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Delivery Approach:
  • Individual
Delivery Format:
  • In-Person
Provider Requirements:
  • No Provider Requirements
Type of Experience Addressed:
  • Domestic Violence
  • Child Abuse 
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect 
  • Substance Abusing Caregiver 
  • Reunification
  • Mental Health Issues/Concerns
  • Other Experiences Addressed:
    • Child/ youth substance use, mental health concerns, violence, etc., parenting concerns
Engagement Methods:
  • Talk-Based
  • Other Engagement Methods
    • We have a range of engagement methods that are grounded in client directed, strengths based and a values based orientation that emphasizes clients as colleagues and cultural humility and responsiveness.
Level of Intervention:
  • Tertiary Prevention
  • Intervention
  • Less than 6 weeks
  • Home
Program Details:
Type of services provided:

HOMEBUILDERS® is an intensive in-home family counseling program for families with children at imminent risk of out of home placement into foster, group, other residential treatment program and settings; families with children in placement and are about to be reunified; and foster families where the placement is about to disrupt. A highly trained practitioner meets with the family within 24 hours of referral and provides an average of 8-10 hours of direct service (face to face) each week.  The Homebuilders practitioner is on available 24/7 with back up for crisis situations. Sessions are scheduled based on the families’ schedule, and when the identified problems/concerns are likely to occur, including evenings, weekends and holidays.  Services are provided in the families’ homes and include cognitive behavioral interventions, motivation interviewing, relapse prevention, skills teaching (e.g. behavioral parenting skills and behavior management, social skills, emotion regulation, effective communication and assertive skills, problem solving and decision making etc), and advocacy and accessing social and concrete supports (e.g., assistance with transportation, budgeting, food, clothing, household maintenance and repair). Practitioners complete the North Carolina Family Assessment Scale (NCFAS) v.2, an evidence based assessment tool developed and validated for Homebuilders and similar services, at the beginning of services and at closure, and specific goals are developed based on the assessment, reason for referral and the concerns and challenges identified by the family. Throughout the program the Homebuilders practitioner works collaboratively with other community supports and resources and at service closure develops a “progress maintenance plan” with the family to help them maintain changes and when needed connects family members with ongoing supports and services. The program engages families by delivering services in their natural environment at times when they are most receptive to learning and enlisting them as partners in assessment, goal setting, and treatment planning. Reunification cases often require activities related to reintegrating the child into the home and the community such as enrolling a child in school or helping a child connect with clubs, sports and other community groups.

Program setting:

Adoptive home, birth family home, kinship care home, foster home

Length of program/number of sessions:

Typically, 3-5 sessions weekly for 4 to 6 weeks, and aftercare booster sessions (typically up to 5 hours per family) during the six months following referral. Families typically receive 38 or more hours of face-to-face contact during the intervention.

Type(s) of trauma/concerns addressed:

This program is targeted to families with one or more children who are imminent risk of out-of-home placement or with children who have been placed out of the home and need intensive services to reunify with the family.  The families are usually experiencing problems such as child abuse and neglect, family violence, juvenile delinquency, behavioral and/or mental health concerns, and/or substance abuse. The program can also be implemented to prevent foster care or adoption disruption, and to stabilize these long-term placements.

Symptoms addressed:

Family conflict and violence, ineffective parenting skills, depression, aggression/anger, children/youth behavioral problems, substance abuse, child abuse and neglect.

Education level of providers:

Master’s level (social work, counseling, marriage and family therapy) preferred.  BSW/BA in related field with relevant  experience allowed.

Additional information:


Unique/Innovative Characteristics:

This intervention provides highly accessible and responsive, intensive in-home services to meet the needs of families at high risk for out of home child placement, or have a child that has been placed in out-of-home care, or to stabilize long term foster and adoptive placements. Practitioners and their supervisors and managers are available 24/7 for emergencies, and work a very flexible schedule with sessions scheduled at times the problems occur and based on the families’ schedules.  Sessions are routinely provided during the day, evenings, weekends and some holidays.

Date Added/Updated:


Population Served

  • 0-5 (Early Childhood)
  • 6-12 (Childhood)
  • 13-17 (Adolescent)
  • 18-25 (Young Adult)
  • 25 & Up (Adult)
Population Language:
  • English
  • Spanish
  • Other Population Language:
    • Many African, Pacific Islander, and Asian languages and dialects
Ethnic Racial Group:
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Indigenous People – American Indian/Native American, Alaskan Native
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • White
  • Child
  • Family
  • Grandparents
  • Parent who uses Violence
  • Foster/Adoptive Parents
Population Adaptations:
Age range of children served:

Birth to 18 years old

Are parent/adult caregiver(s) included in intervention?


Ethnic/racial and other groups served:

Multiple: groups served reflect the population served by the public agency (child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health etc.) making referrals. Varies depending on the site location.

Specific cultural adaptations:

None indicated. The program is designed to be tailored to individual family needs, cultures, and unique situations.

Languages that service/resource is available:

Multiple languages based on the needs of the population in each site and available staff capacity.


Goals of the program/services:
  • Reduce child abuse and neglect
  • Reduce family conflict
  • Reduce child behavior problems
  • Improve child and parent wellbeing
  • Teach families skills and strategies to keep children safely in their homes and prevent placement or successfully reunify with their children
Evaluation Studies:
Has there been any evaluation?


Key evaluation results:

In a randomized controlled study, families were selected from foster care caseloads to receive Homebuilders type intensive services or routine reunification services as part of an overall out-of-home care plan (Fraser et al, 1996). In families receiving Homebuilders, 96.5% of the children returned home by the 12-month follow-up assessment compared with 52.9% of the children in the control group.

In a study by Kirk and Griffith (2004), children who received intensive family preservation services (Homebuilders model) in 51 of 100 counties in North Carolina were compared with similar children in the same counties that did not receive intensive services. Families in the comparison group received typical agency services. Children in the intervention group were 21% less likely to experience a placement within 12 months compared to the comparison group.

In a randomized trial by Evans and colleagues (2003), families presenting at emergency rooms were randomized to three different interventions: Homebuilders model, an enhanced version of Homebuilders (called Enhanced Home-Based Crisis Intervention) or Crisis Case Management (a less intensive model that did not include clinical treatment services at home). Children in the intervention groups receiving more intensive services showed statistically significant gains in family cohesiveness.

Is there an evaluation currently in progress or planned?

Ongoing evaluation of outcomes at closure and 6 months post service.

Publications about the program:

Fraser MW, Walton E, Lewis RE, Pecora PJ, Walton WK. An experiment in family reunification: Correlates of outcomes at one-year follow-up. Children and Youth Services Review. 1996; 18(4/5):335-361.

Evans ME, Boothroyd RA, Armstrong MI, Greenbaum PE, Brown EC, Kuppinger AD. An experimental study of the effectiveness of in-home crisis services for children and their families: Program Outcomes. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. 2003; 11(2):92-102.

Kirk RS, Griffith DP. Intensive family preservation services: Demonstrating placement prevention using event history analysis. Social Work Research. 2004; 28(1):5-18.

Rated/Reviewed by Evidence Based Registries:

SAMHSA’s National Evidence Based Practice Resource Center 
California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
Washington State Institute for Public Policy
US Department of Justice

Training & Resources

Training Language:
  • English, some tools are available in Spanish
Training Availability:
  • Yes
Training Details:
Training manuals/protocols:

Yes, Site Development and Training manuals/protocols, standards and fidelity measures and processes.

Training Contact:

Program Contact