Community Family Partnership’s Positive Impact

17 Apr

CFP ReportBy Amber Erickson, research manager, and Tera Qualls, project manager

The Community Family Partnership (CFP) is a System of Care initiative in Kent County, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Teri Clark is the Project Director for CFP and describes the initiative as follows:

“The CFP Approach, using a system of care framework, has been developed in collaboration with Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare, Mental Health, and family partners. The CFP approach targets Kent County children and youth who have a Severe Emotional Disturbance (SED) and who are multi-system involved. The CFP Approach is built upon the following four cornerstones:  system collaboration, integrated care and coordinated service delivery (wraparound), access to a broad array of traditional and non-traditional community based services and supports, and intensive family support and development. Multiple strategies are employed within the four cornerstones to provide an intense intervention without the need for restrictive institutional settings.”

One example of the work that the Johnson Center’s Community Research Institute (CRI) does is evidenced in a recent report on the evaluation of CFP. CRI is evaluating CFP outcomes at the system, practice, and child/family levels. The evaluation is longitudinal, examining change over time. Data are collected at baseline (enrollment into CFP services) and at six-month intervals.

CRI recently delivered the first biannual evaluation report for CFP. The report provides a baseline profile of the children and families as they enter services, as well as findings for a few of CFP’s key outcomes. Because the sample for the six-month follow up information is small, the ability to interpret and generalize these findings is limited. However, these preliminary findings show a positive trend regarding CFP’s impact.

Youth who enter CFP services are involved in multiple systems and are at high risk for a variety of issues. As of Jan. 2013, CFP had enrolled 151 youth into their services. At the time of referral, 83 percent of youth were involved in the mental health system; 64 percent in special education of some sort; 33 percent in child welfare, and 26 percent in juvenile justice. Based on interviews with a sample of caregivers, youth experience many behavioral and emotional issues, such as social problems, rule-breaking behavior, aggressive problems, and attention problems. Furthermore, caregivers in this study reported that 51 percent of youth have intentionally harmed themselves and 32 percent have attempted suicide. Caregivers also reported that 51 percent of youth have been exposed to domestic violence and 52 percent have a person in their household with a drug or alcohol problem.

Given the extent of system involvement and potential severity of the issues these families face, the initial outcomes for youth and caregivers are promising. Based on a survey of caregivers, for youth who have been in services for six or more months, there is a decrease in the number of youth in detention, foster care, and residential treatment. Almost all of caregivers’ average responses regarding general functioning (e.g. “My child is handling daily life”) and natural supports (e.g. “I know people who will listen and understand me when I need to talk”) are showing improvement after six months. Additionally, caregivers are giving high ratings for satisfaction with services, as well as whether the care was individualized to meet needs and was culturally competent.

A sample of 46 youth who had a functional assessment at the beginning of services and after several months shows greater functioning in such areas as school, moods/emotions, and behavior toward others. This finding is another potentially promising trend.

As the program progresses, the evaluation will continue to examine outcomes over time. It is clear that families enrolled in CFP services face a variety of difficult issues and are managing their involvement in multiple systems. These initial and exploratory outcome findings can be used to start monitoring successes and challenges, as well as to begin demonstrating the positive impact of CFP on youth and families.

To view the report, visit

By providing timely feedback on outcomes to CFP program staff, CRI is proud to play a role in helping to improve services to Kent County youth and their families.

Established in 1992 with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy is a university-based center serving nonprofits, foundations, and others seeking to transform their communities for the public good. The Johnson Center is recognized for its applied research and professional development benefiting practitioners and nonprofits through the faculty and staff of the Johnson Center’s Community Research Institute, Frey Foundation Chair for Family Foundations and Philanthropy, The Foundation Review, The Grantmaking School, Johnson Center Philanthropy Archives and Library, and Philanthropic and Nonprofit Services.

Grand Valley State University is a four-year public university. It attracts nearly 25,000 students with high-quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities. Grand Valley is a comprehensive university serving students from all 83 Michigan counties and dozens of other states and foreign countries. Grand Valley offers 82 undergraduate and 30 graduate degree programs from campuses in Allendale, Grand Rapids and Holland, and from regional centers in Muskegon and Traverse City. The university is dedicated to individual student achievement, going beyond the traditional classroom experience, with research opportunities and business partnerships. Grand Valley employs more than 2,000 people and is committed to providing a fair and equitable environment for the continued success of all.

The Johnson Center receives ongoing support from the Doug & Maria DeVos Foundation,Dyer-Ives Foundation, Frey Foundation, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

For more information, contact Robert Shalett, director of communications for the Johnson Center, at 616-331-7585.

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