Featured IFPS Program: Mississippi

Mississippi has offered intensive family preservation services since 1992.

We asked the provider, Mississippi Children’s Home Services and the State Administrator to talk about key elements of their program.

Why does your state offer IFPS?

IFPS State Administrator:
It offers IFPS services to prevent the removal of children from their home setting due to abuse, neglect, etc.
IFPS Provider:
Mississippi Children’s Home Services (MCHS) recognizes the importance of family preservation services as a part of a service continuum to help families remain together and to prevent children from entering foster care, when they can be safely maintained at home.

How long has your state offered IFPS?—share about the history of IFPS in your state.

IFPS State Administrator:

  • Mississippi’s intensive family preservation services began in 1992 as a pilot project in one county with two contract employees.
  • It expanded to all counties in 1996.
  • Between 1999 and 2007 the positions were state service.
  • In 2007 the services were once again outsourced.
  • Currently, we have one Provider that provides the service to all 82 counties.
IFPS Provider:

  • The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) provided family preservation services in-house from 1995–2006.
  • Mississippi Children’s Home Services (MCHS), applied and was awarded the contract for Family Preservation in 2006, when MDHS first outsourced the service.
  • MCHS has continued to provide family preservation services and in 2010, was awarded the contract for Comprehensive Family Support Services Program (CFSSP), which included family preservation and reunification services.
  • MCHS is the sole provider of CFSSP for the state.

What qualities do you want to see in providers of IFPS both at the agency and at the therapist level?

IFPS State Administrator:
We would look for competence, stability, values, a commitment to the families served, and a provider who has similar views on child abuse prevention, etc.
IFPS Provider:Question not applicable

What qualities do you look for in an IFPS therapist?

IFPS State Administrator:Question not applicable IFPS Provider:
We look for therapists who are:

  • committed to preserving the family unit
  • understand that this is a time-limited intensive program and can stay focused on the family goals and treatment needs
  • build on the family’s strengths and recognize that the family is a key resource for change.
  • MCHS also seeks therapists who are able to learn and apply evidenced based models and interventions in practice.

What changes do you see in families that receive IFPS?

IFPS State Administrator:

  • Most of the families learn to maintain on their own without future assistance from the agency.
  • They are driven to keep their children safe, and use the skills taught to them so that further issues concerning abuse/neglect do not arise.
  • They are confident, have more positive interactions within their families; and are more positive in their outlook on life.
IFPS Provider:
Families who by the end of the intervention:

  • communicate effectively with each other
  • know who their support systems are in the community
  • parents have realistic expectations of their children
  • improved marital relationships
  • improved and appropriate disciplinary techniques
  • better income management skills
  • better home management skills
  • more respect among all family members

Posted by Peg Marckworth

Information provided by:
Carolyn Cotton Bland, Mississippi Division of Family and Children’s Services
Elizabeth Frizsell, Mississippi Children’s Home Services