Worldwide, changes in the family have become more evident and families in South Africa are no exception as they are also faced with various challenges. In responding to these challenges, the Department of Social Development (DSD) developed a Manual on Family Preservation Services (Manual) (DSD 2008b), with the aim of training social service professionals to deliver family preservation services. This article, therefore, addresses the questions of whether the Manual adheres to the requirements of a policy document and also analyses the experiences of social workers regarding the formulation and implementation of the Manual. The researchers adopted an explanatory design, which is a form of mixed methods research. The quantitative empirical results revealed some limitations in the formulation of the Manual which were also confirmed by the social workers who were interviewed. The study also revealed a vital role played by social workers in the implementation of family preservation services, despite challenging circumstances of their work environment, which included limited resources and high caseloads.