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