Family preservation services: Incorporating the voice of families into service implementation

Jennifer L. Mullins, Justine R. Cheung, Cynthia Lietz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Family preservation services (FPS) include a set of services designed to prevent out-of-home placement for children at risk of child maltreatment. Research examining FPS is inconsistent, with some studies reporting positive results, while others fail to demonstrate improved outcomes for many families. To understand the experience of receiving these services from the perspective of consumers, this paper reports the qualitative findings from a mixed methods study to examine families' experiences with FPS. To accomplish this objective, a purposive sample of 36 families was followed from referral to case closure. Specifically, 85 semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted at onset, midpoint and case closure to examine the perceptions of clients throughout service delivery. Each interview was audiotaped, transcribed and analysed using open and secondary coding strategies. Findings suggest that similar to other studies, families' perceptions of FPS were mixed. Some found the services relevant and supportive, while others were less satisfied. The four qualitative themes discussed by these participants included service content, service delivery, emotional support and tangible support. These themes help to provide in-depth descriptions of the perspectives of this sample of families. Implications for practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-274
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Child welfare
  • Consumer perspective
  • Family preservation
  • Qualitatives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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