Academic journal article Journal of Social Research & Policy

Validation and Predictive Ability of the North Carolina Family Assessment Scale for the Intensive In-Home Visitation Program in Kentucky

Academic journal article Journal of Social Research & Policy

Validation and Predictive Ability of the North Carolina Family Assessment Scale for the Intensive In-Home Visitation Program in Kentucky

Article excerpt

Introduction

In the United States, state government agencies have the mission to deliver quality services that enhance the health, safety, and wellbeing of their children. To serve this mission, family preservation programs are implemented in all states and include primary, secondary andtertiary prevention programs funded with federal, state and local support. Family preservation programs are based on the Homebuilders model developed in Tacoma,Washington during the 1970s.

In Kentucky, the first family preservation program was implemented in 1985 as a pilot, with private foundation funding; in 1990 the state legislature passed the Family Preservation Act (FPA) and allocated funding for 47 out of the 120 counties to establish family preservation programs. Services offered under the FPA were intended to be a short-term, intensive, and acute intervention services to prevent removal of children from their homes (Westat, 2002). Over time the family preservation program services grew, as other sources of funding became available. One such program is the federally funded community-based initiative to prevent and reduce the child abuse and neglect in Kentucky, called the Community Collaboration for Children (CCC). CCC is primarily focused on secondary prevention services that were provided by contracted agencies across the state. Secondary prevention programs are designed for the families identified to be at risk for child abuse and neglect, but not yet substantiated, while primary preventions focus on the population at large and tertiary ones on the families with substantiated abuse and neglect.

This article reports on data collected for the evaluation of the CCC's intensive In-Home Services herein referred as IHS, a secondary prevention program, utilized when children are at risk to be removed from their homes and placed with relatives, in kinship care or in out-of- home care. Thus, the permanency goal for the families enrolled in this program is to maintain the children with their parents. The IHS program is open to families who self-refer or families may be referred by a variety of community agencies including churches; however, about 80% were referred by the Kentucky Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS). Families referred by the DCBS are expected to participate in order to avoid removal of their children from the home. Once a referral was made, regardless of the source, a home visit is scheduled within five working days. The focus is on a comprehensive treatment plan intended to address the family's practical and material difficulties, together with their behavioral problems or mental health needs. The IHS program itself entails a series of home visits during which the family and the local service providers work together toward identifying and addressing the family needs and reach the goal to maintain the children in the home. The timing of these home visits is based upon the needs of the families and at the discretion of the programprovider.

The IHS services seek to develop, support, and empower the family by teaching positive child development practices and problem solving skills, as well as by assisting parents and coordinating available community resources. Services combine skill-based intervention with maximum flexibility so that they were available to families according to their unique needs.

Service providers teach the families how to live together safely, while addressing their immediate basic needs, refer families for community resources and counseling programs as needed, and may also include parent education intervention among their services. Parent education, when available, follows an established, nationally recognized, research-based curriculum. The qualifications of the service providers include 30 or more college hours in a human services area or a completed high school education with one year of experience providing similar services. …

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