Polaris Child Welfare System: Predicting Likelihood of Permanency and Improving Care

Langhorne, PA (May 25, 2010)– Polaris Health Directions, a national leader in youth and adult outcomes assessment, introduces its software solution to support permanency planning in child welfare agencies. The Polaris Child Welfare (PCW) system provides an analysis of the data caseworkers need to determine the best course of action for each youth they serve.

The power of the PCW system stems from its predictive algorithm that when tested, accurately classified 80 percent of the youth who achieved permanency, and nearly 80 percent of those who were likely to fail. It was derived from assessment and placement data provided by child welfare agencies in Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina and Missouri.

“Each year thousands of kids are removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect, and many will be returned to their families too soon,” said Dr. Linda Toche-Manley, vice president of Polaris Health Directions. “And because the mental health issues of the families have not been addressed, these children often end up right back in the system.”

The PCW system administers assessments to children and their counselors, and then combines and analyzes their responses. The data is used to determine whether the current course of treatment is likely to result in a positive outcome–whether the child returns home to the biological parent(s), is permanently placed with a relative, adopted, emancipated or enrolled in college.

The system’s design allows for the in-depth evaluation of the parents’ mental health and the stability of the environment, including the presence of domestic violence. It can be easily customized to work in conjunction with existing systems and databases.

“With the use of the PCW solution, we expect to see fewer children re-entering the system and experiencing multiple placements, which in turn should reduce the number of aged-out youth who wind up on welfare or in jail,” Dr. Toche-Manley said. This breakthrough solution could help many youth recover from abuse and neglect, and build better lives for themselves and their families.”

More information about the Polaris Child Welfare solution and how it can be beneficial to those systems serving youth can be found here or send an e-mail to moreinfo@polarishealth.com. Follow Polaris on Facebook.

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The project described was supported by Award Number 5 R44 HD049955 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.