The year 2006 was one of great discoveries, including validation of the effectiveness of the original Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS) model and the top-ranking designation of assessment tools used with IFPS and IFPS-based reunification services. Here are the highlights:
The Resurgence of IFPS
This was the title of the March NFPN News Notes reporting that five comparison group studies (two published since 2002) demonstrated the effectiveness of high-fidelity IFPS programs. A special issue later that month reported on a new research study finding that the HOMEBUILDERS® model of IFPS significantly reduces out-of-home placements, subsequent reports of child abuse and neglect, and produces a benefit of $2.54 for every dollar spent. Since its inception, NFPN has promoted high-fidelity IFPS and well-designed research on its effectiveness. Child welfare agencies are starting to respond to the research findings by bolstering their IFPS programs with increased fidelity to the HOMEBUILDERS model, increased training for staff, and by adding quality assurance components.
NCFAS and NCFAS-R Ranked Top Assessment Tools
A research team at Berkeley reviewed 85 assessment instruments and found the NCFAS and NCFAS-R family functioning scales to be the most relevant for use in child welfare settings. The NCFAS was specifically designed for use with IFPS cases while the NCFAS-R was designed specifically for IFPS-based reunification cases. Both tools are used extensively in the child welfare system and have been found reliable and valid. NFPN has offered training packages on these tools for the past four years and developed supplemental materials during this past year to enhance case practice.
NCFAS-G Scale Successfully Field-Tested with Differential Response Program
NFPN and Dr. Ray Kirk worked with the San Mateo County Human Services Agency to field test an expanded version of the NCFAS with the county’s new differential response program. The tool was found reliable and valid with this program. NFPN will introduce the NCFAS-G in January as the centerpiece of a new training package. Complete details will be forthcoming in the January News Notes.
Building More Effective Child Welfare Systems
To assist child welfare agencies in building more effective systems, NFPN studied one of the best child welfare agencies in the nation, the Allegheny County Department of Humans Services in Pittsburgh, PA. Findings from this study were presented in a monograph published in November. The monograph also contains 21 evidence-based practices that have been found effective, or show promise of being effective, in the child welfare system. The monograph was mailed to every state child welfare director in the nation. Thanks to all of you who passed along the information and Web link for the monograph to decision makers.
You’re the Best!
It would be futile for NFPN to develop resources and provide information without your enthusiastic response. Thanks for taking the time to share how the resources and information are used in your agency, to promote effective practices in your agency, to point out areas that need more attention, and to cheerfully continue serving families no matter what. NFPN counts it a privilege to serve with you.
Merry Christmas to all!