Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 5.3.1 Background

01/08/2001

The family preservation program in Tennessee, HomeTies, began in October of 1989. State funding ($1.71 million in FY 90) for the program was provided through a joint legislative resolution signed by the Governor directing the Departments of Human Services, Mental Health, and Youth Corrections to proceed with an inter-departmental family preservation program. Eight teams, serving 24 counties, including Shelby County, were funded in 1989 (FY90) as pilot projects. The program initially served families with children diagnosed as seriously emotionally disturbed and adolescents charged with delinquent acts or status offenses who were at imminent risk of placement in substitute (i.e., out-of-home) care. Referrals were made by staff in the three state agencies who could place or cause the placement of children. HomeTies was, and is, based on the Homebuilders model of family preservation services--serving multi-problem families for 4-6 weeks using behavioral and cognitive therapeutic interventions and concrete services in order to prevent placement. Services are delivered through contracts with private and public agencies, most often community mental health agencies. This structure changed in 1998 when the state moved to a managed care model of purchasing and delivering services in one-half of the state.

Table 5-3.
Number of children with child abuse and neglect investigations and percent indicated by type of maltreatment, age, and gender in Shelby County

  1995 1996 1997 1998
Number Investigated Percentage Indicated Number Investigated Percentage Indicated Number Investigated Percentage Indicated Number Investigated Percentage Indicated
Total 6,606 36% 6,642 35% 5,029 41% 4,578 38%
Types of Maltreatment
Minor physical abuse 1,415 26 1,438 26 1,101 30 1,057 30
Severe physical abuse 95 41 120 53 88 67 67 70
Failure to thrive 27 74 27 85 26 80 21 76
Malnutrition 4 50 6 50 4 50 3 33
Physical neglect 2,252 33 2,281 32 1,683 40 1,494 35
Medical neglect 306 37 254 40 197 38 180 36
Lack of supervision 630 48 541 42 409 47 480 46
Abandonment 185 66 203 62 144 65 118 69
Sexual Abuse/ Exploitation 954 40 1,063 35 956 41 755 37
Moral abuse 12 58 9 22 4 50 5 60
Emotional abuse 95 38 94 40 65 38 30 33
Emotional neglect 56 63 34 44 19 94 11 45
Educational neglect 12 83 26 69 20 75 9 88
Other 451 20 360 23 181 25 178 17
Substantial Risk of physical injury 43 72 93 65 68 78 115 64
Substance affected infant 48 96 78 90 61 97 45 89
Age:
<1 year 609 46 558 47 434 55 394 54
1-2 years 951 35 905 33 639 38 596 38
3-5 years 1,385 36 1,425 31 1,056 38 888 37
6-11 years 2,078 35 2,058 34 1,612 41 1,606 37
12 years and older 1,577 33 1,657 36 1,283 40 1,090 35
Gender:
Male 3,132 35 3,099 35 2,318 41 2,141 38
Female 3,471 36 3,542 25 2,711 40 2,436 38
Unknown 3 -- 1 -- -- -- 1 --

The FPS and family reunification programs offered by HomeTies constitute one of the state's four programs designed to preserve families. Wraparound services (i.e., individualized services purchased to prevent placement, reunify families, or support community/family based placements) are also available statewide.4 Community intervention and intensive aftercare programs are also available in selected counties for families with youth in the correctional system.


4 Wraparound services are not available to families receiving services in the Home Ties program, but they are available for use following intensive family preservation services as aftercare services.