Intensive Family Services: Innovation in Prevention and Early Intervention

NNEDLearn 2013 Participant: Casa Pacifica

Objective: Provide help to abused, neglected or at risk children and their families.

Description: Intensive Family Services (IFS) is a short term, early intervention/prevention community based service developed to provide support and linkage to the community for families that have come to the attention of Child Welfare and/or Probation. Families get referred to IFS when they have a Child Protective Services (CPS) report filed on them and the initial investigation determines that a dependency case will not be opened. However, it is identified that the family can benefit from further support to ensure safety, stability and well-being for the child in the home.

IFS uses a team approach in working with the child and family by involving the Family Case Manager, Parent Partner, Youth Specialist, Youth Advocate, and family members. The team connects the family to supports available within the community in an effort to ensure stability and safety in the home, to prevent the child from being removed from the home, and to prevent reentry into the system. IFS is a voluntary program.

Casa Pacifica’s Ventura County Community Based Services developed the program model in response to a need identified by the Human Services Agency in Spring 2012 for a program that would provide intensive upfront support as part of the Pathway Differential Response system. IFS partners with Ventura County Human Services Agency, the Probation Agency, and Behavioral Health in identifying eligible families and providing services and support. The program was designed specifically to meet Ventura County’s 30% increase over a year (2011-2012) in CPS calls.

IFS strives to provide support in culturally relevant ways by:

  • Ensuring the availability of bilingual/bicultural teams
  • Providing team members of varied backgrounds (SES, educational, ethnic, cultural, sexual orientation)
  • Allowing families to drive the process and determine what success means to them
  • Providing a “buffet” of resources but not prescribing what is best for their families

Population of focus: Children and adolescents in contact with the Child Welfare System

Setting: Home, Schools, Shelters, Juvenile Halls, Parks, Libraries

Level of intervention: Individual, Family

Background: Nestled in the agricultural community of Ventura County, Casa Pacifica was established in 1994 with the opening of the Emergency Shelter and the Residential Treatment Facility for children. In 2000, Casa Pacifica established Community Based Services for Ventura County in a joint partnership with Ventura County Human Services Agency, Probation Agency, and Behavioral Health.


Marissa Espinoza
Wraparound and IFS Program Manager

Dr. Denise Ojarigi
IFS Clinical Supervisor

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