The Keeping Families Together (KFT) is an initiative that aims to prevent child abuse and maltreatment for children ages zero to ten, while also keeping kids out of foster care. The KFT model is adapted from the evidence-based Communities That Care approach (CTC) that works to mobilize entire communities to work towards preventing the underlying predictors of child abuse and maltreatment while also promoting practices that support the overall well-being of all children.
Communities that Care is a nationally recognized evidence-based model that has been very successful in reducing juvenile crime, teen pregnancy, school dropout, and underage drinking. A recent 24-community site-randomized controlled trial of CTC found positive results on community-wide adoption of science-based approaches to prevention; high fidelity implementation of evidence-based prevention programs; and reduced levels of youth risk factors, lower prevalence of youth violence and delinquency, and delayed onset of drug use.
Recent evidence suggests that KFT is successfully adapting the model for child abuse prevention.
Keeping Families Together works to prevent child abuse by educating and inspiring communities to collaborate. Spearheaded by Program Director, Mickey Lansing-Luehrs and Directors of Community Coordination, Jean Vinson and Kerri Vann, KFT works with viable communities to gather resources and implement evidence-based prevention programs.
The KFT initiative works with communities through five key stages; 1) preparing to introduce the model to the community; 2) forming a community board or coalition; 3) developing a community profile that includes communities most urgent needs and the resources they have available (i.e, risk and protective factors); 4) creating a community action plan; and 5) implementing and evaluating prevention efforts.
“Many community leaders indicate this is the first time that collective action has been so effective in mobilizing the entire community to transform how their communities care for and support their most vulnerable families,” said Program Director, Mickey Lansing-Luehrs.
Hood River, for example, decided to implement Positive Behavioral Interventions in their schools, expand parenting classes, increased their educational opportunities, expanded access to the Healthy Families Oregon prevention program, and implemented system-wide changes called Home Visiting Connection. Springfield opted for similar changes but also prioritized services for Differential Response families, and organized community-wide training on Disempowerment and Self-Efficacy in Chronic Neglect.
Both communities utilized the resources they had available to them to create their best version of wrap-around services, and both communities saw promising outcomes as a result. Data from a recent analysis (2011-2014) revealed that maltreatment screening rates, over a three year period, decreased by 9% in Hood River and an even more impressive 25% in Springfield.
“It’s communities where big things happen,” said Director of Community Coordination, Jean Vinson.
“One of the most effective ways to prevent child abuse and maltreatment happens when all communities mobilize to improve the futures of families and children.”
Because that’s what prevention is really about. Coming together as communities to help promote the wellbeing of our children and families—fostering a better future for our society—doing the right thing for the people who need us the most.
Want to learn more?
Program Director, Mickey Lansing-Luehrs.
Director of Community Coordination, Jean Vinson