The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) completed two major projects in 2007, launching a new assessment tool with training package and completing a research study on Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS).
NCFAS-G Training Package
NFPN, in cooperation with Dr. Ray Kirk from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (retired), developed the NCFAS-G for general services, including differential response programs. A self-contained training package to accompany the tool was introduced in January, and over 30 agencies are currently using the new tool. A research paper on the use of the NCFAS-G with a differential response program will be published in 2008.
The IFPS research study, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, had two components: conducting a nationwide survey of IFPS programs; and analyzing key factors relating to effectiveness of IFPS including race (disproportionality), substance abuse, and type of referring problem.
The nationwide IFPS survey, the largest one conducted since 1994, was based on information provided by state public child welfare agencies. Only three states did not provide any information. Respondents from 20 states indicated that they provide IFPS to a substantial portion of the state’s population and have a service model based on specific criteria. While no state met all of the best practice standards, at least 80% of the IFPS states have solid eligibility, family engagement, worker training, and supervision standards. Less than half of the states met best practice standards for caseload, hours of service for families, and using a clinical model. The good news is that at least five states are either returning to, or establishing, model integrity with new or revamped programs.
The IFPS research study involved collecting data from seven sites in seven states (Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington) using the NCFAS and NCFAS-R as instruments. The findings for IFPS were very positive: IFPS services achieved the same success rate (placement prevention) with families of color, substance abusing families, and families with referring issue of neglect (as opposed to abuse) as it did with all other types of families. These findings are highly significant for the child welfare system as it grapples with issues of reducing disproportionality in race, dealing with a high number of substance-abusing families, and addressing families involved in chronic neglect.
The study also looked at families receiving Intensive Family Reunification Services (IFRS). The findings were mixed with this much smaller sample of families: black families had lower rates of reunification with mixed race families having higher rates and white families in between. Substance abusing families showed substantial progress after receiving IFRS and these services showed more success with families involved in physical abuse than with those involved in neglect.
To view the complete research report, visit IFPS Research Report.
As follow-up to the research study, NFPN intends to convene an IFPS Summit in 2008.
NFPN offers training packages to practitioners on three family assessment scales: NCFAS for use in preserving high risk intact families, NCFAS-R for use with reunifying families with a child(ren) in out-of-home placement, and NCFAS-G for general services including lower-risk families and differential response. The training packages were revised this year with material added to make them more useful for training and in the field.
During the past year, 70 agencies nationwide and in Canada and Australia purchased the training packages to train over 1800 workers. In turn, these workers will use the assessments and related services with over 27,000 families.
NFPN also offers basic and advanced training packages on father engagement and involvement with 3 agencies purchasing these materials to train over 100 workers. The state of Indiana trained 1,000 workers statewide in 2007.
As always, the last word of the year goes to you. NFPN could not exist without your support and assistance. Thank you for using the products and resources that NFPN provides and giving us your valuable feedback, so that we can improve and advance the field. The reason for all that we do is to help families and it is a joy to serve families alongside you.
Merry Christmas to all!