The following is a summary of 2008 and an end-of-the year request:
The focal point of 2008 was the IFPS Summit held in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 6–7. Child welfare agencies with a statewide Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS) program were invited to attend as well as two states starting up IFPS programs. Representatives from 18 states participated. A pre-Summit paper with the latest research findings on IFPS and implications for practice formed the basis for the Summit discussion. Summit participants developed recommendations that will be implemented by NFPN. Major goals include development of an IFPS ToolKit, continuing to build partnerships and advocacy to promote IFPS, and developing and testing a reunification model based on IFPS principles. The Summit was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Training and Technical Assistance
NFPN established a new training and technical assistance program focused on high stakes projects and large-scale implementation of the assessment tools. Both training and technical assistance were provided in 5 states while training only was provided in 2 additional states. Large-scale use of NFPN’s products was implemented in another 2 states.
Older Youth Initiative
At the invitation of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, NFPN’s board chair presented at a teleconference entitled Family Preservation for Older Youth. In conjunction with the teleconference, NFPN conducted a brief survey of five IFPS agencies resulting in the surprising discovery that older youth make up one-third to one-half of caseloads. The Alliance and NFPN are partnering to obtain more data on this hidden population. NFPN has developed a data collection template and two agencies have committed to collecting data on older youth in 2009.
NFPN strengthened its relationship with CWLA through a conference exchange: NFPN presented a workshop at CWLA’s Western Region Training Conference and CWLA sent a representative to the IFPS Summit. The Quality Improvement Center for Non-Resident Fathers (a division of the American Humane Association) funded NFPN to provide a report on CFSR data on father-involvement and curricula review. The National Alliance to End Homelessness and NFPN are partnering on an older youth project.
NFPN offers training packages to practitioners on three family assessment scales: NCFAS for use in preserving intact families, NCFAS-R for use with reunifying families with a child(ren) in out-of-home placement, and NCFAS-G for general services.
During the past year, 80 agencies nationwide and in Canada and Australia purchased the training packages to train 1,250 workers. In turn, these workers will use the assessment tools and related services with over 25,000 families.
A child welfare agency in Chile translated the assessment tools and training documents into Spanish, and the Spanish versions of the training packages are now available.
NFPN offers basic and advanced training packages on father engagement and involvement. Four agencies purchased these materials in 2008 to train 100 workers who will be engaging fathers in over 2,000 families.
President-elect Barak Obama’s transition team is inviting people to share their views online on a variety of topics. One of the topics is Family. I encourage each of you to share your views on the importance of Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS), the cost-savings to states of using IFPS to keep families safely together rather than placing children in out-of-home care, and the need for enhanced programs and funding at the federal level to support IFPS.
Please visit http://change.gov/agenda/family_agenda/ and click on ”Submit Your Ideas” to send your contact information and views. You may wish to consider including NFPN’s Web site, www.nfpn.org, as a source for more information.
I know this is a busy time of year for everyone, but a five-minute investment now to send a message could reap tremendous rewards in the future!
As always, NFPN’s existence is dependent upon your input; support; and purchase of our products, training, and technical assistance. Thank you so much for all that you do to promote family preservation.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!