Family Preservation Services in Context: Origins, Practices, and Current Issues
This chapter is an overview of family preservation services: their origins and practices as well as some of the policy, ethical, and research issues they raise. The focus here is upon intensive family preservation services, as opposed to family-based services in general or other services designed to preserve or to reunify families. This restriction allows the discussion to be tied to one treatment model; it is not intended to equate family preservation efforts with one approach.
As employed here, family preservation services refer to services designed to prevent the out-of-home placement of children -- that is, the placement of children in foster care, group homes, residential treatment centers, psychiatric hospitals, and correctional institutions. Although prevention of child placement is a primary goal of these services, the focus of treatment is the child's family. Relying upon a wide range of interventions, services are delivered in families' homes, for as many hours as are needed, over a relatively brief period of time.
The earliest family preservation services programs were launched in the early 1970s ( Bryce, 1988) in part due to concern over the high number of children in out-of-home placement ( Shyne & Schroeder, 1978), the negative effects of placement on children and families, and the high cost of outof-home care. These concerns, coupled with the presumed success of early family preservation services programs ( Kinney, Madsen, Fleming, & Haapala , 1977), spurred the development of family preservation services. In addition, the federal government and many state governments passed legislation during this time to allow public monies to pay for such services. Thus,