Project Description

Kansas The State of Kansas Social and Rehabilitative Services, Division of Children and Family Services, in partnership with eight State and local agencies, implemented a two-pronged approach to serving children affected by methamphetamine or other substance abuse. The two-pronged approach included:

  • Having substance-affected families in the child welfare system at risk for child removal, or with the goal of reunification, participate in the evidence-based Strengthening Families Program (SFP)
  • Integrating a web-based substance abuse prevention with existing life skills/independent living services for older youth in care and former foster care youth to reduce risk factors for substance use and increase resiliency

Target Population

KSSAF targeted:

  • Families statewide, in all regions of service
  • Substance-affected child welfare population for whom reunification was the case plan goal through SFP
  • Older youth receiving life skills or independent living services with links to resources for independent living, ways to connect to other youth and information about alcohol and drug use through the Kansas Independence website to help youth make good decisions

Major Project Goals

  • Decreasing substance use/misuse; 
  • Reducing the number of days to family reunification;
  • Reducing future Child Protection Services child support investigations and reported and substantiated cases of child maltreatment
  • Decreasing parental use of excessive physical punishment 
  • Increasing parenting knowledge, skills, supportiveness and efficacy
  • Increasing positive parent-child relationships, family organization and order, family communication skills and family strengths and resilience
  • Increasing the children’s social and emotional competencies
  • Decreasing the children’s social isolation, conduct problems and aggression
  • Measuring extent to which each visitor engage with the content on Kansas Independence website (number of pages visited, stories read, questions answered, etc.) as a way of evaluating participation

Key Major Program Services

Parenting/Family Strengthening

  • Manualized/Evidence-Based Parenting Program – Strengthening Families Program

Substance Abuse Prevention Services

  • Information Dissemination

Partner Agencies and Organizations

The KSSAF Project includes the following partners:

Child Welfare

  • Kansas Division of Children and Families
  • Community-based Contracted Child Welfare Service Providers

Substance Abuse

  • Kansas Addiction and Prevention Services Division
  • Community-based Substance Abuse Treatment Agency

Evaluation and Training

  • The University of Kansas School of Social Welfare
  • Lutra Group
  • In-depth Learning

Other

  • Kansas Alliance for Drug Endangered Children

Performance Indicators

Permanency

Out-of-home Care: The typical SFP child participant spends 190 fewer days in out-of-home care than their non-SFP counterparts. For example, at the 360-day point from start of SFP, almost half (45.0 percent) of the SFP children were reunified, compared to 27.0 percent of the comparison children.

Family and Child Well-Being

Child Well-being: Statistically significant improvement was found in five areas of child outcomes. These areas included:

  • Overt aggression
  • Covert aggression
  • Depression
  • Concentration problems or reduced attention deficit
  • Adjustments in social skills.

Parenting: Evaluation of the SFP found the parents’ level of depression and stress is reduced when the parents learned better parenting skills, spent more time with their children or saw improvements in their overall parenting abilities.

Cost Savings: The local evaluation found that SFP saved approximately $16,340 per child in State and Federal out-of-home care costs.

Sustainability Status

At the time of the close of the grant, new privatization contracts were in process of rebidding and the continuation of SFP services became a requirement of the new contractors. As a result, SFP and the Kansas Independence website were both sustained. Evaluation results from SFP indicated that there was a reduction in time to reunification and significant cost savings.

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Reports

Project Details

  • Lead Agency:
    Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services
  • Geographic Area and Congressional District Served:
    Kansas Statewide
  • Federal Grant:
    $500,000/5 years (2007-2012)
  • Evaluation Design and Comparison Group Type:
    Quasi-experimental, Same-Time, Matched Case-Level
  • Proposed Number Served (5 years):
    Children: 367
    Adults: 473
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