What prevention/preservation services are available for children and families in crisis?
Prevention services are crucial in helping families meet their needs and offer a wide variety of support for families caring for their children. As prevention encompasses a broad array of services and interventions for families, the following resources are specialized for children and families who are at risk of being involved within the public child welfare system.
Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children's Bureau, features examples of prevention programs and addresses the diversity of available prevention resources on its website, in the web page What Is Prevention and Why Is it Important?
Family preservation services are short-term, family-focused services designed to assist families in crisis by improving parenting and family functioning while keeping children safe. Family preservation services grew out of the recognition that children need a safe and stable family and that separating children from their families is traumatic for them, often leaving lasting negative effects. Information Gateway collects selected materials and reports on policy and program approaches to family preservation services, including intensive family preservation services, a more intensive and crisis-focused version of preservation services, and state and local examples of such services on its Family Preservation Services web section.
Likewise, family support services are community-based services that assist and support parents in their role as caregivers. Such services can take many different forms depending on the strengths and needs of the family, but their overarching goal is to help parents enhance skills and resolve problems to promote optimal child development.
Family support programs may address the general population or target particular groups such as ethnic and cultural minorities; adolescent parents; kinship caregivers; or families facing health, mental health, or substance abuse issues. This topic is covered more broadly in the Family Support Services web section of the Information Gateway website.
Similarly, Systems of Care Services and Supports on the Information Gateway website provides program descriptions for services provided in a system of care, such as respite care, crisis outreach, individualized or wraparound care, therapeutic foster care, and others.
Family prevention services vary from state to state and county to county, therefore it may be helpful to contact the local child welfare agency for specific information.
The following lists on the Information Gateway website provide contact information of organizations that focus on child abuse prevention: