Family preservation services are designed to keep children safe and prevent unnecessary placement by helping families cope with stress and obtain needed services. Some programs make a distinction between these and intensive family preservation services that are time-limited and intensive, providing up to 20 hours per family per week.
Evaluations of the effectiveness of family preservation services, including intensive family preservation services, examine the extent to which services reduce out-of-home placement, maintain child safety, and improve family functioning. Research describes family preservation programs in different jurisdictions and identifies factors and specific services associated with improved outcomes, best practices, and suggested improvements. Resources include State and local examples.
A Comparative Study of Older-Youth Families and Younger-Youth Families in Placement Prevention and Reunification Cases, Using Traditional Child Protection Services Measures and NCFAS and NCFAS-R Assessment Data (PDF - 293 KB)
National Family Preservation Network & The National Alliance to End Homelessness
Compares the experiences of older and younger youth receiving placement prevention or reunification services from two service programs that use intensive family preservation service models to achieve permanency. The study addresses the prevention of long-term foster care placements and issues related to older youth aging out of foster care.
Evaluation of an Intensive In-Home Family Treatment Program to Prevent Out-of-Home Placement
Tyuse, Hong, & Stretch
Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 7(3), 2010
Evaluates a study that addresses the effectiveness of an intensive, in-home family preservation program, which provides counseling services to families at imminent risk of having a child or children removed from the home.
Intensive Family Preservation Services: The Perceptions of Client Families
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 24(6), 2007
Explores the correlation between intensive family preservation services and family functioning in those families who have participated in services. The study focuses on the perceptions of client families with respect to the impact of services on family functioning, including communication, family dynamics, and parenting skills.
A Meta-Analysis of Intensive Family Preservation Programs: Placement Prevention and Improvement of Family Functioning
Al, Stams, Bek, Damen, Asscher, & van der Laan
Children and Youth Services Review, 34(8), 2012
Discusses a study that established the effect of brief, in-home intensive family preservation programs on prevention of out-of-home placement, family functioning, child behavior problems, and social support. The study also considers moderators of these effects.
A Ten-Year Review of Family Preservation Research: Building the Evidence Base
Nelson, Walters, Schweitzer, Blythe, & Pecora (2009)
Washington State University Institute for Public Policy & Casey Family Programs
Identifies cost-effective prevention strategies in child welfare and reviews intensive family preservation and family reunification service programs from Oregon, North Carolina, and Michigan.
Family Preservation: Cost Avoidance and Child and Family Service Review Outcomes
Huebner, Robertson, Roberts, Brock, & Geremia
Journal of Public Child Welfare, 6(2), 2012
Presents a State-level study comparing children and families served by family preservation programs to families who did not receive service. The study considers issues such as cost avoidance on out-of-home care diversion rates, number and length of stays in out-of-home care, and recurrent patterns of need.
Kentucky's Family Preservation Program: Comprehensive Program Evaluation (PDF - 722 KB)
Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (2008)
Discusses the findings of an eight-part evaluation of Kentucky's Family Preservation Program services, including background information, the rationale for the program, previous evaluation findings, and the methodology for the current evaluation.
Strengthening Families Through Enhanced In-Home Support in Child Protective Services: Status Update (PDF - 203 KB)
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (2009)
Discusses the findings of an evaluation of the Strengthening Families Through Enhanced In-Home Support program, which was implemented in 15 counties representing all 11 regions of Texas.