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Family Group Decision Making

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Presentation on theme: "Family Group Decision Making"— Presentation transcript:

1 Family Group Decision Making

2 TRAINING OBJECTIVES: Participants to gain understanding of FGDM as a family engagement process. Participants to gain understanding the roles of Facilitator and Referral Worker. Participants to gain understanding of FGDM principles, key characteristics, strengths, challenges, and benefits. Participants to broaden understanding of FGDM and its capacity to engage Native communities. Participants to understand Administrative (business) responsibilities related to FGDM.

3 OVERVIEW of FGDM History Philosophy FGDM: Family Engagement Process
Role of Participants Resistance… Lessons Learned

4 HISTORY Modeled after a long held tradition within the indigenous (Maori) people of New Zealand Family Group Decision Making (also called Family Group Conference) was developed, and through legislation the practice became mandatory in all cases of child abuse and neglect in FGDM began as a way of systems reform as well as being a direct response to an oppressive form of government. Disproportionate numbers of Maori children in out of home care coupled by a disproportionate response by child welfare and justice systems. Multiple out of home placements. Lengthy times in out of home care. Over-representation in child welfare and justice systems.

In June of 2003 the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Sioux Tribes began implementation of the FGDM model through collaboration between Casey Family Programs and South Dakota Department of Social Services. The Tribes’ development of model is consistent with the indigenous values, principles, and practices of the Maoris’. The practice is based on a collective or relational approach where families all become responsible for the children in the community and they work to solve their own problems. Overarching objectives with the implementation of FGDM include: prevention; reduction of children placed with non-Native families; increase use of kinship placements; revitalize family connections; and to address the over-representation of Native children in the child welfare system.  As Sovereign Lakota Nations a primary concern is retaining the connections between the sacred children and their families, communities and tribes.

6 FGDM PHILOSOPHY FGDM and its indigenous origins as a child centered and family driven practice continues to remain central in many Native American communities. The concept of coming to the aid and assistance of relatives in need is a function once routinely practiced by the Lakota. FGDM in essence is a pragmatic method to address the fractured family unit and to help reclaim and revitalize a customary practice.

7 PURPOSE FGDM Purpose: To establish a process for families to join with relatives and to develop a plan to ensure that children are safe, nurtured, and can find permanence. Family Purpose: The family purpose is more about the reason one aims to achieve a goal and is deeply rooted in something personal. (It asks the question—What is the family’s intended result from the FGDM meeting?)

8 REFERRALS Best practice suggests FGDM be voluntary. However, it is not uncommon for referrals to be recommended and even court ordered by a Judge. Typically, but not always, the referring worker is a representative of a child welfare agency and holds a mandate of responsibility that includes acceptance and monitoring of plan. Referrals to FGDM is a process and should not be considered a one-time event.

LOWO staff and supervisor discuss potential for utilizing FGDM. If agreed to use, they determine who will complete the FGDM referral form. When the completed referral is in: Wakpamni, Pine Ridge, Eagle Nest, Pass Creek or LaCreek Districts. Referral is forwarded to LOWO supervisor; LOWO supervisor forwards referral to FGDM Consultant and Facilitator When the completed referral is from: Porcupine District When the completed referral is from: Kyle District When the completed referral is from: Oglala District

The principle that guides determining amount of time is that sufficient time and resources be allocated to convene the family and positions them to lead the decision making. Completing an FGDM meeting varies and can range between 2-6 weeks or hours. The whole point of FGDM is to broaden inclusion, which requires time, attention and effort. Impacting Factors: Time family needs to process the information and to network with one another and prepare selves for meetings Size of family & number of participants; Traveling distances; Cultural norms; Locating of relatives; Initial willingness of family; Facilitator flexibility; Family connections; Family’s previous experience with child welfare; Staff turnover; Family’s level of grief & loss

Typically FGDM referrals come from tribal and state child welfare agencies. Presently all referrals come from LOWO. Referrals also may come from educational, mental health, and court systems. Other referrals may come from community-based programs, grassroots advocacy groups, or places of worship. Child custody cases, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and protective orders are considered appropriate, however in part to potential safety and legal implications they may require careful assessment and consultation. Appropriateness should not be a question of whether a family should or should not participate, but rather how can FGDM be mobilized and support the family.

12 PARTICIPANTS Family Members: Immediate, extended, “hunka” or adopted relatives. Children: A child has the right to be heard and their presence or involvement in FGDM should not be limited. (Note)assessing the child's emotional maturity and stability is always considered good practice. Resource Providers/Professionals: Social workers, counselors, elders, attorneys, guardian ad litem, teachers, spiritual leaders, mentors, physicians, coaches, mental health worker, etc. Facilitator Friends and Supporters: Their participation is to offer and provide emotional support and physical safety needs.

Referral worker contacts the family to describe FGDM process and gets their willingness to have facilitator contact them about engaging the wider family circle. Referral worker is the person who initiates and provides to facilitator key information (phone numbers, addresses, concerns, strengths, etc.) about family and service providers. Referring worker is typically the first presenter during second phase of meeting and as such should not minimize important information. If family does not know vital information their plan may not include all the necessary safeguards for the child. Referral worker supports/monitors/partners with family to finalize and fulfill plan. Referring worker is expected to express the “concerns” of the agency but should ultimately leave it to the family how to address those concerns.

14 ROLE OF FACILITATOR Foremost and significant is to engage and prepare all participants. Aside from convening the meeting and guiding the process a facilitator’s role is independent and has no stake in the outcome of the family’s plan. Facilitator does not review the family’s file nor do they receive extensive information about the family. The more case specific and historical information that the facilitator receives about the family, the more challenging it will be for them to remain fair in their neutral role. Ensures there is a safe environment for family members and all participants. As the face or keeper of the FGDM process it should not matter whether a facilitator works for a tribal, public, private or community based entity only that best practices and integrity of FGDM be upheld. Remember…self care…if you are feeling as if you are working harder than the family…you probably are.

Defense is a response to a threat… Under threat people resist, often they may cling to who they are and what they know and that is to seek… Stability Predictability Security Comfort STRATEGIES TO ENCOURAGE PARTICIPATION Taking note of and changing your interaction style. Develop a mutually agreed upon objective when meeting with family members. Normalize fears in participation. Support family members courage in working to move forward. Take the position of learner…don’t be too knowledgeable or aggressive in your approach.

Resistance is Protection. Seek to understand first then to act. Work to acknowledge and support the family members. Fostering trust and safety decreases the need to protect. Allow the process to work, while highlighting the benefits of FGDM.

Introduction Information Sharing Private Family Time Review Of Plan

18 INTRODUCTION Welcoming of Participants Words of Wisdom
Relative Acknowledgements Re-state Process, Family Purpose and Goal

19 INFORMATION SHARING Phase of meeting where relevant information about the referral is shared with the family, usually led by the referral worker. Followed by other resource providers who too offer pertinent information to the group. This may include: reports, concerns, strengths, available resources, access to services, etc. The aim is for the family and everyone to hear the same information and ask questions. The advantage is that with the information the family is able to include it into their discussion during Private Family Time.

20 PRIVATE FAMILY TIME Family meets alone, without referral worker, facilitator, or other resource providers. Family members discuss and develop a plan focusing on the child's needs and family options. During this time the family constantly remains mindful of the child’s safety, permanency, and future well-being. Family takes as much time as needed.

21 REVIEW OF FAMILY PLAN Once family completes plan they are rejoined by the referring worker & facilitator. Plan is reviewed and discussed to ensure the pre- identified concerns or non-negotiables have been adequately addressed. If plan is unrealistic or viable the group works together in a consensus manner to produce an agreeable plan. Achieving consensus concludes the meeting. Follow-up Meeting (optional)

22 FAMILY PLAN The Family Plan should be reflective of the families’ cultural values, strengths and supports needed. Referral worker and the facilitator ensures that the Family Plan meets the needs of the child and family and meets the needs identified by the referring agency. It is considered wise practice to provide enough information for family members to have an understanding of the available community resources. A lack of reasonable information and resource knowledge may not be enough to create an good Family Plan. If court ordered, the Family Plan may be presented to a Judge, who has authority to approve or deny. The Family Plan is monitored collectively. The referral worker and an identified family member are considered as the primary monitors. Secondary monitors consist of all participants in the development of the Family Plan.

23 BENEFITS of FGDM Model acts as a culturally responsive mechanism that helps address the fractured family unit. Helps reclaim a customary function where all children and families are valued. Brings to attention the relational divide and disconnect(real/perceived) that exists amongst families. Assists in protecting the child’s right to maintain their cultural connections. Creates a venue for dialogue between differing jurisdictions. Provides a strengths based service to rural and isolated communities where access to resources can be limited.

24 LESSONS LEARNED… Buy-in and support from agency, colleagues, tribe, courts, collaborators, community, etc. Creation of family plan itself may be the end document of the process, however most is what you do with it (monitoring and follow). Often families who may not be perceived to look like a family do act like family… Know your limitations and be flexible enough to know when to go with the flow. People cannot be empowered by another only they themselves can do that…what you can do is design processes that are empowering. Entrust families to define who and what “family” means to them. Match engagement practice to that of community and its values, beliefs, and principles. Actively engage and be inclusive of fathers. Awareness and acknowledgement of the family and their own “historical fatigue” (colonialism, boarding schools, relocation, policies/laws, etc.; with the loss of land came the destruction of communities, a way of life, and a way of thinking).

Contract Questions Supervision & Support Processing Invoices Process for Obtaining Support for Families Served in FGDM Meetings

FGDM Referral Form Release of Information Form Participation/Confidentiality Consent Form Family Plan Signature Form FGDM Family Plan Evaluation Forms SECONDARY MATERIALS Referring Worker Guide Family Planning Guide FGDM Agenda FGDM Facilitators Checklist FGDM Ground Rules Sign-In Form

27 FACILITATION SKILLS FGDM Facilitators to have knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal attributes to ensure that a family driven process results in the best plan for children and families. Requires knowledge of community culture, customary laws and behaviors, along with some familiarity of policies related to tribes. Particularly an understanding that immediate changes are not likely to happen because Native people and communities did not get to where they now are in a short period of time. Circumstances found today are generally the result of what happened over a period of time. Interpersonal skills and abilities to navigate the tribal and state service delivery systems that pose challenges for families. Value rights and capacities of children and families. Possess strong sense of personal integrity, commitment and an openness to self-evaluation. Organizational skills, communication skills, relationship building ability. Ability to maintain a solution focused framework .

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