Monthly Archives: April 2014

Featured IFPS Program: Missouri

(Missouri is the fourth in our series of featured IFPS programs. See more at State Profiles.)

1.How long has your state offered IFPS? Share about the history of IFPS in your state.

IFPS State Administrator:
The first family preservation service program began in Missouri in 1997. The first IFPS project began in 1988 with the primary focus on abused and neglected children in imminent risk of removal. In 1989, four additional projects began providing services, including multiple county projects in both rural and urban county areas. By October of 1995, IFPS programs were operating in 35 project sites covering all of Missouri’s 115 counties, and the City of St. Louis. The name of the program was changed to Intensive In-Home Services (IIS) in 1998. Today, IIS services are available to all 45 circuits within the State of Missouri.
IFPS Provider:
Gillis began providing Family Preservation Services/IIS in Jackson County in 1991 with five In-Home Specialists. We worked in partnership with the Children’s Division Services and The Children’s Place to provide short-term Intensive In-Home crisis services to families with one or more children at risk of removal. During this time we have provided support to the Children’s Division in efforts to educate the community and referral sources regarding the program. In 1997, when The Children’s Place relinquished their contract, Gillis added five Specialists and one and a half supervisors to their staff. In 1998 the Children’s Division changed the program name to Intensive In-Home Service and Gillis was awarded that contract. Gillis has maintained the IIS Jackson County contract and was awarded the most recent contract in 2012 for 12 IIS Specialists.

2. Why does your state/agency offer IFPS?

IFPS State Administrator:
IFPS has helped reduce the number of children who enter out of home care by keeping kids safely at home. In fiscal year 2013, 77.1% of children receiving IFPS services avoided out of home care. This allows children to remain safely with their families and allows staff to have smaller caseloads. In addition, families who have had IFPS intervention are less likely to have their children come into care up to 12 months after intervention than a family at risk who did not have IFPS intervention. IFPS has also drastically reduced the occurrence of child abuse and neglect during IFPS intervention and at 3, 6, and 12 months after intervention. The program has helped to save a substantial amount of money. The cost of the IFPS program is minimal compared to the direct cost and staff time incurred by the Children’s Division.
IFPS Provider:
To help children remain safely with their families and to prevent them from going into the foster care system. We also believe that all families have the ability to make change. We love preventative programs!

3. What qualities do you want to see in providers of IFPS, both at the agency and at the therapist level?

IFPS State Administrator:
The provider must have an overriding goal of protection of children through the enhancement of family capabilities. Safety of all family members is the concern of Intensive In-home Services; however, safety of the child is the primary consideration. The provider’s services must focus on assisting in crisis management and restoring the family to an acceptable level of functioning.The therapist shall provide services designed to keep children safe from abuse and neglect and improve family permanency.
IFPS Provider:
We look for someone who is compassionate, hopeful, caring, strength-based, non-judgmental, and flexible. The person must have the ability to be assertive, with solid engagement skills, and a belief that families have the ability to change, We look for therapists who can teach others, with crisis management, and have the ability to understand the importance of self-care.

4. What qualities do you look for in an IFPS therapist?

IFPS State Administrator:
Families have problem-solving and other life skills, focusing on assisting in crisis management and the specific issues placing the child at risk of removal from their home. In addition, the IFPS program helps families establish linkages with formal and informal community services.
IFPS Provider:
We see families who are more hopeful about their family unit and their future, have fewer feelings of stress, more organized households, better communication skills, better use of appropriate discipline, utilize supports/supportive services, better understanding of their children’s needs, and children are now in an environment that is healthier and safer.

5. How do you measure success of IFPS services? How successful are IFPS services in your state?

IFPS State Administrator:
The overarching goal of IIS is to protect children through the enhancement of family capabilities. As a result, the agency tracks the number of substantiated reports three months following the IIS intervention. According to the IIS contract, 85% of families who have received IIS intervention shall not have confirmed child abuse/neglect within the first three months following the completion of IIS intervention. For the last three years, contractors and state staff have exceeded this requirement with only .12% having a substantiated report within 3 months for SFY10 and SFY11, and .06% for SFY13. This data demonstrates success of the program mission to protect children from abuse and neglect. The data also supports the efficacy of the program to teach families skills to improve family functioning and allow them to remain intact.
IFPS Provider:
Self-reports from our families, feedback from CD worker, observations of positive change, skills taught being put to use, decreased risk factors /, family has increased resources/supports, intact families at our 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-ups, and no more substantiated hotline reports.

6. What advice and resources can you share with other states that want to establish a strong IFPS program?

IFPS State Administrator:
I would encourage states to develop an IFPS program. The program has proven effective in preventing children from entering foster care. Missouri is willing to share information regarding our model, lessons learned, and data which may be beneficial to states interested in developing an IFPS program.
IFPS Provider:
Get to know the local community resources, network, partner with Children’s Division, get to know resources within your own agency to help families, , be strengths-based. Remember your supervisor and your co-workers are there to be a support, and remember self-care…this can be a stressful position.

Contacts:
IFPS State Administrator
Crystal Wilson (E-mail: Crystal.L.Wilson@dss.mo.gov)
Program Development Specialist
Children’s Division – Central Office

IFPS Provider
Rachel Hodson
Director of In-Home Services
Gillis

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Posted by Priscilla Martens, Executive Director, National Family Preservation Network

Featured IFPS Program: North Carolina

(North Carolina is the third in our series of featured IFPS programs. See more at State Profiles.)

1.How long has your state offered IFPS? Share about the history of IFPS in your state.

IFPS State Administrator:
North Carolina’s Intensive Family Preservation, based on the Homebuilders® model, was first offered in North Carolina in October of 1991. In January 1994 an automated data collection system was incorporated as part of provider reporting. The North Carolina Family Assessment Scale (NCFAS V. 1.4) was first implemented during the spring of 1995.North Carolina strives to ensure that IFPS services are as effective as possible. During the spring of 1998, a reliability and validity study of the NCFAS 1.4 was conducted which resulted in the development and implementation of the NCFAS 2.0 which is still used in NC, although we will begin the use of the NCFAS+G by the end of State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2014. In SFY 2000 a retrospective study of the effectiveness of IFPS was conducted and that study indicated that IFPS is effective in preventing or delaying out of home placement in comparison to traditional child welfare services.In part due to findings from the retrospective study, North Carolina revised IFPS policies effective 2001 to standardize the definition of “imminent risk” and restrict referrals to only those from County Divisions of Social Services, Mental Health Agencies and Department of Juvenile Justice. NC also began the process of offering services statewide by dividing the state into regions. Agencies were required to serve all counties in their region by SFY 2004–2005, making IFPS services truly available statewide.From SFY 1992 to 2007 the NC Division of Social Services funded Dr. Ray Kirk to conduct evaluations of the IFPS program including an Annual Report and a Cost-Benefit Analysis. The program was consistently shown to be very cost-effective compared with placement costs had children been placed out of the home. Additionally, for those children who were placed out of home following IFPS, those children typically were served in a more appropriate placement and at a lower level of care than they would have required had they not had IFPS.
IFPS Provider A:
Eckerd has been providing IFPS for over 3 years. Our office is in Lumberton, NC and we serve Region 7 that includes: Anson, Hoke, Moore, Montgomery, Scotland, Richmond, Cumberland, and Johnston Counties.IFPS Provider B:
Our agency has been providing IFPS services since 2004. We started with only 2 counties then expanded in 2009/10 to 5 additional counties for a total of 7 counties in our service region.

2. Why does your state/agency offer IFPS?

IFPS State Administrator:
We offer IFPS as part of our federal award for Social Security Title IVB-2 funding. It is primarily offered to “imminent risk” families who have had child protective services involvement, but some referrals are made from mental health and juvenile justice. IFPS is available to all counties in our state.
IFPS Provider A:
The purpose of our program is to prevent unnecessary placement of children away from their families by providing in-home services aimed at restoring families in crisis to an acceptable level of functioning. These services are designed to: stabilize the crisis which put the child at imminent risk, keep the child, family, and community safe by defusing the potential for violence (physical, sexual, emotional/verbal abuse) and help families develop the skills, competencies and resources they need to handle future crisis situations more effectively.Eckerd’s known for “the first name in second chances.” Eckerd believes every child and family deserves a second chance.IFPS Provider B:
The addition of IFPS services to our programming was a natural fit with our agency’s mission of the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Our agency started in 1997 and had already established prevention/intervention programs. In 2004 we were in need of a model of service that would allow us to expand into treatment. IFPS was the perfect fit for both our mission and our emphasis on a clinical model that would add to our home visitation specialty.

3. What qualities do you want to see in providers of IFPS, both at the agency and at the therapist level?

IFPS State Administrator:
First and foremost, the ability to provide IFPS with fidelity to the model, which is based on Homebuilders®. In addition, the ability to fulfill documentation and reporting requirements.
IFPS Provider A:
Eckerd hires quality people to work as IFPS workers. Staff is required to have a four year degree in the human service field. The worker must be compassionate, non-judgmental, enjoy working with others, be culturally aware, and be able to work in tough situations in a family’s home.IFPS Provider B:
Someone who is able to take each family and their circumstances on their own individual merits. This person should be:

  • respectful yet direct quickly due to the short-term nature of the service
  • able to see the “big picture” and problem solve effectively
  • able to teach in a way that is not lecturing while still being able to present information that is clinical, compassionate and understanding

We look for someone who understands child abuse and neglect, trauma integration, and can impart this information on to the family in a strengths-based manner. We also look for someone who is passionate about our overall mission of child abuse and neglect prevention.

4. What qualities do you look for in an IFPS therapist?

IFPS State Administrator:
Increased safety and stability, improved family functioning and an increase in protective factors
IFPS Provider A:
Positive changes! Families are able to remain intact. Parents learn tools and resources to help them communicate, reward, interact, and positive reinforcement to better their parenting skills. Families are linked with community resources and support systems.IFPS Provider B:
Again, each family is different. The most positive changes we see are: the parents are able to identify areas that need improvement(s), can set goals, make progress towards those goals and ultimately maintain the children in their home without the need for out-of-home placement. While this may look different from family to family, I believe there is potential with all families to achieve these changes.

5. How do you measure success of IFPS services? How successful are IFPS services in your state?

IFPS State Administrator:
We currently use the NCFAS but will soon transition to the NCFAS-G. We also use the FRIENDS Protective Factors Survey. Statewide, at least 80% of families demonstrate improved functioning using these tools. The providers also conduct follow-up at 6 & 12 months after case closure to determine if the family is still safely intact. We don’t have data for this outcome yet.
IFPS Provider A:
Eckerd measures success in our outcomes. We track data and record family progress by administering client satisfaction surveys, client feedback forms, assess whether the family showed improvement in domains measured by the NCFAS pre/post. Eckerd also measures success if the family actively participated and completed the program, and the face to face time requirement was met. Most importantly, if the family remained intact and the child/children did not re-enter foster care within 12 months of case closure.IFPS Provider B:
Ultimately I believe the measure of success of IFPS services is that the parents are able to make positive parenting choices that prevent their children from being placed outside of the home. We do this by setting goals at the beginning of services, working towards these goals during the service, and then assessing progress/challenges made at the end of the service. We believe a parent’s goal plan that shows “ongoing” rather than “achieved” at the end of services is success because it means that parent is working towards achieving their goals. IFPS is really about starting parents on the “AH HA” journey: recognizing the path that led them to this place of crisis, owning the needed changes that must occur, and beginning the steps of making those positive changes. IFPS sheds a light and helps parents take those first steps on this journey. With work come positive outcomes.

6. What advice and resources can you share with other states that want to establish a strong IFPS program?

IFPS State Administrator:
Get support from Homebuilders® and utilize the NCFAS-G. Our state is divided into regions and there is a community-based agency in each region that provides services to all counties therein. This system has worked well for several years.
IFPS Provider A:
Current and frequent trainings offered by the State, agency, or other local trainings are strongly encouraged. They help a program remain current, learn what changes are being made, collaborate and network with other agencies.IFPS Provider B:
Be patient. Be thorough. BE TRAUMA INFORMED!!! Take each family and their individual set of circumstances on their own individual merit. Do not judge. Do not lecture. Counsel. Show compassion. Show understanding.

Contacts:
IFPS State Administrators
Michelle D. Reines
Program Consultant, Child Welfare Services
N.C. Division of Social Services

Heather Bohanan
Supervisor, Performance Management/Reporting and Evaluation Management
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services

IFPS Providers
Mandy Canzonieri  (Provider A)
Manager
Eckerd

Sarah Black  (Provider B)
IFPS Supervisor
Exchange Club (SCAN)

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Posted by Priscilla Martens, Executive Director, National Family Preservation Network

North Carolina IFPS Training

Two weeks ago, we looked at the IFPS new worker training offered in New Jersey. (See IFPS in a University Setting.) This week we look at the training provided in North Carolina. Both North Carolina and New Jersey offer six days of training:

North Carolina Training

Family-Centered Practice in Family Preservation Programs is a six-day specialized curriculum designed for family preservation and other home-based services workers, which provides instruction in the skills necessary for a successful in-home intervention.

Day One begins with an introduction to six principles of partnership that enhance a worker’s ability to provide family-centered services. Next is an overview of the training which follows the family preservation and reunification process through the Family Intervention Cycle. This includes seven stages of engaging families:

  1. Joining: screening and intake, relationship-building
  2. Discovery: assessment, reduction of resistance, setting goals
  3. The Change Process: treatment
  4. Celebration
  5. Closure
  6. Reflection: evaluation
  7. Follow-up.

The IFPS model is introduced and its components are defined through reviews of policies and procedures, the history of IFPS in North Carolina, a video of IFPS in action, and outcome data. The role of cultural competency in IFPS is examined, and the day ends with participants practicing with case studies to determine whether or not they meet IFPS, FPS, or RS standards.

Day Two is spent examining the Joining Process, which includes developing relationships and how to get started with a family. The introduction of a “toolbox” on this day offers participants a visual tracking of skills, techniques or tools that will be presented throughout the training. The day ends with an introduction to two “practice” families which the group will track throughout the remainder of the training. One case study focuses on an IFPS/FPS and the other tracks an RS family.

Day Three provides an opportunity for each participant to begin to practice tools and concepts presented in the curriculum by applying them to the two case study families. This day focuses on the Discovery Process, and participants are asked to practice looking for assessment information through the use of video clips of the family. Multiple tools for discovery are presented and practiced.

Day Four begins with an examination of how family strengths can be used in the intervention process. Next, participants are presented with multiple tools for setting goals with families, then role play goal-setting with the two case study families. Record keeping is introduced and is tracked throughout by the use of sample client files for the two practice families. The Change Process is introduced on this day and the first two of five strategies for helping families change are reviewed: Changing Behavior and Improving Parenting Skills. The rest of the day is spent looking at behavior management and improving parenting skills. Throughout the day, participants are introduced to new tools and are given opportunities to practice them with the case study families.

Day Five continues with the Change Process by focusing on the remaining three strategies for helping families change: Examining Family Dynamics, Enhancing Communication, and Connecting with Resources. Practice opportunities continue throughout the day as the “toolbox” continues to grow.

Day Six begins with Celebrating Change which focuses on helping families improve during the intervention and move on after case closure. The curriculum focuses on evaluating the family plan, looking at ethical and safety issues related to IFPS/FPS/RS, writing crisis intervention and safety plans, and examining case closure procedures as well as follow-up requirements. The day ends with looking at options for transitioning families to follow-up care and connecting them with resources.
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Posted by Priscilla Martens, Executive Director, National Family Preservation Network

A Blog’s Life: Our First Year

The IFPS Coast-to-Coast blog is celebrating its first anniversary! What do we have to celebrate?

A Coast-to-Coast Conversation that Is Dedicated to the Field of IFPS

There is no other forum with this sole focus. We believe that IFPS plays a critical role in the continuum of family and child-serving systems. We want to make sure that it continues to fulfill that role in the best way possible.

A Variety of Topics for Everyone Involved in IFPS

During the past year we have had posts on topics that appeal to practitioners, supervisors, administrators, researchers, evaluators, and just about everyone else who is involved in IFPS. If there is a topic of interest to you that has not yet been addressed, let us know!

A Milestone for IFPS

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of IFPS (Homebuilders® model). Throughout the year, we will be sharing tidbits of history along with the impact of IFPS.

Preserving the Past and Preparing for the Future

As part of the 40th Anniversary activities, the Institute for Family Development and the National Family Preservation Network will develop an IFPS Repository to store and share memorabilia, articles, publications, and other documents on IFPS. The Repository will preserve the past, enlighten the present, and serve as a foundation to educate future generations about IFPS.

What is the future of IFPS?

We think it’s bright but we know that it will only be achieved through hard work and commitment. We need to consider how we can all work together to create this bright future. How about this for our motto: “If your path is more difficult, it is because your calling is higher” (Unknown).

Your Turn

A blog is interactive so now it’s your turn. Here are some ways that you can actively participate:

  • Pass it along. See “How to Share a Post.” Anyone can follow the blog on Facebook, Twitter, or sign up to receive notification by e-mail.
  • Comment. See “How to Leave a Comment.”
  • E-mail us at blog@nfpn.org. We want to hear about your successes with IFPS and also your frustrations.
  • Write a post. Let us know that you’d like to contribute a post and we’ll provide the guidelines.
  • And let us know about anything else that would be of interest to the IFPS Community.

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Posted by Peg Marckworth

IFPS In a University Setting

Since the inception of IFPS 40 years ago, advocates have discussed how best to transmit the IFPS knowledge base into social work education.

In the early days of IFPS, the strategy in schools of social work was for students to develop a generalist practice base first and then move into an area of advanced specialization. Current practice allows for specialization earlier in the process.

The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute focuses on students who are preparing for a career in child welfare. From 2009–2013, 300 students received financial support to obtain a BSW or MSW. Many of them are or have been employed in the child welfare field as they work towards an advanced degree. A dozen universities partner with the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute to train students.

Universities offering a specialty in child welfare generally offer one session on family preservation or, at most, one course. Rutgers University has consistently set the academic standard for coursework through initial and ongoing training to IFPS students and therapists.

Click the link below to download a description of the six-day coursework offered to all new IFPS therapists:
(PDF, 135 Kb)
http://bit.ly/OHqN38

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Posted by Priscilla Martens, Executive Director, National Family Preservation Network