Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume One. 4.3.2 DYFS Evaluation

12/01/2002

A DYFS evaluation of the New Jersey family preservation model was conducted in four counties (Feldman, 1991). Cases were randomly assigned and followed for one year after service. Data are available on 117 experimental and 97 control cases. Thirty-three families that were "turned back" from the experimental group were excluded from the analysis.

Findings. Analyses were conducted on both placement prevention and improvement in family functioning. Measurement occurred at several points in time and comparisons were made between the treatment and control groups. Both the treatment and control groups made gains on the Moos Family Environment Scale, Interpersonal Support Evaluation List, and Child Well-being Scales. However, there were few significant differences between groups in the amount of change.

The differences in placement rates between the treatment and control groups were also examined (Table 4-5). During the intervention period, approximately 6 weeks, 6 percent of families in the experimental group and 17 percent of families in the control group experienced placement of at least one target child. At 6 months post-termination, 27 percent of families in the experimental group and 50 percent of control group families had experienced at least one placement. At one year post-termination 43 percent of those in the experimental group and 57 percent of families in the control group had experienced placement.

Table 4-5
Placement Data by Months Since Termination
  Percent of Families with Child Placed
Months Since Termination FPS treatment Control
3 months 22 37
6 months 27 50
12 months 43 57

The state concluded that FPS services can be effective in preventing placement for the short term. (37) If used as a short-term "front-end" it can be useful as part of the continuum of services needed by a family. However, more information is needed about the targeting of families and outcomes. In particular, staff wanted to know which families are likely to get the best outcome from the short-term service.

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