engaging families in case planning

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Child Welfare Information Gateway Children’s Bureau/ACYF 1250 Maryland Avenue, SW Eighth Floor Washington, DC 20024 800.394.3366 Email: [email protected] http://www.childwelfare.gov Use your smartphone to access this bulletin online. STATE MANAGERS SERIES BULLETIN FOR PROFESSIONALS September 2012 Engaging Families in Case Planning What’s Inside: Basics of engaging families in case planning Caseworker strategies that support family engagement in case planning Agency strategies that support family engagement in case planning Findings in the Child and Family Services Reviews State and local examples Successfully involving family members in case planning may be the most critical component for achieving positive outcomes in child welfare practice. Research suggests that when families are engaged and supported to have a significant role in case planning, they are more motivated to actively commit to achieving the case plan. Additionally, families are more likely to recognize and agree with the identified problems to be resolved, perceive goals as relevant and attainable, and be satisfied with the planning and decision-making process (Antle, Christensen, van Zyl, & Barbee, 2012; Healy, Darlington, & Yellowlees, 2011; Dawson & Berry, 2001; Jones, McGura, & Shyne, 1981).

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This CE course provides child welfare professionals with knowledge on: engaging families in case planning; caseworker strategies that support family engagement in case planning; agency strategies that support family engagement in case planning; findings in the Child and Family Services Reviews; and state and local examples.

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  • Child Welfare Information GatewayChildrens Bureau/ACYF1250 Maryland Avenue, SWEighth FloorWashington, DC 20024800.394.3366Email: [email protected]://www.childwelfare.govUse your smartphone to

    access this bulletin online.

    STATE MANAGERS SERIES

    BULLETIN FOR PROFESSIONALS

    September 2012

    Engaging Families in Case Planning

    Whats Inside:

    Basicsofengagingfamiliesincaseplanning

    Caseworkerstrategiesthatsupportfamilyengagementincaseplanning

    Agencystrategiesthatsupportfamilyengagementincaseplanning

    FindingsintheChildandFamilyServicesReviews

    Stateandlocalexamples

    Successfullyinvolvingfamilymembersincaseplanningmaybethemostcriticalcomponentforachievingpositiveoutcomesinchildwelfarepractice.Researchsuggeststhatwhenfamiliesareengagedandsupportedtohaveasignificantroleincaseplanning,theyaremoremotivatedtoactivelycommittoachievingthecaseplan.Additionally,familiesaremorelikelytorecognizeandagreewiththeidentifiedproblemstoberesolved,perceivegoalsasrelevantandattainable,andbesatisfiedwiththeplanninganddecision-makingprocess(Antle,Christensen,vanZyl,&Barbee,2012;Healy,Darlington,&Yellowlees,2011;Dawson&Berry,2001;Jones,McGura,&Shyne,1981).

  • Engaging Families in Case Planning http://www.childwelfare.gov

    2This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/engaging_families.cfm

    ChildwelfareprofessionalsattheState,Tribal,andlocallevelsincludingadministrators,supervisors,andfrontlineworkerscanusethisinformationtoestablishpoliciesandencouragepracticesthatsupportfamilyengagementincaseplanning.

    Collaborativecaseplanningoccurswhenthecaseworkerseffortseffectivelyandcontinuouslyengagefamilymembersandothersasappropriateincaseplanningactivities,includingthefollowing:

    Gatheringandassessinginformationinordertovisualizethefamilysystem

    Matchingstrengthsandneedswithsolutionsandservices

    Identifyingbehaviorsandconditionsthatneedtochange

    Reviewing,tracking,andacknowledgingprogressregularly

    Determiningreadinessforkeycasetransitionpoints,suchasreunification

    Preparingforcaseclosure

    Marshalingsupportsforrelapseprevention,asneeded

    Basics of Engaging Families in Case Planning

    Thecaseplanisalivingdocumentthatshouldreflectongoinginputfromthefamilyandbereviewedandupdatedthroughoutthelifeofthecase.Caseworkersshouldexpecttoengagethefamilyfortheinitialdraftingoftheplanaswellasthroughouttheplanningandimplementationprocess.Familyparticipationhelpsensurebuy-infromthefamilyandalsoaddsahigherdegreeofaccountabilityforthefamily.

    Thefollowingaretipsthatcanhelpcaseworkerscoordinateacaseplanmeetinginawaythatenhancesfamilyparticipation:

    Assistfamilymemberswithpracticalissuesthatmaypreventthemfromattending,suchaschildcareandtransportation.

    Takeintoaccountfamilymembersotherobligations,suchasemployment,whenschedulingmeetings.

    Ensurethatthephysicalenvironmentforthemeetingiswelcoming(e.g.,enoughspaceforallmembers,accessibilityforindividualswithdisabilities).

    Invitepeopleidentifiedbythefamilyasbeingpartofitssupportsystem,whichmayincludeotherfamilymembersorindividualsexternaltothefamily,suchasfriends,teachers,andclergy.

    Minimizethepossibilityoffamilymembersreceivingunanticipatedinformationduringthemeeting(e.g.,communicateinformationregularlytofamilymembers).

    Helpthefamilymeetconcreteneeds(e.g.,housing,food).

    Resolveacutebehavioralorhealth-relatedissuesthatmayimpedefamilyparticipation(e.g.,providehousingassistance,ifneeded).

  • Engaging Families in Case Planning http://www.childwelfare.gov

    3This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/engaging_families.cfm

    Preparethefamilyforthemeetingbyreviewingitemssuchasexpectations,rolesandresponsibilities,andgoals.

    Ifthechildisunabletoparticipateorwillotherwisenotbepresent,incorporatehim/herthroughothermeans,suchasaphotographorartwork(Healy,Darlington,&Yellowlees,2011;Dawson&Berry,2001).

    Thefollowingareseveralexamplesofapproachescaseworkerscanusetoenhancefamilyengagementincaseplanning.

    Using Supportive BehaviorsAnumberofstudieshavesuggestedthatthefollowingcaseworkerbehaviorsmaysupportacollaborativerelationship,includingbetterengagingfamiliesincaseplanning:

    Listeningtoandaddressingissuesthatconcernthefamily

    Havinghonestdiscussionsaboutthenatureofthecaseworkersauthorityandhowitmaybeused(thisisrequiredbyCAPTA)

    Sharingopenlywithfamilymemberswhattoexpect,particularlyregardingcourtissuesandtimelines

    Balancingdiscussionsofproblemswiththeidentificationofstrengthsandresources

    Caseworker Strategies That Support Family Engagement in Case Planning

    Workingwiththefamilysdefinitionsoftheproblems(ratherthanthecaseworkersdefinition)

    Settinggoalsthataremutuallyagreeduponandmaybegeneratedprimarilybythefamilyandstatedintheirlanguage

    Focusingonimprovingfamilymembersskillsratherthanprovidinginsights

    Providingfamilymemberswithchoiceswheneverpossible

    Gettingacommitmentfromfamilymembersthattheywillengageinmutuallyidentifiedtasks

    Regularlyspendingtimewiththefamilydiscussinggoalsandprogress

    Recognizingandpraisingprogress(Dawson&Berry,2001;Trotter,2002;Dawson&Berry,2002)

    ThiswasthefirsttimesomeoneaskedmewhatIthought. Mother, responding to a satisfaction survey designed to elicit family members reactions to being involved in the child welfare system

  • Engaging Families in Case Planning http://www.childwelfare.gov

    4This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/engaging_families.cfm

    Visualizing and Describing the Family SystemDevelopingavisualizationordescriptionofthefamilysystemcanhelpcaseworkersgaininsightabouthowafamilyviewsitselfandhelpestablishthefamilyasanexpert.Inthisapproach,thecaseworkerasksthefamilytoshareinformationaboutfamilyrelationships,patternsoffamilyinteractions,andactivecommunitysupportsandstressors.Thefamilymayalsowanttoreflectonfamilyevents,someofwhichmayhavealastingsignificanceonfamilyandindividualdynamics.Thisinformationcanhelpthefamilyandcaseworkerdevelopamorethoroughcaseplan.Thefollowingarethreeexamplesofthisapproach:

    Genograms,whichoutlinefamilyrelationships,multigenerationalpatterns,andtherolesplayedbyindividualfamilymembers

    Ecomaps,whichdescribethefamilysperspectiveofitselfinrelationshiptothewidercommunityandcanhelpthecaseworkerandfamilyexploreimportantspiritualandculturalconnections

    Familytimelines,whichhighlightlifeeventsthatarenoteworthytofamilymembers

    Foradditionaldetailsaboutcreatingandusingthesetools,theMissouriDepartmentofSocialServicesChild Welfare Manual (2011)offersbriefdescriptions:http://www.dss.mo.gov/cd/info/cwmanual/section7/ch1_33/sec7ch25.htm

    Instituting Family Teaming ModelsFamilyteamingmodelsmayincludeavarietyoffamilygroupconferencing,decision-making,andteamingapproaches.Althoughthespecifictenetsofeachapproachvary,thebasisofeachisabeliefthatfamiliesshouldbeinvolvedinastrengths-based,solution-focusedteamthatvaluesthefamiliesvoiceandfocusesonthechildssafety,permanency,andwell-being(Annie.E.CaseyFoundation&CaseyFamilyServices,2009).Theseapproachesbringtogetherateamoffamilymembers,fictivekin,andotherindividualswhoaresignificanttothefamilyinordertodiscusstheissues,consideralternativesolutions,makedecisions,anddevelopaplan.Usingfamilyteamingapproachescanstrengthenfamilyrelationships,preventunnecessaryplacementandplacementdisruption,andhelpcaseworkersidentifyandnurtureasystemoffamilysupports(Crea&Berzin,2009;AmericanHumane,n.d.).

    Formoreinformationaboutfamilyteamingmodels,visittheChildWelfareInformationGatewaywebsite:http://www.childwelfare.gov/famcentered/overview/approaches/family_group.cfm

    Thefamilygroupconferencingprocessprovidesavenueofeffectivecommunication,inaneutralplace,whereprivatefamilytimeisrespected.Ifeltthisprocesshelpedtobringourfamilytogether. Family member commenting on the experience of participating in a family group conference organized around a child welfare case

  • Engaging Families in Case Planning http://www.childwelfare.gov

    5This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/engaging_families.cfm

    Incorporating Family FindingFamilyfindingincludesidentifyingandsearchingforfamilymembersandotherimportantpeopleinthelivesofchildreninfostercareandthenengagingtheminthecasedecision-makingprocess,includingthedevelopmentandfulfillmentofcaseplans.Familyfindingcanincreasethenumberofindividualswhomaybeabletoprovidelegalandemotionalpermanencyforthechild,areawareofthecaseplan,andcanassistthechildandfamilyinachievingcasegoals.Familyfindinginitiallywasviewedasatooltoenhancepermanencyforyouthagingoutoffostercare,butmanyagenciesarenowusingitforallchildrenincare(Malm&Allen,2011).

    Formoreinformationaboutfamilyfinding,visittheNationalResourceCenterforPermanencyandFamilyConnectionswebsectiononFamilySearchandEngagement:http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/info_services/family-search.html

    Employing the Solution-Based Casework ApproachSolution-BasedCasework(SBC)isachildwelfarepracticemodelbuiltonthreetheoreticalfoundations:familylifecycletheory,relapseprevention/cognitivebehavioraltherapytheory,andsolution-focusedfamilytherapy(Antleetal.,2012).ThetheoreticalfoundationsofSBCestablishaframeworkofcasepracticewithfamiliesbasedonfullpartnershipwitheveryfamilyasanessentialgoal,partnershipsforprotectionthatfocusonthepatternsofeverydaylifeofthefamily,andsolutionsthattargetpreventionskillsneededtoreducetheriskintypicallifeevents.

    Fundamentally,SBCisamodelofempowermentthatdrivescaseplanningandfocuseson:

    Capitalizingonfamilystrengths

    Findingexceptionstoproblemsbysearchingwiththefamilyforwaysinwhichtheyhavesuccessfullysolvedproblemspreviously

    Writinggoalsandobjectivesusingthefamiliesownlanguage,acknowledgingtheirculture,andsupportingtheirownership

    Creatingconcrete,behaviorallyspecificgoalsandobjectivestailoredtotheindividualandfamilyneeds

    Trackingprogresswiththefamilyandcelebratingsuccessesalongtheway

    SBCencouragesworkerstowalkalongsidethefamiliestomakesuretheyhavethesupportiveteamtheyneedtonavigatethesystemsuccessfully(B.F.Antle,personalcommunication,June7,2012).ResearchonSBChasshownthatthispartnershipbetweenthecaseworkerandfamilygeneratesbetterfamilyoutcomes.Specifically,inregardtocaseplanningactivities(i.e.,referralstoservices,participatingincaseplandevelopment),severalstudiesconductedtoevaluatetheeffectivenessofSBChaveshownthefollowingresults(Antle,Barbee,Christensen,&Martin,2008):

    MostfamiliesinvolvedwithSBCfollowedthroughwithreferralstoservices.

    Asubstantialproportionoffamilieswhoco-createdtheircaseplanwithinanSBCframeworkalsosignedtheircaseplananimportantindicatoroftheirinvolvement.

  • Engaging Families in Case Planning http://www.childwelfare.gov

    6This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/engaging_families.cfm

    FamiliesassignedtasksthroughanSBCcaseplanprocessweremorelikelytocompletethosetasks,comparedtofamiliesnotinvolvedinSBCcaseplans.

    FamiliesinanSBCgroupachievedsignificantlymoregoals/objectivesfromthecaseplancomparedtothoseinanon-SBCgroup.

    FamilieswithahistoryofinvolvementwithCPSachievedevenmoregoalsfromtheircaseplanwhenSBCwasusedthanthosewithoutsuchhistoriesandthoseforwhomSBCwasnotused.

    FamiliesexperiencedsignificantlyfewerrecidivismreferralreportsforrepeatmaltreatmentwhenSBCwasusedincaseplanning.

    ResearchsuggeststhatSBCisassociatedwithsignificantlygreaterfamilyengagementincaseplanningactivities,whichmayleadtobettersafety,permanency,andwell-beingoutcomesforchildrenandfamilies(Antleetal.,2008).

    FormoreinformationonSBC,visithttp://www.solutionbasedcasework.com,orcontactBeckyAntle:[email protected]

    Integrating Structured Decision-Making and Signs of SafetyStructureddecision-making(SDM)offerscaseworkersanapproachthatreliesontheuseofobjective,research-basedcriteriatoassessafamilyssituation(e.g.,riskofharmtothechild),screenthecaseforinvestigation,andmakecasedecisions.Thesefactorsareincorporatedintothecaseplan.AlthoughSDMprovidesasystematicandanalyticmethodofassessingfamilysituations,itisnotintendedtobeaninterviewtoolwithfamilies.

    SignsofSafety(SoS)isastrengths-based,solution-focusedapproachthatpromotesbuildingrelationshipswithfamiliesandusingasafetymappingprocesstoassessnextsteps.Safetymapping,inbrief,focusesoncaseworkersandfamiliesdeterminingtheanswerstothreequestions:

    Whataretheworries(e.g.,previousabuse)?

    Whatsworkingwell(e.g.,familyprotectivefactors)?

    Whatneedstohappen(e.g.,safetyplanning)?(Turnell,2010)

    BothSDMandSoSareapproachesthatcanbeusedaloneorcombined.Bycombiningthesetwomodels,caseworkerscanaddthedefinedassessmentcriteriaofSDMtothesafetymappingapproachofSoSandusethefamilyengagementandinquirytechniquesofSoStogatherinformationneededforacomprehensiveSDMassessment,allofwhichcaninformthecaseplan(Park,2010).Recently,StateshavealsobeguntointegrateSDMandSBC,furtherstrengtheningthepracticeofengagingfamiliesthroughouttheentirelifeofacase.

    ForadditionalinformationaboutSDM,visit:

    TheChildrensResearchCenterathttp://www.nccd-crc.org/crc/crc/c_sdm_about.html

    ChildWelfareInformationGatewayathttp://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/assessment/approaches/decision.cfm

    FormoreinformationaboutSignsofSafety,visit:http://www.signsofsafety.net

  • Engaging Families in Case Planning http://www.childwelfare.gov

    7This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/engaging_families.cfm

    Childwelfareadministratorsandsupervisorscanusepoliciesandpracticesalreadyshowntoimprovegeneralcaseworkpracticetosupportfamilyengagementincaseplanningwithintheiragencies,including:

    Usingfamily-centeredlanguageinpoliciesandotheragencydocuments

    Creatingafamily-friendlyenvironmentinagencyoffices

    Reducingcaseloadsinordertogivecaseworkersmoretimetoengagefamilies

    Providingsupervision,coaching,andtrainingthatencouragefamilyengagement

    Includingfamily-friendlypracticeinpositiondescriptions

    Engagingfamiliesindecision-makingprocessesandindesigningpoliciesandpractices

    Assessingwhetherchildwelfareinformationsystemssupportafamily-centeredapproach

    Includingfamilyengagementmeasuresinagencyevaluationandperformancemeasurement

    Ensuringthatcaseworkershavethenecessaryresearchtoolsandotherresourcestoaidinfindingandengagingfamilymembers

    Agency Strategies That Support Family Engagement in Case Planning

    Findings in the Child and Family Services Reviews

    TheresultsoftheChildandFamilyServicesReviews(CFSRs),whichareFederalmonitoringevaluationsofeachStateschildwelfareservices,showthatStatesarehavingdifficultyinvolvingparentsandchildrenincaseplanning.ThisisassessedspecificallyintheCFSRItem18.InbothroundsoftheCFSRs,allStatesreceivedaratingofAreaNeedingImprovementonthisitem.AcrosstheStates,CFSRcasereviewersfoundthatallparentsandchildrenwereinvolvedincaseplanningin21to75percentofcases,withanaverageof50percent.Theinvolvementoffathersincaseplanning,however,wasconsistentlylowerthantheinvolvementofmothersandchildren.Additionally,familiesweremoreoftenincludedincaseplanningincaseswherethechildwasinfostercareratherthanreceivingin-homeservices(U.S.DepartmentofHealthandHumanServices,2011;U.S.DepartmentofHealthandHumanServices,n.d.).

    ChallengesAreviewofStatewideAssessmentspreparedforthesecondroundoftheCFSRsfoundthatStatesidentifiedthefollowingchallengestoengagingfamiliesincaseplanning:

    Stafflackingtheskillsneededforfamilyengagementincaseplanning(42States)

    Staffattitudesandbehaviors(25States)

    Organizationalissues(e.g.,highworkloads)(21States)

  • Engaging Families in Case Planning http://www.childwelfare.gov

    8This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/engaging_families.cfm

    Parentattitudes,behaviors,orconditionsthatimpedeactiveinvolvementincaseplanning(17States)

    Difficultiescreatedbycourt-relatedrequirements(14States)

    Systemissuesanddocumentationrequirementsprecludingtheproductionofawrittencaseplaninafamily-friendlyformat(17States)

    Strategies to Enhance Family InvolvementTheCFSRFinalReportsindicatethatmostStates(includingtheDistrictofColumbiaandPuertoRico)havepoliciesregardingfamilyengagementincaseplanning,with28Stateshavingpoliciesrequiringfamilyengagementandanadditional12havingpoliciesthatsuggestorencourageit.Additionally,46ofthe51States(includingtheDistrictofColumbia)addressedfamilyengagementincaseplanningintheirProgramImprovementPlans(PIPs),whichwerecreatedtoaddressanydeficienciesnotedinaStatesCFSR.SomeStatesPIPsincludedveryspecificplansforimprovementinfamilyengagement,whileotherstangentiallymentionedit.ThefollowingarestrategieslistedintheCFSRFinalReportsasfacilitatingfamilyengagementincaseplanning:

    Familygroupdecision-making(29States)

    Diligentsearches(9States)

    Videoorteleconferencestoallowtheparticipationoffamilymemberswhootherwisecouldnotattendduetotravelissuesorincarceration(6States)

    Trainingforcaseworkers(3States)

    Mediation(3States)

    ThestrategiesmostfrequentlymentionedinthePIPstoaddressdeficienciesinfamilyengagementincaseplanningwereenhancedfamilygroupdecision-makingmeetings(9States)andtraining(6States).Examplesofotherstrategiesincludeequippingcaseworkerswithsmartphonesandlaptopsthatwouldenablethemtocompleteassessmentsandcaseplanswithclientsoutsideoftheagency(Vermont),developinganddisseminatingachecklisttocaseworkersaboutengagingfamiliesincaseplanning(NorthDakota),andaddingormodifyingquestionsinitscasereviewinstrumenttomonitorcompliance(Kansas).

    Thefollowingarethreeexamplesofhowjurisdictionsareimplementingstrategiestoengagefamiliesincaseplanning.

    Texas Department of Family and Protective Services: Family Group Decision-MakingTheElPasoRegionalOfficeoftheTexasDepartmentofFamilyandProtectiveServices(DFPS)usesfamilygroupdecision-making(FGDM)asawayofinvolvingparentsandchildrenincaseplanninganddecision-making.TexasDFPSimplementedfamilygroupdecision-makingthroughouttheStateinresponsetoissuesraisedinits2002CFSR.

    State and Local Examples

  • Engaging Families in Case Planning http://www.childwelfare.gov

    9This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/engaging_families.cfm

    ElPasoDFPShasateamofcoordinatorsthatplanandfacilitatethemeetings.ThepurposeoftheFGDMmeetingsistoreachconsensusonhowtheywillsafelypreventremovaloronthebestplacementresourcethatwillprotectthechild.Afterconsensusisachieved,theparticipantsdeterminethenextstepsforthecase,witheachfamilymembercommentingonthetasks(e.g.,whethertheyareachievable).Theresultingcaseplanthenisputintowritingandsignedbytheparticipants.

    ElPasosdiversepopulationposessomechallengesforimplementingFGDM.ElPasoisabordercommunitywithalargeMexicanpopulation,anditcanbedifficulttolocateandengagefamilymembersandsupportindividualswhomayresideinMexicoorareundocumented.HavingstafffromdiversebackgroundsandwhoarebilingualhelpswiththeFGDMprocess,includingbeingabletoconductthemeetingandwritethecaseplaninthefamilyspreferredlanguage.Additionally,FederalpartnerssometimesareabletohelpparentsinMexicoobtainadaypasssotheycanattendcourtinElPaso.

    ElPasoalsoishometoalargemilitarybase.Bringingfamilymembersandothersupportindividualstogetherformilitaryfamiliesoftenisachallengebecausetheparentsandchildmayhavenofamilyintheareaandmayhavenotdevelopedstrongsupportivetiesinthecommunity.

    ElPasoDFPSstaffhavefoundthefollowingstaffbehaviorsandattitudestobeessentialtotheFGDMandfamilyengagementprocess:

    Beingculturallycompetentandrespectfulofthefamily

    Beingauthenticabouttheprocess

    KeepinginmindthattheFGDMisthefamilysmeeting,notthedepartments

    HavingtheDFPSinvestigatorandcaseworkerattendtheFGDMtogether,whichhelpscreateaseamlesstransitionfrominvestigationtoservices

    Fairfax County (VA) Department of Family Services: Family Partnership ProgramTheFairfaxCountyDepartmentofFamilyServices(DFS)implementedtheFamilyPartnershipProgram(http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dfs/childrenyouth/family-partnership.htm)toensurefamiliesandchildrensviewsareconsideredwhenmakingplacementdecisionsanddevelopingcaseplans.FamilyPartnershipmeetingsuseafacilitatedteamapproachandareledbyoneofseventrainedfacilitators,whootherwisearenotassociatedwiththecaseanddonotcarryacaseload.FamilyPartnershipmeetingscanbeconvenedquickly(within24hours,ifnecessary)andarearrangedinresponsetoanyofthefollowingfivedesignatedevents:anemergencyremovalorder,thehighriskofoutofhomeplacement,beforeagoalchange,beforeaplacementchange,orattherequestoffamilyorstaff.DFSstrivestoreducebarrierstofamilyparticipationandprovidestransportation,childcare,andphoneconferencelines,asneeded.Additionally,DFSstaffareabletotravelforameeting.Inonecase,DFSarrangedforanout-of-Statemeetingthatresultedinachievingpermanenceforalargesiblinggroupwiththeirpaternalrelatives.

    Duringthemeeting,whichincludestheparents,children,extendedfamilymembers,serviceproviders,andotherindividualssignificanttothefamily,thefacilitatorhelps

  • Engaging Families in Case Planning http://www.childwelfare.gov

    10This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/engaging_families.cfm

    thegroupunderstandwhythemeetingistakingplaceandleadsthemindevelopingacollaborativesolutionthatwillprovidesafetyforthechild.Theplandevelopedatthemeetingisthenincorporatedintotheoverallcaseplanandutilizedinapplicablecourtproceedings.Additionally,thegroupsometimesschedulesafollow-upmeetingtoensuretheplanisproceedingasdiscussed.

    BenefitsoftheFamilyPartnershipProgramincludethediscoveryofadditionalfamilysupportsandtheincreasedengagementoffathersandpaternalrelativesincaseplandevelopment.

    New York Agency Uses SBC to Achieve Family-Driven Case PlanningInlate2010,GrahamWindham,aprivateNewYorkCityagencyofferinganarrayofservicesfrompreventiontopostadoption,conductedanationalsearchforanewapproachtopractice.TheagencywaslookingforamodelthatwouldprovidetheirdirectpractitionerswithapracticeframeworkconsistentwithGrahamWindhamscommitmenttopartneringwithfamiliesinawaythatstrengthensfamiliesabilitytocaresafelyfortheirchildren.

    TheagencybeganimplementingSBCinearly2011,providingintensivetrainingandcoachingtosupervisorsandcaseworkers.Caseworkersbegantouseconcreteandspecificplansofaction,whichwereco-developedwithfamilies.Caseplanstargetedneededskillsincriticalriskareasthatcouldbedemonstratedanddocumented.Familyaccomplishmentswerecelebratedregularlyandinwaysmeaningfultofamilies.Additionally,toolssuchasgenogramsintegratedintothecaseplanningprocesshelpedpromptstafftohavemoremeaningful,

    empathicconversationswithfamilies,whilesupportingearlieridentificationofkinaspotentialsupportstothefamily.

    GrahamWindhamsupervisorshavefoundthatleadingSBCrequiresintensivestudy,alongwithconsistentsupervisionandcoachingtoensurestafffollowprotocolsandsafeguardmodelfidelity.Thishasledtoanewfocusonassessingtheissuesthatprecededthemaltreatmentandtotrackingbehaviorinsteadofservicecompliance.ThesechangesareechoedinremarksfromasupervisorintheBronxofficewhosaid,SBChasalsoallowedmetobemorecompassionate.InthepastthepaperworksaysthefamilydidX,YandZandsotheyneedtodoA,B,andCservices.Butnow,wehearthebuildupofcircumstancesandemotionsthatprecededthemaltreatment.

    Workersandsupervisorsalsoperceivefamiliesastakingmoreownershipincaseplanning.Asoneworkercommented,Itsempowering.Theyreexcitedtocometotheagency.Theyrenotcominginscreamingandyellingandwerenotgettingintothatoldtypeofrelationshipandwecelebratewecelebratewithkidsandfamilieswhentheymakeprogressintheiractionplans,butstaffarecelebratingthentoo.Theyrejustasexcitedasthefamiliesare.

    AgencysupervisorsarenowworkingtowardSBCcertification,andthisgoalhasresultedinbroadorganizationalchange.WhenaskedhowSBChasaffectedpracticewithfamilies,GrahamWindhamPresidentJessDannhauserstated,Itchangestheentireframeworkofourinteractionwithfamiliesbyfocusingtheintentionofourworkandprovidingtoolstodeliveronthatintention(personalcommunication,June7,2012).

  • Engaging Families in Case Planning http://www.childwelfare.gov

    11This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/engaging_families.cfm

    Formoreinformation,[email protected].orgorvisitthewebsiteathttp://www.graham-windham.org/contact-us/

    Therearemyriadwaysinwhichcaseworkersandagenciescanimprovethemannerinwhichtheyengagefamiliesincaseplanning,rangingfromlarge-scalepolicychangestosimplechangesinday-to-daypracticeandattitudes.Whenfamiliesareprovidedwiththeopportunitytoparticipateincaseplanning,theyaremorelikelytobuyintotheplanandworktowarditsrequirements.Thiseasesandenhancestheeffortsofcaseworkers,andmostimportantly,helpsimproveoutcomesforchildrenandfamilies.Byreviewingtheconceptspresentedinthisissuebrief,childwelfareprofessionalscanassesshowwelltheirownagenciesengagefamiliesincaseplanningandinitiatechangestoimprovetheirworkinthisarea.

    Conclusion

    Child Welfare Information GatewayTheFamily-CenteredPracticesectionoftheInformationGatewaywebsiteprovidesresourcesonfamily-centeredpracticeapproaches,includingengagingfamiliesincaseplanning.http://www.childwelfare.gov/famcentered/

    National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) TheNRCPFCdevelopedaweb-basedtoolkitonfamilyengagementthatprovidespromisingpractices,programs,andresourcesforprograms,States,andtribes.http://www.nrcpfc.org/fewpt/introduction.htm

    California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) CalSWECsFamilyEngagementinCasePlanningandCaseManagementcurriculumisdesignedtohelpcaseworkersbetterunderstandthedynamicsofengagingfamiliesincaseplanning.http://calswec.berkeley.edu/family-engagement-case-planning-and-casemanagement-version-21

    Additional Resources

  • Engaging Families in Case Planning http://www.childwelfare.gov

    12This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/engaging_families.cfm

    AmericanHumane.(n.d.).Quick reference guide: Various approaches and models to engage the family group in child welfare decision making.RetrievedAugust25,2011,fromhttp://www.americanhumane.org/assets/pdfs/children/fgdm/quick-reference.pdf

    AnnieE.CaseyFoundation,&CaseyFamilyServices.(n.d.).Family teaming: Comparing approaches.RetrievedFebruary6,2012,fromhttp://www.caseyfamilyservices.org/userfiles/pdf/teaming-comparing-approaches-2009.pdf

    Antle,B.F.,Barbee,A.P.,Christensen,D.,&Martin,M.H.(2008).Solution-basedcasework:Preliminaryevaluationresearch.Journal of Public Child Welfare, 2(2),197227.

    Antle,B.F.,Christensen,D.N.,vanZyl,M.A.,&Barbee,A.(2012).TheimpactofSolutionBasedCasework(SBC)practicemodelonfederaloutcomesinpublicchildwelfare.Child Abuse & Neglect, 36(4),342353.doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2011.10.009

    Crea,T.,&Berzin,S.(2009).Familyinvolvementinchildwelfaredecision-making:Strategiesandresearchoninclusivepractices.Journal of Public Child Welfare, 3,305327.

    Dawson,K.,&Berry,M.(2001).Evidence-based best practices in the engagement of families.Topeka,KS:StateofKansasCommissionofSocialandRehabilitationServices.

    Dawson,K.,&Berry,M.(2002).Engagingfamiliesinchildwelfareservices:Anevidence-basedapproachtobestpractice.Child Welfare, 81,293317.

    Healy,K.,Darlington,Y.,&Yellowlees,J.(2011).Familyparticipationinchildprotectionpractice:Anobservationalstudyoffamilygroupmeetings.Child and Family Social Work, 17(1),112.

    Jones,M.A.,McGura,S.,&Shyne,A.(1981).Effectivepracticewithfamiliesinprotectiveandpreventiveservices:Whatworks?Child Welfare, 60(2),6780.

    Malm,K.,&Allen,T.(2011).Family finding: Does implementation differ when serving different child welfare populations?RetrievedFebruary6,2012,fromhttp://www.childtrends.org/Files/Child_Trends-2011_10_17_RB_FamilyFinding.pdf

    MissouriDepartmentofSocialServices.(2011).Childwelfaremanual,section7,chapter25.Retrievedfromhttp://www.dss.mo.gov/cd/info/cwmanual/section7/ch1_33/sec7ch25.htm

    References

  • Engaging Families in Case Planning http://www.childwelfare.gov

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families

    Administration on Children, Youth and Families Childrens Bureau

    Park, K. (2010, April). Assessing child safety through an integrated practice model: The Structured Decision Making System and Signs of Safety. SDM News. Retrieved February 6, 2012, from http://www.nccd-crc.org/crc/crc/pubs/sdm_news_apr10.pdf

    Trotter, C. (2002). Worker skill and client outcome in child protection. Child Abuse Review, 11, 3850.

    Turnell, A. (2010). The Signs of Safety: A comprehensive briefing paper. Retrieved February 6, 2012, from http://signsofsafety-stuff.s3.amazonaws.com/Signs%20of%20Safety%20Briefing%20Paper%20v1-03.pdf

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Childrens Bureau. (2011). Federal Child and Family Services Reviews: Aggregate report: Round 2: Fiscal years 20072010. Retrieved from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/cwmonitoring/results/fcfsr_report.pdf

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Childrens Bureau. (n.d.). General findings from the federal Child and Family Services Reviews. Retrieved from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/cwmonitoring/results/genfindings04/genfindings04.pdf

    Suggested Citation: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2012). Engaging families in case planning. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Childrens Bureau.

    IntroductionBasics of Engaging Families in Case PlanningCaseworker Strategies That Support Family Engagement in Case PlanningAgency Strategies That Support Family Engagement in Case PlanningFindings in the Child and Family Services Reviews State and Local ExamplesConclusion