What is Family Preservation?
Family preservation is a term that refers to the ways in which we can keep families together and help them thrive. Childwelfare.gov defines Family Preservation services as “...short-term, family-focused services designed to assist families in crisis by improving parenting and family functioning while keeping children safe.”.
Why is Family Preservation so Important?
The family is the basic unit of society and the foundation upon which our lives are built. Family preservation is the process of strengthening families so they can stay together and thrive. It is a proactive approach that helps families identify and address the issues that put them at risk of separating. There are many reasons why family preservation is necessary. It equips parents with the tools to maintain their stability and independence and connects them in relationships that many times become like surrogate family. FP significantly reduces social isolation for vulnerable families, improving mental and physical health, child welfare, and the social emotional wellbeing of the entire family unit. Positive impacts on children’s academic success due to increased family cohesion and stability are measurable. Family preservation also has positive impacts on the community, such as reducing crime and improving economic stability. Families that are together are more likely to be successful in their pursuits and to contribute to the community in positive ways.
Family preservation services can be implemented in our community through a variety of programs and ministries. These include family support services, family counseling, and respite care. New Mercies Ministries currently falls under the umbrella of respite care and support services, in the family preservation arena. NMM offers short-term hosting services for children in safe, loving, approved volunteer host family homes, while their parents seek to restore stability with the guidance of a volunteer family coach. New Mercies is also collaborative, meaning we harness and coordinate the resources of existing community agencies to bring supportive connections within the reach of parents. Recently, we have also initiated a post-hosting mentoring program, Rooted Together, for parents looking to strengthen their walk of faith through discipleship and accountability.
The importance of family preservation cannot be understated. By working to preserve families, we are working to build a stronger, healthier community for everyone.