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Strengths-/Needs-Based Practice Principles Drawn from Child Welfare Systems of Care: from Principle to Practice The Service Array Process National Child.

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Presentation on theme: "Strengths-/Needs-Based Practice Principles Drawn from Child Welfare Systems of Care: from Principle to Practice The Service Array Process National Child."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strengths-/Needs-Based Practice Principles Drawn from Child Welfare Systems of Care: from Principle to Practice The Service Array Process National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement A Service of the Children’s Bureau, U.S.D.H.H.S. April 28, 2008

2 General Principles Family Involvement/Individualized/Strengths-based  In a child welfare system of care, positive outcomes for children and families are achieved through development of a relationship with the family that recognizes their strengths and needs and uses those capacities as the means to a positive case resolution. Cultural Competence/Community-based/Collaborative Agency Systems  The casework process connects the child and family with other providers and community supports who can identify, and mutually commit to address, the needs of the child and family through an integrated system of services and care.  Supervisory support is required for the time it takes to build interagency relationships. The process can be supported by MOAs to share information and blend resources to address the needs of shared families. The process is also supported by having dedicated staff resources who reach out to the community to build an culturally responsive array of services and supports for families.

3 General Principles Each principle can be put into practice with front- line workers, but doing so requires vertical changes inside the child welfare agency and in its interactions with other agencies and the community.

4 Principle-Driven Outcomes Child safety, attachment, well-being, and permanency remain the cornerstone of sound child welfare practice and systems Children’s needs are identified and clarified Parents are assisted to understand and reconcile those needs Parents learn to listen to what their children need Caseworkers understand that parents model the nurturing and care they received as children Case plans and services are built upon the strengths of the family Services are community-based and flexible Parents are included in development of options when they are not able to meet their children’s needs The individual need for dignity is recognized and respected at all times

5 Elements of Successful Child Welfare Systems of Care in the Community Community principles and practices that support implementation of SOC principles and practices:  Multi-disciplinary case planning based on unique strengths and needs of children  An expanded array of services  A collaborative approach to service delivery that allows for the development of new resources for families in response to unique child needs  A community sense of ownership for child safety, well- being, and permanency outcomes

6 Elements of Successful Child Welfare Systems of Care in the Agency Agency practices that support implementation of SOC principles and practices: 1.Strengths/Needs-Based Case Planning: - Family-Centered Practice - Use of family-conferencing or family-decision meeting models to reach agreement with the family on children’s needs and a wrap- around plan to meet those needs - Availability of flexible funding to allow caseworkers the ability to craft individualized service plans and secure services as quickly as possible - Initial and ongoing casework and supervisory training includes strengths/needs-based focus - Experienced, clinical supervision

7 Agency practices that support implementation of SOC principles and practices (cont.): 2.Expanded Visitation - Natural, child-centered environments for supervised and un-supervised (when safe) visits - Early onset of visitation after placement and increased frequency of visitation to keep parents motivated and children connected - Increased supervision of visits by foster parents (with training for foster parents) - Unsupervised visitation in the absence of any safety issues

8 Agency practices that support implementation of SOC principles and practices (cont.): 3.Concurrent Planning - Active concurrent planning from the outset of the case with clear outcomes developed in meetings with parents that are easily understood - Frequent plan updates and achievable interim plan goals for parents that keep them motivated - Frequent reviews of progress toward reunification and honest dialogue with parents about unmet needs of their children based on their level of participation in “their” plan

9 Agency practices that support implementation of SOC principles and practices (cont.): 4.Quality, Community-Centric Foster Care - Increase number of licensed homes in each school cachment area so children can be placed near their homes and continue to attend the same schools - Increase minority, relative, and under-represented groups of foster care providers - Train foster parents in the tenets of SOC and expect them to be part of the team supporting parents - Use foster parents as coaches and mentors - Maintain a process for a quality review of all foster homes

10 Agency practices that support implementation of SOC principles and practices (cont.): 5. Systemic Needs - Workload standards, to include manageable caseloads that acknowledge the time necessary to fully engage parents - After hours protective services response that is inclusive of the principles and values of SOC - Standards for staff, to include behavioral hiring that ensures staff have the ability to convey SOC principles and values - Community advisory boards that assist with collaborative resource development and build ownership for child outcomes - Organizational culture that embraces a move from a pathology- based child protection approach to a solution-based approach - Acceptance that wrap-around planning supports the safest, permanent outcome for children

11 Practice Examples: Sam’s Plan Sam is 14 and has been out-of-parental control for several years. The family came to the attention of the child welfare system and Sam spent time in a residential program after his father became overly frustrated and physically abusive. Sam is about to return home and he is extremely attached to his family. Using SOC principles and values, the family assists the caseworker and other providers to craft the following plan: Goal #1: Sam needs to have appropriate activities in which he can channel his interests outside of school Need that is Met: The parents and Sam need help identifying what is an acceptable activity and the resources to pursue the choice Action #1: Find an old car Sam can work on Strength Match: Sam is good with his hands; Sam is interested in cars; Sam’s father is a mechanic Person Responsible: Caseworker, Sam’s father Date: April Action #2 Connect Sam and his father to a father-son race track association Strength Match: Sam and his father are both interested in cars; there is a local racing association Person Responsible: Sam’s father and Sam Date: May Action #3 Arrange for Sam to have a slot in Driver’s Education in the fall school semester Strength Match: By the end of fall semester, Sam will turn 15 and his car will be repaired and drivable Person Responsible: Sam’s mother, school counselor Date: September

12 Sam’s Example, cont. Goal #2: Sam’s younger sister will be safe Need that is Met: Increased periods of time when Sam is able to feel in control of himself Action #1: Train Sam on personal crisis management skills he will use outside of residential care Strength Match: Sam spent time in residential and has already learned how to chart when he would b e out-of-control Person Responsible: Caseworker and Sam Date: April Action #2 Train Sam’s parents on safe restraint techniques Strength Match: Parents are committed to Sam and a local residential program is willing to provide the training Person Responsible: Sam’s parents Date: May Action #3 Identify a safety plan for the sister and get a lock/phone for her room Strength Match: The sister is able to follow directions Person Responsible: Sam’s parents Date: September Action #4: Work with a neighbor to develop a safe place in their home to calm down Strength Match: Sam’s family has a good relationship with the neighbors Person Responsible: Sam and his parents

13 Tyler’s Plan Tyler is 16 and is in foster care. He has been in care since he was found living on the streets at 15. When he was 14, his Native American mother passed away and he ran away to a large urban area, from the reservation where he had been raised within Tribal traditions. His extended family on the reservation has been unable to provide a home for him. Tyler has not done well in traditional foster care and a therapist has assessed that most of the behavioral concerns are grounded in Tyler’s loss of identity. Goal #1: Tyler will have access to culturally appropriate therapeutic intervention Need that is Met: Tyler participated in traditional, Tribal religious and healing practices for the first 14 years of his life. He has a strong need to reconnect with that foundation in order to regain his sense of self, his confidence, and a sense of purpose that will work in his present environment. Action #1: (a) Identification of a Tribal healer to work with Tyler and (b) access to flexible funding that supports contracting for services Strength Match: Tyler is an enrolled Tribal member and he has expressed intense desire to pursue his cultural connections; Tyler’s Tribe is participating in case planning; Person Responsible: Caseworker, Tyler, Tribe Date: April

14 Tyler’s Example, cont. Action #2: Enroll Tyler in a Native American dance program at the Urban Indian Center Strength Match: See Action #1 Person Responsible: Caseworker, Tribe Date: End of the month Goal #2: Efforts will be made to reconnect Tyler to principal attachments Action #1: (a) Identification of a Tribal family who can be a visiting resource for Tyler in order meet his need to remain connected to his culture and extended family and (b) access to flexible funding to support periodic travel for Tyler to the reservation. Strength Match: Tyler has expressed a desire to remain connected to the Tribe and a visitation resource will help preserve principle connections and may rekindle relative connections. Person Responsible: Caseworker, Tribe Date: Immediately

15 Nancy’s Plan Nancy is a young mother who has been in repeat residential treatment for methamphetamine addiction. Her first three in-patient experiences were in facilities across the state from where her two children were placed – a baby and a toddler – and were the only facilities available through state and federal funds. Nancy’s therapist has indicated that she lacks motivation, while in treatment, because distance prevents visits from her children. The therapist also reports that Nancy has originally started using the drug to lose weight and that she would benefit from participation in a program that builds self-esteem and from a positive peer group. Finally, Nancy is very fearful that the reality of parenting two young children on her own, to include an autistic toddler, may push her to re- abuse. Goal #1: Nancy will have access to an inpatient program where she can be housed with her children Need that is Met: Nancy is motivated by contact with her children and she needs to be in a setting with her toddler where she can learn to manage his autism at the same time that she is meeting the needs of her baby. Getting clean, while learning to improving parenting skills will give Nancy the first real, mutually compatible accomplishments of her adult life Action #1: Scheduling a multi-disciplinary staffing that can show community support for Nancy and her children to have priority access to a Moms’ Program Action #2: Arranging with the local Education Service District’s Early Start Program, county Mental Health, and a pediatrician to build a braided-funding service plan through which Nancy will learn how to parent her autistic toddler Action #3: The children’s current foster mother will provide infant-baby parenting coaching for Nancy in the treatment program. Strength Match: Nancy is able to articulate what she believes are personal barriers to remaining sober, as well as her fears about losing her children and not being there for them. Person Responsible: Caseworker, local children’s mental health program Date: ASAP

16 Nancy’s Plan (cont.) Goal #2: Once she has completed treatment, Nancy will have the assistance she needs to secure housing, obtain basic household items and furniture, get employment referrals, and secure competent child care while she works. Need that is Met: Nancy will have a need for basic stability in her daily routine in order to successfully work to support her children and have time and energy to parent them, when she is not at work. Action #1: Scheduling another multi-disciplinary staffing to build a services plan that will address these needs, across agencies and systems. Action #2: Flexible funding will be tapped to provide the means to secure household goods, initial rent expenses, utility deposits, day care. Action #3: The children’s current foster mother has agreed to provide continued coaching in Nancy’s home and her own, as well as respite care. Strength Match: Nancy is able to articulate what she believes are personal barriers to remaining sober, as well as her fears about losing her children and not being there for them. Person Responsible: Caseworker Date: ASAP

17 Nancy’s Plan (cont.) Goal #3: Nancy will join a group developed for women in recovery from methamphetamine addiction. One activity of the group is to work with a local Dressing for Success program and a beauty school to help members address self-esteem issues about appearance. Need that is Met: Nancy has had poor self-esteem and she used methamphetamine to help her lose weight. She needs to continue efforts to reconstruct a strong, positive self-image. Action #1: Enroll Nancy in the program and provide transportation and child care for her, as needed Strength Match: Nancy has demonstrated, during her times in treatment, that she responds well in group settings and has been able to incorporate positive feedback from other women into her “sense of self.” Person Responsible: Caseworker Date: Arrange for enrollment 30 days before release from treatment

18 Reference/Reading Beyer, Marty. Strengths/Needs Based Child Welfare Practice.

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