Philadelphia was selected for the evaluation because it employed an alternative, somewhat less intensive, longer term approach, and therefore provides some contrast with the Homebuilders sites. In addition, the programs in Philadelphia that were examined were thought to focus on families with substance abuse problems which was not the case in the other sites.
As in the other states, the design for the evaluation in Philadelphia was an experiment in which families were randomly assigned to either the family preservation program (the experimental group) or to other, "regular," services of the child welfare system (the control group). In Philadelphia, both the experimental group and control group received services from private agencies under contract with the public child welfare agency. The public agency has a specialized family preservation unit that develops selection criteria, approves families to receive family preservation services and works closely with the private providers. All other in-home services, known as SCOH (Services to Children in their Own Homes), are delivered by private providers and monitored by the Department's caseworkers. During the evaluation period, experimental cases received family preservation services and control cases received SCOH services. Family preservation is a three-month program that requires workers to spend at least 5 to 10 hours per week with the family.
A description of data collection and sample size in Philadelphia is found in Volume 1, Chapter 6 of this report.