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Dec/Jan 2011Vol. 11, No. 10Family Preservation Services in New Jersey

The Rutgers School of Social Work's Institute for Families has published a brief on the significant role that family preservation services (FPS) play in keeping New Jersey children safe in their own families. Family Preservation Services: An Essential Partner in the Public Child Welfare System describes the history, evaluation, components, and utilization of FPS by the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) over the last several decades.

In 2003, New Jersey's public child welfare system transformed its approach to addressing family problems and, by 2007, DYFS had adopted a new case practice model to change the way they engaged families. The Institute for Families, which had been providing training on FPS, was engaged to also provide training to DYFS staff in this new case practice model. In 2008, the Institute evaluated and revamped the FPS training materials, with the goal of promoting a specific approach to working with families that included:

  • An ecological orientation to problem definition and target of intervention
  • Family systems focus instead of child-only focus
  • Promoting problem-solving capacities instead of problem-only approach
  • Focusing on family-identified needs rather than professionally identified needs
  • Strengthening the family's social network support

Analysis of data on the provision of FPS to 963 New Jersey families in 2009 indicated that, 1 year after FPS ended, 91 percent of children were still in their homes, and parents were generally satisfied with FPS.

To read the full brief, by Kerrie Ocasio, David Williams, Katharine M. Bergacs, and Hasan Johnson, visit: