Family Preservation
"This is a wonderful asset to all
families that get the opportunity
to receive this help. Our therapist
gave compassion [and} understanding...
which allowed us as a family to not
hold back in her presence."
Program Characteristics
In 1995, based on the success of HOMEBUILDERSŪ, the Washington State Legislature created and funded a new, less intensive service called Family Preservation Services (FPS). The service model is based on HOMEBUILDERSŪ, but is designed for families who are at substantial risk of having their children placed in out-of-home care. FPS provides, on average, once weekly contact in the client's own home and in the community. Each family served receives approximately 30 hours of direct service.

Population Served
The program serves families in which 1 or more children are at risk of being placed in state-funded foster or group care. The service is voluntary and free to participating families.

Outcome Data
Risk reduction and increased community connections are the two outcomes identified for FPS by the Washington State Legislature. The most recent report by the State's Office of Children's Administration Research shows that a majority of the families were at risk in most of the caretaker risk factor categories at the onset of services. Upon closure of services, a significant percentage of families showed a decreased risk in those categories. The same report indicates these families had an increased connection to the community, particularly with mental health/counseling services, medical services, and the child's school.

A FPS Client Story
James and Chara's* children had been in both foster care and living with relatives for several years. Both parents had a history of drug use that had contributed to the children being removed from their home. After completing treatment and recommended parenting classes, they were allowed overnight visits with the children. After several successful visits, the family was referred to IFD for Family Preservation Services (FPS) for support to implement the family's reunification plan.

Chara and James were both working full-time when the children were returned to the home. They were experiencing increased stress with the change in their schedules and increased responsibilities. They struggled to meet all of their goals: successful reunification with their children, retaining employment, and staying clean and sober. In addition, their oldest child was experiencing behavior problems at home and in school.

The FPS therapist first worked to build trust with the parents by listening to, validating, and supporting their family's goals. The therapist helped them learn new parenting and problem-solving strategies, and worked with them on relapse prevention and life management skills. Together, they worked with the children's school to reduce behavior problems and increase academic success.

Chara and James were very committed to learning new skills that would ensure their family safely remained together. They were successful in their reunification with their children, and continue to support the healthy development of their children and family.

*Client names have been changed to protect their identity.