WELCOME TO FAMILY TEAM DECISION MAKING MEETINGS. THE PURPOSE OF THIS TRAINING IS. Explain how Family Team Decision-making Meetings (FTDMs) are part of a larger initiative to improve child welfare. To describe FTDMs and explain how professionals & community members can help at FTDMs.
Explain clarity of roles
Importance of confidentiality
Overview and Principals:
Scheduled when SW assesses child(ren) at high risk for abuse/neglect, or within one working day after emergency removal/placement of child/youth. FTDM team determines whether agency should file for custody and facilitate placement; or child/youth can return safely home with services; or voluntary placement by parents with provision of services and safety plan, etc.
Requested before child(ren) moved from one placement to another. Meeting scheduled when potential disruption of placement is perceived, safety issues exist or move from current placement is believed necessary to benefit child/youth.
Scheduled as soon as risk level reduced and parental progress in ability to protect and provide safety for child/youth is recognized. Team determines if child(ren) can safely return to own family, and is held before overnight visits begin.
Have team members state who they are and their relation to the family.
Social worker will explain the situation that brings the team to the meeting
Talk about the families strengths and concerns.
Brainstorming ideas that may elevate the families risk or safety concerns and possible placement options for the children.
Determine the placement decision for the children and develop the action plan.
Go over the decision and action plan with the team and see if any members have any questions the adjourn the meeting.
Each participant is present either because they were invited or their participation was agreed to by the birth parent(s), or because they are involved with the agency team serving the family.
Recognized as the expert on their family’s needs and strengths. Presence and involvement integral to meeting, however with exception of FTDM for reunification, absence or non-participation would not be cause to cancel or postpone the scheduled FTDM meeting.
Children/youth age twelve and over or as developmentally appropriate should be invited and supported to participate and attend the meeting. Children younger than age twelve should be considered for participation on a case-by-case basis.
Extended family and non-relative supports
Invited by parents and/or Children’s Administration as support/ to assist/ be resource to the child and/or parent. Also participate in developing ideas and reaching a placement decision during the FTDM.WHO PARTICIPATES AND ROLE
Convener of meeting; content expert; with facilitator, leads discussion. Responsible for making decision if absence of consensus
Court-appointed representative responsible for representing child’s best interest. Attorney GAL always included.
Attorneys may be invited by the parent; however, these meetings are not litigious and attorneys do not have to be present.
Key team member; assists in providing information regarding child(ren)’s adjustment, progress, needs; and in developing ideas and reaching placement decision.
Trained process expert who works with social worker to lead group through solution focused process. A full team member who is responsible for high quality decisions. The FTDM facilitator is expected to seek review of the social worker’s decision in situations where consensus is not reached, if he/she is unable to support the decision due to belief that it puts child at risk of serious harm or violates law or policy. Provides action plan to meeting participants.
There are different types of people who represent the community at meetings.
2. Service providers, either formal or informal, who serve the family either presently or potentially (in the second case, family permission is required at an initial meeting.) They can be invited by anyone, and can be community-based or agency-based.
3. Specific “Community Representatives” who are defined by their identity as a member of the family’s ‘community,’ whether based on neighborhood, ethnicity, religion, or other connection. They are invited by agency, based on existing partnership, to provide support, resource expertise, external perspective to decision making. Their presence in meeting must be agreed to by parents.
The goal is a consensus decision by the team regarding placement that protects child(ren), preserves or reunifies family, and/or prevents placement disruption, however, consensus does not have to be unanimous. Consensus allows individual’s ideas and suggestions to be heard and considered during the FTDM, however Children’s Administration, by law, is ultimately responsible to make the decision that protects and provides safety for the child(ren). The social worker and/or the supervisor will make the placement decision in absence of consensus.
The confidentiality of information shared at the FTDM meeting is not guaranteed. Privacy and respect are emphasized, but parents are informed that information from the meeting may be used for case planning, in subsequent court proceedings if necessary, and in the investigation of a new allegation of abuse or neglect should such information arise.
The direction of the FTDM should look at the strengths of the family to assess if the families strengths can be used to alleviate the safety and risk issues the family may have.
It is very important for the team to address all the safety issues. Do not minimize or omit any significant issues even if it is uncomfortable to do so.
It is often good to debrief after the end of the meeting to make sure the team has full understanding of the meeting outcome.
Certain circumstances may necessitate that an individual be excluded from participation in the FTDM. Those circumstances include:
If exclusion of a participant is necessary, it is done through consultation with the FTDM Facilitator.