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Dec/Jan 2011Vol. 11, No. 10Strengthening Families Initiative in Texas

In January 2008, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) began implementing the Strengthening Families Initiative (SFI), an in-home services program designed for families with neglect issues arising from poverty. The goal of the SFI is to prevent removals of children from their homes or, when removals are necessary, to speed the children's reunification with their families. Caseworkers provide participating families with frequent visits, targeted assessments, and program funds allocated for family enhancement (e.g., concrete items such as groceries) and family empowerment goods and services (e.g., educational enrichment). 

Since the program's 2008 launch, 1,438 families have received SFI services in 24 counties, and the Texas DFPS has published two reports on the project. The original report assesses the success of the program's implementation, and the update focuses on the outcomes associated with program participation. The implementation report, published in September 2008, highlights how DFPS addressed issues with low program participation rates. The impact evaluation, published in December 2009, compares program participants with similar families receiving other in-home services, on a series of foster care entry and recurrence outcomes. Results indicate that removal rates from SFI family preservation cases were lower than traditionally served cases. However, analyses for the family reunification stage of service indicate that the percentages of SFI and non-SFI children who exited care were not different. A more comprehensive evaluation is ongoing. 

Find the original implementation report, Strengthening Families Through Enhanced In-Home Support in Child Protective Services: Preliminary Evaluation: Implementation (262 KB)
Link to the report update, Strengthening Families Through Enhanced In-Home Support in Child Protective Services: Status Update: (203 KB)