What a Field Placement in IFPS Offers Students

A field placement with an Intensive Family Preservation Services agency gives students a unique experience in child welfare. The structure of IFPS interventions, including their intensity, can broaden, accelerate and integrate the student’s classroom learning.

The primary goal of an IFPS field placement is to learn how to provide short-term, intensive, home-based interventions with children and families. A major focus is learning and practicing interventions skills designed to help families resolve problems that put them at risk of disruption through placement of a child.

The field placement offers an opportunity for students to integrate their classroom learning. Theory, policy, and practice come together under the guidance of skilled IFPS agency staff. Students learn a variety of intervention skills that benefit their capabilities as clinicians whether in family preservation or other practice areas.

Skills learned in an IFPS field placement include:

  • Engaging clients quickly
  • Motivating clients to participate in counseling
  • Assessing and utilizing client strengths
  • Assessing family/individual functioning levels and problem areas
  • Assessing the risk of child abuse, neglect, family violence and self-harm
  • Structuring the family situation to prevent violence
  • Defusing potentially violent situations
  • Providing support through active listening, affirmations, availability and resource mobilization
  • Teaching skills using cognitive behavioral techniques including: communication, parenting, mood management, behavioral management, problem solving, decision making, negotiation, and assertiveness
  • Developing therapist self-care strategies and skills

Not all students will find a field placement in IFPS a good fit for them. Students benefit from a complete understanding of the benefits and demands of a field placement in IFPS before selecting the placement. Some characteristics are associated with greater student success and satisfaction in an IFPS field placement:

  • Commitment to the goals, values and strategies of family preservation services.
  • A belief that, in most cases, the best place for children is with their natural families and that IFPS can help achieve that goal while keeping children and other family members safe.
  • Seeing the value of working with clients as colleagues and believing that people are capable of making significant changes in their behavior.
  • Openness to diversity.
  • Flexibility and availability to see families outside normal field placement days, including evenings and weekends.
  • An understanding of the need to be available to clients in crisis situations, either in person or by phone.


Posted by Peg Marckworth