Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 4.6 Summary


New Jersey has offered family preservation services since 1987, using the Homebuilders Model. Since its inception, referrals have been targeted at adolescents. Since 1995, the state has tried to redirect targeting to families with young children at risk of placement. There has been little success to date in this retargeting. While DYFS used a statewide training model and procedures, there was much variation in access to FPS in the seven participating counties. Differences were observed in screening practices, use of waiting lists, targeting, the use and definition of FPS for reunification, and the availability of other intensive services in each county. All counties continue to serve predominately adolescent at-risk populations.

In New Jersey random assignment for the evaluation was conducted from November 1996 through February 1998 in seven selected counties. A net sample of 442 cases were assigned. Interviews with caretakers and caseworkers were conducted. Administrative data were also collected. The analyses of these interviews and administrative data are presented in the chapters 5, 6, and 7.