Topic: Family Stabilization Programs

Scientific Ratings in this topic:

1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence

2 - Supported by Research Evidence

3 - Promising Research Evidence

4 - Evidence Fails to Demonstrate Effect

5 - Concerning Practice

NR - Not able to be Rated

Learn more about the scale

Definition for Family Stabilization Programs:

Family Stabilization Programs are defined by the CEBC as programs designed to ensure the safety and well-being of children and youth in their homes; prevent their initial placement or re-entry into foster care; and preserve, support, and stabilize their families. Family stabilization programs are aimed at families who have come to the attention of child welfare services and are in crisis and/or facing imminent risk of removal. Terms commonly used to describe Family stabilization programs may include family preservation, family support, family engagement, home visiting, and place-based services (these are usually housed in a community or neighborhood center, but have an in-home component providing parenting classes, after school programs, and other family services aimed at supporting, stabilizing, and maintaining intact families). Family stabilization programs may include the services that are delivered to families through the differential response process.

  • Target population: Families who have come to the attention of child welfare services and are in crisis and/or facing imminent risk of having their child(ren) removed
  • Services/types that fit: Assessment, case planning, case management, education, and/or skill building
  • Delivered by: Child welfare workers, mental health professionals, or trained paraprofessionals
  • In order to be included: Program must specifically target prevention of out-of-home placement as a goal
  • In order to be rated: There must be research evidence (as specified by the Scientific Rating Scale) that examines changes in child welfare outcomes for families (reduced out-of-home placement, decreased recidivism, etc.)

Programs in this Topic Area

The programs listed below have been reviewed by the CEBC and, if appropriate, been rated using the Scientific Rating Scale.

One Program with a Scientific Rating of 2 - Supported by Research Evidence:

  • Homebuilders®
    Families with children (birth to 18) at imminent risk of placement into, or needing intensive services to return from, foster care, ...

Four Programs with a Scientific Rating of 3 - Promising Research Evidence:

Eight Programs with a Scientific Rating of NR - Not able to be Rated:

Why was this topic chosen by the Advisory Committee?

The Family Stabilization Programs topic area is relevant to child welfare because a primary goal of child welfare is to strengthen families and prevent unnecessary placement of children and youth. Too often, children are removed from their families because there are insufficient services to support and strengthen the family and ensure safety. Agencies need to know about alternatives to removal and placement and which types of services/programs are most effective in stabilizing the family, building family strengths, and maintaining safety.

Pamela Day
Former CEBC Advisory Committee Member

Topic Expert

Brad Richardson, PhD
Research Director, The University of Iowa School of Social Work
National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice
Iowa City, IA