Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 5.3.5 Description of Tennessee Family Preservation Model


HomeTies follows the Homebuilders model and utilizes a behavioral cognitive approach to work with multi-problem families. Workers try to engage the entire family and teach skills that will increase their ability to function more effectively. Workers carry two families for four to six weeks, and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Through a wide range of services and the ability to access $250 per family in flexible funding, workers address crises, monitor family stability, assist families, create linkages, and obtain services in the community.

State guidelines rule out referring the following case types for HomeTies Services.

  • Physical Abuse
  • The physical abuse is considered life threatening, necessitating the children be immediately placed to ensure safety (for example, the parent threatens homicide of the child).
  • Sexual Abuse
  • The perpetrator of the sexual abuse resides in the same home as the victim.
  • Substance Abuse
  • The adults in the home are found incoherent all of the time due to substance abuse and all of their resources are used to support their addiction.
  • Family members, including parents, fear being murdered by the drug community and move constantly to avoid harm.
  • A parent wants the child(ren) to be placed and refuses to consider services that might enable the child(ren) to remain in the home.
  • Neglect
  • Neglect cases are not ruled out unless the family refuses services.

CPS intake workers complete a risk assessment form to identify high, intermediate, low, or no risk. High risk cases are identified as cases where “the child or children in the home are at imminent risk of serious harm if there is no intervention in the situation.”

A typical high risk case might involve such factors as: 1) a vulnerable child; 2) a history of previous maltreatment; 3) an active perpetrator who has continued access to the child, and; 4) no available support or family strengths to offset the stated risks.