Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Udaya R. Wagle


This research evaluates the effectiveness of Family Preservation Services (FPS) in a Midwestern U.S. state. The research setting is an Intensive Family Services Program (IFPS) component connected with a state agency, with data gathered from selected contractor sites. This research is guided by the dual techniques of the Five-Tier Approach (FTA) model and the logistic regression data analysis process. The hypotheses posit that specific intensive clinical, safety, skill-building, and concrete services provided to families at a high risk level increase the likelihood of positive proximal case outcomes for up to 1 year after case closure, after controlling for family characteristics. Following similar studies, the program success has been operationalized using a singular measure of avoidance of out-of-home placement regarding service goals/outcomes. Findings indicate the value of service intensity in promoting safety and satisfaction and the value of specific clinical, skill-building, and concrete services in increasing the likelihood of success. Programmatically, these findings focusing on proximal outcomes provide new knowledge that can be applied to expand FPS outcome measures beyond distal outcomes. Components and characteristics that do not help increase success as much but remain important include risk assessment/referral process, family characteristics, and aftercare services infrastructures. These findings suggest that public contracting or private agency management and program staff act collaboratively to improve the program in areas with lower likelihood of success, among other things, by focusing on abuse case type for referrals, conducting ongoing qualitative research on family characteristics for better matching of services, and increasing utilization of the aftercare services infrastructure including specialty services as a higher priority. The usefulness of applying these specific proximal outcomes may include benefits for families of better preservation/effectiveness through gains in safety, skills, social supports, and community linkages as well as through greater administrative effectiveness to enhance program integrity.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access