Health and Family Services Cabinet
Family preservation efforts keep families together; In-home services keep children out of foster care, help get parents assistance
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2008) – A state program aimed at keeping children and families safely together helped keep hundreds of children out of foster care, according to a recent study.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) announced the evaluation study for the Department for Community Based Services’ Family Preservation Program (FPP).
The study showed that 6.3 percent of children enter foster care after FPP, compared to nearly 33 percent of the children who are part of substantiated abuse or neglect referrals and are not involved with FPP.
“We are proud of DCBS’ Family Preservation Program,” DCBS Commissioner Patricia R. Wilson said. “Our FPP providers give parents the skills they need to overcome immediate crises and build better family foundations to grow stronger together.”
FPP was evaluated for the state fiscal year 2007, which began July 1, 2006, and ended June 30, 2007. During that time, 1,901 families with 4,133 children were referred for FPP services.
These families were mailed surveys seeking their input about FPP, and 27.8 percent – 194 families – responded.
More than 83 percent of the clients agreed that their FPP caseworker was available when needed, was understanding and taught them useful skills. A majority also said their in-home workers helped the family deal with feelings, manage children, handle problems and talk with one another.
FPP was also successful in reducing re-entry into out-of-home care, accelerating family reunification and promoting family well-being. To qualify for FPP services, families must be at imminent risk of child removal or have a child in foster care returning home. The study showed that targeted families have more repeated referrals and contact with child protective services.
FPP includes the many in-home services provided to families by DCBS’ contracted partner agencies in all 120 counties. Services are designed to reduce abuse and neglect, maintain children safely in their home, improve parenting skills and facilitate the safe and timely return home for a child in out-of-home care.
The study showed a dramatic cost avoidance for DCBS. For every $1 spent on FPP services, the department sees a savings of almost $3 in out-of-home care costs.
Total expenditures for FPP during the time of the evaluation were about $6 million.
The evaluation also included staff and provider surveys, focus groups and a cost-benefit analysis of FPP services.
The FPP study is online at http://chfs.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/1C6C930E-A2D9-4336-8CBF-CDA1C2D2D31A/0/FPPEvaluation_Final.pdf. Learn more about FPP at http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/familypreservation.htm.
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