Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Family Preservation and Stabilization Services Definition


Family Preservation and Stabilization Services improve family functioning, increase child and family well-being, ensure child safety, prevent the separation of children from their families, and ease the transition to reunification following a separation. 


Family Preservation and Stabilization Services provide crisis intervention, therapy, counselling, education, support, and advocacy to families who are coping with circumstances that put children at risk of being separated from their families and placed in out-of-home care, or families with children transitioning to reunification following a separation. Services should only be provided when children can remain in or return to the home without compromising the safety of any family or community member. Family preservation is sometimes considered an alternative response to a Children’s Aid Societies intervention. 

This section is designed to accommodate programs that provide two levels of service: (1) family preservation and stabilisation services, and (2) intensive family preservation and stabilisation services. Intensive programs typically serve families with children at greater risk of being separated from their families, respond to referrals or requests for service within a shorter period of time, provide more frequent and intensive services, and place stricter limits on caseload size. 

While the focus of this section is on keeping children with their biological families, family preservation services can also be used to stabilize foster and adoptive placements to prevent re-entry to service systems and facilities.


Viewing: CA-FPS - Family Preservation and Stabilization Services


Examples: Families may be considered to be at risk when one or more of the following circumstances exist:
  1. family violence, physical and/or emotional abuse, and neglect;
  2. parent-child conflicts, including those that result in a child running away;
  3. housing problems or financial distress;
  4. substance use conditions;
  5. mental health conditions or serious emotional disturbances;
  6. delinquency or incarceration;
  7. death, divorce, or separation of parents;
  8. resettlement-related stresses experienced by immigrant and refugee families; and/or
  9. special needs presented by chronic illnesses or handicapping conditions.

Out-of-home placements may include, but are not limited to, placements in: kinship care, family foster care, psychiatric inpatient care, residential treatment, and youth justice facilities.

Popular family preservation models include: the crisis intervention model, the home-based model, and the family treatment model.
Note: Please see CA-FPS Reference List for the research that informed the development of these standards.

Note: For information about changes made in the 2020 Edition, please see the FPS Crosswalk.