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. The emphasis on "gold-standard" evaluation of IFPS has resulted in fewer "black box" studies that describe actual IFPS service patterns and the fidelity with which they adhere to IFPS program theory. Intervention research is important to the advancement of programs designed to protect the safety of children, improve family functioning, as well as prevent out-of-home placement. Employing a retrospective “clinical data-mining” (CDM) methodology, this exploratory study of Families First, an IFPS program, makes use of available information extracted from client records to describe interventions and service patterns provided over a two year period. This study uncovers actual IFPS service patterns, demonstrates IFPS program fidelity, as well as reveals the usefulness of CDM as a social work research methodology. These findings are particularly valuable for program planning and treatment, policy development and evidence-based practice research.
Hanssen, Daria V. and Epstein, Irwin
"Looking Inside The Black Box,"
Journal of Family Strengths: Vol. 9
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/jfs/vol9/iss1/3