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Child Welfare: Title IV-E Waiver

Waiver III: Parent Mentor & Relationship Based Visitation

The IV-E Waiver Demonstration Evaluation is a partnership with Oregon’s Department of Human Services (child welfare) to evaluate two demonstration programs being implementing using Oregon’s federal IV-E Waiver funds. These funds allow Oregon to utilize monies that would typically be spent on foster care placements to be used to prevent and/or shorten the duration of children’s out-of-home placements in the child welfare system. Two demonstration interventions are being evaluated: Parent Mentoring, an innovative, peer-mentoring model for parents with substance abuse issues; and Relationship-Based Visitation, an enhanced visitation model that provides parent intervention and coaching during parent-child visits.

For the IV-E Executive Summary please click here. 

For IV-E Key Findings and Lessons Learned please click here. 

Parent Mentoring
The Parent Mentoring program provides parent-directed outcome-informed peer mentoring services to parents involved with the child welfare system. The program focuses on supporting parents' recovery and assisting them in navigating the child welfare and related systems. The program builds on the Client Directed Outcome Informed model developed by Scott Miller and Barry Duncan. Mentors are former child welfare clients who have at least two years in recovery, and the model includes significant supervision and support for mentors. The goal of this intervention is to prevent substitute care placement, and for children in substitute care, expedite reunification.


The evaluation is a mixed methods design and includes a process evaluation, fidelity assessment as well as an outcomes study. Eligible parents will be randomly assigned to either the Parent Mentor program or a control group. Child welfare and substance abuse treatment data will be used to compare outcomes for parents in the two groups. Both the outcomes and process study will draw on data gathered from interviews and focus groups with parents, mentors, child welfare staff and community partners. Parents' recovery efforts including the extent to which they are connected with a variety of community based supports, and their progress in addressing other issues identified by the child welfare system will also be assessed. Fidelity to the model will be measured using a combination of data collection strategies including program documentation, observations, surveys, focus groups and interviews. The evaluation will be a collaboration between PSU researchers, Parent Mentor staff, child welfare staff and program participants.

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Relationship-Based Visitation Evaluation
The Relationship-Based Visitation program provides parenting intervention and coaching for families with children 13 years of age or younger who are in out-of-home placements. The program focuses on nurturing a healthy parent-child relationship and facilitating the development of empathic parenting through the use of an evidence-based parent training program called Nurturing Skills (NS). NS is a Nurturing Parenting Program (NPP) developed by Dr. Stephen Bavolek. Nurturing Skills provides individualized family planning to address identified parenting needs utilizing visitation coaches who help facilitate positive parenting during supervised visits between parents and children. RBV services will be provided in 13 Districts throughout the state of Oregon which encompasses 29 counties.


The evaluation of RBV uses a randomized control design to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in improving parenting skills, foster positive parent-child relationships, reducing time spent in foster care, and improving the likelihood of successful family reunification. Over a two-and-a-half year period, the evaluation will randomly assign 1200 parents to either receive RBV services, or visitation as usual. Detailed information about the fidelity of the model will be collected using a combination of documentation of visit activities, observations, and interviews with parents and providers. A subset of 400 parents will participate in a parent interview that will capture outcomes that can not be readily identified using state child welfare administrative records (such as parenting skills, parenting stress, and quality of parent-child relationships).

Funding:       Children’s Bureau
Start Date:     2011

End Date:      2015
Contact:        Beth Green (Co-PI), Anna Rockhill (Co-PI)



Waiver II: Subsidized Guardianship & Flexible Funding

In April 2004, Oregon’s Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Project was renewed for five years. Oregon’s Waiver uses flexible funds to implement innovative services and subsidized guardianship. The evaluation contains three components:

·   Monitoring targeted CFSR outcomes related to permanency and safety for innovative services funded by Waiver flexible funds.

·   Evaluation of enhanced visitation services funded by the Waiver. Evaluation will be conducted between 2007 and 2009 and consists of a detailed process study and descriptive outcome study. The goals of the process study are to describe enhanced visitation programs, identify case and branch level factors associated with targeted outcomes, and examine the broader effects of enhanced visitation services funded by the Waiver. The outcome study will examine permanency and safety outcomes for 3 groups:  (1) cases from the intervention group who participate in enhanced visitation, (2) cases from the intervention group who do not participate in enhanced visitation, and (3) cases from the comparison group. 

·   Evaluation of subsidized guardianship contains both outcome and process components. The goals of the process evaluation are to: (1) describe the subsidized guardianship program; (2) determine the proportion of eligible cases that successfully establish guardianship; (3) compare subsidized guardianship cases to cases with other permanency outcomes; and (4) identify system and case level barriers and facilitators of timely subsidized guardianship. The goals of the outcome evaluation include: (1) assess stability, safety, and impact of guardianships; (2) identify barriers and facilitators to maintaining guardianships; and (3) determine dissolution and re-referral rates for subsidized guardianship cases compared with cases with other permanency outcomes.


Funding:       Oregon Department of Human Services
Start Date:     2004 
End Date:      2009



Waiver I: Subsidized Guardianship & Flexible Funding

Description: Oregon was among the first cohort of states to implement a Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Project, granted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Waiver was an opportunity to experiment with a proportion of previously earmarked foster care maintenance dollars to examine whether access to additional flexible funds contributed to better outcomes for children and families. Oregon’s first Waiver was a five year systems change initiative. There were four broad categories of flexible fund expenditures: (1) foster care prevention, (2) expansion of existing services, (3) innovative services, and (4) subsidized guardianship. The evaluation of the Waiver included both process and impact components.

Funding:     Oregon Department of Human Services
Start Date:     1997
End Date:      2002