Engaging Birth Parents, Family Caregivers and Youth in Child by 2vt3T6


									Engaging Birth Parents,
Family Caregivers and
Youth in Child Welfare

National Child Welfare Resource Center for
Organizational Improvement
Developed in partnership with
National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and
Permanency Planning
National Resource Center for Youth Development

Page 1

          • Parents and guardians
                   • Kin
                 • Youth
             • Foster parents
            • Adoptive parents

 Page 2
                • Planning committees
            • Monitoring and review teams
                   • Collecting data
                  • Interpreting data
                 • Writing and editing
               • Training and educating
                      • Lobbying
          • Advocacy and support for families

 Page 3
              Child Welfare
           Values and Principles

•   Family-centered
•   Individualized for the children and family
•   Community-based
•   Strengthen parental capacity

                  Examples of Family Members:
                  Shift in Roles and Expectations
 Recipient of information                       Passive partner in service             Service planning team
 Re: child’s service plan                       planning process                       leader
 Unheard voice in program                       Participant in program                 Partner (or independent)
 evaluation                                     evaluation                             in developing and
                                                                                       conducting program

 Recipient of services                          Partner in planning and                Service provider
                                                developing services

 Uninvited key stakeholder in                   Participant in training                Partner and independent
 training initiatives                           initiatives                            trainers
 Advocacy and peer support                      Advocacy and peer support              Advocacy and peer

This slide was developed and used with permission from Sheila Pires, Human Service Collaborative, Washington, DC.   5
Resistance and System

 Sources of colleague resistance

 How the system creates barriers

           Child Welfare
      Systems of Care Project
•   Infra-structure
•   Recruitment and selection
•   Conducive work environment
•   Assessment of Success

• El Paso County, Colorado
• Consumers – parent partners
• On-going council and training institute

 Foster Care Lessons Learned

• Family-focused: To be successful, foster
  care cannot be considered a service to
  the child, nor to his or her parents.
  Foster care services must be directed
  toward the family unit— parents and
  children considered as a system whose
  needs can be addressed as a whole.

 Resource Family Perspectives on
     the Foster Care System

• There is a fundamental lack of
  partnership/relationship between the
  resource family and the child welfare
  system which ultimately leads to
  disruption in placement.

Lack of Partnership/Relationship
         as Evidenced By

• Not given enough information
• Not treated as part of the professional team,
  not included in case planning, nor given a
  copy of plan. This precludes their ability to be
  a true resource to the birth family.
• If they truly speak their minds, children in care
  will be removed and no new placements will
  be made. This leads to a child’s needs not
  being fully known and met.
       Evidence Continued

• Motives are questioned, especially when
  they try to maintain contact with child
  following reunification or adoption by
• Calls not returned timely means small
  issues become crises.
• Not enough in-home contact by worker.
• No respite = burn out
        Supporting Foster Parents
-   Appreciation
-   Respect
-   Care Giving Assistance
-   Crisis Services
-   Professional Development
-   Emotional Support
-   Personal Involvement- Involve them as
    stakeholders in policy development, recruitment
    efforts, training
       Involving Foster Parents

• Is another opportunity for relationship building
  and support
• Says that foster parent is more than simply
  the temporary caregiver of their child. They
  are an integral part of the professional team
  and an ally in the process of helping child
  return home
• Establishes the ability for continued contact
  following reunification or adoption, eliminating
  another loss for child and in reunification,
  provides an additional support for birth family
             Kinship Care

• Motivation is based on family obligation vs.
  altruistic desire
• Are generally older, have more health needs,
  less income and less foster care experience
• Have an established relationship with parents
  and are an excellent source of information
• May be resentful of the agency’s need to
  approve them

Engagement of Foster Parents
• Must be an agency wide/systemic
  strategy that goes beyond just involving
  them as stakeholders in CFSR/PIP
  teams but should also include the
  encouragement and support of a foster
  parent association, the provision of
  support groups, involvement in case
  planning for the children in their care
  and other forms of involvement, support
  and recognition.                         16
   Planning for Foster and Kin Parent
  Involvement in the CFSR/PIP Process

• How many participants should we
  include based on the overall size and
  make up of the group.
• What are the other ratio’s of types of
• Can we avoid the perception of token

    How Will We Decide Who to

• Should the Foster Parent Association be the point of
• Should workers be asked to nominate foster/kin
  families they believe have a lot to offer?
• Should a member of the agency administration
  present information and ask for volunteers at an
  association or support group meeting?
• Should every foster/kin family be given the
  opportunity to apply through a mass mailing to all?
• Are there foster parents who have previously been
  very active but are currently or about to take a break?


• Avoid intimidating stakeholders by
  providing an orientation session that
  provides written information regarding
  background, purpose and scope,
  including the necessary time
  commitment, ground rules and an
  explanation of often-used jargon and

• Be respectful- treat foster and kin
  providers as you do any other
  professional from the way meeting times
  are agreed upon to the way people are
• Consider providing child care as well as
  a stipend.


• Set the tone for the meetings as one of
  building on strengths and finding
  solutions, but be brave and include both
  parents who have had successful
  experiences as well as those who’s
  experiences were challenging as they
  may provide insight as to how things
  could have been handled better.
 Involving Foster/Kin Parent Stakeholders
   in the Statewide Assessment, Onsite
    Review, and the PIP Development,
     Implementation and Monitoring

• Establish a core group of team members
  that has been oriented and trained
• Reinforce the commitment of valuing their
  continued involvement through the
  monitoring phase
       Statewide Assessment
• Who better to engage foster/kin parents than
• Use them as the leaders in the development
  and conducting of focus groups and other
  surveys to elicit feedback from the larger
  foster/kin provider network.
• A joint invitation from the agency and the local
  Foster Parent Association is more likely to be
  inviting to other foster parents then one solely
  generated by the agency.
• Personal invitations may make the difference
  in someone’s attendance.
            Onsite Review

• Foster/kin stakeholders can be invaluable in
  developing and conducting interviews with
  other foster/kin stakeholders.
• They should also be considered for
  conducting interviews with the broader
  stakeholder community where they may have
  more credibility than agency personnel, such
  as with youth or birth parents.
• They should also be included in the exit
         PIP Development and

• Foster/kin stakeholders can play valuable roles on the
  PIP Team and workgroups as their input relates to
  many of the desired outcomes of the CFSR.
• The common expectation is to look at their
  participation in the areas of Permanency Outcomes
  and the Systemic Factor of Foster and Adoptive
  Parenting Licensing, Recruitment and Retention.
• However, based on typical examples of successful
  placement cases, we know that foster/kin providers
  have experience with at least 12 of the 23 Outcome
  Items and 8 of the 22 systemic factor items, in
  addition to the obvious ones.
             PIP Monitoring
Tasks and assignments similar to the ones they
  performed in the other stages:
    conducting and attending focus groups
    developing surveys
    soliciting feedback from others

Having committees or work groups that begin during the
  self-assessment and stay together during the entire
  process usually ensures the continued involvement of
  family caregivers as well as other collaborators.
           PIP Monitoring

• Their involvement provides a message
  to other family caregivers that it is
  important for them to continue giving
  their input by filling out regular surveys,
  attending both policy and case specific
  meetings and remaining committed to
  the over all mission and improvement of
  the agency.
           PIP Monitoring

• Family caregivers can use their unique
  perspective to help interpret information
  gained during monitoring activities,
  including the annual PIP review, and
  therefore effect how practice will be


• CWLA Press, Toolboxes For Permanency Series, Toolbox # 2,
  Expanding the Role of Foster Parents in Achieving Permanency, by
  Susan Dougherty (2001) www.cwla.org

• The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Family To Family; Tools for
  Rebuilding Foster Care, Recruitment, Training and Support, The
  Essential Tools of Foster Care www.aecf.org

• The National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice and
  Permanency Planning, Preventing the Triangulation of the Triangle
  of Support, by Lorrie Lutz, MPP www.nrcfcppp.org

intro   benefits    opportunities      strategies      resources       q+a

        National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development

        Positively Engaging Youth
               in the CFSR

intro   benefits      opportunities      strategies     resources      q+a
        National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development

 Benefits To Engaging
      Youth In The CFSR Process:
                          Unique perspective of how
                           services can best be provided
                          System change
                          What works, what does not, and
                           their service needs
                          Opportunity to consider new
                          Empowerment
                          Speak on behalf of Agency

intro   benefits      opportunities      strategies     resources      q+a
        National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development

 Engaging Youth in
         The CFSR Process:
                        State child welfare agencies
                        can engage youth currently
                        being or those that have
                        been served by the child
                              by identifying and
                        welfare system
                              then working with
                                 existing youth
                               organizations and
                                advisory boards
intro   benefits      opportunities      strategies     resources      q+a
        National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development
States can engage youth in the
                 Statewide Assessment
                                                 process by:
                     • Identify existing statewide youth
                       organizations willing to assist with
                       youth engagement

                     • Work with State or local foster
                       youth ombudspersons

                     • Train staff on working
                       collaboratively with youth

intro   benefits     opportunities      strategies      resources      q+a
        National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development
States can engage youth in the
                              Onsite Review
                                                 process by:

                       • Prep youth to participate

                       • Conduct stakeholder
                         interviews with youth

                       • Invite youth to the State’s exit

intro    benefits    opportunities      strategies      resources       q+a
         National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development
 States can engage youth in the PIP or
        Program Improvement Plan
                                                 process by:
                     • Include on the PIP team & work
                     • Invite youth from Chafee State
                       Plan team to participate in PIP to
                       address overlapping areas of
                     • Engage in reviewing PIP progress
intro   benefits      opportunities             strategies        resources   q+a
        National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development

                Web Resources
                   California Youth Connection
                   Youth Leadership Advisory Team – Maine
                   Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative –
                      Michigan Recommendations
                   National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development
                   Foster Care Alumni of America


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