New Research on Assessment, Exit Instruments, & Successful Outcomes

The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) is pleased to release today a comprehensive research study that includes family assessment, engagement, exit instruments, and factors that are specifically associated with successful reunification.
The study pioneered a number of “firsts” including:

  • First NFPN research study that included all three initiatives of family preservation, reunification, and father-involvement.
  • First time the NCFAS-G assessment tool has been tested in a research study with both front-end prevention services (differential response) and placement prevention services.
  • First time that exit instruments have been designed and tested to align questions for the worker and parent(s) which also correspond to the NCFAS assessment tools.

The comprehensive study includes these major findings:


  • Excellent reliability of the NCFAS-G with differential response and Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS) families
  • Adequate to excellent reliability of the NCFAS-R and NCFAS-G+R with reunification services
  • Substantial progress by both intact and reunifying families between intake and case closure. Improvements on all 10 domains of the NCFAS tools were statistically significant.

Exit Instruments

Exit instruments were designed for both intact and reunifying families. The instruments are believed to be the first that provide similar questions for both the worker and the parent(s). The questions generally correspond to items on the NCFAS scales. The forms are completed at termination of services. They are intended to measure the level of engagement of the worker with the parent(s) and the interaction of case planning, delivery of services, and outcomes. Here are the findings:

  • For families completing services, there is close alignment between worker and caregiver on responses for both intact and reunifying families.The only exception was the caregiver’s perception of insufficient quantity of concrete services for reunification.
  • For families that do not complete services, the worker and caregiver perceptions can be starkly different. Compare the worker/caregiver responses for families completing reunification services with the worker/caregiver responses for families not completing reunification services on the following questions:  (Note: Click the image to open a larger view in your web browser.)

    Table 10 from Reunification Research Report 2014

Factors Involved in Successful Reunifications

Demographic Factors
Let’s look first at what factors did not affect outcomes for reunifying families. The list includes these caregiver demographic factors:

  • Race
  • Marital Status
  • Employment
  • Substance Abuse
  • Mental Health
  • Depression
  • Domestic Violence

This research supports previous findings that intensive services are effective with a broad variety of families including those families with presenting problems that are considered high barriers to successful reunification such as substance abuse, mental illness, and domestic violence.

Of the services that workers provided to reunifying families, three stand out as having a post-intervention effect. Thus, at three months post-reunification services, families that had received concrete services, step-down services, and father-engagement services were more likely to remain together than the families that had not received these services.

You can read the entire Research Report at:

NFPN is offering the Exit Instruments at a low one-time price for any agency that is interested in using them. You can order and pay online for the instruments at the link below. Note that the instruments are included at free with any new purchase or upgrade of the NCFAS-G or NCFAS-G+R assessment tools.

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