The impetus for HomeTies began at a conference in Nashville of southern state service providers and legislators in October 1987. Various models of intensive family preservation services were presented. Members of the Tennessee Select Committee on Children and Youth and others in Tennessee attended this conference and became strong advocates of FPS
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 preservati
This section provides demographic statistics on Tennessee's children and families. Child welfare statistics are presented for Shelby County, which was the focus of the family preservation study in Tennessee.
There are approximately 1,300,000 children under age 18 in Tennessee, with the majority being white (76 percent), and two-thirds under twel
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 administratio
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 stat
Several statewide changes have occurred since random assignment began in November 1996. These were the new FPS computer system, changes in administration, the Governor's Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Protection Services, statewide DYFS strategy planning, the federal adoption initiative, and welfare reform.
Aggregate data describing the service in FPS programs are available from state reports. County-specific annual monitoring is presented for FY 1998. The random assignment period in New Jersey, November 1996-February, 1998 overlapped partially with this aggregate data. The data are based on information self-reported by each FPS program as part of th
Interviews were conducted with DYFS district office staff and FPS staff in three participating counties in the Spring of 1998. The perceptions of staff regarding random assignment for the evaluation, changes in referrals to FPS during and after the evaluation, effects of the study, and the outcome of FPS were discussed.
To provide further understanding of the context in which the study was conducted, the following gives a brief overview of issues in child welfare in New Jersey. Child welfare services in New Jersey are administered centrally by the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), a branch of the Department of Human Services (DHS).
Shortly after random assignment began in November 1996, study staff observed that some county screeners misinterpreted criteria for the evaluation and made inappropriate referrals. This was a particular problem for counties with multiple screeners (Essex and Passaic), as well as during periods when screeners were on vacation and substitute screene
As part of our negotiations with DYFS, it was agreed that a limited number of eligible cases could be excluded from the study. DYFS administrators felt it was important that they not deny services to families that district office staff felt were at an unacceptably high level of risk. It was agreed that eight cases prior to random assignment and si
Initial and subsequent meetings were held with supervisory and casework staff at both the county DYFS offices and the family preservation programs. Many concerns about the study and its impact on operations and service to families were discussed. The most unanimous concern in every DYFS office was the requirement for additional paperwork. Supervis
Only DYFS referrals to family preservation in the selected sites were considered for random assignment. Excluded from the study were cases referred by non-DYFS sources, cases served in family preservation prior to the study that were returning for a second "booster" service, and reunification cases.
Preparation and training for the experiment were conducted in the summer and early fall of 1996. Training sessions were held with both DYFS screeners and FPS program coordinators. During one-day training sessions, study procedures were reviewed including use of study forms, the screening protocol, random assignment procedures, and the role of the
Executive staff in New Jersey expressed early interest in participation in this evaluation to obtain a thorough assessment of their family preservation services. FPS services in New Jersey had been operational for almost ten years. They were recently expanded to all counties. The emphasis, while originally focused on adolescents with family proble
Following the DYFS study, it was felt that the decision-making process involved in making a referral to FPS needed to be evaluated. In 1992, DYFS, with funding from the Tri-State Network of HomeBuilders, conducted a study to examine the caseworker decision making process to assess the targeting issue. DYFS was concerned that targeting was not sole