• September 2000
  • Vol. 1, No. 6

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Report Considers Attributes of Exemplary Preventive Program

A commitment to a coherent philosophy and creative, flexible social work practices are defining elements of a Brooklyn-based program whose primary mission is to prevent children from entering out-of-home foster care.

Good Works: Highlights of a Study on the Center for Family Life, explores the operations and attributes of the Center in Sunset Park. The report is drawn from a comprehensive evaluation of the Center conducted by researchers from the Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City.

The evaluation was one of several funded by the Annie E. Casey Evaluation Grants Program with the aim of understanding how exemplary family support programs actually function and whether they improve outcomes. The Casey Program published Good Works in June.

Author Susan Blank summarizes findings and excerpts information from the evaluation study, which took place from 1993-1996. In some sections, Blank supplements information from the study with findings from a more recent neighborhood survey.

CFL has served neighborhood households with children or pregnant women since 1978. The Center supplements its assessment and counseling services--the core of its preventive program--with school-based programs, parent education, adult employment, neighborhood foster care, and other services.

In analyzing the Center's longevity, success, and high-standing in the community, the report observes and examines characteristics that define CFL's practice and philosophy, including:

  • Professionals who combine clinical social work with practical problem solving, and advocacy
  • A commitment to forming working partnerships with families
  • A priority placed on belonging to the community
  • A deep engagement in community development activities
  • A focus on issues that affect the whole community and an emphasis on encouraging people to work together to solve problems
  • An emphasis on planning and assessing before taking action
  • A developmental focus in relationships with clients.

CFL's strength rests on a foundation of "institutional coherence," concludes Blank. "The program's effective approaches merit additional attention from professionals and other who wish to improve preventive services to families."

Good Works is available online as a PDF file at http://www.aecf.org/publications/cfl.pdf

Free copies of Good Works are available from:

The Annie E. Casey Foundation
701 St. Paul St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-547-6600
Fax: 410-547-6624
Website: http://www.aecf.org

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