Family Preservation Laws and Policies in the U.S and North Carolina


To provide an overview of legislation and public policies on family preservation services in the U.S., in general, and particularly in North Carolina. This will guide the development of the brand, position and marketing for a family preservation services organization.

Early Findings

Legislation in Family Preservation Services in the U.S.

  • Family preservation services are in-home services and other community support provided as part of assistance to families with limited resources, or those facing additional challenges, to strengthen them and prevent child removal. In particular, family preservation services are, “more intensive services intended to preserve families that are at risk of disruption while keeping children safe.”
  • According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, the main federal legislation in family preservation services includes:Adoption and Safe Families Act, Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (amendments), and Family First Prevention Services Act.
  • While the earlier laws called for a "better balance between protecting children and preserving families, more recent legislation and policy guidance have sought to refocus program and practice efforts on ensuring child well-being and family connections as well as attending to safety and permanency."

Legislation and Policies in Family Preservation By State

  • The Child Welfare Information Gateway provides resources that show how each state provides child welfare services to families including "policy or procedure manuals, administrative rules, licensing standards, handbooks for families involved with the child welfare system." These resource materials are demarcated by topic (such as family preservation services), and by primary audience, including: children and youth, parents, professionals, relatives and kin and resource parents

Sample of Legislation and Policies in Family Preservation Services in North Carolina

North Carolina, has two main laws governing family preservation for child welfare namely: Family First Prevention Services Act (federal) and Rylan’s Law (state).

Some policies and programs that guide family preservation services in the state include:
  • Title 10A - Health and Human Services > Chapter 70- Children's Services: "governs the provision of protective services for children with funds administered by the Division of Social Services."
  • Child Welfare Manual, which includes the In-home services Policy, Protocol and Guidance:"to support families to safely maintain their child(ren) in their own home by eliminating identified safety and threat concerns and reducing risk of future child maltreatment"
  • Child Welfare: Prevention Services Funding: "Prevention Services are those services aimed at helping families to remain
  • together, to become self-sufficient, to enhance their parenting skills and to prevent children from being abused or neglected or placed out of the home."
  • Child Welfare Pregnancy Services: "to provide skilled assistance is needed for an individual involved with an unplanned pregnancy."
  • Best Practice for Social Worker Well-Being
  • Child Welfare: Federal, State, and County Funding

Summary of Findings

In the first hour of research, we were able to determine that information on legislation and policies in family preservation services in the U.S. and particularly in North Carolina is available.

Proposed next steps:

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