of fathers in general and of families in diverse ethnic communities in particular with home visitation interventions, and (5) the need for follow-up services once the period of home visitation has ended.
Intensive Family Preservation Services
Intensive family preservation services represent crisis-oriented, short-term, intensive case management and family support programs that have been introduced in various communities to improve family functioning and to prevent the removal of children from the home. The overall goal of the intervention is to provide flexible forms of family support to assist with the resolution of circumstances that stimulated the child placement proposal, thus keeping the family intact and reducing foster care placements.
Eight of ten evaluation studies of selected intensive family preservation service programs (including five randomized trials and five quasi-experimental studies) suggest that, although these services may delay child placement for families in the short term, they do not show an ability to resolve the underlying family dysfunction that precipitated the crisis or to improve child well-being or family functioning in most families. However, the evaluations have shortcomings, such as poorly defined assessment of child placement risk, inadequate descriptions of the interventions provided, and nonblinded determination of the assignment of clients to treatment and control groups.
Intensive family preservation services may provide important benefits to the child, family, and community in the form of emergency assistance, improved family functioning, better housing and environmental conditions, and increased collaboration among discrete service systems. Intensive family preservation services may also result in child endangerment, however, when a child remains in a family environment that threatens the health or physical safety of the child or other family members.
Recommendation 6: Intensive family preservation services represent an important part of the continuum of family support services, but they should not be required in every situation in which a child is recommended for out-of-home placement.
Measures of health, safety, and well-being should be included in evaluations of intensive family preservation services to determine their impact on children's outcomes as well as placement rates and levels of family functioning, including evidence of recurrence of abuse of the child or other family members. There is a need for enhanced screening instruments that can identify the families who are most likely to benefit from intensive short-term services focused on the resolution of crises that affect family stability and functioning.
The value of appropriate post-reunification (or placement) services to the child and family to enhance coping and the ability to make a successful transition
This information was taken directly from Child Welfare Information Gateway
Preventing child abuse is not simply a matter of parents doing a better job, but rather it is about creating a context in which “doing better” is easier. Enlightened public policy and the replication of high-quality publicly supported interventions are only part of what is needed to successfully combat child abuse. It remains important to remind the public that child abuse and neglect are serious threats to a child’s healthy development and that overt violence toward children and a persistent lack of attention to their care and supervision are unacceptable. Individuals have the ability to accept personal responsibility for reducing acts of child abuse and neglect by providing support to each other and offering protection to all children within their family and their community. As sociologist Robert Wuthnow has noted, every volunteer effort or act of compassion finds its justification not in offering solutions for society’s problems but in offering hope “both that the good society we envision is possible and that the very act of helping each other gives us strength and a common destiny” (Wuthnow, 1991: 304). When the problem is owned by all individuals and communities, prevention will progress, and fewer children will remain at risk.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2011). Child maltreatment prevention: Past, present, and future. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.