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Concurrent Planning: Innovative Family-Centered Strategies for Timely Decision-Making. CONCURRENT PLANNING: Innovative Family-Centered Strategies for Timely Decision-Making City of Milwaukee Bureau of Child Welfare. National Resource Center for Foster Care and Permanency Planning at the

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Concurrent Planning:

Innovative Family-Centered Strategies for Timely Decision-Making

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CONCURRENT PLANNING: Innovative Family-Centered Strategies for Timely Decision-MakingCity of Milwaukee Bureau of Child Welfare

National Resource Center for Foster Care and Permanency Planning

at the

Hunter College School of Social Work

training goals
Training Goals
  • Enhance understanding of concurrent planning concepts and practices as a framework for child welfare practice
  • Expand knowledge and skills of engaging vulnerable families – respect, empathy, genuineness and full disclosure
  • Increase differential assessment skills and the ability to think critically about case potential and progress
training goals4
Training Goals
  • Enhance professionalism and professional competence in helping families engage in the process of change
  • Enhance understanding of benefits and stages of family meetings to address safety, permanency and well-being
concurrent planning training themes
Concurrent Planning Training Themes
  • Child Welfare mission is to achieve safety, permanency and developmental well-being of children and families
  • No child should grow up in foster care
  • The social worker’s role is to engage, assess, plan with, cheer-on, report, provide feedback, be honest and help families make the changes that will allow them to safely care for their own children or to make informed decisions about who will
concurrent planning training themes6
Concurrent Planning Training Themes
  • The parents’ role is to change with the right education and supports from the social worker and other service providers
  • Adults should take risks, not children
what is concurrent planning
What is Concurrent Planning?
  • Working towards reunification while at the same time establishing and implementing an alternative permanency plan
  • To support the safety, and well-being of children and families
  • To promote early permanency decisions for children in out-of-home care
what is concurrent planning8
What is Concurrent Planning?
  • To support the safety, and well-being of children and families
  • Working towards reunification while at the same time establishing and implementing an alternative permanency plan
what is concurrent planning9
What is Concurrent Planning?
  • To promote early permanency decisions for children in out-of-home care
  • To reduce the number of moves and relationship disruptions children experience in foster care
  • To decrease children’s length of stay in foster care
core components of concurrent planning
Core Components of Concurrent Planning
  • Success redefined
  • Differential assessment and prognostic case review
  • Full disclosure
  • Crises and time limits as opportunity
  • Motivating parents to change
  • Early search for absent parents and relatives
core components of concurrent planning continued
Core Components of Concurrent Planning (continued)
  • Frequent parent-child visitation
  • Plan A and Plan B – Placement with a permanency planning resource families
  • Options Counseling
  • Written Agreements, scrupulous documentation and timely case review
  • Collaboration between social work and legal service providers
why concurrent planning now
Why Concurrent Planning Now?
  • Children are spending too much time in foster care
  • Response to Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 – PL: 96-272
  • Response to Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 - ASFA
  • Strategies for child welfare agencies to meet National Outcomes and Performance Standards (Children and Family Service Reviews)
legal strategies
Legal Strategies
  • Indian Child Welfare Act - 1978
  • Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act 1980 – PL:96-272
  • Adoption and Safe Families Act 1997 – (ASFA)
  • Multi-Ethnic Placement Act – (MEPA) and Inter-Ethnic Placement Provisions (IEP) – 1994 [Amended in 1996 to remove barriers]
  • The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act 1996
response to legal strategies
Response to Legal Strategies
  • Family-Centered and Strengths-Based Practice Models
  • Community-Based Service Delivery
  • Cultural Responsive Practice Models
  • Open and Inclusive Practice
  • Non-Adversarial Approaches ~ Solution-Focused
  • Concurrent rather than Sequential Consideration of all Permanency Options
principles of strengths needs based practice
Principles of Strengths/Needs Based Practice
  • Children belong in families, and need nurturing relationship with adults
  • Children should be helped to stay with (or return to) their families
  • People can change with the right services, education and supports
  • Families (biological, foster and adoptive) should be viewed as partners
  • Foster care and other placements used for family support
principles of strengths needs based practice16
Principles of Strengths/Needs Based Practice
  • Child’s attachment needs can be addressed through strengthening family resources
  • Comprehensive and individualized services focused on family empowerment – considering family strengths and underlying needs in developing individualized family service plans
  • Culturally responsive services
principles of inclusive practice models
Principles of Inclusive Practice Models
  • Minimizes disruption in a child’s life
  • Involves parents and foster parents in placement and case planning process
  • Helps children with feelings related to living away from their family
  • Minimizes risk of placement breakdown
principles of inclusive practice models18
Principles of Inclusive Practice Models

Helps children to:

Adjust to the transition of placement

Adjust to unfamiliar environments

Maintain connections

Answers 3 questions:

Where am I?

How did I get here?

Where am I going?

children s developmental needs
Children’s Developmental Needs
  • Security
  • Protection from harm
  • Food, clothing, shelter, health care
  • To be nurtured, loved, and accepted
  • Spiritual and moral framework
children s developmental needs20
Children’s Developmental Needs
  • Opportunities to grow intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually – and to reach their maximum potential
  • Stability, consistency, continuity and predictability in family relationships – secure attachments with at least one significant adult
  • Lifetime family connections – a sense of belonging to a family
  • Connections to the past, security in the present, and …
  • Hope for the future
differential assessment
Differential Assessment

Is a Process of:

  • Individualizing our understanding of the individual, family, or group in the context of their present circumstances, past experiences, and potential for future functioning
  • Deepening our family-centered understanding of the child in the context of their family, culture, and community
  • Strengthening our understanding of the personal, interpersonal, and environmental context in which children and families live and interact.
differential assessment continued
Differential Assessment(continued)
  • Engaging families in culturally competent, early comprehensive assessments, case planning and services needed to achieve timely permanency – reunification or an alternative plan b
  • Engaging in a “Differential Prognostic Assessment” process to identify family situations in which a concurrent permanency plan/placement with a resource family is needed.
differential assessment continued23
Differential Assessment(continued)
  • Using the crisis of placement as a motivator to engage families in case planning and to make behavioral changes.
  • Increasing birth and foster parent partnerships in case planning
differential assessment continued24
Differential Assessment(continued)
  • Recruiting, training, and supporting permanency planning resource families in addition to other types of foster families.
  • Engaging in discussions with foster families about the need for a concurrent permanency plan and their interest in serving as a back-up permanency resource for children who may not return to their birth parents.
differential assessment continued25
Differential Assessment(continued)
  • Identifying relatives and tribal resources who can be placement/permanency resources early on in the case planning process.
  • Respectfully using full disclosure with birth families and foster/adoptive families throughout the life of the case.
differential assessment continued26
Differential Assessment(continued)
  • Collaborating with courts, attorneys, and service providers to better serve children and families.
  • Determining when to pursue the alternative permanency plan such as adoption or guardianship when it is clear the parent(s) can not or will not care for their children.
the cycle of change
The Cycle of Change

Pre-contemplation

Maintenance

Contemplation

Relapse

Action

Determination

full disclosure
Full Disclosure
  • Is a process that facilitates open and honest communication between the social worker, biological parents, extended family members, foster parents, attorneys, the court, and service providers
  • Is a skill and a process of sharing information, establishing expectations, clarifying roles, and addressing obstacles to the work with families
  • Helps everyone understand what is happening and why – and in what time frames  
full disclosure29
Full Disclosure
  • Informs families of the agency’s concurrent activities intended to prevent extended stays in foster care
  •  Addresses detrimental effects of out-of-home care, separations, loss and unresolved grief
  • Discusses the urgency of reunification and the significance of visiting the child
  • Asks parents: Who would you want to care for your child if you could not do it?
values of full disclosure
Values of Full Disclosure
  • Parents ultimately decide the outcome of the case
  • Parents have a right to know the permanency time line
  • Parents can handle the truth
  • Parents need to give and receive data in order to make informed choices
  • Parents are our partners
mutual respect
Mutual Respect
  • Valuing another person because he or she is a human being
  • Implies that being a human being is a value in itself
genuineness
Genuineness
  • Involves being aware of one’s own feelings and making a conscious choice about how to respond to the other person, based on what will be most helpful in facilitating communication and developing a good relationship
empathy
Empathy
  • Is a two-stage process whereby one person attempts to experience (step into) another person’s world and then communicate understanding of and compassion for the other’s experience
the full disclosure process
The Full Disclosure Process
  • Provides positive information about strengths (UP)

- Builds the family member “UP” by verbally acknowledging his or her achievements and struggles in child rearing

  • Addresses the difficult information or the concerns/worries (DOWN)

- Brings the family member “DOWN” by defining the current concerns and worries, and the impact on the children and their parenting abilities

the full disclosure process35
The Full Disclosure Process
  • Summarizes with positive information about strengths (UP)

- Builds the family member “UP” again by supporting his or her strengths, self-efficacy, and self-confidence to make the right choices for the best interest of the children (safety, permanency, and well-being)

family meetings can be used to
Family Meetings Can Be Used To:
  • To help families find their strengths and resources which can be beneficial to children
  • To help parents identify family members
  • To have families hear the same thing at the same time
  • To help families talk about concerns
  • To encourage families and empower them to be involved in the plan and the decisions about their children
underlying beliefs guiding family meetings
Underlying Beliefs Guiding Family Meetings
  • Respect for the integrity of the family unit and extended family
  • Respect for diverse cultures and the ability to maximize cultural competence
  • Children need continuity in their family relationships for their healthy growth and development
  • Best outcomes for children come from the sharing of power between the state and family
underlying beliefs guiding family meetings38
Underlying Beliefs Guiding Family Meetings
  • Opportunities for parents to feel responsible for their children and themselves
  • Crisis as Opportunity and Motivator for Change
  • Families have strengths that can be tapped to make positive changes
  • People can change with the right education and support
phases of family meetings
Phases of Family Meetings
  • Pre-Meeting Planning Activities
  • Beginning or Information Sharing
  • Middle or Private Family Time
  • Endings or Decision Making
  • Post-Meeting Tasks
family meetings emerging considerations
Family Meetings Emerging Considerations
  • How is a ‘family meeting’ defined?
  • What are the varying purposes of family meetings?
  • When in the life of the case should family meetings be held?
  • When should a family meeting not be held?
  • Who will facilitate the family meetings?
  • Who should attend?
family meetings emerging considerations41
Family Meetings Emerging Considerations
  • Who should decide who attends the family meeting?
  • Where should family meetings be held?
  • How will confidentiality be protected?
  • How will self-determination be promoted?
  • What should the role of the caseworker and supervisor be?
  • Do we need the Court to buy-in to this type of social work?
  • Other stakeholders
summary of concurrent permanency planning
Summary of Concurrent Permanency Planning
  • Promotes Principles of Best Practices
  • Considers Developmental Needs of Children
  • Full Disclosure
  • Differential Assessments
  • Promotes Mutual Respect, Genuineness, Empathy
  • Promotes Concept of Family Group Conferencing
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Involving children, youth, and families is critical from start to finish of the case
  • Achieving permanency for children and youth is possible
  • Systemic change takes time
  • It is only by working through our our fears and willingness to take risks that families can be transformed
  • Each of you have the ability to change lives