DHS News May 2014
Family Group Decision
Making continues alongside Conferencing and Teaming
Just as the needs of the families and children served by the
Office of Children and Youth (CYF) vary, so do the methods of assisting them.
That’s the message Walter H. Smith Jr., PH.D, Deputy Director
of the Office of Children, Youth and Families, is promoting as the CYF office
undergoes change and modification in its approach to helping families.
Key among those changes has been implementing the
Conferencing and Teaming approach to
case management, which continues to be rolled out and is expected to be in all
CYF Office’s by year’s end. Plans are
in the works to begin introducing Conferencing and Teaming to some program and
DHS offices this year as well.
Meanwhile, Family Group Decision Making, a long-time
practice of family engagement within child welfare, will remain a key practice
for some cases that are not accepted for service.
Such cases, which do not require service integration and
where it is determined families can effectively manage their plans, are
referred to providers Small Seeds Development, Touching Families, and Macedonia
Family and Community Enrichment Center. They can be addressed with Family Group
Decision Making, if the provider and family believe that would be helpful, or Conferencing
and Teaming can be used if that is found to be appropriate.
“The three agencies will have a choice as to how to work
with the family,” Walter said.
The difference between the two engagement approaches is
primarily the amount the oversight needed and provided over the long run. Under
both forms, the family plan is developed with input from not only family, but also
from all people who can bring support; with Family Group Decision Making, one
or two follow-up meetings are required. Conference and Teaming requires a
commitment to a more structured schedule of multiple meetings.
Agencies that use Family Group Decision Making have a deep
knowledge of the practice that will continue to be valued by DHS in its mission
to help families and children, even as some practices change, Walter said.
“We will be tapping their history of using Family Group
Decision Making to enhance the whole system,” Walter said. “It’s still an
essential part of what we do.”
For more about Conferencing and Teaming, read this DHS
DHS News Newsletter
DHS News Archive