In 1994, James Bell Associates was awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, to study the implementation of the Family Preservation and Family Support (FP/ FS) services program. The purpose of the study is to examine how states and communities chose to implement the 1993 legislation creating the FP/FS program and the subsequent expansion of the program under the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA). The major study activities were in-depth case studies of 15 states and 20 localities within these states, and an annual review of the 50 state FP/FS Five-Year Plans and Annual Progress and Services Reports.
Areas examined in the Implementation Study include planning and decision-making processes, funding allocations, program models of service delivery, collaborative arrangements and consumer involvement. The study also focused on the relationship between the child welfare agency, especially front-line staff, and the newly funded FP/FS programs. To supplement the individual case studies and the synthesis reports, a series of issue papers addressing topics of special interest are being developed. In the course of this study, states and communities faced many challenges and found innovative approaches to implementing new programs. These papers are focused on lessons learned from their experiences that are applicable to a broad range of family services implementation efforts. The focus of this particular paper is especially effective models for involving consumers in planning and decision-making.