Homebuilders Family Preservation Program

Program Goals

HOMEBUILDERS is an in-home, intensive family preservation service (IFPS) and reunification program for families with children (newborn to 17 years old) returning from or at risk of placement into foster care, group or residential treatment, psychiatric hospitals, or juvenile justice facilities. The HOMEBUILDERS model is designed to eliminate barriers to service while using research-based interventions to improve parental skills, parental capabilities, family interactions, children’s behavior, and family safety. The goals are to prevent the unnecessary out-of-home placement of children through an intensive, onsite intervention and to teach families new problem-solving skills to improve family functioning.

Target Population

HOMEBUILDERS therapists work with youths and families involved in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and mental health system. For high-risk families involved with the child protective services system, the goal of the program is to remove the risk of harm to the child instead of removing the child. Therapists work with families to teach them new behaviors and help them make better choices for their children, while ensuring child safety. In addition, HOMEBUILDERS also works with youths and their families to address issues that lead to delinquency, while allowing youths to remain in the community. Program staff work with youths to ensure they attend classes regularly, adhere to curfews, comply with the courts, and learn anger management and conflict-resolution skills to avoid getting into more trouble. Finally, the program works with youths so they can avoid the trauma and stigma of psychiatric hospitalization.

Program Components

The primary intervention components of the HOMEBUILDERS model are engaging and motivating family members; conducting holistic, behavioral assessments of strengths and problems; developing outcome-based goals; using evidence-based cognitive–behavioral interventions; teaching skills to facilitate behavior change; and developing and enhancing ongoing supports and resources.

The core program strategies are:

• Intervention at crisis point. HOMEBUILDERS Families are seen within 24 hours of referral

• Accessibility. Services are provided in the family’s home and community (e.g., school) at times convenient to families. Therapists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for crisis intervention.

• Flexibility. Intervention strategies and methods are tailored to meet the needs, values, and lifestyles of each family. Services are provided when and where the families wish.

• Time limited and low caseload. Families receive 4 to 6 weeks of intensive intervention, with up to two “booster sessions.” Therapists typically serve two families at a time and provide 80 to 100 hours of service, with an average of 45 hours of face-to-face contact with the family.

• Strengths based. Therapists help clients identify and prioritize goals, strengths, and values and help them use and enhance strengths and resources to achieve their goals.

• Ecological/holistic assessment and individualized treatment planning. Assessments of family strengths, problems, and barriers to service/treatment and outcome-based goals and treatment plans are completed collaboratively with each family.

• Research-based treatment practices. Therapists use evidence-based treatment practices, including motivational interviewing, behavioral parent training, cognitive–behavior therapy strategies, and relapse prevention.

• Support and resource building. Therapists help families assess their formal and informal support systems and develop and enhance ongoing supports and resources for maintaining and facilitating changes.

• Critical thinking framework. Therapists, supervisors, and managers use a critical thinking framework for assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating progress and outcomes.