Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume One. 4.2.2 Statewide FPS Case Characteristics


FPS programs are required by contract to collect and report social and demographic information on the families that they serve. Statistics are available through Fiscal Year 1997, as reported in the Family Preservation Annual Report. DYFS has placed an emphasis on having the families served by FPS programs reflect the composition of the DYFS general population and the communities they serve.

In New Jersey, the FPS programs have historically served more one-parent families. In FY 1996, 57 percent of families served were one-parent families (single, divorced, separated, and widowed). Additionally, from FY 1992-95, approximately 39 percent of families served were reported as having AFDC as their primary source of income. FY 1996 showed an increase in this percentage to 48 percent.

The largest racial group served statewide is white families, including around 40 percent of families served in FPS each year, as shown in Table 4-3 below. (35) The percentage of white families increased slightly from 41.5 percent in FY 1994 to 44.8 percent in FY 1997 with a corresponding 4.3 percent decrease in the percentage of African American families served.

Table 4-3
Race/Ethnicity of Families Served in FPS
Race of Families Served FY 1994 FY 1995 FY 1996 FY 1997
  % % % %
White 41.9 39.7 42.7 44.8
African-American 37.1 37.7 36.5 32.8
Hispanic 14.3 15.7 14.4 16.5
Other 6.7 6.9 6.4 5.9

In FY 1995, there was discussion during state budget planning that FPS programs were not adequately serving the appropriate population. (36) The DYFS Program Report for Fiscal Years 1995 and 1996 suggests that the FPS caseload should ideally reflect the active DYFS and foster care caseloads. Statewide, about two-thirds of the children in foster care are African-American, while 37 percent of FPS population served during the year was African-American. There is some county variation. The African-American populations of certain counties' FPS and total active caseloads (e.g., Essex, 84% FPS and 86% active caseload) more closely match (Table 4-4). While there is some possible bias in comparing FPS full-year statistics to point-in time DYFS caseload demographics, DYFS suggests that caseload demographics have not changed much over the past several years. Most programs have not served African-American families in the same proportion as the foster care caseload.

Table 4-4
Percent of FPS, DYFS Total, and Foster Care Caseload That is African-American by County
County FPSa
DYFS Total Caseload
DYFS Foster Care Caseload
Bergen 15 25 33
Burlington 23 32 44
Camden 33 54 67
Essex 84 86 92
Monmouth 26 39 59
Ocean 12 19 37
Passaic 39 45 60
Statewide 37 50 67
a The report uses cumulative yearly percentages as reported by FPS programs. The DYFS Active Caseload counts for Total and Foster Care are point in time. Active caseload can reflect duration bias for those children remaining longer in the DYFS actual or foster care caseloads.
b Family Preservation Services. Program Report for Fiscal Years 1995 and 1996, July 1997, pg. 43.

During the three-year period FY 1994-1996, older children continued to be targeted by family preservations programs. However, the percentage of older children, age 13-17, decreased from 56 percent in FY 1995 to 37 percent in FY 1997. DYFS credits this shift to an increase in service to children in reunification cases, where the distribution of ages of children tends to be younger. In addition, several of the newer programs, including Huntingdon, Ocean, and Somerset served a majority of younger children in FY 1996.

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