Keeping Families Together

Program Evaluation Overview

Few events are more traumatic for children than being removed from their families and entered into the foster care system. Such children often go on to lead deeply troubled lives. Research shows that they are at higher risk for:

  • impaired neurodevelopment
  • psychiatric problems
  • abuse
  • poverty
  • homelessness
  • incarceration
  • suicide and
  • early death.

What leads to the dissolution of families and their kids being sent into the child welfare system? Can it be prevented? How can highly vulnerable families where children are in danger of neglect and abuse be strengthened and become safe and healthy environments for children?

The Birth of an Innovation
A conversation with these questions in mind between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH)—the nation’s nonprofit leader in combining housing and services to reach society’s most vulnerable citizens—resulted in the pilot project for Keeping Families Together. The pilot program paired supportive housing with on-site case management and family preservation services for families experiencing chronic homelessness, substance abuse and mental health problems, and child welfare involvement. Between October 2007 and July 2009, 29 New York City families participated in the Keeping Families Together pilot.

Evaluative Data Holds Promise
Evaluation results show that the Keeping Families Together pilot program holds real promise through a holistic approach to affordable housing and services that preserves families experiencing serious challenges. The pilot shows that we can bring families back from the brink of major crisis and reduce the cycle of homelessness and involvement with child welfare and other agencies.

To receive the Metis Associates full evaluation report, please e-mail: vulnerablepopulationsteam@rwjf.org.

Study Data Released at Webinar
On February 2, 2011, the RWJF Vulnerable Populations portfolio and the Corporation for Supportive Housing co-hosted a webinar releasing evaluative data from the Keeping Families Together pilot program. Speakers included Nancy Barrand of RWJF, Connie Tempel, Richard Cho and Alison Harte of CSH, Metis Associates, and Eric Nicklas, formerly of New York City Administration for Children’s Services and a pilot program partner. After a 40-minute presentation, the speakers responded to questions from participants.

The webinar included information on:

  • The importance of connectivity in helping vulnerable families—specifically the impact of supportive housing on families who are chronically homeless and child welfare involved.
  • The Keeping Families Together model, a practical approach that helps keep families together and improve health.
  • Results from the Metis Associates study on the Keeping Families Together pilot program.

Please e-mail Robert Wood Johnson Vulnerable Populations portfolio for more information on this program: vulnerablepopulationsteam@rwjf.org.

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