Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 3.3.1 Description of State Family Preservation Program Model


According to Kentucky policy, "Family Preservation and Program Responsibilities,"3 the Family Preservation Program (FPP) is a short-term, intensive, crisis-intervention resource intended to prevent the unnecessary placement of children at imminent risk of placement. The program serves children and their families who are at risk of commitment as dependent, abused, or neglected; who are identified as needing juvenile services because families are unable to exercise reasonable control of the child; who are identified as having mental health problems; or who are receiving services through the Kentucky Impact program. The purpose of the program is to make reasonable efforts by the Department to prevent the removal of children from their homes.

Programs are to:

  1. Assess the situation and FPP's ability to maximize safety of family members;
  2. Stabilize the family in time of crisis;
  3. Develop goals with the family for family preservation services;
  4. Teach skills to family members; and
  5. Empower the family to make changes that may alleviate the need for out-of-home placement during the crisis.

Families referred to the FPP are expected to meet the following criteria:

  1. At least one parent willing to work with the FPP
  2. The family is in crisis
  3. At least one child is at imminent risk of out of home placement. Both the public agency caseworker and family members shall believe that without immediate intensive intervention, out-of-home placement is imminent.
  4. The family may not be served effectively by using other existing, or less intensive services.
  5. In cases where there has been an emergency removal, it can not have exceeded seven working days and the Department must be willing to return the child home upon FPP acceptance.

Families not eligible for family preservation services include families in which there has been sexual abuse of a child and the perpetrator is still in the home or the child is at risk from recurring sexual abuse and families in which an adult is drug dependent and he or she is not in active treatment.

Direct services are provided by private providers under contract to the state. State policy dictates that caseload size, intensity and duration of services and accessibility of services are based on the Homebuilder's model and are outlined in policy as summarized below.

  1. Provide 20 hours of direct and indirect services according to the needs of each family each week for an average of 4 to 6 weeks;
  2. Provide at least half of the services in the family's home or other natural community setting;
  3. Each worker carries a maximum of two cases at one time;
  4. The worker shall be available to provide services to the family 24 hours a day, seven days a week;
  5. FPP will make referrals as needed to other available community resources, including but not limited to, housing, child care, education and job training, local, state, and federally funded public assistance, and other basic support needs;
  6. Aid in the solution of practical problems that contribute to family stress so as to effect improved parental performance and enhanced functioning of the family unit;
  7. Have available monies (flex dollars) to help the success of the intervention;
  8. Provide services beyond six weeks, if necessary. But no longer than eight weeks.

Policy also specifies that the family preservation provider is to conduct a home visit within 24 hours of referral and make a determination of service provision within 72 hours of the referral.

To aid in the implementation of family preservation services in each region, policy outlines the development of a Family Preservation Program Management Team. The team consists of the contract agency Executive Director, the Department's District Manager, a Department staff person who assumes responsibility for reviewing all referrals to the FPP, the central office family preservation program coordinator, and the FPP supervisor.

(3) Department for Social Services Program Manual, Family Preservation Section.