Implementing HOMEBUILDERS (Birth to Age 5)®

Model implementation summary last updated: 2011

The information in this implementation report reflects feedback, if provided, from this model’s developer as of the above date. The description of the implementation of the model(s) here may differ from how the model(s) was implemented in the manuscripts reviewed to determine this model’s evidence of effectiveness. Inclusion in the implementation report does not mean the practices described meet the HHS criteria for evidence of effectiveness. Please see the Effectiveness button on the left for more information about any research on the effectiveness of the model, including any version(s) of the model with effectiveness research. Versions of the model that are described in the Adaptations and enhancements section of this implementation report may include (1) versions that were identified by the model’s developer and (2) versions that have been implemented by researchers and have manuscripts that HomVEE rated high or moderate, but that are not supported by the model’s developer.

Model overview

Theoretical approach

HOMEBUILDERS Intensive Family Preservation Services and Intensive Family Reunification Services (HOMEBUILDERS) provides intensive, in-home crisis intervention, counseling, and life-skills education for families who have children at risk for placement in state-funded care. The model is built upon several core values and beliefs:

  • It is best for children to be raised by their own family whenever possible.
  • Safety is our highest priority.
  • Reducing barriers to service improves family outcomes.
  • Family members are our colleagues and partners.
  • Providing information and teaching skills empowers families to become self-sufficient.
  • We cannot predict which situations are most amenable to change.
  • It is our job to motivate families and instill hope.
  • All people have the ability to change.
  • A crisis is an opportunity for change.
  • We respect families for their diverse culture, ethnicity, and religious beliefs.
  • Family members do not usually intend to harm one another.
  • People are doing the best they can.
  • Inappropriate intervention can do harm.
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Implementation support

The Institute for Family Development provides education and training to programs implementing HOMEBUILDERS.

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Intended population

HOMEBUILDERS targets families with children birth to age 17 that meet the following criteria:
  • At least one child is at imminent risk of out-of-home placement or is in placement and cannot be reunified without intensive in-home services.
  • The child could remain in the home and not be at risk of imminent harm if intensive in-home services were provided.
  • At least one parent is willing to meet with the HOMEBUILDERS therapist.
  • The family is available to participate in an intensive, four- to six-week intervention.
  • Less intensive services would not sufficiently reduce the risk of placement or facilitate reunification, are unavailable, or have been exhausted.
  • If a child is referred for reunification, the child will be returned to the family within seven days of the start of services.

For the purposes of the HomVEE review, this profile is based on developer recommendations and studies of programs that target children from birth to age 5.

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Targeted outcomes

HOMEBUILDERS works to prevent the unnecessary out-of-home placement of children and teach families problem-solving skills to prevent future crises.
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Model services

HOMEBUILDERS employs several program components:
  • Intervention at the crisis point: Client families are seen within 24 hours of referral.
  • Treatment in the natural setting: Almost all services take place in the family’s home and community.
  • Accessibility and responsiveness: Therapists are on call to their families 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Research-based interventions: Therapists use research-based interventions, including crisis intervention, motivational interviewing, parent education, skill building, and cognitive/behavioral therapy.
  • Flexibility: Services are provided when and where the clients wish. Therapists provide a wide range of services, from helping clients meet the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter to providing therapeutic techniques. Therapists teach families basic skills such as using public transportation systems, budgeting, and where necessary dealing with the social services system. They also educate families in areas more commonly associated with counseling, such as child development, parenting skills, anger management, other mood management skills, communication, and assertiveness.
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Model intensity and length

Therapists usually provide 40 or more hours of face-to-face contact during a four-week intervention; in special cases, the intervention may be extended to six weeks. Some families receive significantly more than 40 hours and the number of hours varies according to each family’s needs. Typically the therapist meets with family members three to five times a week, with telephone contact between meetings.
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HOMEBUILDERS is implemented in Washington state. In May 2011, Indiana began a statewide replication of the model. A replication of the model is implemented in Netherlands and Belgium.
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Adaptations and enhancements

No information is available.
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Implementation notes

The information contained on this page was last updated in April 2011. Recommended further reading lists the sources for this information. In addition, the information contained in this profile was reviewed for accuracy by the Institute for Family Development in April 2011. HomVEE reserves the right to edit the profile for clarity and consistency.

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