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September 2005Vol. 6, No. 7Intensive Family Preservation in Postadoption

Adoptive families in which the child is at imminent risk of out-of-home placement require an extraordinary response from the child welfare system or from the agency that facilitated the placement. One type of response offered in a number of States has been the provision of Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS). Such services are targeted to families in crisis and usually are provided by the same worker who is available 24 hours a day to deliver concrete and therapeutic services in the home over a period of weeks.

A recent study was conducted to determine the use and outcomes of IFPS with postadoptive families in crisis. Sponsored by the National Family Preservation Network and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the 1-year study involved a survey of 15 States in Phase One (10 of which responded), followed by a detailed analysis of IFPS in two States in Phase Two.

Phase One results indicated that some version of IFPS was the most common postadoption support offered, although most agencies did not follow all the tenets of IFPS. In addition, most agencies could not report the number of families they served with IFPS, although they estimated a success rate that averaged in the 90th percentile.

Phase Two results, reported by Missouri and Indiana, provided detailed analyses of the use of IFPS, including high rates of family preservation. Specifically, analyses showed that IFPS was highly successful in:

  • Preventing out-of-home placement (more than 80 percent)
  • Reducing child and family problems
  • Achieving high parental satisfaction rates

The full study, The Use of Intensive Family Preservation Services with Post-Adoptive Families, by M. Berry, P. Martens, and J. Propp, can be found on the Family Preservation website at (Editor's note: Link no longer active).

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express last covered the topic of family preservation services in "Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification" (August 2003).