Much has been written about the crisis in child welfare in the United States. However, the most accurate description of the state of child welfare services was made by the National Commission on Children ( 1991) when the commission observed, "If the nation had deliberately designed a system that would frustrate the professionals who staff it, anger the public who finance it, and abandon the children who depend on it, it could not have done a better job than the present child welfare system" (p. 293).
Child welfare professionals, federal, state, and local elected public officials, private foundations, child advocacy groups, professional associations, and public interest organizations are desperately searching for effective strategies to reform child welfare. While little progress has been made in this area to date, there is growing support for family preservation services as a primary tool for preventing the out-of-home placement of children. This book brings together some of the best thinking about family preservation and family support services. It should be helpful to those interested in strengthening services to children and families.
In Chapter 1, Kathleen Wells examines the origins, history, and contemporary issues pertaining to family-based services. Her chapter documents the fact that family-based services is not a particularly new concept. She also explores some of the critical ethical dilemmas and issues that such services present.
Chapter 2, by Jill Kinney and Kelly Dittmar, describes the nationally recognized Homebuilders model of family preservation services and some of the research about that method of intervention.
In Chapter 3, Elizabeth Tracy, James Whittaker, Francis Boylan, Paul Neitman