Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. Site Descriptions

01/08/2001

While data collection efforts were the same across sites, the sites varied in their approach to identifying families for services, the populations served, and the type of services provided (see Table 1).

  • Kentucky has a statewide program that uses the Homebuilders model. A state office coordinator is responsible for developing uniform selection criteria, training, contracting with family preservation providers, and overseeing the state program. The evaluation was conducted in Louisville, where there is a single family preservation provider agency, and child abuse and neglect cases are referred from intake or ongoing workers. A public agency screener reviewed all cases referred for family preservation services. Her role was to ensure that cases were appropriate for the service. There was no age limitation on the children included in the experiment. In Kentucky there were 174 cases in the experimental group and 175 in the control group.
  • New Jersey had a statewide program using the Homebuilders model at the time of the study. During the data collection, a state office coordinator was responsible for developing uniform selection criteria, training, contracting with providers, and program oversight. The study was conducted in seven counties: Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Passaic. Each county had a separate family preservation provider agency. The study population included Division of Youth and Family Service child abuse and neglect and family problem cases (primarily adolescent-parent conflict cases) referred from intake or ongoing workers. Each county had a screener to review cases referred for family preservation. Their major role was to review the appropriateness of the referrals and to make sure there were openings in the program. When the study began, the state was trying to refocus delivery of family preservation services to families with younger children. Not all counties conformed to this expectation, so all children under 18 were included in the experiment. In New Jersey there were 275 cases in the experimental group and 167 in the control group.
  • Tennessee had a statewide program using the Homebuilders model during the study period. It also had a state office coordinator responsible for developing uniform selection criteria, training, contracting with providers, and program oversight. The evaluation was conducted in Memphis and focused on families with children under 13 years old referred from the Department of Children's Services. Cases were referred only from intake workers. Prior to the study, workers referred cases directly to the family preservation program. For the study, cases were referred to a screener rather than directly to the program. In Tennessee there were 98 cases in the experimental group and 49 in the control group.
Table 1.
Study Site Descriptions
Program Description Kentucky New Jersey Tennessee
Program Attributes
Location of evaluation Jefferson County (Louisville) Fayette County (Lexington) Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Passaic counties. Shelby County (Memphis)
Program type Statewide FP program Statewide FP program Statewide FP program
Program model Homebuilders model Homebuilders model Homebuilders model
Responsibility for:
  • Selection criteria
State office coordinator State office coordinator State office coordinator
  • Training
State office coordinator State office coordinator State office coordinator
  • FP provider oversight
State office coordinator State office coordinator State office coordinator
Providers Single FPS provider in study location. Single FPS provider in each county location. Single FPS provider in study.
Screener Targeted cases were at high risk and should have entered care without FP. High risk family court cases where a petition was filed were reviewed for placement in the study.

Public agency screener reviewed all cases referred to FPS for appropriateness.

Targeted cases were at high risk and should have entered care without FP.

Each county had a screener to review cases referred for FP and make sure there were openings in the program.

Targeted cases were at high risk and would have entered care without FP.

For the study, the screener referred cases to the FP program (prior to the study workers referred cases directly to program)

Population Attributes
Population criteria FP cases referred from intake and ongoing units. FP cases referred from intake and ongoing cases. FP cases referred from intake only.
Child age limit Children under 18 years of age.

At time of study state the state was trying to refocus delivery of FP to younger children.

All children under 18.

At the time of study the state was trying to refocus delivery of FP to younger children but not all counties modified targeting.

1 child in the family had to be under 13 years of age.