§3 ch3: Family-Centered Services Family Assessment and Written Service Agreement Development
3.6 Family Support Team Meetings for Intact Families
Many intact families with multiple needs could benefit greatly from a Family Support Team (FST) meeting. By bringing together the necessary formal and informal participants, a family support team process can assist the worker in moving the family closer to achieving and maintaining positive change and reducing the risk for future maltreatment or the need for out-of-home care.
3.6.1 Composition of the Family Support Team for Intact Families
Support Team meetings for intact families may look somewhat different from Family Centered Out-of-Home Care (FCOOHC) cases, lacking the structure of a court presence and mandated timeframes for completion. This allows the worker and the family more flexibility in inviting and assembling participants that can address the family’s specific needs. FST meetings may be composed of parents, children (if appropriate), relatives, neighbors, school personnel, medical personnel, substance abuse personnel, legal counsel for the parents, GALs, Juvenile Officers, CASA personnel…etc.
The family will be involved in selecting participants to invite, however the worker should emphasize to the family the importance of having participants that can address critical issues.
The Children’s Service Worker shall ensure that accommodations are made for special needs of Family Support Team members (i.e., English as second language/sign language interpreters, accessibility for physical disability or handicap).
3.6.2 Community Partnerships
An essential component to having consistent effective family support team meetings is an established network of community partners and resources to draw from.
Community partnerships are made up of members or agencies from diverse disciplines that regularly assemble and address issues relevant to family well-being and child protection. When the community begins to see child protection as a community issue and not just a Children’s Division issue, families will be identified sooner and resources can be made available more readily, sometimes before the family comes to the attention of the Division. Staff will see greater participation from the community in the family support team process, which means more resources at the table during plan development; less duplication of services from agencies not communicating; and more concise and individualized treatment plans designed to meet the particular needs of that family.
3.6.3 Conducting a Family Support Team Meeting
The Children’s Service Worker serves as facilitator for team meetings. As facilitator, the worker should:
- Facilitate team members in allowing them to introduce themselves to the team by stating their role and responsibility with or within the family and to state why they are participating with the team.
- Clarify the purpose of the meeting.
- Present the ground rules. The meeting is informal with everyone having equal voice and opportunity to voice their views. The team should remember
- No idea is a bad idea
- Ideas should not be judged
- The team should consider needs not pathology
- The team should focus on current treatment needs rather than comprehensive life history
- The team should consider all possibilities not just traditional services known to be available and
- Ideas should be driven by goals, not limited by available resources.
- Facilitate in allowing the team members to discuss the strengths of the family and strengths of individuals within the family. Not all of the team members will be as knowledgeable about the family as the Children’s Service Worker.
- Normalize behavior. Help the team to think about what all families need in each of life’s domains, i.e., safety, behavioral/psychiatric, home/residence, education, social/recreational, spiritual, medical, legal, and financial and advocacy.
- Identify needs. The Children’s Service Worker will need to use skill in translating problems as needs for some team members.
- Prioritize needs. Begin with the most critical needs. It is important that the parent agrees with the priority of an identified need.
- Develop the plan. The Children’s Service Worker should check often with the family and other team members to assure they are invested in the plan.
3.6.4 Family Support Team Meeting Agenda
At the beginning of each Family Support Team Meeting the Children’s Division Children’s Service Worker should state: “All information provided in this meeting is confidential. Any one not agreeing to keep information disclosed confidential can be asked to leave the meeting for any portion in which he/she is not testifying.” Participants will sign a Family Support Team Meeting Confidentiality Statement, FST-1, to document that they agree to the terms of confidentiality and whether they are in agreement or disagreement with the plan.
- Have the completed Family Centered Services (FCS) comprehensive assessment, NCFAS G+R and attachments available to document service needs identified.
- Review issues precipitating the family’s involvement with the agency, specifics of child abuse/neglect allegations and what actions the agency and family members have taken up to this point.
- Determine what specific services are needed for the family to reduce risk for future child maltreatment or to prevent the need for the children coming into out-of-home care.
- Develop a Written Service Agreement CD-14B, including specific tasks for the family and treatment provider, time lines for expected completion and review dates. The team should be sensitive to the parent's schedule and responsibilities when assigning those tasks.
- Determine current treatment needs of individual family members and the family as a unit, and incorporate them into the treatment plan.
188.8.131.52 Family Support Team (FST) Meeting with Families Reaching TANF Lifetime Limit
For families reaching their sixty (60) month lifetime limit for Temporary Assistance, the format of the plan should include the goal of achieving self-sufficiency. A self-sufficiency component should be addressed in a FST at least six months prior to a family reaching their lifetime limit and in every subsequent FST, until the issue is resolved. The Children’s Service Worker will be responsible for contacting the Family Support Division (FSD) to begin the planning process for the FST.