Charlotte Booth, Executive Director
Institute for Family Development
(Contact) Shelley Leavitt, Ph.D., Assistant Director
181 South 333rd Street, Suite 200
Federal Way, WA 98003-6307
(253) 874-3630 Fax: (253) 838-1670
The HOMEBUILDERS Program is one of the best documented Intensive Family Preservation
Programs in the country. The program is designed to break the cycle of family dysfunction by
strengthening families, keeping children safe, and preventing foster care, residential and other
forms of out-of-home placement. The program goals include improving family functioning;
increasing social support; increasing parenting skills; preventing or reducing child abuse and
neglect; improving school and job attendance and performance; improving household living
conditions; establishing daily routines; improving adult and child self-esteem; helping clients
become self-directed; and enhancing motivation for change while decreasing family conflict and
other problems. The program is designed for the most seriously troubled families, who are
referred by a number of child service agencies. Populations served include newborns to
teenagers, and their families.
The program includes 4-6 weeks of intensive, in-home services to
children and families. A practitioner with a caseload of two families provides counseling, hard services, develops
community support, and spends an average of 8-10 hours per week in direct contact with the
family, and is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for crisis intervention. The program
utilizes a single practitioner model with a team back-up for co-therapy and consultation.
Teaching strategies involve modeling, descriptions of skills and behaviors, role plays and
rehearsals of newly acquired skills. Teaching tools include skills-based video- and audio-tapes,
work books, handouts, articles and exercises. Therapeutic processes used are skill building,
behavioral interventions, motivational interviewing, relapse prevention, rational emotive therapy,
and other cognitive strategies.
HOMEBUILDERS has been evaluated both formally and informally since it began in 1974.
Results from studies using single group and quasi-experimental designs have shown repeated
positive findings favoring HOMEBUILDERS on a variety of measures focusing on placement
prevention as well as child and family functioning.
The number of staff (practitioner and supervisors) required for the program will depend on the
number of families to be served annually. The Institue uses a "team" approach to service delivery that
utilizes a single practitioner with team back up for emergencies and for case consultation.
Typically, a team consists of three to four practitioners and a supervisor who also carries a part-time
caseload. Each practitioner serves between 18 to 20 families per year. A full-time
supervisor supervises four to six (FTE) staff. HOMEBUILDERS staff are required to have at
least a BA degree in human services or a related field and a minimum of two years experience
working with children, parents and/or families. Training manuals are available to those attending
the workshops (see training costs). The price of the manuals range from $25 to $50 (depending
on the type of workshop). Other materials that are available include a staff selection and hiring
manual ($40); client directed assessment tool called "Your Deal" ($24.95) and a program
development and implementation guide (available in early 2000, cost has not been determined).
The training manuals may be copied for use only with clients, all other materials need to be
ordered from The Institue. An optional videotape, "Skills For Family and Community Living" is
available with a leader's guide for $149.95 plus shipping. The Institue has an extensive bibliography of
recommended readings and other materials that are included in our training manuals.
The Institue provides a series of workshops for practitioners and supervisors. Descriptions and length
of training workshops follow: the initial workshop for practitioners, "Fundamentals of Family
Preservation Practice" is six days (Part I is 4 days, Part II is 2 days); the initial training for
supervisors is two to three days. We encourage programs to limit the number of participants to
30. One trainer is used when there are 15 or fewer participants. Two trainers are generally used
when there are more than 15 participants. The training costs are a $1,200 a day fee per trainer,
travel costs (e.g., hotel, airfare, per diem, etc) and $50 per training manual for the initial
practitioner and supervisor training workshops. Also available are on-site consultation packages
and follow-up training on a variety of specialized topics (including working with drug affected
families, family preservation and domestic violence, working with parents who have limited
cognitive abilities, and working with children with mental health problems).