Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 5.1 Introduction


In Tennessee the Family Preservation Program (HomeTies) is a resource within the state’s Department of Children’s Services (DCS).1 The 95 Tennessee counties are grouped into 12 regions for purposes of service delivery. During the study period, there was a family preservation coordinator who was responsible for overseeing the administration of the family preservation programs, including setting standards, contracting with private providers throughout the state, and providing training and technical assistance. Direct services were delivered by private providers under contract to the state.2

Shelby County (Memphis) participated in the evaluation. Study enrollment began in November 1996 and concluded in May 1998. Frayser Family Counseling provides the HomeTies Program in Shelby County.

The sources of material for this chapter are reports and documents produced by the state and interviews with personnel at the DCS and HomeTies program.3 This information is presented to help understand the context in which services were provided, and to identify any changes that occurred during the implementation of the evaluation. The observations only reflect the perceptions of the individuals we interviewed.

This chapter begins with an overview of the characteristics of Tennessee’s children and families. Details of the Tennessee family preservation program, service delivery in Shelby County, implementation of the evaluation, and other organizational initiatives are then provided.

(1) Formerly the Department of Human Services. 

(2) As discussed later, implementation of managed care for non-custodial services has changed this structure. 

(3) Sources of data for this report include Tennessee's Family Preservation/Family Support Five Year Plan (1994); Family Preservation in Tennessee, The Home Ties Interventions: Selected Findings from the Program's Operation from 1989 to 1995 (Homer, K.S. Cunningham, M.L., Bass, A.S., Collette, S., and Evans, M.S., 1996); the State of Tennessee's Assessment of Children and Youth Committed to State Care (1989); Tennessee Home Ties History, and interviews with public and private agency staff.