Today there are approximately 581,000 children in the United States foster care system. Children of color, one special population group, are disproportionately represented in the foster care system. Family preservation, a program that aims to improve family functioning and thus decrease the need for foster care, has been examined closely. Some researchers believe that family preservation programs have failed partly due to practitioners' inability to target appropriate families (Feldman, 1990; Schuerman, Rzepnicki & Littell, 1994). Additionally, research confirms that children of color are not the target of family preservation services (Denby, Curtis, & Alford, 1998). Improvements in the effectiveness of family preservation will require many types of reform both internal and external to the program. Among the types of internal reform needed is accurate "targeting of services. " Given the overrepresentation of children of color in the foster care system, this group must be among those who are targeted for services. The results of a national survey of 254 family preservation workers reveal a "profile" of the worker who is likely to target special populations, including children of color, for family preservation services. A case is made for service improvements and training to facilitate the "profiled" workers' competencies.
Denby, Ramona W.; Alford, Keith A.; and Curtis, Carla M.
"Targeting Special Populations for Family Preservation: The Influence of Worker Competence and Organizational Culture,"
Journal of Family Strengths: Vol. 7
, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/jfs/vol7/iss1/5