Secretary Malhotra
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Governor's Office

Family Preservation

In-Home Family Preservation Services

In-Home Family Preservation represents a continuum of programs available within the local departments of social services. These programs are specifically identified for families in crisis whose children are at risk of out-of-home placement. Family preservation actively seeks to obtain or directly provide the critical services needed to enable the family to remain together in a safe and stable environment. Research has shown that once a child is removed from the home, it can be difficult to reunite the family. Families identified with problems regarding child maltreatment are the customers most often served. Other issues such as domestic violence, homelessness, substance abuse, and mental and physical health are also prevailing conditions and concerns within the family system.

Purpose of Family Preservation Programs
  1. To promote the safety and wellbeing of children and their families.
  2. To preserve family unity where children’s safety can be supported.
  3. To maintain permanency for children.
  4. To empower families to achieve or sustain independence and self-sufficiency.

Goals of Family Preservation Programs
  1. To enhance the parents’ ability to create a safe, stable and nurturing home environment that promotes healthy child development.
  2. To prevent out-of-home placement of children, when safety can be acquired for all family members.
  3. To provide, refer to, and coordinate services needed to achieve or maintain family safety, stability, independence and unity.

Philosophy of Family Preservation Programs
All programs have been developed and implemented, based on the following principals:

  1. Child safety based,
  2. Family focused,
  3. Dedicated to work with families as partners,
  4. Respect,
  5. Designed to build on family strengths and unity within the context of their culture and community,
  6. Dedicated to prevent, reduce or eliminate behaviors, environmental barriers, and community conditions, which may place a child, family or community at risk of further maltreatment or dysfunctional practices.
  7. Primarily provided in the home or community,
  8. Flexible, based on the changing needs of families and children at various times in their lives,
  9. Timely, and
  10. Designed to achieve measurable outcomes, such as reducing the overall numbers of children entering foster care.

Providing Safety for Children
  1. The local departments’ of social services provide assistance to families with children who have been identified as victims or are vulnerable to numerous forms of maltreatment or conditions that put them at risk of removal from their homes.
  2. When safety and protection can’t be assured, other arrangements are made for children, with or without the authorization of the caretaker.
  3. The Department of Human Resources believes that prevention of maltreatment is a shared responsibility. The Social Services Administration and local department’s promote community collaboration by working with community groups and private agencies, and other state administrative offices.
  4. Risk assessment and safety planning are integral parts of the service agreement with all families served.

Programs Provided by Local Department’s of Social Services
To achieve the purpose and goals of In-Home Family Preservation Services through the local departments of social services, the Department of Human Resources provides a continuum of programs designed to meet the needs of individual families. The service programs are:

  1. Services to Families with Children, Intake (SFC-I),
  2. Services to Families with Children, Continuing (SFC-C),
  3. Intensive Family Services (IFS),
  4. Families Now/Family Centered Practice
  5. Continuing Child Protective Services.

Manageable caseload sizes, access to flexible funds in an effort to sustain the family’s independence, and a team approach are integral parts of In-Home Family Preservation.

Services to Families with Children-Intake
Services to Families with Children-Intake (SFC-I) is a voluntary, short term service provided to families who request assistance due to lack of resources or some form of family dysfunction, that if not addressed, could result in disruptions of family members. The primary purpose of this program is to assess the needs of the family, provide crisis relief, and determine if they can be directed for further support within their community, or if a more extensive Family Preservation program would best serve their needs. This program has a maximum timeframe of 45 days.

Services to Families with Children-Continuing
Services to Families with Children – Continuing (SFC-C) is designed to strengthen and maintain families to prevent family disturbance, leading the movement of children into other living arrangements. Usually families are referred from SFC-I and are in need of further assistance to cooperatively work toward solutions identified. These families usually have one or more serious conditions, which if not addressed would result in out of home placement. Domestic violence, homelessness, substance abuse, parenting issues, and mental or physical health are the most common factors effecting families served by this program. It is distinguished from the other Family Preservation Programs by an income requirement of not more than 80% of the state median income that is adjusted for family size and the fact that child maltreatment has not occurred prior to the referral. A family can receive service for up to 18 months.

Intensive Family Services
Intensive Family Services was first instituted in the mid-1980’s. Developed as a short, intensive, voluntary program of up to three months of service, IFS was designed to work cooperatively with families in addressing the immediate situations where child placement into foster care is probable. Worker and aide teams carry a maximum caseload of six families in order to provide highly intensive service provision. This program has proven to be highly successful in preventing placement of children, reducing incidents of further maltreatment and improving self-sufficiency and community connection with families.

Families Now/Family Centered Practice:
The Families Now/Family Centered Practice Program provides an array of services that are designed to fit the needs of the family and children who are at risk of foster care. Based on the success of the Intensive Family Services model and recognizing the fact that not all families require the same level of service, this initiative places caseworker/parent aide teams in the local departments of social services to enable them to create a service agreement specific to the individual needs of the family. Some families require the intensity of six to eight hours or more of service per week for a brief period of time to remedy conditions that endanger a child’s safety and well being. Other families do not require such intense contact and are provided service for a longer period of time. Families Now Program services commonly range from 3 to 9 months.

Continuing Child Protective Services
Child Protective Services is a service provided for children believed to be abused or neglected by their caretakers, and remain at risk even after initial services have been concluded. Service is designed to enable families to provide at least the minimum essentials of care for children in order to provide a safe and protective environment. This program need not be voluntary and court intervention is common. Continuing Protective Services is provided until the safety of each child can be assured or the minor is removed to a safer living arrangement.

Scope of Services
For the purpose of achieving family unity within a safe environment, all In-Home Family Preservation Services programs are able to provide, coordinate or refer families for any of the following services:

  1. Counseling (educational, vocational, family planning;
  2. Medical and psychological evaluations and treatment;
  3. Skill building in the areas of parenting, age appropriate disciplinary practices, child care, advocacy for support and services, conflict resolution, budgeting, housekeeping, and meal preparation;
  4. Assistance and support to enhance the likelihood of positive family responsibility and self-sufficiency;
  5. Housing information and assistance;
  6. Emergency financial assistance through flex funds or other monetary resources available to the local department or through community partners;
  7. Parent-aide or in-home aide services;
  8. Day care assistance;
  9. Respite care;
  10. Transportation assistance;
  11. Assistance with and connection to both formal and informal support systems and resources; and
  12. Court involvement.