Low income and working poor families are exposed to tremendous stressors, which in turn can impede their ability to care for their children (Dyk, 2004). In 2000, reports of abuse and/or neglect of over five million children were made to Child Protective Services (CPS) Agencies (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2002). These families are often termed “at-risk” because of the possibility that the children could be placed in foster care. One prevention strategy used to help at-risk families is in-home family therapy. The Young Investigator Award through the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research (UKCPR) enabled me to qualitatively study in-home family therapy services from the perspectives of the families themselves. Specific objectives of this project were: (a) to include a graduate student in the study of low-income, at-risk families; (b) to examine client’s perspectives about the effectiveness of in-home family therapy; (c) to use the results of this study to inform larger scale quantitative investigations related to preventative treatment for at-risk, low-income families. This study explored the perceptions of 20 low-income and working poor families residing in Northeast Florida who have completed in-home family therapy services. Results indicate that although families unanimously expressed benefits of receiving in-home family therapy, they also found that the length of time services were provided was too brief to meet their long term needs. Families provided suggestions for the improvement of services. Implications for researchers and practitioners are provided.

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Research Paper

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