratio was nearly 3:1. In 2007, the percent of successful cases was 63.5%
(47). In this year, the ratio was nearly 2:1. The percentage of successful cases was
54.9% (28) in 2008. In this year, the enrollment ratio was nearly 3:1. That is, the
lower the percentage of enrollment attributable to children of parents with CL and
intervening factors, the higher the percentage of enrollment that had a successful
outcome. Table 11 and Figure 2 illustrate this correlation.
48


Table 11. Total percentage of successful outcomes: comparison between
participation year, enrollment of children of parents with CL only
(CL Only) and children of parents with CL and intervening
factors (CL + IF)
PARTICIPATION YEAR CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL PERCENTAGE OF SUCCESSFUL OUTCOMES
2004 59.2% 40.8% 42.1%
Number of children 45 31 32
Enrollment ratio- CL:CL + IF Nearly 1:1

2005 52.3% 47.7% 47.7%
Number of children 46 42 42
Enrollment ratio- CL:CL + IF Nearly 1:1

2006 76.7% 23.3% 61.7%
Number of children 46 14 37
Enrollment ratio- CL.CL + IF 3:1

2007 64.7% 35.1% 63.5%
Number of children 48 26 47
Enrollment ratio- CL:CL + IF 2:1

2008 74.5% 25.5% 54.9%
Number of children 38 13 28
Enrollment ratio- CL:CL + IF 3:1

TOTALS 63.9% 36.1% 53.3%
Number of children 223 126 186
Enrollment ratio- CL:CL + IF 2:1
49


Percentage Enrollment
Percentage of Success
70.0% ---------
10.0%
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Success 42.1% 47.7% 61.7% 63.5% 54 9%
CL & Intervening Factor* 40.6% 47.7% 23.3% 35.1% 25.5%
Participation Year
Figure: 2 Percentage of Enrollment by Children of Parents with CL and Intervening factors (CL + IF) versus Percentage
of Success per Participation Year Partner Involvement


Of the children included in this study, 36.4% (127) had parents who had an
involved partner. In 40.4% (90) of children of parents with CL, their parent had an
involved partner. An involved partner was present in 29.4% (37) of children of
parents with CL and intervening factors. Children of parents with CL have 1.6 times
the odds to have a parent with an involved partner compared to children of parents
with CL and intervening factors. The difference between children of parents with CL
and parents with CL and intervening factors is significant with a p-value of .040.
Table 12 describes these data.
Table 12. The relationship between partner involvement, children of parents
with CL (CL Only), and children of parents with CL and intervening
factors (CL + IF)
CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL STUDY POPULATION MOS IN PROGRAM OR P VALUE
PARNTER 40.4% 29.4% 36.4% 9.9 1.6 .040
90 37 127

NO PARNTER 59.6% 70.1% 63.6% 9.9 .61 .040
133 89 122

TOTALS 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 9.9
223 126 349
With respect to children of parents with CL only, 61.4% (137) of children had
a successful outcome. Of these 137 children, 40.2% (55) had an involved partner.
Thirty-eight and six-tenths percent (86) of children of parents with CL had an
52


unsuccessful outcome. Of these cases, 40.7% (35) had partner involvement while
59.3% (51) did not.
With regard to children with CL and intervening factors, 38.9% (49) had a
successful outcome. Of these successful cases, 32.7% (16) had an involved partner.
In contrast, 61.1% (77) of these children had an unsuccessful outcome. These parents
had an involved partner in 27.3% (21) of cases. However, in 72.7% (56) of cases,
parents did not have partner involvement.
When the entire study population is considered, children of parents with a CL
only, whose parents had an involved partner, appear to be more likely than other
children to have a successful outcome. In the case of children of parents with CL
only, partner involvement appears to be a protective factor. In contrast, in cases of
children of parents with CL and intervening factors, partner involvement appears to
be a risk factor. When the sample is stratified by children of parents with CL only,
and children of parents with CL and intervening factors, success is not significantly
related to partner involvement. In fact, there is no difference between successful
outcomes and unsuccessful outcomes when considering partner involvement. Refer
to Table 13 for a summary of these statistics (Tables 24 and 25 in the Appendix
specifically address the odd ratios when the study population is stratified into the two
groups: children of parents with CL only and children of parents with CL and
intervening factors).
As mentioned, 53.3% (186) of the study population had a successful outcome.
In contrast, 46.7% (163) had an unsuccessful outcome. Of the successful cases,
38.2% (71) had an involved partner, while 61.8% (115) did not. Similarly, in 34.4%
(56) of unsuccessful cases, the parent had partner involvement, and in 65.6% (107),
53


the parent did not. Partner involvement is not significantly related to successful
outcomes.
Table 13. The relationship between placement outcomes and partner
involvement in terms of cognitive limitations only (CL only) and
cognitive limitations and intervening factors

CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL STUDY POPULATION
Partner No Partner Partner No Partner Partner No Partner Totals
SUCCESSFUL 61.1% 61.7% 43.2% 37.1% 55.9% 51.8% 53.3%
Number of children 55 82 16 33 71 115 186

UNSUCCESSFUL 38.9% 38.4% 56.8% 62.9% 44.1% 48.2% 46.7%
Number of children 35 51 21 56 56 107 163

TOTALS 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Number of children 90 133 37 89 127 222 349
ODDS RATIO .98 1.29 1.18
Prior Program Participation
Of the children included in this study, 7.5% (26) had parents who were
required to participate in the parenting program more than once. With respect to
children of parents with CL, 6.3% (14) had prior program participation, while in
children of parents with CL and intervening factors, 9.5% (12) had prior program
participation. Parents with prior program involvement participated in the program for
an average of 12.4 months. Children of parents with CL only whose parents had prior
program participation had an average length of participation of 11.1 months and
54


children of parents with CL and intervening factors had an average length of
participation of 13.8 months. That is, all children with prior participation were
involved in the program for an average of 2.4 more months than average length of
participation for the total study population. Children of parents with CL and prior
participation were involved in the program for 1.3 more months than the average
length of participation for all children of parents with CL. Children of parents with
intervening factors and prior participation were involved in the program for 3.6 more
months than the average length of participation for all children in this group.
Children of parents with CL and intervening factors and prior involvement had longer
lengths of participation compared to all other groupings. The difference between the
lengths of participation of those with prior participation compared to those without
prior participation was significant with a p-value of .006. These relationships are
depicted in Table 14.
Table 14. Total Enrollment, prior program participation, and number of
months in program as related to cognitive limitations (CL Only)
and cognitive limitations and intervening factors (CL + IF)
CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL STUDY POPULATION
PRIOR PARTICIPATION 6.3% 9.5% 7.5%
14 12 26
Number of months in program 11.1 13.8 12.4

NO PRIOR PARTICIPATION 93.7% 90.5% 92.5%
209 114 323
Number of months in program 9.6 9.8 9.7

TOTALS 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
223 126 349
Number of months in program 9.7 10.2 9.9

55


The placement outcomes for children of parents who had prior participation in
this program are of interest. Of the successful outcomes, 38.5% (10) had prior
program participation and 54.5% (176) did not have prior participation. For children
with unsuccessful outcomes, 61.5% (16) had prior participation. Contrastingly,
children of parents without prior program participation had unsuccessful outcomes in
45.5% (147) of cases. Children of parents with prior program participation have
nearly twice the odds of out of home placement. Table 15 illustrates these
relationships.
Table 15. The relationship between placement outcomes and prior program
participation (Prior Particip) in relation to cognitive limitations
only (CL Only) and cognitive limitations and intervening factors
(CL + IF)

CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL STUDY POPULATION
Prior Particip No Prior Particip Prior Particip No Prior Particip Prior Particip. No Prior Particip. Totals
SUCCESSFUL 42.9% 62.7% 33.3% 39.5% 38.5% 54.5% 53.3%
Number of children 6 131 4 45 10 176 186

UNSUCCESSFUL 57.1% 37.3% 66.7% 60.5% 61.5% 45.5% 46.7%
Number of children 8 78 8 69 16 147 163

TOTALS 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Number of children 14 209 12 114 26 323 349
ODDS RATIO .45 .77 .52
56


Termination of Parental Rights
Of children included in the study, the parent-child relationship was
permanently severed in 18.1% (63) of cases. Parents whose parental rights were
terminated had an average of 1.6 children. The average length of participation for
children of parents in this category was 11.6 months. There was a significant
difference between the average length of participation for individuals involved in
terminations and for individuals not involved in terminations with a p-value of .002.
The average length of participation within the 95% confidence interval for children of
parents involved in terminations ranged from 10.4 months to 12.8 months. This same
measure for children of parents whose parental rights were not terminated ranged
from 9 months to 10.1 months. Thus, children of parents whose parental rights were
terminated had longer lengths of program participation compared to the rest of the
study population.
Regarding children of parents with CL, 15.3% (34) of cases involved
termination of parental rights, while in children of parents with CL and intervening
factors, 23.0% (29) involved termination. In these cases, the average length of
participation was 10.3 months for children of parents with CL and 13.1 months for
children of parents with CL and intervening factors. Children of parents whose
parental rights were terminated had 1.7 times greater odds of having parents with
intervening factors than parents with CL only. With respect to terminations, the
difference between the average length of participation for children of parents with CL
and parents with CL and intervening factors was significant with a p-value of .022.
With respect to parents whose parental rights were terminated, children of parents
with CL and intervening factors had average lengths of participation that ranged from
11 months to 15 months. Children of parents with CL only had an average range of
57


participation from 8.9 months to 11.7 months. This deeper analysis shows that
children of parents whose parental rights were terminated were significantly more
likely to have longer lengths of participation, and children of parent with CL and
intervening factors within this group have the longest lengths of participation. These
relationships are depicted in Table 16. The t-test tables appear in Tables 17 and 18.
Table 16. Termination of parental rights and its relationship to cognitive
limitations (CL Only) and cognitive limitations and intervening
factors (CL + IF)
CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL STUDY POPULATION
TERMINATIONS 15.3% 23.0% 18.1%
34 29 63
Average Number of Months in Program 10.3 13.1 11.6

NO TERMINATION 84.7% 77.0% 81.9%
189 97 286
Average Number of Months in Program 9.6 9.3 9.5

"0 1! O o
TOTALS 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
223 126 349
Average Number of Months in Program 9.7 10.2 9.9
58


Table 17.
Termination of parental rights and its relationship to average
number of months in the program
GROUPS OBS MEAN STD. ERR STD. DEV. 95% CONFIDENCE INTERVAL
No Terminations 286 9.5 .27 4.7 8.99-10.07
Terminations 63 11.6 .62 4.9 10.36-12.82

Combined 349 9.9 .25 4.7 9.40-10.40
Difference -2.1 (-3.34M-0.77)
T=-3.2
Ha: diff < 0 Pr(T |t|) = 0.002 Ha: diff > 0 Pr(T > t) = 0.999
Table 18. Two-sample t test: terminations and average length of
participation by cognitive limitations only (CL Only) and cognitive
limitations and intervening factors (CL + IF)
GROUPS OBS MEAN STD. ERR STD. DEV. 95% CONFIDENCE INTERVAL
CL + MTG 29 13.1 1.02 5.52 11.00-15.20
CL Only 34 10.3 .67 3.9 8.94-11.66
Combined 63 11.59 .62 4.89 10.36-12.82
Difference 2.80 4.19-5.19
T=2.35
Ha: diff < 0 Ha: diff != 0 Ha: diff > 0
Pr(T < t) = 0.9890 Pr(|T| > |t|) = 0.022 Pr(T > t) = 0.011
Child placement data, termination of parental rights, children of parents with
CL, and children of parents with CL and intervening factors are relationships that
require statistical description. Two child placement groups stand in relation to
termination of parental rights. Only two child placement groups are discussed since
the Maintenance Group and the Returned Group are groups associated with children
who were in the home at discharge. Termination of parental rights and these two
groups are mutually exclusive, thus only the Removal Group and the Continued
59


Removal Group were considered. This relationship illustrates the number of
children who were in the home at intake and then removed with their rights
terminated and the number of children who were out of the home at intake, remained
out of the home, and subsequently their parental rights were terminated.
Of the 63 children whose parental rights were terminated, 22.2% (14) were
included in the Removal Group and 77.8% (49) were included in the Continued
Removal Group. With respect to children of parents with CL and termination, 20.6%
(7) were from the Removal Group and 79.4% (27) were from the Continued Removal
Group. Thus, in 20.6% of terminations involving children of parents with CL, the
children were in the home at intake, and in 79.4% of these cases, the children were
out of the home at intake. Children of parents in the Removal Group participated in
the program for an average of 13.9 months, while children of parents in the Continued
Removal Group participated for 10.9 months. When considering terminations, the
difference in the average length of participation between the Removal Group and the
Continued Removal group was significant with a p-value of .046.
Children of parents with CL and intervening factors correspond to the findings
regarding children of parents with CL only. Of terminations involving children of
parents with CL and intervening factors, 24.1% (7) were children included in the
Removal Group and 75.9% (22) were included in the Continued Removal Groups.
Thus, in terminations involving these children, 24.1% were in home at intake and
75.9% were out of the home at intake. Refer to Table 19.
60


Table 19.
Terminations by placement group and its association with
children of parents with CL (CL Only) and children of parents
with CL and intervening factors (CL + IF)
CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL STUDY POPULATION MOS IN PROGRAM
REMOVAL GROUP 20.6% 24.1% 22.2% 13.9
7 7 14

CONTINUED REMOVAL GROUP 79.4% 75.9% 77.8% 10.9
27 22 49
P Value .047

TOTAL TERMINATIONS 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 11.6
34 29 63
Of the 63 children whose parental rights were terminated, 22.2% (14) had
prior involvement with the parenting program. The parents of these children were in
the program for an average of 12.5 months. Children of parents involved in
terminations have 6.5 times greater odds of having had prior program participation
compared to the rest of the study population (Refer to Table 20). Additionally, the
length of participation is significantly longer than the rest of the study population.
61


Table 20. Terminations and its relationship to prior program participation
TERMINATION NO TERMINATION TOTAL STUDY POPULATION
PRIOR PARTICIPATION 22.2% 4.2% 7.4%
14 12 26
Average Number of Months in Program 12.5 12.2 12.4

NO PRIOR PARTICIPATION 77.8% 95.8% 92.6%
49 274 323
Average Number of Months in Program 11.3 9.4 9.7

TOTAL STUDY POPULATION 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
63 286 349
ODDS RATIO 6.52 P Value = 0.000
Of the 63 children involved in terminations, 22.2% (14) had prior involvement
with the parenting program. The parents of these children were in the program for an
average of 12.5 months. Children of parents involved in terminations are 6.5 times
more likely to have had prior program participation compared to the rest of the study
population (Refer to Appendix, Table 26). Seventeen and seven-tenths percent (6) of
children of parents with CL whose parental rights were terminated had prior program
participation. These children were in the program for an average of 9.6 months. Of
children of parents with CL and intervening factors whose parental rights were
terminated, 27.6% (8) had prior program participation. The parents of these children
were in the program for 14.7 months. Children of parents with CL and intervening
factors are overrepresented in cases of termination and prior program participation.
Further, the difference in average length of participation for children of parents with
CL only and children of parents with CL and intervening factors was significant with
62


a p-value of .022. Table 21 presents the relationships between prior participation and
terminations.
Table 21. Terminations and its relationship to prior program participation
as related to children of parents with CL (CL Only) and children
of parents with CL and intervening factors (CL + IF)
CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL STUDY POPULATION
PRIOR PARTICIPATION 17.7% 27.6% 22.2%
6 8 14
Average Number of Months in Program 9.6 14.7 12.5
P VALUE=.022

NO PRIOR PARTICIPATION 82.4% 72.4% 77.8%
28 21 49
Average Number of Months in Program 10.5 12.5 11.3

TOTAL TERMINATIONS 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
34 29 63
Average Number of Months in Program 10.3 9.6 11.6
The relationship between enrollment in a specific participation year, in terms
of children of parents with CL only and children of parents with CL and intervening
factors was examined in conjunction with terminations in that particular participation
year. Regarding enrollment in 2004, 15.8% (12) of cases ended in termination. In
this year, 59.2% (45) of enrollment were children of parents with CL only and 40.8%
(31) was children of parents with CL and intervening factors. For the following year,
28.4% (25) of cases ended in termination. In this year, 52.3% (46) of enrollment
were children of parents with CL and 47.7% (42) were children of parents with CL
and intervening factors. The percentage of terminations for 2006 enrollment was 26.7
(16). In this year, 76.7% (46) of enrollment were children of parents with CL only
63


and 23.3% (14) were children of parents with CL and intervening factors. In the 2007
and 2008, the percentage of terminations decreased to 6.8% (5) and 9.8% (5)
respectively. In 2007, the 64.9% (48) of enrollment were children of parents with CL
only and 35.1% (26) were children of parents with CL and intervening factors. In
2008, the percentage of termination cases was 9.80% (5). For 2008, 74.5% (38) of
enrollment was children of parents with CL only and 25.5% (13) were children of
parents with CL and intervening factors. Table 22 illustrates these relationships.
64


Table 22,
Terminations by participation year, cognitive limitations only (CL
Only), and cognitive limitations and intervening factors (CL + IF)
PARTICIPATION YEAR CL ONLY CL + IF TOTAL PERCENTAGE OF TERMINATIONS
2004 59.2% 40.8% 15.8%
Number of children 45 31 12
Enrollment ratio- CL:CL + IF Nearly 1:1

2005 52.3% 47.7% 28.4%
Number of children 46 42 25
Enrollment ratio- CL:CL + IF Nearly 1:1

2006 76.7% 23.3% 26.7%
Number of children 46 14 16
Enrollment ratio- CL:CL + IF 3:1

2007 64.9% 35.1% 6.8%
Number of children 48 26 5
Enrollment ratio- CL:CL + IF 2:1

2008 74.5% 25.5% 9.8%
Number of children 38 13 5
Enrollment ratio- CL:CL + IF 3:1

Totals 63.9% 36.1% 53.3%
Number of children 223 126 63
Enrollment ratio- CL:CL + IF 2:1
65


CHAPTER 5
INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS
On average, in this study, each parent had 2 children. This statistic
remained constant when considering parents with CL only and parents with CL and
intervening factors. The average number of children per parent is lower than the
average number of children per household included in the National Survey of Child
and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW) of 2.5.
One limitation of this study is its inability to quantify the total number of
children bom to the same parent. At the time of enrollment, the number of children
belonging to the same parent was measured. It did not measure the number of
children belonging to the same parent in that parents lifetime. In some cases, parents
had older children or children who were permanently removed from their care prior to
their intake into the program. It is also important to note that this study excluded 22
children bom during the study, interval since intake data was unavailable on these
children. When these children are included in the number of children involved in the
parenting program to more accurately approximate the number of children per parent,
the average increases to 2.0. In this case, the average number of children per parent
remains consistent with the total fertility rate9 of the U.S. population, which in 2006
was 2.1 (Hamilton, 2009).
A frequent assumption is that parents with CL or parents with
intervening factors (i.e., substance abuse, poverty, mental health issues, domestic
9 Total fertility rate represents the average number of children bom to each woman over her lifetime if
she were to survive throughout her reproductive lifetime and experienced exact age-specific fertility
rates throughout her life.
66


violence, etc.) have more children compared to the general population. Additionally,
large family size (four or more children) is a recognized risk factor for child abuse
and child neglect (Sedlak, Broadhurst, et al., 1996; U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, 2005). Participants in this study were involved with CPS and as
such, determining family size and its relation to child placement has important
implications. With respect to this study population, the number of children each
parent had is congruent with the general U.S. population (Hamilton, 2009) and lower
than the number of children per household in the NSC AW study.
A confounding variable that was not considered in this study and may affect
child placement was the number of children per parent and stress (U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, 2005; Bolen, McWey, et al., 2008). Child abuse and
child neglect are frequently associated with higher levels of stress. Conventional
wisdom assumes that the more children a parent has the more stress the parent
endures. In terms of this study population, the overall stress a parent copes with is
not necessarily a result of the number of children bom to each parent. However, it is
important to note that on an individual basis, stress is difficult to quantify. In cases
where a parent has a CL, the parent may be under more stress since the parents
disability may compound the issue.
It is a reasonable assumption that children were at higher risk for child abuse
and child neglect when they were out of the home at discharge. In such cases, CPS
has determined that the family home is unsafe. With respect to this study, parents of
children who were placed outside the home had an average of 1.6 children. Likewise,
in cases where parental rights were terminated, the risk for child abuse and child
neglect was the highest. In this study, the number of children per parent in cases
where parental rights were terminated was 1.6. Given the average number of children
67


per parent in this study population, the risk factor of large family size was not found
to be a significant risk factor in cases of out of home placement and termination.
When parents enrolled in this parenting education program, more children
were placed outside of the home compared to children placed in the home. Children
of parents with either CL only or CL and intervening factors had equal odds for out of
home placement upon entering the parenting program. The NSCAW found that
children of parents with CL are at greater risk for out of home placement. The data of
this parenting program substantiates this finding since more than half of the study
population was in out of home placement at beginning of the program.
A striking feature of this study is the extent to which the intake data differs
from the discharge data when considering children of parents with CL only and
children of parents with CL and intervening factors. It is important to note that the
total number of children in the home at discharge increased by 5.2 percentage points
from the number of children in the home at intake. This general statistic is
misleading since, upon further examination, it is clear that children of parents with
CL only account for the increase. Of children of parents with CL only, there was
nearly a 25%0 increase in in home placement at discharge. The inverse is true for
children of parents with CL and intervening factors. In these cases, there was a
16%" decrease in the children placed in the home at discharge. This explains why
children of parents with CL only are 2.5 times more likely to be in the home at
discharge than children of parents with CL and intervening factors. This indicates
10 With respect to children of parents with CL only, the percentage of children in the home at intake
was 49.3%. The percentage of children in the home at discharge increased for this group to 61.4%.
This is an increase of 12.1 percentage points.
11 With respect to children of parents with CL and (a) intervening factor (s), the percentage of children
in the home at intake was 46.3%. The percentage of children in the home at discharge decreased for
this group to 38.9%. This is a decrease of 7.4 percentage points.
68


that the extent to which children benefit from parenting education, in terms of child
placement, is dependent on the absence of intervening factors.
Stratifying the data in terms of children of parents with CL versus children of
parents with CL and intervening factors quantitatively described the intake and discharge
data in more detail. This level of detail reveals significant relationships between child
placement data and the two groups. Specifically, child placement is strongly associated
with whether a parent has CL only or if the parent has CL and co-occurring intervening
factors. This association is evidenced by the overrepresentation of children of parents
with CL placed in the home at discharge and the overrepresentation of children of parents
with CL and intervening factors placed out of the home at discharge. The most
remarkable finding is the odds ratio associated with child placement at discharge and
these two groups. Children placed out of the home are at greater odds of having a parent
with CL and intervening factors compared to children of parents with CL only (Hutchon,
2001; Lowry, 2009). More simply, being a child of a parent with CL and intervening
factors puts a child at greater risk of being placed outside of the home.
When child placement is described in terms of the four placement groups (the
Maintenance Group, the Returned Group, the Removal Group and the Continued
Removal Group), the results provide a deeper understanding. Children of parents
with CL only more likely to be included in the groups with successful outcomes
(Maintenance Group and the Returned Group), compared to children of parents with
CL and intervening factors. Conversely, children of parents with CL and intervening
factors had twice the odds of being included in the groups with unsuccessful
outcomes (Removal Group and the Continued Removal Group).
With respect to the Removal Group, this finding is particularly remarkable.
Children included in the removal group are children, who were removed from the
care of the parents by CPS after the parent began participation in the parenting
69


education program. Though children of parents with CL and intervening factors
account for slightly more than 36% of the study population, they represent 52% of
children included in the Removal Group. In fact, more children with a parent with
CL and intervening factors were removed from parents care during program
participation compared to children of parents with CL alone. This deeper statistical
perspective lends further substantiation to the hypothesis that the extent to which
children of parents with CL benefit from parenting education (as measured by child
placement) is dependent on the absence of intervening factors.
From a statistical perspective, a child of a parent with CL and intervening
factors is at a significant disadvantage in terms of child placement. Children of
parents with CL and intervening factors are overrepresented in cases associated with
out of home placement and are less likely to be included in placement groups with
positive results (i.e., Returned Group). When child placement is at issue, a parent
with CL and intervening factors is a significant risk factor for child placement.
The prevailing research suggests that children of parents with CL are at risk
for out of home placement. This study also suggests that children of parents
contending with CL and intervening factors such as substance abuse, mental health
issues (other than cognitive limitations), and domestic violence, are also at risk for
out of home placement. The findings of this study are in alignment with the current
body of research on child abuse and child neglect. It not only provides evidence that
children of parents with CL are frequently in out of home placement, but also that the
addition of intervening factors increases the rate of out of home placement.
This study finds that the most significant predictor of child placement at
discharge is child placement at intake. That is, children who were in the home at
discharge were most likely to have been in the home at intake. When stratifying the
data into the groups of CL only and CL and intervening factors, child placement at
70


intake is predictive of child placement at discharge. These findings suggest that the
benefit to children of parents enrolled in the parenting program is a benefit of
preservation. That is, children who are in the home at intake are more likely to be in
the home at discharge compared to children out of the home at intake. This
relationship implies that, for this population, in-home education maximizes skill
integration and application.
In nearly 30% of cases a change in placement occurred. In 60% of these
instances, the change in placement was positive, since it was a change from out of
home placement to in home placement. The children of parents with CL had twice
the odds to experience a positive change in placement as children of parents with CL
and intervening factors. Additionally, children who experience a positive change in
placement are more likely to have a parent with CL. These statistics imply that
parenting education is of most benefit to families who need services to support
parents in maintaining their children in the home. However, parenting education
appears less beneficial when the goal is reunification.
A potential confounding variable related to change in child placement is the
length of time each family was involved with CPS prior to their enrollment in the
parenting program. When child placement is at issue, the length of time each parent
is involved with CPS could have a significant impact on the extent to which those
children benefit from parenting education. Legislation that governs CPS mandates
that funds used for services intended to reunify the parent and child shall, not extend
beyond 15 months, and a petition to file for termination of parental rights must be
filed in cases in which the child has been placed outside of the home for 15 of the last
22 months (Welte, 1997). Thus, the length of time a parent is involved with CPS
prior to their enrollment with a parenting program could affect child placement.
Further research should identify the length of time the related CPS case has been open
71


to explore the relationship between legislation and child abuse and child neglect
interventions like parenting education.
The average length of participation in the program was nearly 10 months.
When this variable was analyzed in conjunction with CL, CL and intervening factors,
and child placement, few distinct patterns emerged. With respect to unsuccessful
outcomes, the average length of participation was longer for children of parents with
CL and intervening factors. Further, parents with intervening factors, who were
involved in the program previously, had an involved partner, or had their rights
terminated were significantly more likely to have longer lengths of participation
compared to parents with CL only. Refer to Figure 3 of the Appendix.
In 40% of this study population, the parent had an involved partner.
Individuals with CL only were significantly more likely to have an involved partner.
The overall statistics indicated that in cases of CL only, partner involvement is a
protective factor against unsuccessful outcomes. These statistics further found that in
cases of children of parents with CL and intervening factors, partner involvement
appears to put children at increased risk of an unsuccessful outcome. Child abuse and
child neglect research indicates that children from single parent households are at
greater risk for child abuse and child neglect. This study is in alignment with the
prevailing body of research when considering children of parents with CL only
compared to the entire study population. In this group, the likelihood of success was
greater for children of parents with CL only. However, in children of parents with
CL and intervening factors, the likelihood of an unsuccessful outcome when an
involved partner was present was more likely than the rest of the study population. In
this case, these findings contradict the current body of research.
These statistics examined a deeper relationship between success and partner
involvement. When the study population was stratified in terms of the two groups
72


(CL only and CL + IF), individuals with CL having an involved partner did not
increase the likelihood for a successful outcome, nor did it increase the likelihood for
an unsuccessful outcome. For children of parents with CL and intervening factors the
results were similar. In these children, the presence of an involved partner did not
increase the likelihood of a successful outcome or an unsuccessful outcome.
The results of the study indicate that in cases of CL only the presence of an
involved partner and the likelihood of success is inconclusive. The interesting feature
that emerged from this portion of the analysis was that the presence of an involved
partner, in cases of intervening factors, could put children at increased risk for out of
home placement and thus could act as a risk factor rather than a protective factor.
A notable feature revealed in this study was the relationship between prior
program participation and successful outcomes. Children of parents who had prior
program participation had twice the odds of to be outside of the home at discharge as
children of parents without prior program participation (unsuccessful outcome).
Additionally, children of parents with prior program participation were involved in
the program for longer periods than the rest of the study population.
The analysis on termination of parental rights found that children of parents
with CL and intervening factors are twice as likely as the rest of the study population
to have their parental rights terminated. When the variable of termination was
analyzed in terms of prior program participation, those who had prior program
participation were nearly 7 times more likely to have their parental rights terminated.
Additionally, in cases of termination, the length of program participation was longer
than the rest of the study population. It is unclear how or why parents with prior
program participation had different results. However, what is known is that these
parents were enrolled in the program longer than others were. Thus, termination is
unlikely to be the result of the length of time involved in the parenting program. Is
73


this particular feature indicative of the parents inability to make positive change?
Are these parents unable to integrate and apply the skills presented in the parenting
education environment? In order to understand this relationship in more depth, future
research could take a qualitative approach, thereby understanding the nuances
involved.
The enrollment ratio of children with parents with CL only to children of
parents with CL and intervening factors varied from year to year. This ratio did not
appear to follow a distinct pattern. The pattern that did emerge was the relationship
between the percentage of enrollment of children of parents with CL and intervening
factors in a given year, and the percentage of cases in that year which ended in a
successful outcome. That is, the lower the percentage of enrollment of children of
parents with CL and intervening factors, the higher the percentage of enrollment
attributable to a successful outcome.
74


CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSION
Parenting education is the second most frequent intervention used in CPS
investigations. Since parents with CL represent a large number of parents involved in
CPS investigations, and CPS regularly mandates parenting education, they are likely
to participate in this intervention. Therefore, determining the effectiveness of
parenting education programs for parents with CL involved in CPS investigations has
important implications for parenting education as an appropriate child abuse and child
neglect intervention. This research fills a gap in the literature that calls for
descriptive longitudinal research designs that evaluate parenting education as a child
abuse and child neglect intervention, further, it uses child placement as an indicator
of effectiveness, thereby quantifying the relationship between child placement and
parenting education. Using child placement as an outcome aligns the research
methodology with the family preservation goals observed by CPS, making the results
significant to CPS policy. In addition, this research explores specific variables that
significantly influence the relationship between child placement and parenting
education. Such intervening variables are substance abuse, mental health issues, and
domestic violence.
This study asserts that the degree to which children of parents with CL benefit
from parenting education, as measured by child placement, is dependent on the
presence or absence of co-occurring intervening factors, placement of children at the
beginning of the program and the length of time in the program.
The analysis found that at intake children of parents with CL were more
frequently in out of home placement. This result is in alignment with the NSCAW
75


study that also found children of parents with CL to be overrepresented in out of
home placement. This level of overrepresentation has several implications and as
such, further research should evaluate these variables. One potential variable relates
to the historical bias these parents have endured as a consequence of their disability.
Further research should explore the relationship between out of home placement and
discrimination in this population.
This study found an increase in in home placement for children of parents
with CL at discharge and a decrease in in home placement for children of parents
with CL and intervening factors. This relationship indicates that child placement is
dependent on the presence or absence of intervening factors. The absence of
intervening factors increases the likelihood of in home placement, while the presence
of such factors increases the likelihood of out of home placement. In addition, the
relationship between the percentage of successful outcomes in a participation year
and the percentage of enrollment of parents with CL and intervening factors provides
further evidence for this premise. The study also found that the lower the percentage
of enrollment of children of parents with CL and intervening factors, the higher the
percentage of successful outcomes in that year. The associations involved in
terminations substantiates that the presence of intervening factors negatively
influences child placement. Specifically, children of parents with CL and intervening
factors are overrepresented in cases of termination.
This analysis established that, for this study population, child placement at the
beginning of the parenting education program is predictive of child placement at the
end of the program. Children are in the home after the parenting program more
frequently when they were in the home at the beginning of the program. This feature
substantiates the tenets of constructivist pedagogy, specifically of situated cognition.
Constructivist pedagogy understands the learner and the environment to be
76


interdependent. The situational context structures cognition. Thus, knowledge
acquisition is maximized when the educational environment is the native context to
which a particular skill will apply. This is the chief principle of situated cognition.
For situated cognition, skill integration and application are maximized when learning
occurs in situ. The pedagogical philosophy of the parenting program appropriates
this paradigm. When children are in the home at intake, then the parenting program
is able to teach parenting skills in the environment to which the skills will apply. The
parent educator is able to tailor instruction to the specific needs of the parent and use
the surrounding environment to instantiate accommodations for those needs. This
particular method allows the constructivist concept of scaffolding to be implemented
in the home. Further, parenting education that occurs in the home allows the parent
to use the associations present in the authentic context to maximize knowledge
acquisition and ultimately skill integration. Constructivist pedagogy is supported in
this study since children who are in the home at intake are at greater odds of being in
the home at discharge, indicating that education occurred in situ.
Contrastingly, when children are out of the home at intake, they are at greater
odds of out of home placement at discharge. In these cases, parenting education
frequently occurs in artificial environments. For example, parents visit their children
at CPS or another institution for a scheduled visit. This environment is drastically
different from the family home and thus, according to constructivist pedagogy and
specifically situated cognition, this difference negatively affects comprehension.
Educators are unable to use the authentic environment as the educational context; the
individualized instruction does not include scaffolding within the environment to
which the skills will apply. This finding further corroborates constructivist pedagogy
as an appropriate educational philosophy for parenting education, since children who
are out of the home at discharge are more frequently out of the home intake. Further
research should examine the relationship between child placement and parenting
77


education that is presented in the home versus parenting education that is presented in
an artificial environment. Such an analysis will contribute to the types of curricula
and philosophies adopted by parenting education programs used as interventions for
child abuse and child neglect.
The prevailing body of research suggests that children are at increased risk for
child abuse and/or child neglect in single parent households. However, this study
found that an involved partner did not have a significant effect on child placement.
These results call for a more in depth exploration of the relationships between this
population and partnerships. Additionally, this study found that with respect to
children of parents with CL and intervening factors, a parenting partner may put the
child at increased risk. Further research should ask: What are the dynamics of
relationships in this population that could increase the risk of child abuse and child
neglect in two-parent households?
This research did not find a relationship between successful child placement
outcomes and the length of time in the parenting program. That is, children with
successful outcomes were not in the program longer, on average, than other children.
Contrastingly, children with unsuccessful outcomes were in the program longer than
other children. Additionally, the length of time children of parents with prior
program participation were involved in the program was significantly longer than the
rest of the study population. The length of time in the program was not shown to
affect child placement outcomes; however, the length of time in the program was
significantly associated with termination and prior program participation. It is
important to understand if these features are significantly related to CPS
investigations. The legislation that governs CPS potentially affects length of time a
parent is involved in a program.
78


According to these results, parenting education is most beneficial under two
conditions: 1) when the objective of parenting education is family preservation rather
than reunification, and 2) when intervening factors such as substance abuse, mental
health issues, and domestic violence are absent. The aforementioned findings suggest
that parenting education would be most effective in this population prior to their
involvement in child abuse or child neglect investigation. Applying this program in
this way ensures that children are in the home during the education and thus the
likelihood that parenting education will have a positive effect is increased. Therefore,
the benefit of parenting education increases in children of parents with cognitive
limitations when education is preventative.
79


APPENDIX A
Table 23. Variables and their respective units of analysis
VARIBLE NUMBER VARIBLE NAME UNIT OF ANALYSIS
1 NUMBER OF CHILDREN PER PARENT NUMBER OF CHILDREN PER PARENT: The number of children in this study that belong to the same parent This number can be deduced from the number of unique identifier: with the same prefix
2 INTERVENING FACTORS ABSENCES OR PRESENCE OF PROPERTY:
3 CHILD PLACEMENT DATA Each child is assigned a either a 0 or a 1 indicating their placement at both intake (Tl) and discharge (T2). A 0 indicates that they were out of the home while a 1 indicates that they were placed in the home.
4 LENGTH OF PARTICIPATION IN MONTHS: Each child is associated with the number of months that the parent participated in the program
5 PARTNER INVOLVEMENT ABSENCE OR PRESENCE OF PROPERTY:
6 PRIOR PROGRAM PARTICIPATION ABSENCE OR PRESENCE OF PROPERTY
7 TERMINATION ABSENCES OR PRESENCE OF PROPERTY
8 PARTICIPATION YEAR IN YEARS
80


Table 24.
Placement at discharge: the odds of being in the home at discharge
when placed in the home at intake for children of parents with
both a cognitive limitation and intervening factors (CL + IF).
INTAKE
Tl=l T1=0 CL + IF OR
DISCHARGE H to II 62.1% 19.1% 38.9% 6.9
36 13 49
T2=0 37.9% 80.9% 61.1%
22 55 77

CL + IF 100.0% 100.0%
58 68 126
P= 0.000
Table 25. Placement at discharge: the odds of being in the home at discharge
when placed in the home at intake for children of parent with
cognitive limitations only (CL Only)
INTAKE
Tl=l T1=0 CL ONLY OR
DISCHARGE T2=l 81.8% 41.6% 61.4% 6.3
90 47 137
T2=0 18.2% 58.4% 38.6%
20 66 86

CL ONLY 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
100 113 223
P = 0.000
81


Table 26.
Successful outcomes and partner involvement when considering
children of parents with cognitive limitations only (CL Only)

PARNTER NO PARTNER CL ONLY OR
SUCCESSFUL 61.1% 61.7% 61.4% .97
55 82 137
UNSUCCESSFUL 38.9% 38.3% 38.6%
35 51 86

CL ONLY 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
90 133 223
P = 0.935
Table 27. Successful outcomes and partner involvement when considering
children of parents with cognitive limitations and (a) intervening
factors (CL + IF)

PARNTER NO PARTNER CL+ IF OR
SUCCESSFUL 43.2% 37.1% 38.9% 1.3
16 33 49
UNSUCCESSFUL 56.8% 62.9% 61.1%
21 56 77

CL + IF 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
37 89 126
P = 0.518
82


00
u>
t--------- t- -r----r---------r- r
5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Months in Program
L ONLY
L ONLY: Success
;L ONLY: Fail
L ONLY: Partner Involvement
ONLY: Prior Participation
ONLY: Termination
ONLY: Termination & Prior Involvement'
-CL + IF
-CL + IF: Success
-CL + IF: Fail
-CL + IF: Partner Involvement
-CL + IF: Prior Participation
CL + IF: Terminmation
-CL + IF: Termination & Prior Involvement
19
Figure: 3 Two Group Mean Comparison Test: Average Length of Participation


Figure 3 illustrates the comparison of means in terms of months. The two
groups included in each comparison are children of parents with CL only (CL Only)
and children of parents with CL and intervening factors (CL + IF). For example, the
first pair of lines compares the average lengths of participation for CL Only and CL +
IF, while the fourth pair of lines compares the average lengths of participation for
these two groups in terms of partner involvement. The length of the line represents a
95% confidence interval. When the shape on the line is hollow, the relationship
between the two groups is significant.
84


BIBLIOGRAPHY
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