Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 3.3 History of Family Preservation in Kentucky


Family preservation programs began in Kentucky in 1985 with pilot projects funded by the Edna McConnell Clark foundation. These pilot studies, initiated through local efforts, were the impetus for three 1989 state grants to pilot family preservation programs in Louisville, Lexington, and western Kentucky. The pilot projects were replications of the Homebuilders Model. In 1990 the Kentucky Family Preservation Act established the Family Preservation Program (FPP), "a short-term intensive, crisis-intervention resource intended to prevent the unnecessary placement of children at imminent risk of placement." According to legislation, family preservation programs were to "follow intensive, home-based service models with demonstrated effectiveness in reducing or avoiding the need for out-of-home placement."2

Initially the 1990 Kentucky Family Preservation Act provided for grants to 47 counties to establish family preservation programs. By 1992 the program expanded to 90 counties, and in April 1996 services were available in all 120 Kentucky counties.

By law, family preservation services can be provided by the Department of Community Based Services or through contracts with private, nonprofit social service agencies. Currently all services are purchased through contracts with private agencies.

Until 1994 family preservation programs were entirely state funded when the decision was made to use federal Title IV-A Emergency Assistance Funds (EAF). The purpose of this was to maximize available state and federal dollars by applying for Title IV-A emergency funds for families eligible for family preservation services. In 1997, with the inception of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the block granting of IV-A funds, the state implemented an eight percent decrease in family preservation contracts. At that time, there was a short-term effort to draw down Medicaid Rehabilitation Funds for FPP. Presently TANF funds are being used to supplement state funding. In 1998 there was an increase in the budget due to an increase in funding for reunification services. The 1998 budget reflected a blending of funds for the two programs, family preservation and reunification.

The family preservation funds available through the 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA), Title IV subpart 2 of the Social Security Act were mainly used in the planning year to develop regional planning for service provision. A small proportion of the funds were used to pilot family reunification services in five sites for six months. In subsequent years, the funding was divided between family support programs and family preservation. The proportion of funds devoted to family preservation were used for the development of reunification programs rather than further expansion of family preservation programs. All regions were given funds to develop reunification programs. These funds could be used to expand reunification services provided through the pilot studies or new programs could be developed. New initiatives were developed to provide reunification services at the time a child entered foster care as well as targeting those children who were in foster care for extended periods of time.

(2) Kentucky Family Preservation Services Legislation, 200.75 Family preservation services programs.