Brief Keeping Families Together in New Jersey
Findings from Program Model Interviews
Samantha Batko, Kate Thomas
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The New Jersey Keeping Families Together (KFT) program is a supportive housing program that combines subsidized housing with voluntary supportive services for child welfare–involved families at risk of homelessness. As part of Urban’s evaluation of the program, we conducted 14 interviews with KFT staff members representing all eight service providers as well as local departments involved in the development and implementation of the program to examine the program model, including its key characteristics, variation in implementation, and implementation challenges and strategies used to address them.

Why This Matters

Hearing directly from staff involved in the implementation and service delivery of KFT provides an opportunity to examine the program model; better understand key characteristics, challenges, and variation in implementation; and make recommendations for improvements in implementation. Findings are relevant in understanding how and why there may be differing outcomes across service providers, challenges faced by individual sites as well as program wide, and how staff view core components of KFT. These findings can be helpful at both the policy and programmatic levels to in developing program changes to most effectively ensure consistent and standard models of practice across KFT service providers.

Key Takeaways

  • Program staff expressed commitment to a Housing First approach; however, some elements of KFT programming were inconsistent with the model.
  • Providing housing assistance combined with voluntary supportive services and meeting family-level goals were identified as key program elements.
  • Key program model elements included collaborative intake and enrollment processes, supportive voucher issuance and housing search processes, and supportive services once enrolled in KFT.
  • Challenges included struggles to access housing in the private market, communication challenges with varying stakeholders, and difficulty helping families improve their overall economic situations.
Research Areas Housing
Tags Child welfare Housing stability Homelessness
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center
Research Methods Qualitative data analysis
States New Jersey