Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 3.4 Implementation of the Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification


Having a well-established statewide program, Kentucky was one of the original sites considered for study participation. This site was selected as it met all study selection criteria-a well-defined, mature program using a "relatively" pure version of the Homebuilders model that had more families to serve than slots available.

Site visits were conducted and state office administrators were very interested in participating in the study, with some trepidation about a randomized experiment. Additional meetings were held with state and local personnel to address concerns and to explain the dimensions of the study. To meet required study sample sizes, it was decided that the study would take place in Jefferson county (Louisville), Fayette county (Lexington), and ten Bluegrass counties. A two-day meeting was held with personnel from all these sites to work out the details of the study. At that time it was decided to drop the Bluegrass counties and concentrate efforts on Louisville and Lexington, even if it meant extending data collection past one year to achieve the necessary sample size. Meetings were set up with all of Louisville and Lexington supervisors and workers that would be affected by the study. As was expected, these meetings focused on staff concerns about random assignment. Their concerns are discussed in further detail in Section 3.4.3.

State and local personnel indicated that families currently being referred for family preservation were not necessarily those at imminent risk of placement and that there were many eligible families not being referred for services. Referral problems were particularly salient in Lexington. To address these concerns procedures were implemented to help tighten the screening and referral of families to family preservation. As described below, different procedures were designed for Louisville and Lexington in conjunction with central office DCBS staff.