Monthly Archives: September 2018

A Quick Guide to IFPS

With the arrival of the new fiscal year for the federal government and many state governments, agencies are implementing new programs.  One of the most effective programs is Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS).  Here’s a quick guide to IFPS that includes online references and resources.

Intensive Family Preservation Services are concentrated, in-home services designed to prevent placement of children at imminent risk of removal.  For a detailed description of these services, visit

While IFPS programs may vary to some extent, high-quality programs have these components in common:

  • Immediate response within 24 hours
  • Accessibility of staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Small caseloads (2 to 4 families)
  • Intensive interventions (8 to 10 hours per week)
  • Service delivery in the family’s home and community
  • Short-term services (4 to 8 weeks), to be followed by other support services
  • Hard & soft services delivered by the same worker
  • Focused on teaching skills


States with exemplary IFPS programs incorporate the IFPS components into their RFPs and standards.  To compare 12 states with exemplary IFPS programs see

After reviewing the exemplary state programs, agencies can move to establishing their own IFPS program. The IFPS ToolKit is a comprehensive guide that covers over a dozen issues addressing implementation:

After implementing an IFPS program, it’s important to assure continuous quality.  Here’s a tool to do that:

Also critical to assure quality is an annual program evaluation and Missouri provides an example of a statewide IFPS evaluation:

There is a substantial body of research on IFPS.  The gold standard for research is a randomized control trial (RCT).  Everyone interested in IFPS should be familiar with the RCT on IFPS conducted in Michigan:,5885,7-339-73970_61179_8366-21887–,00.html

IFPS is also used for reunification services.  The IFPS ToolKit has a section on this issue and a recommended model of service:

Every IFPS program needs a reliable and valid assessment tool to assist with determining needs, setting goals, selecting services, and assuring good outcomes.  The NCFAS assessment tools were specifically designed for use with IFPS. For more information visit

The majority of families in the child welfare system are involved in substance misuse.  NFPN has a video training to assist working with these families:


Posted by Priscilla Martens

NFPN Executive Director