NFPN: Past, Present, and Future!

In 1992, the Center for the Study of Social Policy and the Center for the Study of Family Policy convened a group of 40 professionals to design and create a national network for Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS), and as a result … the National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) was born!  Over the next seven years, NFPN had three executive directors who accomplished many things, among them preparing a directory of IFPS services, publishing a newsletter, issuing press releases, holding teleconferences, developing two video trainings, and appointing board members to maintain contact with IFPS states.

In 1999, Priscilla Martens became the executive director, a role in which she thrived for 20 years!  In that time, NFPN experienced tremendous growth and development.  The following are just the highlights:

  • Three additional variations of the NCFAS tool
  • IFPS nationwide surveys, IFPS ToolKit and other resources
  • An assessment tool for reunification and a model for intensive reunification
  • A father involvement project and the development of curricula to train practitioners
  • A website with over 50 resources to share cutting-edge information and best practice

Last month, Priscilla announced that she was retiring as of July 31, 2019.  Words cannot describe how valuable she has been to NFPN, and she will be greatly missed.  Of course, transition is a part of life, and so the NFPN Board of Directors is proud to announce Michelle Reines as its new executive director beginning August 1, 2019.

Michelle has spent many years developing programs and administering contracts for IFPS and reunification services, as well as other related prevention and early intervention programs.  She also served as Vice Chair on the NFPN Board of Directors in 2015/2016.

Michelle was born and raised in Dallas, Texas.  She earned her master’s degree in social work from Florida International University in 2000 and spent several years working in south Florida, most notably at the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.  Michelle and her family (husband, daughter and assorted pets) moved to North Carolina in 2006.  For the last couple years, Michelle has served as the foster home licensing manager for the NC Division of Social Services in the Asheville area.  Although she has experience in several fields, Michelle is most passionate about preserving families and helping children avoid foster care.

Michelle is excited to take on the opportunities and challenges that her new role with NFPN will provide.  In the near future, she will be facilitating updates to many of the resources offered by NFPN.  Michelle also hopes to expand NFPN’s services and its presence both nationally and internationally.  She looks forward to developing relationships with the many stakeholders that make up this valuable network!

Posted by Michelle Reines, NFPN Executive Director


Moving On

The year was 1999.  The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) was 7 years old.  The first NCFAS assessment tool was in its infancy.  NFPN’s main focus was on placement prevention of children with little mention of reunification.  Supporting father involvement was in the concept stage.  NFPN kept in touch by mailing printed newsletters.

Some of that seems like ancient history because it does reflect the passage of a substantial amount of time, closing in on 20 years.  And that’s the length of time that I have served as NFPN’s Executive Director.  Every day I still wake up happy to go to work and excited to be involved in the mission of preserving families. But 20 years is sufficient for one person to lead an organization.  Now it’s time to step aside and bring in fresh energy and ideas so I am announcing my retirement effective July 31.

It’s both challenging and rewarding to mature with an organization.  Here’s a summary of how NFPN has matured in the past 20 years:

  • Three additional variations of the NCFAS tool developed with supporting research on reliability/validity of the tools and use of the tools in every state of the U.S. and in 20 other countries
  • Nationwide surveys, assessment tool, toolkit, and other resources developed for promoting the widespread use of Intensive Family Preservation Services
  • Focus on reunification including one of the few assessment tools for reunification with additional research conducted leading to a model for intensive reunification
  • Father involvement promoted through a project demonstrating increased involvement of fathers in their children’s lives and development of curricula to train practitioners
  • A website with over 50 resources, many of them free, and two blog posts targeted to sharing cutting-edge information and best practice

Of course I haven’t been the only one working on behalf of NFPN for the past 20 years.  The Board provides oversight and shares their expertise in program development, training, and technical assistance. Ray Kirk, the NCFAS tool developer, has been involved in all further development and research of the tools, even after his retirement, reflecting an ongoing partnership and friendship with NFPN.  We have had dozens of other partners over the years who have provided their staff and resources to help advance the field.  Thousands of practitioners use NFPN’s products and materials in their work with families.  And families are the main beneficiaries and have always been the main reason for NFPN’s existence.

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have served NFPN for the past two decades.  My lifelong passion is preserving families and now I will explore other ways to do that.  My successor, Michelle Reines, is gearing up for an August 1 start date.  NFPN’s board will officially introduce Michelle at a later time but, rest assured, she is an outstanding choice!

In the meantime, I will continue to be available to address your needs, requests, and questions.  I want to finish well and finish strong!

Posted by Priscilla Martens, NFPN Executive Director


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