Keeping Families Together
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” –Benjamin Franklin
Kentucky has more than 7,000 children in Out-of-Home Care (OOHC) throughout the state. The goal of the Family Preservation, Reunification and Diversion Programs, operated out of the Uspiritus Bowling Green Community Based office, is to assist at-risk families by providing intensive, short-term, crisis interventions to address safety concerns and barriers that may result in children being placed out of their homes.
Case managers meet with families in their homes and communities to address day-to-day concerns in the settings where they occur. Interventions are tailored to meet the individual needs of each family but often include: parenting education, discipline, behavior modification, money management, stress management, transportation, resource linkage and advocacy. Funds are also available to assist with concrete needs such as emergency food and utility assistance, exterminator services, lice treatment and assistance obtaining furniture. By building on the family’s strengths, providing education and encouragement and addressing barriers, many of the safety concerns that could lead to abuse and/or neglect can be overcome without disrupting the family.
Funded by a contract with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), the Uspiritus program provided services to 234 families between July 2013 and June 2014. These families included 536 children. During this timeframe, 172 families completed the program, and 99 percent of children remained safely in their family’s home at the close of the intervention.
The program follows up with families three months, six months and 12 months after completion of an intervention to determine progress and whether the children have been successfully maintained in the family’s home. During the 2013-2014 contract year, 81 percent of the children remained with their families 12 months after Uspiritus interventions. Additionally, 58 children were unable to be located for follow-up but did not have active cases with DCBS.
Recently, the agency was awarded a contract to continue to provide these services in the Barren River Region through June 2016.