Change Indicator

Child Welfare In-Home Services - Unduplicated number of children served in Pennsylvania

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Why This Indicator Matters

Most children who become involved with the child welfare system are not separated from their families, but instead receive in-home services designed to strengthen, support, and stabilize the family unit. [1] After a child abuse or neglect report is filed with either Child Protective Services (CPS) or General Protective Services (GPS), which depends on the nature of the referral, an investigation is conducted to determine the child’s safety within the household as well as the level of risk for future harm. In-home services can be recommended or court ordered if the case is found not to be severe enough to warrant the child’s removal from the home but there are still safety and risk concerns.[2] These services are tailored to the specific needs of each family and are typically focused on ensuring child safety, strengthening parental protective capacity, improving overall family functioning, building caregiving and coping skills, supporting healthy and nurturing relationships, fostering physical and mental well-being, and ultimately enhancing the potential for permanency in the home.[3]

To reach these goals, caseworkers from the child welfare agency will provide families with positive parenting support, counseling and therapy, referrals for substance use and mental health treatment, education on job training and financial self-sufficiency, assistance with child care and transportation, and concrete assistance such as food, clothing, or housing. When CPS or GPS finds no evidence of abuse or neglect within a household following investigation of a maltreatment report, it is often within the best interest of the child to avoid unnecessary out-of-home placement.[4] For this reason, high-quality in-home services play an essential role in improving home conditions, strengthening family structures, and keeping children out of foster care. By examining the number of children served by in-home services each year, researchers are able to track longitudinal trends associated with child welfare services and note any changes in rates of in-home versus out-of-home care.


[1] Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2021). In-Home Services to Strengthen Children and Families. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/inhome_services.pdf

[2] Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2023). In-Home Services Involved with Child Protection. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau. Casework Practice | Child Welfare Information Gateway

[3] Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2021). In-Home Services to Strengthen Children and Families. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/inhome_services.pdf

[4] Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2020).Determining the Best Interests of the Child. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau. Child Welfare Information Gateway | Child Welfare Information Gateway

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Definition and Source

PROVIDER

Definition

Children who received services provided to both parents and children to address concerns related to child safety and well-being to enable the children to remain safely in their own home. This includes children whose families were screened-in and/or accepted for services.

Data Source

CY-28 File submitted by counties to Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Children, Youth and Families

Notes

There were some inconsistencies in reporting among the counties during the initial years.

NA = County did not report in-home services for the full state fiscal year.

Statistics (rates, ratios, percents) are not calculated and displayed for counts less than 10 (or less than 3 for Bayesian/Nearest Neighbor rates). This is due to the unreliability of statistics based on small numbers of events.

Last Updated

October 2022