Most government agencies contract for services for families through a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Application (RFA). In this post we are going to look at an RFP for Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS).
RFPs may be open-ended and have limited requirements with provider agencies then expected to offer an extensive proposal. Or, the RFP may be very prescriptive and provider agencies then basically confirm that they will meet the specifications. Current RFPs for IFPS fall into the latter category. They are highly prescriptive. In effect, they are a blueprint for providing the services.
Let’s look at the state of Missouri’s RFP for family preservation services as an example. Here are some of the items included:
• Service Goals and Outcomes including targeted numbers for placement prevention and no confirmed neglect/abuse
• Referral and Screening Requirements
• Initial Family Assessment and Service Plan
• Services to the Family
• Termination of Services
• Personnel Requirements including qualifications for supervisors and workers
• Invoicing and Payment including the maximum daily rate
This list is by no means exhaustive and none of the specifications is optional. If you provide family preservation services in Missouri, you are closely following the state’s model of services! And Missouri is not alone—most other strong IFPS states also have highly prescriptive RFPs. Why is this so? Here are some reasons:
• The RFP blueprint defines the model of service that all providers must meet.
• Because there is a norm, the state can readily see when a provider is not meeting a standard and take corrective action
• Preordained outcome standards ensure that providers deliver high-quality services and meet goals for safely keeping families together
• The RFP blueprint for services flows directly into data collection, evaluation, and research.
Missouri conducts an annual evaluation of IFPS that includes:
• Demographic data such as age, gender, race, income
• Reason for referral
• Reason for families not accepted
• Substantiated child abuse/neglect during and following IFPS services
• Entry into out-of-home placement during and following IFPS services
Missouri is unique among states offering IFPS in that it tracks families for up to 4 years following the intervention. There is very low out-of-home placement in the 4th year, thus supporting the durability of IFPS interventions.
So, how can this RFP help your agency? Any agency that is developing or applying for an IFPS RFP should first read this RFP. In addition, the RFP provides excellent guidance for developing any in-home service. The caseload and length of services may not match in every RFP but the guiding principles are the same. The RFP is indeed a blueprint!
To view Missouri’s RFP for IFPS visit: http://www.nfpn.org/preservation/state-resources/missouri-rfp-for-ifps
To view Missouri’s most recent IFPS evaluation visit: http://dss.mo.gov/re/pdf/iis/2016-missouri-intensive-in-home-services-annual-report.pdf
To view additional state resources for in-home services visit: http://www.nfpn.org/preservation/state-resources
Posted by Priscilla Martens
NFPN Executive Director