County Cultivates System to Assist Families in Need
With the implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) in 2019, Hillsborough County has reexamined its child welfare strategy and aligned its approach to focus on prevention and preservation for families in crisis. There is one main goal - reducing the number of children placed into the foster care system by keeping as many families together as possible.
As part of its prevention and preservation strategy, the County has launched a pilot program with Eckerd Connects developed as the Family Preservation and Assessment System.
The Family Preservation and Assessment System is a predictive modeling tool that assists Hillsborough County through Eckerd Connects in building a complete picture of families currently being served through various community and human services programs in the county.
The system, which will be utilized by Eckerd Connects, is designed to prevent crises from happening in families that emerge as at-risk of entering the child welfare system. Eckerd Connects will apply the system in its day-to-day programming at the Assessment Center for the Hillsborough County Family Prevention Services Collaborative. By being able to identify areas of need early, staff can help to prevent crises from happening and step in with targeted assistance and services.
The system is set to come online in March 2021 and is considered a pilot program for the Florida Department of Children and Families. If successful, it could be used throughout the state.