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Goal Setting with Families. Erin Callihan, LSW, HSV Infant/Toddler Specialist, PA Key. Welcome!. Who are we? Home Visitors (nurses, family workers, parent educators, etc.) Supervisors Parents Who am I?. Objectives.

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goal setting with families

Goal Setting with Families

Erin Callihan, LSW, HSV

Infant/Toddler Specialist, PA Key

  • Who are we?
    • Home Visitors (nurses, family workers, parent educators, etc.)
    • Supervisors
    • Parents
    • Who am I?

Discuss how to partner with families and strategies to identify motivation for change.

Identify barriers to goal setting/achievement.

Discuss the characteristics of effective goals and how these align with the approach we use with families.

where do i start
Where do I start?

What is it that we want from families?

What does my program expect from families related to goal setting?

Do I use a goal setting tool that meets the needs of my clients?

how do i define goals
How do I define goals?

Think about your own definition of goals.

How does this definition align with your program’s view of goal setting?


The aim of goal setting is to have parents:

    • identify the need for change
    • increase their belief in their ability to change
    • develop concrete plans to change

The first step is to partner with families…

ways to encourage partnership talk
Ways to encourage partnership talk:

Have a conversation with the family, not an interview.

Adopt an attitude of “not knowing” and “wanting to understand” the family situation.

Listen to and encourage different points of view with respect and without judgment.

Focus the conversation on strengths and successes.

Ask open ended questions.

Share power.

basic concepts of motivational interviewing
Basic Concepts of Motivational Interviewing
  • What is it?
    • “a collaborative, person-centered form of guiding to elicit and strengthen motivation for change.”
    • Focuses on exploring and resolving ambivalence and centers on the motivational processes within the individual.
    • Does not impose change, but rather supports change that is congruent with the person’s values and concerns.
it s mi when
It’s MI when….

The communication style and spirit involve person-centered, empathic listening (Engage), AND

There is a particular identified target for change that is the topic of conversation (Guide), AND

The interviewer is evoking the person’s own motivation for change (Evoke).

the mi approach
The MI Approach

Based on 3 key elements:

Collaboration (vs. confrontation)

Evocation (drawing out vs. imposing ideas)

Autonomy (vs. authority)

barriers to goal setting in home visitation programs
Barriers to Goal Setting in Home Visitation Programs

Lack of direction/motivation

Negative feedback

Fear of failure

Don’t know how to set goals/cognitive limitations

Mental illness/substance abuse

Medical issues

Other external barriers such as lack of financial resources, no transportation, no child care, etc.

smart goals






thank you
Thank You!

For your participation, sharing of ideas, and for the hard work you do everyday!

Erin Callihan