Intensive family preservation services (IFPS), designed to stabilize at-risk families and avert out-of-home care, have been the focus of many randomized, experimental studies. Employing a retrospective “clinical data-mining” (CDM) methodology (Epstein, 2001), this study makes use of available information extracted from client records in one IFPS agency over the course of two years. The primary goal of this descriptive and associational study was to gain a clearer understanding of IFPS service delivery and effectiveness. Interventions provided to families are delineated and assessed for their impact on improved family functioning, their impact on the reduction of family violence, as well as placement prevention. Findings confirm the use of a wide range of services consistent with IFPS program theory. Because the study employs a quasi-experimental, retrospective use of available information, clinical outcomes described cannot be causally attributed to interventions employed as with randomized controlled trials. With regard to service outcomes, findings suggest that family education, empowerment services and advocacy are most influential in placement prevention and in ameliorating unmanageable behaviors in children as well as the incidence of family violence.
Hanssen, Daria V. and Epstein, Irwin
"Learning What Works: Demonstrating Practice Effectiveness with Children and Families Through Retrospective Investigation,"
Journal of Family Strengths:
1, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/jfs/vol10/iss1/5