Family Services Division THE FAMILY CENTERED PRACTICE MODEL
Our Core Practice Principles • Safety • Permanency • Well being • Law abidance • Support and development
The Laws that Guide Us Fostering Connections Act & Safe Family Act 2008 - Differential Response 2009 - Family Centered Practice Model - new Juvenile Proceedings Act 2011 - Educational Best Interest Determination
Family Finding Family Services is REQUIRED to search for relatives: • Absent fathers/mothers • Maternal and Paternal family members • All possible permanent connections Assessment of suitability of non-custodial parent or relatives must be presented to the court at the time of the temporary care hearing.
How Can You Be Involved? • You know the families in need. • You know the families that would be in a position to support others. • You know your community. • You know the child’s natural support network.
Uninterrupted Scholars Act • FERPA amendment that allows child welfare agencies access to the records of students in foster care. • With parental permission DCF may access these records prior to the student coming into custody.
Custody Options • At the Temporary Care Hearing the judge may issue a Conditional Custody Order(CCO). Children are not in custody of the state when the order is a CCO. • When a child comes into custody, they must be placed in a licensed kinship, fictive kin or foster home.
Family Safety Planning Meetings • Structured framework, facilitated by a community partner, that supports a family with identifying and understanding risks and strengths of their family. • Identification of next steps for the family and case planning.
Family Group Conferencing • Community partner prepares family members to meet as a group and discuss how to support their relative child(ren) and family in need. • Family Services provides the bottom line for safety at the beginning of the meeting. • Family Services supports the family’s plan given that it addresses the safety needs of the child.
Shared Parenting Meeting A facilitated meeting with child’s parents and kin/foster caregiver. • Happens within 3-5 days of a child entering custody. • Is a place to discuss only the issues revolving around Family Time logistics. • Is a place to establish goals to be worked on during Family Time.
Family Time Frequent, supported Family Time is essential in order for children to maintain vital attachments with their family. • Most effective if taking place in a natural environment. i.e. parents home, community setting • Pre and post meetings to discuss the goals of the parent’s time with the children. • Strengths of the parents and challenges they experienced during the meeting are discussed.
Motivational Interviewing • A method of interviewing that supports family members with acknowledging and identifying struggles they have with parenting. • A method that helps family members identify how they might be motivated to make a change in their lives.
DCF Practice Day to day DCF practice must be: • Child focused, family centered, and tailored to meet the specific needs of children and families; • Collaborative, community-based, culturally responsive, and outcome oriented; • Focused on enhancing parents’ capacity to care for their children and developing and sustaining lifelong connections.
Learning Culture • Children and families deserve trained and skilled DCF staff to engage and assist them. • Family Services is committed to a supportive learning environment for all staff.
School Stability Memorandum of Understanding between DCF and AOE: • A waiver to the law requiring that a child be educated in the town that they reside. • Allows for children to remain stable in their home school even when other factors prevent them from residing in the same town.
Education Research Shows: In most cases it is in a child’s best interest to remain in their home school.
Educational Best Interest Determination • A document that guides a child’s team with assessing what is in the educational best interest of the child. • Used when making a request of school stability.
Strategies for You to Help Youth Succeed in School • Promote their educational stability by: • Assist in recruiting local foster families. • Spread a positive word about foster care. • Using the law to advocate for student to remain in a consistent school setting. • Empower and communicate with caregivers • Collaborate and Communicate: • Records and plans need to be accurate • Team with other advocates and service providers • Listen to what youth wants and believes they need. • VT-FUTRES is facilitating a youth voice survey. Foster parents and school mental health providers maintain regular contact with the student’s teachers. • Encourage foster parents to advocate for student educational and social/emotional/behavioral needs. • Ensure that relevant educational laws and resources are shared. • Provide each student in foster care with an educational advocate who can continually work with the student, despite changes in placement, and effectively advocate for the student’s educational needs.
Strategies for You to Help Youth Succeed in School, cont. • Develop an understanding of trauma: • Understand the impact of trauma on youth and their education. • Be aware of possible triggers. • Recognize that trauma reactions may impact student’s responses and attitude. • Help youth recognize their strengths • Build on their positive attributes • Encourage them (gently) beyond their comfort-zone. • Model and coach self-advocacy techniques. • Assist youth to identify adults they can count on for the long term. Foster parents and school mental health providers maintain regular contact with the student’s teachers. • Encourage foster parents to advocate for student educational and social/emotional/behavioral needs. • Ensure that relevant educational laws and resources are shared. • Provide each student in foster care with an educational advocate who can continually work with the student, despite changes in placement, and effectively advocate for the student’s educational needs.
Family Services Dept. Contacts District Director Contact Info: On-going unit supervisor Contact Info: Intake and Assessment supervisor Contact Info: Resource Coordinator Contact Info: