Family Intervention Program
The Chenango County Family Intervention Program provides comprehensive home-based intervention services to families that have been identified as being at-risk for family disruption as a result of child welfare issues. These families may also have a child and/or children who are at-risk for out-of-home placement. The primary purpose of the program is to assist families in coping with and resolving the identified environmental, social, emotional, and economic issues which may be impacting their ability to provide and maintain a healthy family environment
Families are eligible for the program when they have a child who has not yet reached their 18th birthday and the family is determined to be at-risk for disruption. Families also may have a child, or children, whom are at-risk for foster care placement. The parents/caretakers could require assistance in developing the skills and support systems needed to improve the child’s well-being and maintain a healthy family environment. Families can either receive preventive case management services on a voluntary basis or they can be mandated by the Family Court to participate in services.
Families are referred to the program by either the Chenango County Department of Social Services Child Protective Unit or the Foster Care Unit. Referrals can come from Supervisors or Senior Caseworkers. The majority of families referred to the program have an indicated child protective report which indicates the need for preventive services in order to minimize the risk for disruption to the family and increase safety and stability in the home.
Once a family has been referred for services, they are contacted for an initial visit by their Department of Social Services caseworker. The caseworker and the Family Intervention Program caseworker attend this initial visit together. This allows the Department of Social Services caseworker to introduce the new caseworker to the family and assist the family with the transition to a new worker and new agency. Once a family is referred and admitted into the program, their preventive services case with DSS remains open through their work with the Family Intervention Program.
Family Intervention Program services in Chenango County were developed at the request of and in collaboration with the County Department of Social Services. It was developed with the goal of preventing disruption of children and families which are impacted by child welfare issues. Another goal is to reduce the number of children needing to be placed into foster care as a result of these child welfare issues. A third goal will be to assist parents/caretakers in developing the skills and support systems needed to improve child well-being and maintain a healthy family environment.
The program began taking referrals in January 2010. By June 1, 2010 18 families with children at-risk for placement and/or a disruption to their current placement had been admitted into the program. In 100% of those families, an out-of-home placement was prevented.
These services represented a shift in how preventive services with the Chenango County Department of Social Services were monitored. According to Department of Social Services Commissioner, the majority of the county’s preventive cases are being provided services through Liberty Resources Placement Diversion Services Program and Family Intervention Program.
Once a family is admitted into the Family Intervention Program, discussions are focused around the family’s strengths and current support systems and goals are monitored to prevent placement and minimize the risk for disruption. Preventive case management is provided based on the identified goals. Casework contacts are provided within the family’s home and in the community and include all members of the family. Case management services are provided to coordinate services with other providers, to provide support to families as needed, and to monitor compliance with any court orders and formal recommendations from Child Protective Services. If identified as a need for the family, skill building services can be conducted in addition to case management services.
The Family Intervention Program is interested in helping families reduce the risks for placement, minimize disruption within the home, and increase the parent/caretaker’s skills and support system. The program seeks to provide opportunities for families to achieve their goals with support and assistance in identifying and utilizing community resources. Completion of services is not when a family has solved every problem, but rather when they have developed support systems that allow them to demonstrate their ability of managing the day-to-day challenges in their home in a safe and appropriate manner.]
The Family Intervention Program is staffed by two bachelor’s level caseworkers and a program supervisor.