Team Decision Making

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					CA 04-11




             SKILL AND AWARENESS
              DEVELOPMENT FOR
               TDM FACILITATION




Developed for The Annie E. Casey Foundation Family to Family Initiative By Molly Mouch and Pat Rideout


                                  April 2011 (CA Rev.) Karri Biehle and Stefanie Nieto Johnson
   SKILL AND AWARENESS DEVELOPMENT
          FOR TDM FACILITATION
                            Table of Contents
       AA.    Competencies
       BB.    Outline of Training
1. INTRODUCTION TO TRAINING
      1-1 Remembrances from Your Childhood
2. ANNIE E. CASEY FOUNDATION AND FAMILY TO FAMILY INITIATIVE
     2-1    F2F Principles, Outcomes, Goals and Strategies
     2-2    Core Strategies are Linked
     2-3    Belief Shift Paradigm

3. ABOUT TDM
     3-1  TDM Values
     3-2  Some Benefits of TDM
     3-3  Some Challenges of TDM
     3-4  Key Elements of a TDM
     3-5  TDM Core Program Elements
     3-6  Key Characteristics of Family Meetings
     3-7  Fundamentals of a Quality Placement Process
4. PROCEDURAL TDM BASICS
     4-1  Criteria for Convening a TDM Meeting
     4-2  Scheduling a TDM Meeting
     4-3  Role of the Community Representative at TDM Meeting
     4-4  Consensus is Not Unanimity
     4-5  Critical Discussion Issues at Initial Removal TDM Meeting
     4-6  Critical Discussion Issues at Placement Preservation/Disruption TDM
     4-7  Critical Discussion Issues at Exit/Reunification TDM Meeting
     4-8  Some Considerations at Other Permanency Planning TDM Meeting
5. MORE TDM BASICS
     5-1 Strengths-Based Assessment & Its Role in TDM
     5-2 Charting is Essential
     5-3 Charting Tips

6. TDM IMPLEMENTATION IDEAS
     6-1  Ten Tips for Social Workers for Effective TDM Meetings
     6-2  Worker’s Guide For Initial Removal TDM
     6-3 Worker’s Guide For Placement Change TDM
     6-4  Ten Tips for Supervisors/Managers for Effective TDM Meetings
     6-5 Ten Tips for Agency Directors to Implement and Support TDM
     6-6 Sample ‘Message to Our Caregivers About TDM’
     6-7 TDM: A Conversation with Attorneys
     6-8 Ten Tips for CASA for Effective TDM Meetings
     6-9 Ten Tips for Ensuring Effective Community Participation in TDM
7. DEFINING THE ROLE OF THE TDM FACILITATOR
     7-1   What is a TDM Facilitator?
     7-2   A Realistic Preview of TDM Facilitator Position
     7-3   Facilitator Leadership Characteristics
     7-4   Frequent Needs of Facilitator
8. FACILITATOR SKILLS
     8-1   Personal Assessment of Behaviors
     8-2   Some Communication Skills for Effective Facilitation
     8-3   Reframing / Asking Clarifying Questions / Reflecting
9. DEALING WITH EMOTIONS
     9-1   Ideas on How to Handle Emotion, Disagreement and Controversy
     9-2   What Can I Do When …….
     9-3   Be Prepared For ……..
     9-4   TDM: A Personal Responsibility
     9-5   Domestic Violence and TDM
     9-6   Suggested Format for Pre TDM Domestic Violence Check In

10. STRUCTURED PROBLEM SOLVING—STEPS IN TDM
       10-1 Before the TDM Meeting
       10-2 Throughout the Meeting
       10-3 Stages of a TDM Meeting
       10-4 Meeting Stages Diagram
       10-5 Sample Introduction for Facilitator
       10-6 Introductions
       10-7 Identifying the Situation
       10-8 Assessing the Situation
       10-9 Concerns and Strengths
       10-10 Utilizing Safety and Risk Assessment Information at a TDM
       10-11 Brainstorming Guidelines
       10-12 Developing Ideas
       10-13 Reaching Consensus Decisions
       10-14 Using Idea Chart
       10-15 Review of a TDM Decision
       10-16 Explaining a Review to the Family
       10-17 TDM Action/Safety Plan
       10-18 Suggestions on Writing TDM Summary Report
       10-19 Recap/Evaluation/Closing
       10-20 After the TDM Meeting
       10-21 Feedback
       10-22 TDM Indicators and Outcomes
       10-23a Prompter for Initial Removal TDM
       10-23b Prompter for Placement Preservation/Disruption TDM
       10-23c Prompter for Reunification TDM
       10-24 Ten Tips for Facilitators for Effective TDM
       10-25 Ten Tips for TDM Supervisors
       10-26 More About Quality Decisions
       10-27 100 Family Friendly Ideas for a TDM Meeting
       10-28 Facilitator Skill Tips
       10-29 Facilitator Skill Tips Quiz
               COMPETENCIES FOR
     TDM FACILITATION SKILL AND AWARENESS

AFTER TRAINING THE TDM FACILITATOR WILL:
  1. Understand the Family to Family principles, outcomes and goals and how TDM reflects them.

  2. Be able to demonstrate an understanding of the values, benefits and goals of TDM.

  3. Know the advantages and disadvantages of working as a team and how to maximize the
     advantages and minimize the disadvantages.

  4. Understand and demonstrate the values of acceptance and respect for individual and cultural
     differences.

  5. Understand critical placement values and demonstrate/support their use in TDM meetings.

  6. Demonstrate the ability to welcome, engage and involve all participants in the Team Decision
     Making process.

  7. Recognize the importance and value of each participant in the quality of the TDM process.

  8. Develop awareness and sensitivity to the feelings and emotions of TDM guests and yourself. Be
     able to manage emotions, controversy and disagreements as they arise in the meeting.

  9. Be able to explain the meaning of consensus as a goal for all TDM decisions and the child
     welfare agency’s responsibility to ensure decisions that provide safety and protection.

  10. Understand the procedural aspects of why, when and how TDM meetings are scheduled.

  11. Know why and how to prepare for a TDM meeting.

  12. Be able to set criteria for group conduct that establishes a productive climate.

  13. Know strategies for creating a safe, productive environment supportive of honest communication.

  14. Be able to explain the purpose of the TDM meeting and goals of the TDM meeting to
      participants.

  15. Recognize the importance for information and discussions to be understandable for all
      participants and display the ability to interpret and explain information as needed.

  16. Demonstrate strength-based interviewing skills, ability to assist a team to articulate the strengths
      of the family and the utilization of the identified strengths in the development of the safety and
      action plan.

  17. Be able to pace a TDM meeting, focus participants on strengths/concerns/ideas and
      systematically move a group through the problem-solving model assuring that each stage is fully
      developed to reach consensus.
18. Know and be able to apply laws, policies/state standards, community resources, best practice, etc.
    needed for quality decisions.

19. Be capable of ensuring discussion of safety and risk issues at all TDM meeting so that decisions
    are grounded in safety and protection for the child.

20. Know the critical issues that must be considered during specific types of TDM meetings.

21. Understand the role, responsibilities and the qualities of a TDM facilitator.

22. Be aware of one’s own personal characteristics that can affect the group’s process or
    development.

23. Develop intervention strategies and skills to maintain comfort guidelines/ground rules, manage
    group dynamics and deal with participants who exhibit difficult or dysfunctional group behaviors.

24. Understand how personal biases, assumptions, and values regarding race, domestic violence,
    roles, etc can appear in a TDM and the impact they can have on successful TDM facilitation.

25. Know how to involve family members experiencing domestic violence in the TDM process
    without compromising safety.

26. Understand the responsibility to produce action/safety plan and be capable of providing a
    summary of TDM decision.

27. Be capable of explaining the review of a TDM decision process.

28. Be able to give and receive feedback to/from colleagues to assist in team development and
    professional growth.

29. Understand the roles and responsibilities that exist with individual participants and the agency.

30. Be aware of the responsibility to reflect the agency’s values and mission to participants,
    stakeholders and community through personal behavior.

31. Recognize how the TDM process supports the larger organizational picture and be capable of
    providing information to the agency that assists in identification of trends and needs, and supports
    successful outcomes for families.
                REMEMBRANCES
              FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD

Remember back to when you were a child and fill in the blanks.


I got my name because____________________________________________________

One of my earliest memories is_____________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

I had a pet_________________, whose name was______________________________

I remember I once had a__________________________________________________

My favorite subject in grade school was _____________________________________

My best friend in school was _______________________________________________

My favorite teacher was_____________________ because_______________________

________________________________________________________________________

I remember the outing or vacation my family took to___________________________

because_________________________________________________________________

The first job I got paid for was_________________________________________when

I was__________________years old

When I was young, I enjoyed_______________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

I remember in my house we had__________________________________________

                                                                           1-1
                                                   Our Work

                                                   1. Principles       What We Believe

                                                   2. Outcomes         Results We Are Seeking

                                                   3. Goals            What We Intend to Do

                                                   4. Strategies       How We Achieve Our Goals


1.        Principles and Values
     We believe that . . .

          A child’s safety is paramount.

          Children belong in families.

          Families need strong communities.

          Public child-welfare systems need partnerships with the community
           and with other systems to achieve strong outcomes for children.


2.         Outcomes for Children
     We are committed to improving results for children and families in the child welfare system, with an
     emphasis on safety, stability, permanence, and well-being and includes . . .

      Reducing the number and rate of children placed away from their birth families.
         Among children coming into foster care, increasing the number and rate at which children are
         placed in their own neighborhoods or communities.
                                          Reducing the number of children served in institutional and
                                          group care and shifting resources from institutional and
                                          group care to kinship care, family foster care, and family-
                                          centered services.

                                         Decreasing lengths of stay of children in placement.

  Increasing the number and rate of children reunified with their birth families.

  Decreasing the number and rate of children re-entering placement.

  Reducing the number of placement moves children in care experience.

        Increasing the number and rate of brothers and sisters placed together.
  Reducing any disparities associated with race/ethnicity, gender, or age in each of these
outcomes.    2-1
3.     Goals for the Child Welfare System
To achieve these results, we are committed to the following changes in the child welfare system:

    Developing a network of family foster care that is focused on safety,
     neighborhood-based, culturally sensitive, and located primarily in
     communities in which children currently live.

    Ensuring that all children who come into foster care, including teens
     and brother-and-sister groups, are routinely placed with families.

    Increasing the number and quality of foster and kinship families to meet projected needs.

                                        Providing the services birth families and children need in a
                                         timely enough manner that they can be safely reunited as soon
                                         as possible.
                                        Screening children being considered for removal from home to
                                         determine what help their family needs to
                                         Keep them safe, to make that help available
                                         when it is most needed, and to better
                                         support the children who must be placed.

    Involving birth parents, foster parents, and kinship families as team
     members with our agency and with one another.
    Becoming a neighborhood resource for children and families by investing in the capacity of
     communities where large numbers of families involved in the child welfare system live. 

4.     Strategies in Our Work
                              To achieve these changes in the child welfare system, we are
                              committed to implementing four core strategies:

                              Recruiting, Developing, and Supporting Resource Families.
                                 Finding and maintaining foster and kinship families who can
                                 support children and families in their own neighborhoods.


    Building Community Partnerships. Establishing relationships with
     a wide range of community organizations in neighborhoods where
     referral rates to the child welfare system are high and collaborating
     to create an environment that supports families involved in the
     child welfare system.

    Making Decisions as a Team. Involving not just foster parents and
     caseworkers but also youth, birth families and community members
     in all placement decisions to ensure a network of support for the
     children and for the adults who care for them.

    Evaluating Results. Collecting and using hard data about child and
family outcomes to find out where we are making progress and to
show where we need to change.                                    2-1
2-2
   BELIEF SHIFT PARADIGM


Rescue the Child       Empower the Family


Parents as Clients     Parents as Partners


Deficits/Weaknesses    Capabilities/Strengths


Standardized           Individualized


“Bunker Mentality”     Open and Including


Reacting               Responding


Autocratic Approach    Team-Based Approach


Community Blight       Community Based


Quantity of Services   Effectiveness of Services


Thinking You Know      Hard Data to Show
                                                   2-3
            TDM VALUES

GOAL: To make the best possible placement
related decision with       a high     level of
participant involvement.

BASED ON THE BELIEF THAT:

 A group can often be more effective in
  making good decisions than an individual

 Families are the experts on themselves

 When families are included in decision
  making, they are capable of identifying their
  own needs and strengths

 Members of the family’s own community
  add value to the process by serving as
  natural allies to the family and as experts on
  the community’s resources


                                               3-1
                      SOME BENEFITS OF TDM


 Improves quality of decisions—more information, more ideas
 Increases consistency and accountable practices when
  placement is being considered, helping to assure that only
  children who must be placed are placed and reasonable efforts
  to prevent placement are made in every case
 Shares responsibility and supports caseworker for critical
  placement decisions
 Involves and gives a voice to families, caregivers, providers and
  the community in our work
 Develops understanding, improves engagement, builds
  relationships, and provides opportunity for empowerment
 Provides development of a specific, individualized intervention
  plan that has increased ownership, commitment and support
 Assists in efficient service delivery
 Improves cooperation, communication and teamwork
 Demonstrates agency’s values of protecting child and partnering
  to support family
 Encourages creativity and energizes
 Permits data collection




                                                               3-2
                  SOME CHALLENGES OF
                 TEAM DECISION MAKING

 Staff resistance


 Concerns of court


 Issues of confidentiality


 Confusion on meetings


 Logistics


 Partnerships


 Valuing everyone’s voice regardless of role


 Preparation


 Consistent, quality decisions


 Skilled facilitation



                                                3-3
                                     KEY ELEMENTS OF
                                   TEAM DECISION MAKING


 Goal           To involve birth families and community members, along with resource families,
                 service providers and agency staff, in all placement decisions, to ensure a network of
                 support for the children and the adults who care for them.


 Values            Safety is paramount

                    Every child deserves a family
                    Every family needs the support of the community
                    Public child welfare agencies need community partners


 Assumptions       A group can be more effective in decision making than an individual.
                    Families are the experts on themselves.
                    When families are respectfully included in the decision making process, they are
                     capable of identifying and participating in addressing their needs.
                    Members of the family’s own community add value to the process by serving as
                     natural allies to the family and experts on the community’s resources.


 Key Elements   1. A TDM meeting, including birth parents and youth, is held for ALL placement
                    decisions involving child removal, change of placement, and reunification or other
                    permanency plan.
                 2. Meeting is held before a child’s move occurs, in cases of exigent circumstances
                    within 24 hours after substantiated referral, and always before the initial Court
                    hearing in cases of removal.
                 3. Parents, youth, and caregivers attend and actively participate in decision making
                 4. Meeting lead by an internal Child Welfare, trained and experienced facilitator who
                    does not have any direct link to the family’s case.
                 5. Decision making is shared among multiple Child Welfare staff persons
                 6. Community present at the meeting, especially those regarding possible child
                    removal
                 7. The data is collected after each meeting and ultimately linked to data on child &
                    family outcomes, in order to ensure continuing self-evaluation of the TDM process
                    and its effectiveness.




                                                                                                          3-4
                  TEAM DECISION MAKING
                 CORE PROGRAM ELEMENTS



1. FOR ALL PLACEMENT RELATED DECISIONS

  INVOLVING CHILD REMOVAL, CHANGE OF PLACEMENT, AND
   REUNIFICATION/OTHER PERMANENCY PLAN


2. HELD BEFORE THE CHILD’S MOVE OCCURS

  OR IN CASES OF IMMINENT RISK, BY THE NEXT WORKING DAY

  ALWAYS BEFORE THE INITIAL COURT HEARING IN CASES OF REMOVAL


3. FACILITATOR

  NOT A CASE-CARRYING SOCIAL WORKER OR A LINE SUPERVISOR

  IMMEDIATELY ACCESSIBLE, TRAINED & SKILLED

  INTERNAL AGENCY STAFF PERSON


4. COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVES – OFTEN NEIGHBORHOOD-
   BASED

  IN ALL TDM MEETINGS, ESPECIALLY CHILD REMOVALS




                                                       3-5
      FAMILY TO FAMILY: KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF FAMILY MEETINGS
SOME              ALL FAMILIES             FAMILIES ARE THE           FAMILIES                    FAMILIES CAN MAKE                 WHEN FAMILIES              A TEAM IS OFTEN
CORE VALUES       HAVE                     EXPERTS ON                 DESERVE TO BE               WELL-INFORMED                     ARE INVOLVED IN            MORE CAPABLE OF
OF                STRENGTHS                THEMSELVES                 TREATED WITH                DECISIONS ABOUT                   DECISIONMAKING,            CREATIVE AND
FAMILY MEETINGS                                                       DIGNITY AND                 KEEPING THEIR                     OUTCOMES CAN               HIGH-QUALITY
                                                                      RESPECT                     CHILDREN SAFE WHEN                IMPROVE                    DECISIONMAKING
                                                                                                  SUPPORTED                                                    THAN AN
                                                                                                                                                               INDIVIDUAL

                        CHARACTERISTICS                           FAMILY TO FAMILY                          FAMILY GROUP                                FAMILY TEAM
                         SHARED BY ALL                      TEAM DECISION MAKING                          CONFERENCING (FGC)                          CONFERENCE (FTC)
                                                                   (TDM)
                  To provide support to families at risk   To make immediate decision                  To make a decision that creates safety,   To develop a plan that ensures
                  of or already involved with the child    regarding child’s placement.                permanency and well-being for             protection of child.
PURPOSE           welfare system, in a strengths-based                                                 children.
                  team setting which ensures child
                  safety.
                  To make best possible plans by using     Team, including family, seeks               Family, broadly defined, creates an       Family, using expertise and support of
                  a solution-focused team approach and     consensus decision regarding                initial plan to achieve the purpose of    team members, develops plan to
GOAL OF MEETING   ensuring family’s voice is central.      placement that protects child and           the FGC.                                  address needs and utilize strengths, at
                                                           preserves or reunifies family.                                                        a variety of critical points.
                  Needs/strengths-focused                  Held for EVERY placement-related            Two unique elements:                      Family tells the “family story”
                  Culturally appropriate                   decision faced by EVERY family              Comprehensive preparation and             Option to use for prevention purposes
                  Individualized plans developed           served by the public child welfare          private family time. Both elements        with families not yet involved with
DISTINCTIVE       Inclusive regarding participants, with   agency.                                     position the extended family network      child welfare system.
ELEMENT           family input critical                                                                as primary decision makers.
                  Linkages to continuing supports, both
                  natural and traditional

                  Goal is to place family at center of     Agency maintains responsibility if          The family crafts the initial plan. The   Family determines outcome, except
                  decision making; ultimately the          consensus regarding placement issue         agency worker partners with the           for identified non-negotiable issues.
DECISION          assigned social worker must approve      cannot be achieved.                         family in the decision phase of the
RESPONSIBILITY    of plans made.                                                                       FGC to ensure the plan achieves
                                                                                                       safety, permanency and well-being.

                                                           Mandatory—meeting held before any           Voluntary—the parent must agree to        Voluntary—meeting is held only
SCHEDULING                                                 placement or re-placement occurs, or        participate in or authorize an FGC,       with family’s approval and if
                  Varies…                                  before any initial court hearing in cases   and must be willing to have the child’s   scheduled by family’s assigned
REQUIREMENT
                                                           of imminent risk removal.                   extended family network participate in    worker or community worker.
                                                                                                       decision making.
                                                           Assigned social worker required to          In most communities, the assigned         Assigned social worker, family, or
                                                           schedule when placement-related             social worker, family or community        other team member may refer at any
REFERRAL          Varies…                                  decision must be made.                      member may refer the family to FGC        time.
                                                                                                       at any time.
3-6
                        CHARACTERISTICS                                      TDM                                        FGC                                     FTC
                         SHARED BY ALL

                   Preparing the family for the meeting is   Often limited preparation due to crisis   Preparation viewed as critically         Assigned social worker or community
                   both respectful and important to          nature of many placement decisions.       important to engage family in            worker has pre-meeting with family to
PREPARATION        positive outcomes.                        Assigned social worker invites family     participating and leading the process.   determine goal/desired outcome, and
                                                             and prepares them.                        FGC Coordinator typically spends         to prepare family and identify team
                                                                                                       over 3-4 weeks preparing for the FGC.    members.

                   May include: birth parents; extended      Facilitator is deemed a team member.      Family decides on participants during    Family decides on participants, with
                   family; non-relative supports; child;     All who attend have either family’s       preparation with the Coordinator.        input from facilitator.
                   neighborhood or other community           permission or a right to participate as   Meetings average 9 family members.
                   partners; service providers; assigned     “treatment team” members.
TEAM MEMBERS       social worker; involved agency staff
                   and if already placed outside of
                   family, caregiver and GAL/CASA.

                   Trained facilitator with strong           Immediately accessible, full time         A trained Coordinator, with no case      Trained agency staff, often the
                   strengths-based orientation and           agency staff facilitator who, as team     specific responsibility, prepares        assigned social worker or community-
                   excellent group process skills.           member, shares responsibility for         participants, guides the process and     based service provider.
FACILITATOR                                                  quality decision. Same facilitator for    does not have decision making
                                                             family throughout their involvement       authority. Coordinator may work for
                                                             with system.                              the child welfare agency or
                                                                                                       community-based organization.

LENGTH OF
MEETING            Varies…                                   One to two hours                          Three to five hours                      Varies

                   Privacy and respect are core values       Focus on privacy—family is told           Participants sign confidentiality        Signed confidentiality statement used.
                   and set the tone for the meeting. New     information may be used for case          statement.
CONFIDENTIALITY    allegations of abuse/neglect must be      planning, or in court if necessary. Use
                   reported.                                 of forms discouraged.
                   Attention to post-meeting safety and      Assigned social worker primarily          Participants may carry out and           Primary social worker or community
                   emotional issues is part of the           responsible to implement decision         monitor resultant plan, in partnership   person monitors individualized course
AFTER MEETING      discussion. Follow up meetings are        from meeting; other participants play     with assigned social worker. Follow-     of action (ICA) plan and makes
RESPONSIBILITIES   typical.                                  supporting roles. Outcome data            up FGCs, as necessary, to adjust or      adjustments if necessary.
                                                             collected and used for self evaluation    change plans. Assigned worker
                                                             and planning.                             maintains all case responsibilities.
                   Growing! And complementary…a              TDM is a core strategy used in over       Variations of FGC are being              Community Partnership for Protecting
                   continuum of family meeting types         30 AECF Family to Family sites            implemented in over 35 states and 22     Children Initiative sites including St.
USAGE              provides the opportunity for best         including Cleveland, Louisville,          countries.                               Louis, Jacksonville, Cedar Rapids and
                   practice and positive outcomes.           Detroit, Denver, and San Francisco.                                                St. Louis.
  3-6
 CA 04-11




                        FUNDAMENTALS OF A
                     QUALITY PLACEMENT PROCESS
Out-of-home placement of children is complex and life-altering. Therefore, it is critical that every decision
to remove a child from his/her family is deliberately and judiciously examined, and that every decision
about where to place a child is made with utmost care. TDM meetings provide a vehicle to carefully
evaluate the safety/protection needs, consider the child’s point of view and weigh ramifications to make
the best placement-related decision. TDM also serves as the forum in which public agencies and their
partners apply general, values-driven placement priorities—Special needs? Siblings? Kinship care?
Neighborhood? — to decisions involving specific children and their individual needs.

Team Decision Making causes systems to more carefully examine, assess and individualize every
placement-related decision. A quality TDM decision does not seek to prevent removals, but rather to
ensure that every placement made is a wise and necessary one. Quality TDM also means that every
requested change of placement is carefully examined; that every reunification decision is well-timed and
supported; and that every decision to pursue an alternative to reunification is analyzed from every angle.

1. REMOVAL OF A CHILD/YOUTH FROM THEIR PARENTS’ CARE SHOULD ONLY
   OCCUR WHEN THERE IS IMMINENT RISK OF SERIOUS HARM AND IN-HOME
   SERVICES AND PROTECTIVE SUPPORTS CANNOT PROVIDE AN ADEQUATE LEVEL
   OF SAFETY:
      At an Initial Removal TDM, the decision is made whether home-based services and protective supports can
       provide an acceptable level of safety and protection or if the child/youth must enter temporary out-of-home
       care while services and interventions are offered to the parent(s).
      When the TDM team recommends placement for a child, it must also explore the need for Concurrent
       Planning and explain timeframes for permanency to the parents at the meeting.
      A child’s placement in substitute care could precede a TDM in a crisis situation that requires immediate
       removal to ensure safety. When the child’s placement is in advance of the TDM, the meeting should be held
       the next working day and always before the initial court hearing.
2. EVALUATION OF A CHILD’S NEEDS MUST BE PART OF THE PLACEMENT DECISION:
      The risk and safety discussion at a TDM meeting must address the effects of abuse/neglect in light of the
       particular child’s capacity for resilience and self-protection, as individual child characteristics, including age,
       can increase or decrease the risk of severe harm from abuse/neglect. Whether placement is being considered
       for a child with siblings or individually, the child’s specific vulnerability must be examined as similar safety
       and risk concerns do not necessarily affect every child in the same way.
      While child welfare systems should create clear, values-based placement priorities, e.g. addressing special
       needs, encouraging kin placement, keeping siblings together, maintaining children in their neighborhood etc.,
       every child deserves individual consideration and a personalized decision about his/her own best placement
       resource. No one formula works for every child. The key is to remain flexible and view each child as distinct.
3. THE TRAUMA OF SEPARATION MUST BE WEIGHED WITH OTHER FACTORS TO
   DETERMINE THE NECESSITY OF PLACEMENT:

      A child’s emotional well-being must be part of the Initial Removal TDM discussion because removal from
       parental care is likely to cause psychological harm, and it must be considered.
      When determining if out-of-home placement is necessary, the risk of harm if the child remains in the home
       must outweigh the trauma of placement.
                                                                                                                        3-7
CA 04-11




4. THE VOICES OF YOUTH MUST BE HEARD:

           Older youth often verbalize intense opposition to placement, and this issue must be factored into the
            discussion about appropriateness of out-of-home care.

           Teens often succeed in attempts to undermine placement stability, sometimes leading to additional safety
            risks beyond those that brought them into care. Youth must participate in TDM meetings regarding their
            future unless there are significant reasons relating to their safety and/or developmental capability to benefit.

           Social workers must inform, prepare, and allow youth to choose their level of participation, while the
            facilitator and others demonstrate sensitivity to their well-being and needs throughout the meeting.

5. ASSESSING SAFETY AND RISK IS ONGOING:

         Assessing current safety issues and future risk is crucial and must be continuous throughout an agency’s
          involvement with a family.

         The evaluation of safety/risk is the foundation for discussion at an Initial Removal TDM and continues to be
          a significant focus while a child is in substitute care.

         Evaluating a child’s safety is required wherever she/he is residing, as is appraising parental progress in
          reducing the safety concerns that brought the child into care. Measuring safety for a child/youth in substitute
          care includes monitoring individuals with caretaking responsibilities and observing living conditions for
          potential danger.

         Discussion at the Permanency Planning TDM focuses on the impact of service interventions during the time
          the child has been in care. Critical discussion issues include changes in risk and safety issues from the time
          the child entered care to the present; and the predicted future level of risk if the child is returned to parental
          care, or if an alternative permanent family is sought.

6. OUT-OF-HOME CARE SHOULD BE IN THE LEAST RESTRICTIVE PLACEMENT THAT
   MEETS THE CHILD/YOUTH’S NEEDS:

         When out-of-home care is required, the child’s placement must be in the most family-like living arrangement
          that meets his/her needs. The TDM team must discuss and make a recommendation about the level of
          restrictiveness and type of placement, although the specific placement resource may not be identified during
          the meeting.

         To minimize trauma placement workers are responsible to seek foster homes that keep siblings together and
          in the child’s neighborhood.

7. RELATIVES MUST BE THE FIRST CONSIDERATION WHEN OUT-OF-HOME CARE IS
   NECESSARY:

         The most familiar, most stable situation for a child when they must be removed from their birth families is
          often with relatives.

         It is critical that agencies implement expedited kinship placement protocols so that children can be placed
          with relatives immediately when out-of-home care is required.

         Plans for the support of relative caregivers are essential at the Initial Removal TDM meeting.
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     To minimize confusion it is critical to inform relative caregivers about the Agency’s rules and expectations of
      them. For example, relatives should be informed about responsibilities regarding visitation, transportation,
      concurrent planning, etc.

8. PARENTS’ INVOLVEMENT IS INVALUABLE:
                                                                                                3-7
     Parents’ participation in ANY and ALL TDM Meetings is essential! Parents must be engaged in
      conversation about the importance of the meeting, not simply invited to attend.

     When a TDM decision recommends an initial removal or placement move, it is incumbent upon the facilitator
      to lead a discussion about essential details necessary to aid with the child’s transition.

     The TDM provides the opportunity to discuss issues such as how essential goodbyes will be made, how
      critical possessions can be transferred, when and why an Icebreaker-type meeting will be held, etc. While
      developing the long term plan for family visits is not typically part of an Initial Removal TDM discussion,
      regular and frequent visits, with the appropriate level of supervision if necessary, must be anticipated and
      encouraged.
     Consistent visits are important to support the parent/child relationship and promote swift reunification. Visits
      between parents and child/youth should begin immediately after an initial removal. The level of supervision
      at visits should be adjusted to reflect positive progress by parent(s). The TDM team should initiate a plan for
      an initial Icebreaker meeting for parent(s) and caregivers when a TDM results in out-of-home care; these
      meetings can often be coordinated with the first parent(s)/child visit.

9. MOVES HURT KIDS:

     Everyone in the system must treat resource families with respect. The importance of healthy, supported
      resource families for the well-being of children in placement can not be overstated. Foster and kin
      placements are an invaluable resource, capable of influencing change, promoting successful reunifications,
      and continuing to be a source of guidance and adult connection for youth. Children and caregivers need
      attention, encouragement and assistance to promote stability. Staff must be responsive to their needs, keep
      them informed of family progress/change, invite them to meetings and offer training.
   When a social worker senses that problems threaten to disrupt an appropriate placement, (s)he must quickly
    convene a TDM, so that the team (including the caregiver and youth, if of appropriate age) can brainstorm
    solutions. The earlier that concerns are recognized and addressed, the greater the opportunity to preserve a
    suitable placement. If a child must move, TDM participants can design a plan for maintaining future stability
    so as to avoid serial placements.

   Emergency situations that necessitate a move for a child before a TDM meeting are characterized by exigent
      circumstances. When an emergency removal occurs, the TDM should be held 24-48 hours after removal.

10. REUNIFICATION SHOULD OCCUR AS SOON AS IT IS SAFE:

   A child should be reunited as soon as it appears parent(s) can provide adequate care, protection and stability.
    The family’s social worker schedules a Permanency Planning TDM to recommend reunification when the
    parents’ progress indicates impending readiness to care for their child safely again.

   Permanency TDM meetings should not be scheduled solely on the basis of statutory or court timelines.
    Families progress at their own pace and TDM meetings should reflect this fact.

   Discussion at a Permanency TDM recommending reunification focuses on whether safety issues present when
    the child came into care have been eliminated or substantially reduced. The team must consider whether there
    is no/low risk of future serious abuse/neglect based upon the current assessment; evaluate the effectiveness of
    services and interventions; plan future services/supports; structure a plan for gradually increasing overnight
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     visits, and discuss the many other issues related to the child/youth’s transition from out-of-home care to
     parental care.


11. AN ALTERNATIVE PERMANENT PLAN MUST BE MADE IF REUNIFICATION IS NOT
    POSSIBLE WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME PERIOD:                                                                           3-7

   Children need defined, stable placement and custody plans. Ambiguous or undecided custody arrangements
    leave children vulnerable and living in uncertainty. Custody issues must be resolved to ensure a permanent
    family for a child within reasonable timeframes.

   Permanency Planning TDM meetings are the settings for determination of whether reunification is an option;
    they are also the forum for the agency to decide upon other permanency options including a transfer of Legal
    Custody/Guardianship; pursuit of termination of parental rights/Permanent Custody; or Emancipation.
    Though not considered a true permanent plan, decisions to seek Planned Permanent Living Arrangements
    should also be made at a TDM.

12. YOUTH FACING ‘AGING OUT’ OR EMANCIPATON NEED GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT:

   Everyone needs family. Therefore, while assessing the adequacy of Independent Living Services to prepare
    older youths for self-sufficiency, a Permanency Planning TDM for youth ‘aging out’ of agency custody must
    also ensure the existence of supportive adult/family connections.

   The TDM team must explore aftercare options and contingency plans with youth, to minimize the chances of
    poor outcomes for youth leaving the child welfare system.

   For those youth unable to live independently due to serious developmental and/or emotional disabilities, living
    arrangements and legal responsibility must be concrete and complete prior to the termination of an agency’s
    responsibilities.




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                     CRITERIA FOR CONVENING
                         A TDM MEETING


 The social worker of record is facing a decision on one of
  his/her cases related to custody and/or placement.

 The social worker consults with the supervisor, discussing
  safety and risk assessment information and together they
  explore various options for addressing the concerns.

 When the social worker and supervisor agree that a TDM
  meeting is needed, the worker schedules a meeting. The
  worker informs the parent(s) of the TDM meeting, its
  purpose, invites them to attend and bring support person(s).
  Service providers, past or current, caregiver(s), community
  representative(s), needed agency personnel and others are
  invited by the Scheduler or Facilitator.

 At the TDM meeting, social the worker invites agency staff,
  parents, extended family and other participants to assist in
  exploring alternatives and developing a plan that ensures
  protection and safety for the child in the least restrictive/least
  intrusive manner possible.



                                                             4-1
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                SCHEDULING A TEAM DECISION MAKING MEETING
WHEN                                     WHY                                                                    WHO MIGHT BE PRESENT

Placement/Custody                        To decide if child must be removed in order to ensure safetyParents
Child assessed at moderate to                                       or                               Child, if appropriate
high risk for abuse/neglect                                                                          Youth
                                         To decide if child can remain or return to own home with safety plan
    or                                                                                               Relatives/Supports
Prior to removal, or next working                                                                    Community Representative(s)
day prior to the initial court hearing                                                               Service Providers
regarding emergency removal of child                                                                 Caseworker/Supervisor
                                                                                                     Involved Agency Staff
                                                                                                         e.g. placement, support staff
                                                                                                     Facilitator
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Placement Preservation/                  To decide if child can remain in current placement, possibly           Current Caregiver(s)
Disruption                               with additional supports and/or services                               Parents
Prior to child moving from                                           or                                         Youth
one placement to another                 To decide if child must move to another placement                      Child, if appropriate
          or                             why, where, when and with what services                                Relatives/Supports
Within one working day if                                           or                                          Community Representative(s)
emergency removal required               If child already moved due to emergency, to ensure best possible       Service Providers
                                         adjustment to new placement                                            CASA
                                                                                                                Caseworker/Supervisor
                                                                                                                Involved Staff
                                                                                                                Facilitator


Permanent Planning                       To decide if child can safely return to own family                     Parents
Reunification                                                        or                                         Youth
Transfer of Legal Custody/               To decide on alternative permanent plan if child                       Child, if appropriate
  Guardianship                           can not return to own family                                           Relatives/Supports
Permanent Custody/TPR                                                or                                         Current Caregiver(s)
Planned Perm. Living Arrangement         For older youth, to make best possible plans for independence          Community Representative(s)
Emancipation/Aging Out                   including identification of supportive adults/family connections       Service Providers
Other                                                                                                           CASA
                                                                                                                Caseworker/Supervisor
                                                                                                                Involved Agency Staff
                                                                                                                Facilitator
     4-2
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                   THE ROLE OF THE COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVE
                               AT TDM MEETINGS

At the Team Decision Making table, we often have three different types of “community” people:

    1. Support persons invited by the family – as many as they like and whomever they are.

    2. Service providers can be invited by anyone, and can be community-based or agency-
       based.

    3. Specific “Community Representatives” who are invited by the agency: their role is
       defined in this document. While there is no easy definition for this kind of a community
       representative it’s often useful to ask, “is the family likely to relate to this person as a
       member of their [the family’s] own ‘community’ however they define that?”

       Parents should be informed, before the TDM meeting, that a community representative
       is available to attend and provide support to them during the meeting. Parents’
       permission is required in order for the community representative to attend.

The TDM database and data reporting form distinguish between these different kinds of
“community” participants, so that the impact of various persons’ attendance can be tracked.

When we talk about a “TDM Community Representative” in Family to Family, we are referring to
a person whose involvement comes about as a result of the following process:

   The public child welfare agency makes a commitment to invite a Community Representative
    to all TDM meetings, and most especially to those involving the potential removal of a child
    from his/her birth family.

   The TDM Community Representative is a person invited by the public child welfare agency,
    through its continuing effort to forge new relationships with members of the communities
    from which children are often removed. These representatives are best identified through
    the joint efforts of the agency’s Family to Family Community Partnership and TDM strategy
    work groups. Optimally, the representatives attend meetings with the support of the
    community’s F2F “collaborative” group, which serves as their home base for pre- and post-
    meeting discussion and ongoing support.

   The TDM Community Representatives agree to attend TDM meetings, especially those
    involving the possible removal of a child from his/her birth family, with the permission of the
    parents.

   The public agency provides an orientation to TDM, along with basic training on the role and
    responsibilities of the child welfare system, to all TDM Community Representatives prior to
    their first meeting. (Hopefully, the community has also provided basic training to public
    agency staff on its role in supporting those families it serves.)

   The TDM Community Representative attends the meeting (in addition to those support
    persons who may be present because the family asked them to participate); s/he is a person


                                                                                      4-3
CA 04-11

   the public child welfare agency invites to ensure that every family has a natural ally at the
   TDM table.


      The TDM Community Representative may assume one or more of the following roles at
       the meeting:

           o   To serve as a natural ally, and potential advocate, for birth parents at a TDM;

           o   To represent the birth family’s “community,” whether because of a shared home
               neighborhood, or a shared community of faith, ethnicity or other natural
               connection; this supportive connection can continue throughout the family’s
               involvement with the system and beyond;

           o   To share an awareness of resources which might support the family, especially
               those available within the family’s home community;

           o   To make the birth family feel more comfortable in whatever way they can;

           o   To help the agency’s staff and its partners better understand the family’s
               community of origin, especially its strengths;

           o   To assist the family in understanding the agency’s concerns in relation to safety
               and risk;

           o   To fully participate in the meeting, and particularly to share ideas for ensuring the
               child(ren)’s safety while supporting the family.




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                       CONSENSUS IS NOT UNANIMITY

        What do we mean by a TDM team ‘coming to a consensus decision’?

In the words of a typical TDM participant:

          “I have had a chance to state my views and my preference regarding a
           resolution of the matter under discussion.”

          “I feel heard, but I understand that other members of the group prefer a
           conclusion different from the one I would like to see.”

          “Both identified resolutions protect the child(ren) and support agency
           values and policies.”

          “Given the limitations of time and the need to move on to other priorities, I
           can fully support the conclusion preferred by others in the group, and I will
           demonstrate that full support once I leave this meeting.”

        LEVELS OF DECISION MAKING WITHIN A TDM MEETING:

                         A consensus decision is reached by all

                                             If Not…

              A consensus decision by participating Child Welfare Staff

                                             If Not…

             Facilitator invites primary social worker to make decision

                If any participating Child Welfare Staff (including the Facilitator)
                         cannot support social worker’s decision because
                                      A. Safety
                                      B. Violation of Law/Policy
                                      C. Not Least Restrictive/Least Intrusive

                                Review is immediately held


                                                                                           4-4
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               CRITICAL DISCUSSION ISSUES
           AT INITIAL REMOVAL TDM MEETINGS

Why does the caseworker feel that removal of the child(ren) must be considered? What are the
safety factors suggesting removal is necessary to ensure safety? What must change to keep the
child(ren) safe?
What is the parents’ understanding of the situation—perception/response to the agency’s
recommendation? What does the family believe are their needs? What are the family’s ideas on
how to ensure their child(ren) are safe and protected?
What are the family’s strengths? (Family’s point of view and others) What elements were
present when things went well for this family? Can any of those elements be reinstated now?
Family’s support system—family and community. Identification of relatives—maternal and
paternal.
What information can other participants provide regarding the family’s strengths and needs?
What have been the “reasonable efforts?”
How verifiable and accurate is the information being shared? What information is missing
today? How can missing critical information be obtained immediately? Should an interim plan
be made and a follow-up meeting scheduled?
What services or strategies can meet the family’s immediate needs? How can linkage to critical
services be made today? Which services/strategies will help in meeting longer-term needs?
Have we explored informal, natural and/or neighborhood-based supports for the family, in
addition to traditional services?
If a safety plan is considered, how will the child(ren)’s safety be assured 24/7? Who will
provide monitoring? Are the oversight persons present and able to commit in writing? When
and how will the safety plan be reviewed? Consequences if plan not followed.
If the decision is made to remove, have we carefully explained to the family the agency’s
rationale for recommending removal, the role of the agency vs. Court in decision making,
parental legal rights, ASFA timeline, case planning obligations and generally what to expect?
Have we attempted to ensure the information was understood and answered questions?
What level of care does the child need? What placement options are there? Siblings together?
Kinship (paternal as well as maternal)? Relatives’ attitudes regarding the situation, willingness
to protect, cooperate with agency? Supports for relatives? Special needs/considerations?
If child(ren) is to be removed, ensure social worker schedules first visits and discusses transition
issues. How will the child(ren)’s relationship with his/her community be maintained?
Family team meeting/”icebreaker” scheduled for birth and foster parents to meet and share
information about the child?

                                                                                                4-5
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        CRITICAL DISCUSSION ISSUES AT PLACEMENT
        PRESERVATION/DISRUPTION TDM MEETINGS

DOES THE PRESENT PLACEMENT MEET THE CHILD’S CRITICAL NEEDS?

If YES
Can additional services and/or supports maintain the placement?

Are all of the child’s needs being met currently? If not, which are not being met? What are the
barriers to meeting the child’s needs?

Are all of the caregivers’ needs for support and/or services being addressed? What are the
barriers to meeting the caregiver’s needs?

What services/supports are needed for the child and caregiver(s)? How soon can they be
provided? Who is responsible to ensure the implementation?

What is the plan for support in a crisis? Is respite appropriate/available?

If NO or caretaker is unwilling to maintain child in the placement
Is a change in the level of care or type of placement needed? What is the least restrictive type of
placement that will keep this child safe and support the case plan goal?

Are all of the child’s needs being met currently? If not, which are not being met? What are the
barriers to meeting the child’s needs?

What services and/or supports (for child and/or caregiver) are needed? How will the needed
services and/or supports be provided? Who is responsible to ensure the implementation? How
can stability be maintained for the child?

What is the transition plan with the current caregiver for the child’s move? Can the child be in
his home community? What is the plan for support in a crisis?

Is there anything else that should be done for the child and/or caregiver(s)?

ALSO
If a Foster Family provider/Group Home provider:
Have they fulfilled contract expectations—support to family, contacts, reports etc.?

If an agency foster home:
Does the assigned worker support the foster family’s view of the situation? If not, why not?



                                                                                                4-6
CA 04-11




                  CRITICAL DISCUSSION ISSUES AT
                  REUNIFICATION TDM MEETINGS

What is the present situation?

Have all risks and/or safety issues that brought the child into placement been
reduced/eliminated? How?

Are there any other issues or concerns that have been identified or need to be addressed?

What services have been completed? What behavioral evidence/observations exist which
indicate that the services were beneficial and addressed risks and safety issues? Explain

What services are continuing? (for child, parent(s))

Have all individuals in the home and/or having access to the child(ren) been assessed for risk
factors to the child? Any concerns that need attention?

What is the present level of risk to the child? Is it acceptable?

Are living conditions, childcare, financial, health care (including dental and mental health),
educational issues adequately addressed? If not, how will they be addressed? Any other needs?

Will all children be returned at once? Staggered? How will order of return be determined? Have
parents been asked how they see their children successfully transition home?

What supports are in place to assist the parent(s) upon the child(ren)’s return?
Are supports needed to assist the child(ren) upon the return?
Are additional community services and/or supports needed? What?
How will they be provided? Will these services protect the child and strengthen the family?

Is everyone involved with this family supporting reunification? (e.g., service provider(s),
CASA, resource placement) If not, why not? How are their concerns being addressed?

How have transition issues been planned for: e.g. school change, medical record transfer,
continuing contact with former caregiver(s) and family, friends, etc? Will the caregiver family
provide ongoing support to the birth family? How?

What problems can be anticipated upon reunification? What are the plans to address them
should they materialize? How long will the agency remain involved with the family? How will
the decision to close the case be made?

Acknowledge and celebrate accomplishment!


                                                                                                 4-7
CA 04-11




             SOME CONSIDERATIONS AT OTHER
           PERMANENCY PLANNING TDM MEETINGS

WHEN THE RECOMMENDATION IS TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS

Have we carefully assessed the child(ren)’s attachment to their parents? Have we considered
the issue of emotional damage of permanent separation vs. risk of harm if parental rights are
not terminated?

Has the agency fulfilled its duties and responsibilities to the parents? Has each element of the
case plan been carefully pursued? Has the agency staff carried out all its obligations
competently and in good faith? Have we honestly made reasonable efforts and beyond to
reunify this family?

What are the child(ren)’s chances of having a permanent family if their birth parents’ rights
are terminated? What is the agency’s commitment to ensuring that the child(ren) is adopted
and has a healthy, nurturing family relationship?

How will significant extended family relationships/connections be maintained?

Have the benefits of maintaining a connection between parents and child been discussed with
the Adoptive family/permanent home?


WHEN THE RECOMMENDATION IS TRANSFER OF LEGAL CUSTODY TO A
RELATIVE OR OTHER PARTY

Has the potential legal custodian received a thorough and complete explanation of the rights
and responsibilities associated with legal custody?

Does the potential legal custodian understand that the agency intends for him/her to raise the
child(ren) until age 18, provide parental guidance and family support for life?

What are the plans for continuing contact between the child(ren) and birth parents/extended
family? Is there a need for protective orders or other structured guidelines for contact?

Is there a need to ensure child support is in place? Is the legal custodian capable of providing
for the child(ren) financially?

What supports are available through the agency and/or the community to assist the legal
custodian as they raise the child(ren)?

                                                                                      4-8
CA 04-11




WHEN THE RECOMMENDATION IS FOR
PLANNED PERMANENT LIVING ARRANGEMENT (PPLA)

How does his situation meet the statutory guidelines for use of PPLA? Is this truly the kind of
circumstance envisioned by the legislature for use of PPLA?

How can the agency justify not continuing to work toward finding a permanent family for this
child?

Have all family members been fully explored and re-explored for their potential as
caregivers? How long ago were they assessed? Is reunification possible with the proper
supports? What is the current risk to the child(ren) if placed with parent(s) or extended
family?

Has there been a thorough investigation and consideration of all caring adults who have been
involved with the child(ren)’s life for permanency?

If the child(ren) is placed in PPLA status, how will the agency ensure that s/he has a
significant and positive adult relationship as s/he grows up?

How will the agency prepare and support the child(ren) into adulthood and self-sufficiency?




                                                                                            4-8
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                            STRENGTHS-BASED ASSESSMENT
                                 & ITS ROLE IN TDM

    Our dominant practice has focused on defining “problems” and giving “advice” – this
     weakens rather than strengthens people (empowers the problem, disempowers the person)

    TDM promotes ways to insure safety by encouraging use of resources & strengths of
     families, friends, relatives, and communities

    Looking for strengths generates cooperation, positive energy, creativity

                       UNDERLYING VALUES & BELIEFS:
1. Families have strengths and can change; they deserve respect; they are our allies and
   best resource

2. Strengths are what ultimately resolve issues of concern; we must set up opportunities for
   families to show their strengths

3. Building on strengths is an advanced skill; we’re all good at finding weaknesses (a
   national pastime.) It requires a different set of skills: listening, patience, not giving up on
   people, moving at others’ pace, not getting sidetracked by “problems,” connecting with
   people’s pain, giving credit, seeing crisis as opportunity to grow, willingness to step out of
   a one-up position.

4.   Language reflects thinking; must change language as our thinking changes.
     “Problem” = an energy drainer, carries shame, blame, guilt; leads to taking one-up
     positions, labeling, making negative assumptions when people are hesitant to share
     “problems.”

        Try “issues of concern” rather than “problem”; it can take discussion to a more
         workable level and open avenues to the good will behind difficulties that families
         experience

        “Options” rather than “advice”; options provide choices and choices empower (when
         families choose own solutions, they bring special energy and commitment)

        “Families” not “cases” or “clients”

        “Child” or “Young Person” not “minor”; “alleged offender,” not “perp”

5. Listening is the centerpiece. If we do not listen, it is easy to make assumptions.



                                                                                              5-1
CA 04-11


6. Respect is the active ingredient in strengthening families. Ask “if this were my family,
   or my children, how would I like to be treated?”

7. Explore reservoir of strengths in family, extended family, and community to resolve
   issues of concern.
         To discover strengths: we listen, observe, compliment, encourage, ask, talk about things
          going well & successes.

         Talk about “exceptions” to concerns—instances when they are able to deal w/ concerns
          and can recognize they already have some skills.

         Treat them as experts in their own lives. A respectful question is “What is your best
          thinking about how to make things better?” Listen to their ideas and support them when
          you can. Look for good intent in every idea and build on it.

                           TDM IS A TOOL TO FIND AND BUILD ON
                                   FAMILY’S RESOURCES

         Its purpose is to give family specific opportunity to share their best thinking about
          working out solutions; gives them opportunity to bring in their support systems
          (neighbors, relatives, friends) to help with solutions.

         Must prepare families for meeting – encourage them to bring their support people.

         Because safety is always of primary importance, must make plans that lessen risk,
          maximize protection for child, and offer support to family and social worker. Create
          strength oriented, visual agreement and share copies; make it simple and easily
          monitored. (A safety plan) Extend the circle of people who care, create partnerships of
          people who agree to help in specific ways, ensure family not being overloaded with
          services or obligations.

         Process can strengthen social workers as well as families: make job more pleasant and
          optimistic, families like having strengths acknowledged, credit for positive efforts goes to
          families, who often appreciate support of social worker.




PLR
based on Graber & Nice’s Family Unity Model
2/01




                                                                                                  5-1
      CA 04-11



                               CHARTING
                                 Is Essential
CHARTING is a powerful facilitator tool. It supports a successful TDM
process in the following ways:

CHARTING…

     Helps meeting members participate – 50% learn by listening – 50% learn by reading

     Keeps meeting members focused

     Allows meeting members to see what they have accomplished and what is left to do

     Provides an opportunity for the family to see that they have strengths and things that are
      going well in addition to areas that need to be addressed for their child’s safety

     Promotes participation

     Encourages enlarged thinking – thinking “outside of the box”

     Generates solutions in a focused, forward thinking manner within a deliberate structure

     Provides a visual structure

     Helps members see other’s ideas and build upon them

     Provides families and others with visual affirmation that they have been heard

     Provides families with a tangible list of strengths they can take home with them


 Is CORE to the process – without it, facilitator’s risk a compromised
               process and decision-making outcome




                                                                                           5-2
     CA 04-11




                                         Charting
                                          Tips
                

   Have the Charts pre-labeled and hanging on the wall prior to the meeting.
    (Chart 1) Concerns/Needs, (Chart 2) Strengths, (Chart 3) Ideas, (Chart 4) Action Plan

   Have an extra chart page hanging up – you never know when you will need them so, be
    prepared.

   Have markers and tape available

   Write large enough for members to read – consider writing letters at least 1” tall

   When charting ideas - avoid numbering items – this suggest “prioritizing.” Instead, use bullets

   Try to stand off center when writing so others can see the chart

   To avoid bleeding through on to the wall, use a 2nd sheet of paper and/or water-based markers

   Use large tip markers for easy-to-read scribing

   Avoid using Red – Orange – Yellow markers. These colors are “hard” on the eyes and difficult
    to read from a distance

   Avoid using scotch tape. Painter’s tape is recommended.

   Tear pieces of tape off the roll prior to the meeting, lightly adhere the pieces vertically on the
    chart stand so the pieces to not roll in (horizontally they roll in making it difficult to pull off when
    needed to hang a chart)




                                                                                                 5-3
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                TEN TIPS FOR SOCIAL WORKERS
                FOR EFFECTIVE TDM MEETINGS

1. Come organized to present a summary of the situation and prepared with ideas and a
   recommendation while remaining receptive to the opinions and ideas of the other
   participants.

2. Invite the right people. Give as much notice as possible. Don’t “forget” to invite someone
   because they may be difficult or you don’t want to hear what they have to say. Encourage
   the family to bring their supports and explain to them why it is so important for their supports
   to be at the meeting.

3. Explain the purpose of the meeting in advance to non-agency attendees.

4. Be on time. Assist parent(s) with transportation if needed. It you are going to be delayed for
   any reason, let the facilitator know so attendees can be informed.

5. Schedule adequate time for yourself. While it is important to adhere to timeframes for the
   meeting, remember we are dealing with critical and emotional decisions in the lives of
   families and whatever time is needed to make a quality decision should be expended. Turn
   off your cell phone, avoid interruptions, and give this situation your full attention.

6. Be sensitive and respectful of the serious nature of the meeting. Parents and others are
   watching not just during the meeting, but also before the meeting begins and after it ends.

7. Be clear on the goal of developing a plan with the assistance of the child’s family and others,
   that keeps the child safe in the least restrictive placement/least intrusive manner.

8. Be honest and fair in what you say. Discussion should be respectful, direct, and straight-
   forward.

9. Assist in keeping the group focused and productive. Invite others to share their perspective,
   information and opinion.

10. If consensus among the participating agency staff is not reached during the meeting, you will
    be asked to consider all of the information and ideas shared during the meeting and make the
    final decision/recommendation. However, if an agency participant feels that the decision will
    put the child at risk, violates a law or policy, or is not least restrictive/least intrusive it is their
    responsibility to request a review of the decision. This is about making decisions that protect
    the child, not winning or losing.


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                      WORKER’S GUIDE FOR
                 INITIAL REMOVAL TDM MEETING
   This guide provides detailed information for frontline workers about how to take up their role
   at an Initial Removal TDM Meeting. The facilitator will assist meeting participants through
   the stages outlined. While your contributions and participation as the worker of record are
   vital throughout the meeting, your primary information delivery responsibilities will occur
   during Stage 3, the ‘Assessment” part of the discussion.

   IMMEDIATELY BEFORE TDM MEETING BEGINS, ENSURE THAT:
     You attend to the physical/emotional safety and comfort of attendees.
     a. Alert the facilitator to any special needs of participants or any concerns about volatile
          attendees which might impact safety during the meeting.
     b. Explain role of community representative (if attending) to parent(s) and determine if
          they have given informed consent for the rep’s participation.
     c. Assess family for DV. If suspected or present discuss meeting strategies with survivor
         and facilitator.
     d. Prepare youth by discussing TDM Meeting’s purpose, participants, expectations and
          rights.
     e. Act as host, assisting family and guests with strategic seating at TDM table.

     Worker notes:

         Remember that this is your meeting: you convened it to seek others’ input on
          a critical family matter and your role is central.
         Be mindful that your tone and interactions can enhance the decision making process and
         affect future family engagement efforts/outcomes.
         TDM facilitator may help you with meeting responsibilities as they come up.
         The family and you, the family’s social worker, are the content experts. The
          facilitator will assist with guiding the meeting’s process and work with you to
          ensure a safe and productive decision making meeting.
         The safety of meeting participants is imperative before, during and after the meeting.
         Your knowledge and insights regarding attendees are vital. Be alert to potential problems
         throughout the TDM Meeting.
         Note who is present/absent for the meeting; last minute efforts to determine whether
         key participants are coming may need to occur, and adjustments to discussion plan
         may be required if important attendees don’t arrive.




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   1. INTRODUCTIONS:
       Establish a cooperative tone and provide information about the meeting’s process.
       a. Introduce yourself and role to the team; pay special attention to welcoming the
          family — you are their main connection to this group.


     Worker notes:
      Facilitator will initiate TDM Meeting with welcome, purpose, goal, guidelines and
        introductions.
      Facilitator will invite all to complete name tents to assist with identifying and addressing
       participants. Remember to address family members with name they request rather than
       lapsing into using the ‘mom’, ‘dad’, ‘grandma’, etc.


   2. IDENTIFY SITUATION TRIGGERING MEETING:
       Briefly explain why the TDM Meeting is being held.
       a. Explain what happened, the precipitating event that indicates removal of child(ren)
           from parental care and/or court intervention may be necessary.
        b. Identify where child(ren) is presently residing.

     Worker note:
      Invite parent(s) to initiate the explanation of precipitating event if they desire.


   3. ASSESS WHY OUT OF HOME PLACEMENT/COURT INTERVENTION
      MAY BE NEEDED:
      Lead an in-depth discussion about concerns affecting child(ren)’s safety and well-
      being, family resources and protective factors, and information needed to assist
      team to weigh the level of danger and initial placement recommendation.
      a. Explain current danger and what must change to keep child(ren) safe in the future.
      b. Give succinct summary of family history with child welfare system(s) including
          previous referrals and dispositions.
      c. Offer criminal and abuse/neglect history of adults with access to child(ren).
      d. Describe reasonable efforts: services offered, used, and presently in place. Provide
          current service providers’ reports if not present.
      e. Use the safety/risk assessment concept or tool as the foundation for an understandable
          and behaviorally descriptive presentation of issues, noting the most critical safety
          elements which surfaced in the assessment, as well as relevant strengths, linking them
          to your recommendation.
      f. Share additional information that may affect decision making, e.g. attachment vs.
          trauma of placement, level of cooperation, professional recommendations, resources
          availability.
      g. Discuss relatives capable of offering support and mitigating risks (and NOT just in
          light of their potential as caregivers.)
      h. State your current placement/custody recommendation, while remaining willing to
          explore alternatives with team.

                                                                                        6-2
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     Worker notes:
      Don’t forget that the meeting is a group discussion rather than a description of issues
       directed at the facilitator.
      While you are sharing lots of information, also let others add, contradict, ask for
       clarification, comment, etc.
      Listen to others respectfully and in the spirit of learning from their views and opinions.
      Provide complete, honest, and fair information. Keep your language as clear and
       engaging as possible.
      Be extra protective of youth and most vulnerable guests. Watch out for their emotional
       and physical safety.




   4. DEVELOP IDEAS:
      Lead the group in brainstorming ideas about how to address identified concerns
      and utilize strengths.
      a. Share ideas that could make child(ren) immediately safer.
      b. Contribute placement/custody suggestion(s).
      c. Suggest services that can reduce risks and support child(ren)’s placement stability.


     Worker notes:
      Offer your ideas and build on others’ but resist evaluating suggestions at this time.
      Invite and welcome others’ input and assistance. Creative and diverse suggestions benefit
       decision making. Stay open and encouraging to all ideas.
      Keep idea development and reaching the decision real! The final decision should be
       made at the TDM table, not in advance.

   5. REACH PLACEMENT- RELATED DECISION AND ACTION STEPS TO
      SUPPORT IT:
      Join the facilitator in guiding a structured examination of ideas beginning with the
      least restrictive placement/ least intrusive custody suggestion. Starting here ensures
      the team systematically and thoroughly examines the most family-like placement
      option that can provide safety and meet child(ren)’s needs.
      a. Participate in the examination of the placement alternatives, determining if a
          Placement can offer safety/protection/stability, and if so design supports. If not,
          ensure the family receives an explanation for rejecting the choice before considering a
          more restrictive placement option.
      b. Explore with group the services and strategies requiring immediate implementation to
           meet parents and child(ren)’s needs.
      c. Consider with team the ability to implement actions and services, as well as possible
          consequences of a decision.
      d. Ensure that essential supports for the planned placement are available and can be
          initiated quickly.
      e. Write or revise the safety plan if necessary, ensuring that it is realistic, concrete,
         time-limited and monitoring is in place.

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     Worker notes:
      Strive for consensus but remember that the agency is required to ensure the TDM
       decision provides safety/protection.
      You will be requested to make the meeting’s decision if participating agency staff
       cannot agree on a decision.
      Understand that participating agency staff should ask for a review if they feel your
       decision is unsafe, violates a law or agency policy or is not least restrictive/least
        intrusive. It’s not personal — it’s about ensuring the best decision.
      Explain for family members that TDM decisions to seek custody or court-ordered
       supervision are actually recommendations to the court, and the actual decision
       will be made by the judge.

   6. CLOSE THE MEETING:
      Facilitator reiterates placement-custody decision/court recommendation, and
      reviews action steps, responsibilities and timeframes to ensure understanding.
      a. Verify accuracy of facilitator’s summary. Clarify for self and/or others (especially
         family) if information shared sounds incorrect, unclear or insufficient.

    Worker notes:
     Review written summary for completeness and accuracy.
     Sign written decision and action steps summary and use after the TDM Meeting to assist
       with task completion.
     Be proactive with family and guests, explaining next steps and answering questions,
      especially around issues like first family visit, court proceedings, service plan
      development, and case transfer to ongoing worker/private agency staff.
     Consult your calendar to schedule Icebreaker or Follow-up TDM meeting.
     Based upon your observations and knowledge, take after-meeting measures that appear
      necessary, e.g. steps to provide participant safety, especially in DV cases, intervention for
      suicidal/other serious emotional or behavioral issues.




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                   WORKER’S GUIDE FOR
              PLACEMENT CHANGE TDM MEETING
   This guide provides detailed information for the worker-of-record about how to take up
   their role at Placement Change TDM Meeting. The facilitator will assist meeting
   participants through the stages outlined. While your contributions and participation as
   the child(ren)’s social worker are vital throughout the meeting, your primary
   information delivery responsibilities will occur during Stage 3, the ‘Assessment’ part of
   the discussion.

   IMMEDIATELY BEFORE TDM BEGINS, ENSURE THAT:
     You attend to the physical/emotional safety and comfort of attendees.
     a. Alert the facilitator to any special needs of participants or any concerns about volatile
        attendees which might impact safety during the meeting.
     b.Ensure parents and caregivers are introduced if they have not previously met.
     c. Explain role of community representative (if attending) to parent(s) and determine if
        they grant informed consent for representative’s participation.
     d. Prepare youth by discussing TDM purpose, participants, expectations and rights.
     e. Act as host, assisting family and guests with strategic seating at TDM table.

     Worker notes:
      Call the TDM as soon as you become aware that there are issues threatening the
       placement’s stability. If a TDM is scheduled before an appropriate placement becomes
       damaged beyond repair, the meeting provides an opportunity to explore whether
       additional services or supports can preserve it.
      The participation of the child(ren)’s current caregiver is of utmost importance at a
       meeting involving the possibility of a placement change; do not hold the meeting without
       the caregiver unless circumstances make an immediate TDM Meeting necessary.
      In most child welfare systems there is an expectation of TDM participation by children
       over the age of 12; unless there are circumstances requiring an immediate decision,
       placement change meetings should be scheduled to accommodate youth participation.
      Remember that this is your meeting: you convened it to seek others’ input on the
       child(ren)’s potentially-disrupting placement and your role is central.
      Be mindful that your tone and interactions can enhance the decision making process,
       affect future family engagement/outcomes and impact caregivers’ satisfaction.
      TDM facilitator may help you with meeting responsibilities as they come up.
      The current caregivers, family and you, the child(ren)’s worker, are the content
       experts. The facilitator will assist with guiding the meeting’s process and work
       with you to ensure a safe and productive decision making meeting.
      The safety of meeting participants is imperative before, during and after the meeting.
       Your knowledge and insights regarding attendees are vital. Share safety concerns in
       advance with the facilitator and be alert to potential problems throughout the TDM
       Meeting.




                                                                                                    6-3
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    1. INTRODUCTIONS:
        Establish cooperative tone and provide information about the meeting’s process.
        a. Introduce yourself and role to the team; pay special attention to welcoming the
           caregiver(s) and family—you are their main connection to this group.

     Worker notes:
      Facilitator will initiate TDM Meeting with welcome, purpose, goal, guidelines and
       introductions.
      Facilitator will invite all to complete name tents to assist in identifying and addressing
  Pa   participants. Remember to address individuals as they request rather than lapsing into the
‘      ‘mom’, ‘dad’, ‘foster mom’, etc.

    2. IDENTIFY SITUATION TRIGGERING MEETING:
        Explain in a few sentences why the TDM Meeting is being held.
        a. Share or assist the caregiver in sharing what happened and/or circumstances of
           concern that suggest there is a risk of placement disruption, or that it may be best for
           the child(ren) to move from current placement.

      Worker notes:
       Rely on the current caregiver, private agency provider or other suitable person to initiate
        the explanation of precipitating event or issue if appropriate.
       Invite youth at the table to respond to the explanation of the precipitating event or issue,
        if s/he did not present first.
       Work to be specific, avoiding generalities as it is difficult to address, intervene or plan for
        concerns that are not behavioral or descriptive.

    3. ASSESS WHY A PLACEMENT CHANGE MAY BE NEEDED:
       Lead an in-depth discussion determining if the current placement meets child(ren)’s
       critical needs and can be preserved, or if a move is necessary; consider the barriers
       to meeting child(ren)/youth’s needs and stability.
       a. If placement change is being considered due to safety and risk concerns, describe
            danger in current placement.
       b.If factors other than risk/safety are relevant, describe those in detail.
       c. Examine child(ren)’s unique needs and how they are being met in current placement.
            Provide progress reports from child(ren)’s current service providers if not present.
       d.Detail services for child(ren) and caregiver that have been used and/or offered. Identify
            barriers meeting child(ren) and/or caregiver’s needs.
       e. Discuss child(ren)’s strengths and supports.
       f. Provide additional information that may affect decision making, (e.g. resource
            availability, professional recommendations from those not present at TDM Meeting.)
       g. Discuss sibling placements to determine if current circumstances affect those children;
            consider whether a placement change could result in sibling unification.




                                                                                                      6-3
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       h.Explain relatives’ involvement and your efforts to identify available/suitable relatives if
           current placement is disrupting.
       i. If kin placement is an option, ensure information on assistance availability is offered
           to assist their decision making.
       j. Discuss the child(ren)’s level of care: do you recommend a different level if the
           current placement can’t be saved? How can a higher level of care be avoided?
       k.If a move is being recommended, explain how it will promote permanency and support
           the case plan goal.
       l. If a move is recommended, what can be done to identify a new placement in the
           child(ren)’s home community?

     Worker notes:
      The purpose of the Placement Change TDM Meeting is to determine if additional services/
       supports can preserve a disrupting placement, or identify and plan for a stable and
       successful placement if a move is indicated. The purpose is not to reconsider or
       debate why child(ren) came into agency care or examine case plan progress in general.
      Don’t forget that the meeting is a group discussion rather than a description of issues
       directed at the facilitator.
      Listen to others respectfully and in the spirit of learning from other’s views and opinions.
      Be protective of youth. Watch out for their emotional and physical safety. Actively
       engage them in sharing their own ideas and preferences.


   4. DEVELOP IDEAS:
      Lead the group in brainstorming ideas about how to preserve the current
      placement or identify a safe, stable alternative. If a move is necessary, explore
      alternative placement options.
      a. Share ideas about additional services and supports that can address child(ren) and/or
          caregiver’s needs and aid stability.
      b. Contribute suggestions regarding type of placement or level of care that will meet
          child(ren)’s needs if move is required.
      c. Suggest ways to ease the transition if placement must change.

     Worker notes:
      Offer your ideas and build on others’ but resist evaluating suggestions at this time.
      Invite and welcome others’ input and assistance. Creative and diverse suggestions benefit
       decision making. Stay open and encouraging to all ideas.

   5. REACH DECISION ABOUT PLACEMENT CHANGE AND ACTION STEPS TO
       SUPPORT IT:
       Join the facilitator in guiding a structured examination of ideas. If the current
       placement is adequate and can be preserved, the focus is on how to increase
     stability.
       If a change is necessary, the team considers the type of placement that will meet
       child(ren)’s needs and identifies optimal services and supports.
       a. If placement change is necessary determine least restrictive level of care that meets
           child(ren)’s needs.
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CA 04-11

       b. Identify services and supports that will enhance stability, whether plan is for
          child(ren) to remain in current placement or move to another. Learn from a failed
          placement to avoid repeat disruptions.
       c. Ensure essential services and supports are available and can be implemented quickly.
       d. If child(ren) is changing placement develop a transition plan to minimize negative
           effects of move, e.g. pre-placement visits, community placement, continuity of
          school and social networks, family contact, transfer of records.

     Worker notes:
      Strive for consensus but remember that the agency is required to ensure the TDM
       decision provides safety/protection.
      You will be requested to make the meeting’s decision, if participating agency staff can not
       agree on a decision.
      Understand that participating agency staff should ask for a decision review if they feel
       your decision is unsafe, violates a law or agency policy, or is not least restrictive/least
       intrusive. It’s not personal – it’s about ensuring the best decision.

   6. CLOSE THE MEETING:
      Facilitator reiterates the placement change decision and reviews the action steps,
      responsibilities and timeframes are reviewed to ensure understanding.
       a. Verify accuracy of facilitator’s summary. Clarify for self and/or others (especially
          family and caregivers) if information shared sounds incorrect, unclear or insufficient.

     Worker notes:
      Review written summary for completeness and accuracy.
      Sign written decision and action steps summary and use after the TDM to assist with task
       completion.
      Be proactive with child(ren)/youth, caregivers, family and other guests, explaining next
       steps and answering questions, especially around initiation of additional supports/services,
       respite care, placement move details, etc.




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       TEN TIPS FOR SUPERVISORS/MANAGERS
          FOR EFFECTIVE TDM MEETINGS
1. Discuss with staff the agency’s commitment to Family to Family principles and their
   application to day to day activities.
       Children do best in strong families
       Families can become strong when they have the support of their communities
       Child welfare agencies can do their job better when they partner with
          communities

2. Be sure everyone understands the purpose of TDM meetings—to make the best
   placement-related decisions possible, with a high level of participant involvement.

3. When one of your workers is facing a custody and/or placement decision, discuss the
   safety concerns, risks, strengths, and options and determine together if a TDM is
   needed. Model speaking about concerns in a behaviorally specific way that explains
   why something is a concern.

4. Ensure your staff is organized and prepared to present a summary of the situation,
   identification of family risks and strengths, ideas and a recommendation. Encourage
   workers to remain receptive to the opinions and ideas of other participants.

5. Attend TDM meetings with your staff as a support and participant in the decision-
   making process. Turn off your cell phone to avoid interruptions and to give the
   family your full attention. Model professional interactions.

6. Assist in keeping the group focused and productive. Invite participants to share their
   perspective, information and opinion.

7. Ensure staff follows through on plans developed at the TDM meeting. Regularly
   review action and safety plans in case conferences.

8. Help all participants to understand the importance of group decision making and their
   role and responsibilities in a quality outcome.

9. If consensus is not reached and a staff person requests a review of the decision made
   by the worker, support the person’s right and responsibility to request the review
   because they believe that the decision will put a child at serious risk of harm or
   violates a law or policy. It’s about making the best decision that protects the child,
   not winning or losing.

10. Solicit and provide feedback, positive and negative, to workers about their
   presentation and interaction at TDM meetings. Coach staff on engagement and
   problem-solving skills.



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           TEN TIPS FOR AGENCY DIRECTORS
           TO IMPLEMENT AND SUPPORT TDM
   1. BE A TDM CHAMPION. Highlight the agency’s commitment to TDM as a
      core element of practice with staff, community partners, caregivers, service
      providers, court, etc. Do so not only at the initiation of the process but on an
      ongoing basis.

   2. CLARIFY EXPECTATIONS. Ensure that the agency’s values around TDM
      are clearly reflected in its policies and procedures, and that all staff and
      stakeholders have the opportunity to attend high quality orientation or training.

   3. HOLD STAFF ACCOUNTABLE. Recognize those who contribute to a
      positive TDM process, and ensure that those who do not receive appropriate
      remedial attention.

   4. HIRE EXCELLENT FACILITATORS. Commit to finding resources to
      support the hiring of an adequate number of skilled facilitators and support staff,
      whose past performance has demonstrated their commitment to the agency’s
      mission.

   5. HELP CREATE THE INFRASTRUCTURE. Demonstrate visible support for
      the TDM process by ensuring accessible meeting rooms, preferably in the
      community. Assist in efforts to provide parking, child care, and the physical
      amenities needed to create a family and guest-friendly environment for TDM
      meetings.

   6. ATTEND TDM MEETINGS. Model your commitment by attending at least
      one TDM a month. You will send a powerful message of support, and you’ll
      have a good window on daily practice in your agency. You’ll also meet some
      wonderful families and community members.

   7. TAKE YOUR TURN on the rotation of administrators who conduct ‘reviews of
      a decision’ when the agency’s TDM team can’t reach consensus.

   8. INVITE FEEDBACK. Meet regularly with TDM facilitators to hear their
      observations and insights regarding trends, service gaps, and system strengths.
      Expect your top managers to do the same.

   9. INCLUDE TDM IN HIGH LEVEL MANAGEMENT DISCUSSIONS.
      Involve the manager of the TDM function as a regular member of (or at least
      visitor to) the Senior Management Team.

   10. USE TDM DATA TO GUIDE PRACTICE. Model, through discussion and
       participation in self-evaluation activities, the use of TDM outcome data to assess
       the agency’s performance and guide decisions in practice and policy.

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A MESSAGE TO OUR CAREGIVERS ABOUT TDM…

We recognize you, the caregivers of our children, as critical members of the team
that will make placement decisions. Team Decision Making (TDM) will mean that
you will be invited to attend any meeting when a child in your care is being
considered for a move to another placement or to be reunited with his/her
parent(s). We feel it is imperative that we hear your thoughts, information, and
ideas. We know that your commitment to the child’s welfare and safety will assist
us in making a decision that will best meet the child’s needs.

Our TDM meetings will include you, youth as appropriate, parents, support
persons of the parents, service providers, community representatives, and
involved members of the Child Welfare Agency staff. The child’s social worker
will schedule a TDM meeting whenever it appears that a decision regarding
placement needs to be addressed. We plan to have meetings before any move
of a child, so that together, we can make a decision that best meets the child’s
needs, while always being mindful of safety and protection issues.

If a child is at risk of disrupting from your home, we want to determine if
additional supports and/or services to the child or you might stabilize and
maintain the placement. We will need your input to make this decision. If the
child must move to another placement, we want to have your assistance in
ensuring that we have all the information about why a move is needed and how
to make the change with as little trauma for the child as possible. We want to
minimize the number of moves that a child in our care ever has to make before a
permanent placement plan is established.

When it appears that a child can be reunited with his family, we again need your
involvement. We want you to assist the team in determining that the supports
the child will need for a safe and successful reunification are in place. We want
to discuss the transition plan for the child such as school change, medical record
transfer, continued contacts with friends and you and your family, etc. We want
to hear if you have any concerns or issues that need to be addressed regarding
the reunification plan.

We hope that the TDM process will support not only the children and their
families, but also our caregivers. We need to have you continue as our partner in
strengthening families and protecting children. Thank you for all you have done
and for your assistance in the future.




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       TDM: A CONVERSATION WITH ATTORNEYS

TEAM DECISION MAKING IS…

   An informal, social work-driven process through which a public child welfare agency
    fulfills its legal mandate to make decisions regarding placement of children under its
    jurisdiction

   An internal agency practice, usually invisible to the Court, except that social work
    staff and families who appear in Court tend to be better prepared and the agency’s
    petition is more strongly supported

   A process which honors consensus as the ultimate goal

   A forum which brings together family members, their support systems, agency staff,
    neighborhood representatives, caregivers, and service providers to participate in live
    decision making about placement issues

   An opportunity to thoroughly examine a family’s strengths and needs while assessing
    the safety and risk factors which impact decision making around placement

   A meeting which supports careful examination of questions having a legal impact,
    including reasonable efforts and concurrent planning

   A forum which provides solid preparation for social workers who will present the
    agency’s recommendations for placement and custody in Court


TEAM DECISIONMAKING IS NOT…
   A process which is mandated, either by statute or administrative rule

   Mediation

   A forum for pretrial discovery

   Formal in tone or process

   A meeting which promises complete confidentiality to any participant

   Adversarial

   Intended to be a direct source for potential case settlement options




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                         TEN TIPS FOR CASA
                    FOR EFFECTIVE TDM MEETINGS
1. Please attend the TDM. The participation of the CASA, as the child’s independent advocate,
   is critical. Understand, however, that due to the often emergent nature of situations requiring a
   TDM, meetings can be scheduled quickly and with little notice. When scheduling the TDM
   the social worker must give priority first to the parents’ attendance and then to other
   participants.

2. Recognize the goal of a TDM is to involve parents, family/supports, caregivers, service
   providers, CASA, community partners, etc. with child welfare staff in an honest, open and
   thorough discussion that results in a high quality placement decision. Understand that the
   Child Welfare Agency remains legally responsibly for all placement decisions.

3. Support the value of maintaining the best interest of the child as the focus of discussion.
   Recognize that ‘best interest’ means a decision that provides safety and protection in a
   placement at the lowest possible level of restrictiveness, and in the least intrusive manner. We
   must always remember that children suffer emotionally when they must leave their families,
   and we must weigh that damage against the harm of their remaining in risky home situations.

4. Understand the consensus goal and cooperative intentions of every TDM. A decision that all
   participants can support is the objective for the meeting. If you have questions and/or concerns
   during the discussion, or as ideas are being considered, ask for clarification, indicate your
   issues and express your feelings so that you feel you have been heard.

5. Look for family strengths. Strive for a solution-focused approach, discussing the strengths and
   concerns particular to this family’s situation. Suggest options to address the issues which
   build on family strengths. Work to develop a consensus decision that provides safety and
   protection for the child in the least restrictive way possible.

6. Offer your opinion, input, suggestions and recommendation while remaining open-minded,
   creative, flexible and receptive to the opinions and ideas of other participants.

7. Talk directly with family members and others during the meeting and listen carefully,
   considering the comments, suggestions and ideas of everyone present.

8. Accept as normal that everyone will not agree, emotions can run high, some individuals’
   behaviors will be difficult and the environment may be tense during many TDM meetings.

9. Maintain the privacy of information discussed at the TDM. Information should only be
   repeated outside of the meeting for case planning purposes or if necessary in court.

10. If you are unable to attend the TDM either in person or via telephone, provide your concerns
    and recommendations to the social worker verbally or in writing in advance so that your input
    can be part of the meeting. If you are unable to be present, check with the social worker after
    the meeting regarding the decision/recommendation and plan of action.




                                                                                                6-8
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             TEN TIPS FOR ENSURING EFFECTIVE
             COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN TDM
   1. VALUE THE PARTNERSHIP: Believe that the community has a role in child
      protection and that child welfare agencies must share responsibility and work with
      neighborhood partners to strengthen parents and enhance their ability to keep their
      children safe and nurtured.

   2. SHARE RESPONSIBILITIES: Rely on established community partners to recruit
      representatives and jointly plan effective orientation and training for representatives to
      ensure they have adequate knowledge and confidence to be full participants.

   3. ASSUME GOOD INTENTIONS: Trust that representatives are invested in keeping the
      child’s best interest and particularly his/her safety first and foremost while supporting the
      family. Maintain an inclusive attitude and team mentality. Support the agency’s
      commitment to shared decision-making.

   4. DEMONSTRATE APPRECIATION: Develop a working relationship based upon
      respect, acceptance and recognition of the value community partners add to TDM.
      Ensure agency staff are well-trained in cultural issues and that meetings reflect
      sensitivity to differences.

   5. PROVIDE INFORMATION: Ensure parents understand community partner’s role and
      the potential benefit for them so parents can make an informed decision regarding the
      community member’s participation

   6. BE CREATIVE: Search for ways the parents’ community can support the family and
      child. Embrace the uniqueness and differences of communities. Ensure team
      examination of non-traditional, as well as, traditional services to decide if the services
      can promote safety, offer support and/or reduce risks.

   7. AFFIRM THE COMMUNITY’S STRENGTHS: Empower the community
      representative to support parents and promote understanding of the family’s community
      during the TDM, while keeping the child’s best interest central in TDM process and
      decision.

   8. RESPECT SUGGESTIONS: Demonstrate appreciation for viewpoint, skills,
      knowledge and resources of partners. Value input and contributions. Thank community
      representatives for their participation, insights, ideas and opinions.

   9. TALK OFTEN: Maintain open communication with the community group or
      collaborative which the representative represents; request and offer suggestions, guidance
      and feedback.

   10. CONFIRM BENEFITS: Share quarterly data reports with community representatives
       and collaboratives. Provide information about how community members’ participation is
       impacting on lives of families and children from their community. Recognize
       community representatives; celebrate progress publicly!


                                                                                           6-9
CA 04-11




           DAY 2
CA 04-11




                               WHAT IS A TDM FACILITATOR?

                        You may be wondering what a Team Decision-making facilitator does!
We have identified some qualities and responsibilities of the position, which may help to explain
the facilitator’s role:

1. TDM facilitators focus the groups’ energy on a common task—to reach a decision about a
   placement issue that protects and provides safety for the child in the least restrictive/intrusive
   manner possible.
2. Facilitators assure that the purpose of the TDM meeting is understood and all participants
   have an opportunity to be involved. With the social worker, they lead the group discussion
   that determines the placement/custody recommendation for the child.
3. Facilitators protect ideas and individuals from attack or being ignored. They provide a safe,
   supportive environment to permit communication.
4. Facilitators are sensitive and responsive to nonverbal cues. They must manage conflict and
   emotions.
5. Facilitators periodically summarize, clarify, reframe and identify areas of agreement to assist
   the group.
6. TDM facilitators assure that the situation is thoroughly examined, risks stated, family
   strengths recognized, goals verbalized, ideas brainstormed, and quality decisions made with
   safety and action plans developed.
7. Facilitators are an information resource for the group. They are knowledgeable of laws,
   agency policies/procedures, services, best practice, etc. and monitor compliance with
   standards by staff.
8. Facilitators move the group through the problem-solving/decision making process,
   maintaining reasonable timeframes.
9. Facilitators manage the process and structure of the meeting, recognizing that the family and
   social worker are the content experts. They are responsible to ensure that a high quality
   decision results from the meeting, intervening if necessary, as an experienced/knowledgeable
   participant.
10. Facilitators strive to develop a consensus decision with all participants, but if consensus with
    all is not possible, develop consensus with agency staff present at the meeting.
11. Facilitators accurately record information and decisions. They provide a copy of the
    safety/action steps at the completion of the meeting to all participants.
12. Facilitators are committed to encouraging professional development in agency staff. They
    model supportive, non-threatening, respectful behavior. When strengths and growth areas are
    observed with agency participants, they share their perceptions with the worker and
    supervisor.
13. Facilitators must be willing to serve as “change agents” within their systems, advocating with
    leaders for best practice in services and policy development.
                                                                                                7-1
CA 04-11




              A REALISTIC PREVIEW OF
             TDM FACILITATOR POSITION
AS A FACILITATOR, YOU WILL:
      Be viewed by colleagues as a leader and a spokesperson for the agency.

      Have a highly visible and responsible position within the agency, but usually will
       not be responsible for a caseload of your own.

      Use your experience and skill to be innovative and instrumental in engaging,
       encouraging, supporting and empowering participants in the TDM meeting.

      Witness and participate in the creativity and the power of the group process.

      Be able to demonstrate the values of inclusion, partnership, honesty and being
       strengths-focused at TDM meetings.

      Often be energized (or exhausted) by busy, stress-filled days, with a schedule
       determined by the daily demand for meetings. Your schedule will be flexible to
       accommodate families, and may include evening work.

      Be prepared and focused at all TDM meetings, and be ready to move quickly to
       work with the next team upon a meeting’s conclusion.

      Observe the presentation, behavior and skill of staff, both good and bad. You will
       be expected to assist, empower, model, monitor and coach, in addition to
       providing feedback to colleagues/supervisors about the quality of their work.

      Be respectful and professional to others, even when their behavior is difficult.
       You will manage individuals (non-agency and agency) in a group when tension
       and emotion is high.

      Need to be punctual for meetings and on the job as scheduled as a TDM meeting
       cannot be canceled due to the lack of a facilitator. When another facilitator is not
       available, you may be responsible for doing your colleague’s work in addition to
       your own.

      Have to give attention to details in preparation for and during meetings, but be
       able to see the “big picture” and ramifications of decisions.

      Work with diverse teams. You must be independent and strong enough not to be
       influenced by friendships or loyalties, but focus on facts and families’/child(ren)’s
       needs. You must demonstrate fairness to all.



                                                                                               7-2
CA 04-11



      Be responsible for ensuring that concerns, strengths, and ideas are thoroughly
       discussed and considered in all decisions. You will be accountable for ensuring
       that knowledge of policies, standards of practice, laws, identification of risks,
       substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health, community and placement
       resources etc. are factored into decisions.

      Be responsible for quality control, objecting to a social worker’s decision when
       necessary.

      Have to work diligently with sometimes little recognition or appreciation for work
       well done, while sharing responsibility for decisions and dysfunctional meetings.
       You must invite feedback on your facilitation.

      Possibly have limited peer support, due to few individuals doing facilitation or
       understanding the stress of your job.

      Need to see trends, systems issues, service gaps etc. and provide your insights to
       management.

      Be asked to accept, support and lead special projects as needed for the department
       and agency.




                                                                                          7-2
CA 04-11




                    FACILITATOR LEADERSHIP
                       CHARACTERISTICS




 BELIEVE IN THE GROUP PROCESS


 ABILITY TO MODEL—BE INVENTIVE AND CREATIVE


 ABLE TO BE OPEN


 STAMINA TO STICK WITH THE GROUP


 ABLE TO COPE WITH ATTACKS


 ABLE TO LEAD WITHOUT NEED TO BE FOCUS OF
  ATTENTION


 SELF-AWARE


 CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE




                                               7-3
CA 04-11




                                      FREQUENT NEEDS OF
                                        FACILITATORS

These identified needs are neither necessarily good nor bad, unless they draw the focus from the
growth and development of the group. Consider your personal level of need and how it could
affect the group.

 THE NEED TO LOOK GOOD



 THE NEED TO FEEL CONFIDENT/SIGNIFICANT



 THE NEED TO BE LIKED/LOVED



 THE NEED TO BE RESPECTED



 THE NEED TO BE RIGHT



 THE NEED TO RESCUE/SAVE



 THE NEED FOR PRAISE/RECOGNITION



 THE NEED FOR POWER/CONTROL


                                                                                                   7-4
CA 04-11


                                  PERSONAL ASSESSMENT OF BEHAVIORS
Because we need to be conscious of our behavior before we can make any changes, assess your behaviors and determine where you might work to improve.
                                      Always                Usually               Often               Sometimes                Never

I Listen Attentively to Others
   ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

I Can Make Clear Statements
   ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

I Can Express My Feelings
   ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

I Can Encourage Others to Openly Communicate
   ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

I Am Sensitive to Others Feelings
   _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I Am Responsive to Nonverbal Messages
   _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I Want Others to Succeed and Meet Goals
       _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I Can Motivate and Encourage
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I Can Accept Ideas & Feelings Different from My Own
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I Accept Feedback Willingly
       _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I Am Able to Give Feedback Fairly
   _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  8-1
CA 04-11




                 SOME COMMUNICATION SKILLS
                 FOR EFFECTIVE FACILITATION

Active Listening: Trying to see the problem the way the speaker sees it. Requires
entering actively and imaginatively into the other person’s situation and trying to
understand a frame of reference different than your own. (Reflective listening)

Clarifying: Interprets ideas or suggestions; Clears up confusion; Defines and explains
terms, jargon, acronyms; Indicates alternatives and issues confronting the group.
Example—“I don’t understand. Did you say…”

Collaborating: Working together; assisting; “Let’s see if we can work on this together.”

Confronting: To push others to acknowledge problems, feelings, or behaviors, when
other less directive interventions has failed to. It may increase resistance if not
successful, difficult to use without an established and supportive relationship.

Crediting: Recognizing the contribution and efforts of a person. It is giving credit where
credit is due and remembering to do it.

Empathizing: Entering the feeling or ideas of another, to put yourself in another’s shoes.

Encouraging: Friendly, warm and responsive to others; Accepts others; Asks for
responses, ideas, feelings of all participants. Example—“Tell us more…” “You were
saying…” “Describe…” “Is there some other points of view on this subject?” “Is there
something we haven’t thought of?”

Establishing Rapport: Developing a relationship or connection with another person.
Showing others that you are willing to listen, invites them to say what’s on their mind.
Example - Use the person’s name

Harmonizing: Attempts to reconcile disagreements and find areas of commonality; Gets
people to explore their differences. “Sounds as if you have the same goal, but different
ideas how to get there…”

Interpreting Verbal Statements: Exploring and clarifying statements so that the
meaning is understood

Interpreting Nonverbal Cues: Translating the non-spoken messages, provided by body
language and paralanguage—the inflections and other vocal and gestural nuances added
to language to convey meaning. Body language includes facial expressions; eye contact
and movement; head, arm, and hand movements; and body postures and shifts. Whether



                                                                                           8-2
CA 04-11




automatic or learned, body language can corroborate or contradict what a person says or
doesn’t say in words.

Linking: Joining parts together to assist in making connections and build understanding.
“Sounds like your thoughts/ideas are similar to what X had to say.”

Negotiating: Discussing to build agreement, asking for what you want and listening to
the other person. Secret of successful negotiating is listening.

Paraphrasing: To check communication accuracy between speaker and listener. Saying
back to the speaker, in your own words, your understanding of what that person has said,
to make sure you understand the content and meaning of the message you heard. “If I
understand correctly, you are saying…”

Reality Testing: Checking if the idea is sound and can be implemented. Is it viable?

Reflecting/Mirroring: To share or repeat what you heard or saw. From time to time, the
facilitator comments on either the content or the process of the meeting and asks the
group to respond. “I notice that we’re only talking about foster care placement, is there
any other option?” (content focus) or “We agreed to hear everyone out, and there seems
to be a lot of interrupting going on? How is this affecting participation?” (process focus)

Relieving Tension: Alleviating or lessening the level of emotional stress or anxiety.
“There are a lot of strong feelings being expressed. Maybe we all need to take a deep
breath for just a moment.”

Silence: Powerful quiet. Ask a question, pause, wait, say nothing.

Strength-Based Interviewing: Respectfully questioning to allow families to recognize
and be recognized for their strengths. Involves listening, observing, complimenting,
encouraging, asking, and talking about successes.

Summarizing: Pulls together related ideas; May assist with keeping discussion on track.
Helps to concisely organize information. Restates suggestions/ideas after the group has
discussed them. Example—“Let me see if I understand you correctly. So far, you said
that…”

Supporting: Assisting or aiding either verbally and/or non-verbally, nodding head,
saying “Ok,” “Thanks,” “That’s a great idea” etc.




                                                                                        8-2
CA 04-11




REFRAMING / ASKING CLARIFYING QUESTIONS / REFLECTING

Using these statements, rewrite them to reframe the comment OR develop a clarifying
question OR write a reflective statement to get more information about the comment to
move the TDM team forward in a positive solution finding manner. Use strengths-based
language.

1. He’ll never do that, we tried it before and it didn’t work.


2. He is nothing but a drug addict and bum.


3. She can’t stand me.


4. I am tired of her lying to me.


5. I don’t want to live with her.


6. She never listens to me.


7. I am tired of her not following through on what she says she’s going to do.


8. He’s a drunk.


9. He never does anything he is told.


10. I am tired of his rotten attitude and his moping around the house.


11. He’s out running with his friends and refuses to babysit his younger brother.


12. He talks a lot about his interest in boys and wanting to bring them home and it just is
    not Christian.


13. She flirts with my husband and every other man in the family. I won’t have it in my
    house.




                                                                                          8-3
CA 04-11




                        IDEAS ON HOW TO HANDLE EMOTION,
                         DISAGREEMENT AND CONTROVERSY


DO
      Give all the information on decision making, e.g. consensus is the goal, but the agency
       will make the final decision if unable to reach group consensus

      Establish and refer to ground rules

      Explain the purpose of the meeting

      Keep the focus on the goal—to make the best possible decision that protects the child
       while being least intrusive and least restrictive

      Listen/hear

      Recognize, describe, and legitimize emotions and actions—direct and indirect

      Acknowledge the emotion, try to understand and encourage the person to describe their
       emotion, if they are able

      Accept emotions, controversy and disagreement as natural and to be expected

      Stand in the other person’s shoes

      Ask the individual “what do you need?”

      Communicate cooperative intentions

      Identify and clarify areas of disagreement and differences

      Encourage understanding and acknowledgement of all ideas and positions

      Negotiate over issues

      Stay flexible and assist the group to do the same

      Provide tissues, water

DON’T

      Interrupt

      Take it personally

      Be critical of the person. Judge, label, accuse or insult

      See ideas and decisions as win/lose situations

      Get too concerned or act too quickly
CA 04-11




                                                                                            9-1


                       WHAT CAN I DO WHEN…


    A GROUP MEMBER IS EXHIBITING DIFFICULT
     INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR
       When it is a staff member, you might want to approach the person in private, point out
       the problem, discuss and coach them in more desirable behavior. Approach as an ally,
       not as an authority

       Try not to judge the behavior as right or wrong

       Attempt to maintain the balance between protecting the group from the distracting
       behavior and protecting the individual from undue attack

       Legitimize their feelings, perceptions or rights

       Refer to the ground rules. Allow the group to self-monitor, if able




                                                                                                9-2
CA 04-11




  SOME TYPES OF INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIORS MAY INCLUDE…

      MONOPOLOZING/DOMINATING THE DISCUSSION—speaking too often, long
       or loud, making it difficult for anyone else to participate
       Stop the person, thank them for their input, say that we need to hear from everyone

       Remind of time limit
       Break eye contact. Stop giving focused attention
       Summarize what the person has said and move to someone else
       Give the person a time limit
       If you know in advance this may be a problem, propose in ground rules that “everyone
       monitor air time.” Explain that may mean less talking for some and more for others

      NON-PARTICIPATION/WITHHOLDING—being unable or unwilling to speak up
       Recognize and acknowledge that the process and/or discussion can be overwhelming and
       intimidating
       Recognize that participation is individual. Goal is that each person says everything that
       (s)he wants to say and is listened to during the meeting
       Determine if the participation is unbalanced due to too many staff or professionals
       present
       Invite person to participate. When they speak be attentive and an active listener
       Understand that some people may not be able to participate due to cognitive/emotional
       issues, language, etc
       Ask easy questions (yes, no) or questions that allow person to be the expert or speak with
       confidence. “Can you tell us about what your child…”
       Thank them for participating

      THREATS/PHYSICAL ATTACKS
       Set ground rules at the beginning and reiterate as needed during the meeting

       Stay calm and confident, monitor your tone of voice—speak calmly

       If there is a threat to another person, determine if the person is fearful. Assess if they feel
       this is a real threat and ask what they feel they need to do

       Offer the individual a chance to leave the room—dismiss if too volatile

       If information is known up-front, may put security on alert

       Call security. Use security measures. Police report

       “Trust your gut.” Be self-aware
                                                                                                         9-2
CA 04-11




      BLAMING OTHERS, ATTACKING, CRITICIZING OR PICKING AN
       ARGUMENT
       Describe the behavior in a nonjudgmental manner
       Redirect, to focus on the issues at hand, resolutions
       Indicate that we are not here to point fingers, but to make the best safe plan for child(ren)
       Describe the behavior in a nonjudgmental manner
       Stop the argument. Ask for and record a statement of each individual’s position. Engage
       other group members in discussing their positions
       Ask the person what the group could do to respond to their concern

      DENIAL/MINIMIZATION—being unable to recognize or acknowledge concern or seriousness
       of problem
       Ask for their perception. Ask clarifying questions to raise their awareness level
       Repeat, clarify purpose, focus. Stress why safety concern is of importance to agency
       Emphasize effects of the caregiver’s actions on children. Explain possible consequences
       State facts
       State the differences and ask why
       Look for what is in common
       Acknowledge

      LYING (Don’t have to address if not helpful to the process of the meeting)
       Respectfully confront with evidence
       Allow the person to explain, share their feelings
       Have others share what their experience was regarding the topic
       Acknowledge the disagreement, difference, and inconsistency. Ask the person if they
       can assist the group to understand why


      CRYING
       Acknowledge feeling and pain
       Offer tissue
       Ask if they need a moment
       Encourage a family member to comfort, if appropriate


      NONVERBALS AND INDIRECT VERBALS
       Recognize incongruent behavior, comments, if applicable
       Comment on what it looks like
       Provide an “I” message
                                                                                                       9-2
CA 04-11




      HOSTILE/NEGATIVE/ANTAGONISTIC DEMEANOR— Negative expressions
       can be either verbal or nonverbal
       Remind of ground rules

       Acknowledge the person’s point of view. Listen
       Recognize and acknowledge the anger by a reflective statement, remain calm, soft voice
       Clarify reason for anger and attempt to deal with underlying reasons
       Give an opportunity to vent and check for safety of all
       Make a point of thoroughly paraphrasing the individual’s view the first couple of times
       the person speaks. Stick very close to their exact wording
       Point out the negative pattern
       Ask if there is any part of the discussion/work being done, which the person feels positive
       or good about
       Explore alternative solutions while allowing the individual to state what the worst
       consequence could be
       Ask for their opinions about what is needed. Record the opinions. Ask the group to
       respond


      YELLING/SCREAMING
       Ask everyone to take a deep breath to regain calm and remind why everyone is here.
       Restate meeting purpose & goals
       Speak in calm voice. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled in
       Remind why we are here, what we must accomplish and important that they participate in
       helpful manner
       Value feelings, reframe
       Let everyone express their feelings to the extent possible—may be loud, animated
       Stop/pause, silence, breathe and refocus

      LEAVING THE ROOM
       Ask another team member to check on the person (a support person)
       Invite the person to return
       Watch for signs of escalation and give permission to leave.
       Thank them for coming back. Validate feelings
       Encourage the person to stay
       Acknowledge consequence— the meeting will continue without their input


                                                                                                     9-2
CA 04-11




      TALKING OFF THE SUBJECT—being out of sync and appear to be talking irrelevantly
       Understand that issues being dealt with are emotional and the individual is under a great
       deal of stress. Ask and answer questions that will assist
       Consider that there may be other things going on—mental health issues, substance abuse
       etc.
       Try to direct the person or the group to come back to their point
       Explain how the group planned to proceed and let the individual know the group will get
       to their issues

       Remind the group that they are there to talk about the safety of the children/placement
       and only have a limited amount of time to make the critical decision


      HOPELESS/OVERWHELMED
       Acknowledge difficult situation and assist in identification of support systems

       Review strengths/better times
       Offer support systems to help
       Let person know that agency wishes to help through this time.
       Identify options to reduce stress and improve coping skills


      INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE
       Remind of ground rules and explain that the language may be offensive/condescending
       Consider the context
       Monitor group’s reaction
       Sometimes “let it go”


      PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR
       Stress importance of everyone’s input and participation in decision
       Engage as much as possible in discussion—continue to ask for input, opinions and
       clarifying points
       Address solution-seeking questions to that person in hopes he/she will engage
       Make everyone feel and know that each person’s opinion matters and everyone should
       respect one another
       Ask questions that would prompt the person to own their feelings and direct them
       appropriately




                                                                                                   9-2
CA 04-11




     INTERRUPTING OTHERS—cutting off others who are speaking or jumping into a
       conversation too soon, disrupting the sharing of information and showing disrespect for the other person.
       Interruptions can be verbal or non-verbal
       Remind of the ground rules
       Stop the interrupter and ask the person to wait while the speaker completes their thought
       Ask if the interrupter would like to write down their thoughts to ensure that they don’t
       lose them and then to share later rather than interrupt
       Be neutral and consistent. Don’t allow some to interrupt and not others

      HAVING SIDE CONVERSATIONS—making private comments or carrying on another
       discussion with their neighbor
       Ask them to stop. Point out how it distracts
       Ignore it if it appears to be beneficial or necessary for the family member
       Ask them to share
       Ask if they can hold it until…
       Walk towards the people having the side conversation and stand by them as you facilitate
       Repeat the topic under discussion and ask if everyone can focus on it and have just one
       conversation at a time
       If staff, in addition to intervening as above, address outside of the meeting

      INSERTING PERSONAL AGENDAS—repetitiously inserting a concern or a
       disagreement—“Yeah, but….”
       Acknowledge the concern and comment

       Paraphrase or record the point, thank the person and move on

       Ask the person what they want the group to do with the information
       Give the person a time limit

       If it has nothing to do with placement/safety of the child/topic at hand suggest they talk to
       the social worker after the meeting

      REPEATING THE SAME POINT OVER AND OVER—not being able to let go of
       something. (This is a variation of inserting a personal agenda)
       Acknowledge the importance of the point and the person’s passion, advocacy and/or
       determination
       Demonstrate that the person has been heard and the point recorded – point it out on chart
       Explain when the point will be dealt with
       Ask if the person can let it go for now
       Give the person a final time-limited opportunity to make their pitch




                                                                                                                   9-2
CA 04-11




                             BE PREPARED FOR…


   1. Workers being unprepared


   2. Workers disorganized, with little or incorrect information


   3. Workers reluctant to share information


   4. Workers not coming with recommendation


   5. Staff not “owning” decision


   6. Challenges to you personally, usually from supervisors


   7. Conflicting information from agency staff and other professionals


   8. Workers/supervisors being disrespectful/unprofessional to other
      participants


   9. Needing to clarify or correct policy, procedures, laws etc. without
      embarrassing worker/supervisor


   10. Workers who want TDM to be a ‘rubber stamp’ for their
      recommendation

                                                                            9-3
CA 04-11




           TDM: A PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

1.     Believe in the group’s ability to be effective

2.     Be respectful and demonstrate courteous behavior to all

3.     Remember the purpose and goal—to provide opportunity for family
       and others to participate in developing solutions.

4.     Watch your nonverbal messages

5.     Listen and seek to understand other points of view

6.     Communicate cooperative intentions

7.     Recognize the family’s expertise

8.     Build on strengths—identify, ask about, share, encourage, compliment

9.     Be honest, fair, specific and behaviorally descriptive in what you say

10.    Know your personal biases, prejudices and “hot spots,” and control
       that they do not affect your ability to provide balanced input and
       leadership in the meeting

11.    Make sure that what you say is understandable to all

12.    Speak directly to group members, not about individuals as if not
       present

13.    Acknowledge and accept emotions and disagreements as natural and
       to be expected. Stand in the other person’s shoes

14.    Separate issues and concerns from the people discussing them

15.    Stay open, flexible and creative. Consider the merit of each idea

16.    Maintain your energy throughout the meeting

                                                                                9-4
CA 04-11



                         DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND TDM
           DO
          Examine your personal feelings and awareness about domestic violence
          Recognize the reality of domestic violence in many of the families we serve
          When possible, evaluate who will be present during the TDM meeting and determine
           your response in advance

          Identify behavioral (verbal and nonverbal) and physical cues by meeting participants
           which could indicate domestic violence

          Be alert and responsive to threats, intimidation and anger from the person who batters
           during meetings, however subtle

          Assess the safety of all participants (especially the survivor) both during and after the
           TDM meeting

          Create a climate in which the survivor can speak honestly and safely
          Engage the person who batters as a parent – not just as a person who batters
          Know a range of options for managing the meeting, i.e. breaking, separating,
           telephone conferencing, written communication etc.
          Remember: the best way to keep children safe is to keep the non-offending parent
           safe.

          Ask what the adult survivor needs—listen
          Dialogue around safety planning with adult survivor for self and children
          Assess and provide for concrete and immediate needs (e.g. rent, transportation)
          Consider all resources and be creative
          Ensure planning holds the person who batters responsible and accountable
          Develop collaboration with DV experts. Inform DV advocates of the agency’s TDM
           process and ask for their assistance in training, attendance and identifying resources

       DON’T
          Allow blaming and/or shaming of the adult survivor
          Believe the only way to provide safety is to remove victims from the home
          Violate any protective/court orders

          Have person who batters on the telephone – it is impossible to safety plan, the
           survivor still may be reluctant to talk , and the danger to the survivor still exists since
           the person who batters can hear what is being said
          Have preconceived plans or decisions for DV situations
                                                                                                     9-5
CA 04-11


           Suggested Format for the Pre-TDM DV Check-In
When Family Violence is suspected or indicated during the TDM screening, the Pre-
TDM Check-In is held just prior to the TDM meeting and includes the Assigned Social
Worker, Facilitator and the Survivor.

The Facilitator provides a brief explanation of the TDM meeting and explains the role of
the facilitator, the worker and other participants, along with the purpose of TDM. The
Facilitator shares the safety ground rule with the Survivor, explaining that it is
important to know if there are any concerns about personal safety before beginning the
TDM meeting, for example:

       o “All of our TDM meetings are guided by a set of ground rules that allow for
         everyone to participate in a cooperative and safe manner”

       o “These ground rules include one person speaking at a time, allowing
         everyone a chance to speak and agreement to treat one another respectfully”

       (Safety Ground Rule)

       o “Most importantly, we want to make sure the meeting is a place for physical
         and emotional safety for all who participate. Examples of how we ensure
         safety are that we respect restraining orders and other court orders
         prohibiting contact between people. We give permission for people to keep
         themselves safe during the meeting, and as the facilitator, I might suggest a
         time-out, that we take a break, or that we move into separate meetings if I
         believe that someone is feeling unsafe. We adhere to the concept of ‘Nothing
         about us without us’ except when there is a safety concern for a participant.”

The assigned Social Worker then leads a discussion with the Survivor to assess for the
possibility of family violence. The Facilitator assists the worker in keeping the
conversation focused on the assessment for violence and not moving too much into the
substance of the TDM meeting. Sample questions for the Social Worker are:

       o “How does your family resolve conflict? How do you and your partner
         communicate when either of you is upset?”

       o “What happens when you and your partner disagree and your partner wants
         to get his/her way?”


       o “If your partner used physical force against a person or property, describe
         what happened. What was the worst or most violent episode?”


       o “Have the children ever been hurt in any of these episodes? Have they ever
         been present?”
CA 04-11



           o “Are there any court orders prohibiting contact between you or anyone                           9-6
             else who will be at the meeting?”


           o “Are you feeling like you can safely participate in this TDM?”


           o “Is there anything we should be aware of related to your personal safety
             before the meeting starts?”



       If there are concerns about anyone’s safety in the meeting, the Facilitator informs
       the parent that there are things that can be done to help structure the meeting by
       saying:

           o “If you start to feel unsafe, it can be helpful for us to have a signal that you
             can give me, without your partner being aware of it. What could that be?”

           o “We usually hold separate meetings in situations like this. How do you
             think s/he will respond if we tell him/her that we are holding two
             meetings? How can we explain this to him/her?”

                        If the Survivor indicates that it will be more unsafe to hold
                         separate meetings, ask, “What can be safely discussed?”

           o “What else would help you to feel safe? Who should be here that would
             help you feel safe?”


       Even if the discussion does not indicate concerns about family violence or
       immediate participant safety, all agency staff should be prepared for “in the
       moment” strategies and move to separate meetings if necessary.




       Adapted from “Guidelines for Conducting Family Team Conferences When There is a History of Domestic
       Violence” – Family Violence Prevention Fund and Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group, 2001
       Special Thanks to Shellie Taggart, The FVPF, San Francisco County HSA, CA, Macomb County, MI DHS
CA 04-11

       For additional information, please see “In the Moment Strategies for Facilitators of Team DecisionMaking
       Meetings when Domestic Violence is Present or Suspected” (May 2004) Available at
       www.aecf.org/KnowledgeCenter
                                                                                                                  9-6



DAY 3
CA 04-11




           BEFORE THE TDM MEETING
DO

   If it is part of the facilitator role, invite agency staff, community, CASA, etc as
    identified by the social worker

   Discuss with worker any relevant process information - logistics, special needs,
    interpreter, DV, etc

   Have TDM summary report initiated with child(ren) name(s), ages, case # etc.

   Prepare room—Adequate seating, supplies, make sure speaker phone is working, etc

   Assess anticipated participants eligibility for attending TDM. Attendees qualify
    when invited by birth parents or involved with CPS as member of
    investigative/treatment team. Others (community reps, prevention specialists,
    extended family not invited by parents) will need birth parents’ permission.

   Ensure parents meet, receive an explanation of the purpose for each attendee who is
    not part of the investigative/treatment team and consent to their presence at the TDM.

 If birth parents refuse attendance of individual(s), along with the social worker
  explain why it is beneficial to have the participant at the meeting. If parent(s) still
  refuse their attendance they should be excluded.

DON’T

   Just show up

   Arrive late

   “Over-prepare”, i.e. form an opinion about the “right” outcome

   Allow staff to select seats at the table before the family arrives and is seated




                                                                                             10-1
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                                                  THROUGHOUT THE
                                                     MEETING



DO

   Trust the process

   Care for all group members

   Keep alert

   Encourage participation by all

   Maintain balanced participation

   Demonstrate professional, respectful behavior

   Separate problems discussed from the people discussing them

   Pick-up on signals/cues that the group is ready to move to the next stage

   Offer “Family Alone Time” if it appears the family will benefit

   When the unexpected happens, respond with sensitivity, respect and honesty for the family

   Watch your nonverbal messages

   Step into content issues if …

   Remain focused on safety/protection, while least intrusive/least restrictive goal




                                                                                            10-2
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                      STAGES OF A TDM MEETING


   INTRODUCTION
       Purpose and goal
       Consensus goal/agency owned
       Concept of building on strengths
       Introduction of participants, roles and relationship to child/family/case
       Guidelines for meeting
       Questions before beginning

   IDENTIFY THE SITUATION
       Define the concern
       Precipitating event/why are we here?

   ASSESS THE SITUATION
       Determine the magnitude of the situation
       Safety needs
       Risk concerns
       Strengths/supports
       Services involved presently and utilized in the past
       Past history/stressors
       Participants’ perception of situation
       Worker’s recommendation

   DEVELOP IDEAS
       Brainstorming ideas to address concern and provide safety and protection
       Ideas will usually be in 3 categories:
                    o Placement/custody
                    o Action to provide safety
                    o Services to reduce risk

   REACH A DECISION
       Safety and protection in the least intrusive/least restrictive manner
       Action plan developed
       Timely linkage to services, priority services need immediate connection

   RECAP/EVALUATION/CLOSING
       Everyone knows who will do what, when?
       Questions??




                                                                                   10-3
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           10-4
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   SAMPLE INTRODUCTION FOR FACILITATOR

Welcome, thank you for coming. My name is____________ and I will be facilitating today’s meeting.
*We are here because of an emergency that occurred last night and resulted in the removal of ________ from
his/her home. We want to discuss what happened and determine how we can keep your child safe while we
work with you, his/her family, to address the concerns. The goal of this meeting is to make a decision that
will provide safety and stability for ________while maintaining and supporting your family.
The decision could range from ________ returning home with a plan that we feel will keep him/her safe,
while you are involved with services, or we could decide that _______should be placed out of the home
while we address the concerns that brought him/her to our attention.
Our desire is to work together to determine the best way to ensure safety and protection for ______. We
know that you, as ________ parents, know him/her best, so your thoughts and ideas are most important to
us. We will listen and consider all ideas and suggestions that you offer, as well as our other guests’
contributions. We strive in this meeting to recognize and use your family’s strengths that can impact on
the issues that brought us here today.
We hope we can make a decision today that we can all agree is the best way to proceed. However if we
can’t come to agreement, the agency is, by law, ultimately responsible to make the decision that we
believe will protect and provide safety for your child(ren).
Before we go any further, let’s take a moment for everyone to introduce themselves. Please also state
your relationship to the children. Additionally, there are name tents in front of you, if you would like to
write on them how you wish to be addressed during this meeting it may be helpful to everyone.
Introductions of the participant, their relationship to child/family/case and strengths of parent(s) or youth
We find that some guidelines for the meeting usually make it run smoother. The ground rules that have
been beneficial for past meetings include:
             A respect for privacy—that means that what is said here is not shared outside of this
                 meeting, unless: It’s for the purposes of case planning, or if a new concern about abuse
                 or neglect is alleged that has not already been investigated, or if it becomes necessary to
                 involve juvenile court.
             We will treat each other with respect.
             Only one person will speak at a time.
             Everyone will have an opportunity to speak and ask questions.
             Meetings usually last from 1-2 hours.
Can everyone agree to these group ground rules?
Are there any additional suggestions for conducting this meeting that you feel are needed?




                                                                                                                10-5
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           SAMPLE EXPLANATIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE TDM MEETING
                 AND GOAL OF PROVIDING SAFETY AND STABILITY

Considered removal:
*We are here because we have identified risk issues and safety concerns that lead the agency to believe that
we may need to consider removal of ___________ from your home. We want to discuss the risks and safety
concerns and determine how we can address them and keep your child safe, while we work with you, his/her
family. The goal of this meeting is to make a decision that will provide safety and stability for
________while maintaining and supporting your family.

The decision could range from ________ remaining home with a plan that we feel will keep him/her safe,
while you are involved with services or we could decide that _______ should be placed temporarily out of
the home while we address the concerns that brought him/her to our attention.

Placement preservation/disruption:
We are here because of concerns about _________ placement in his/her foster home. We will need to
decide if _________ can remain in his/her present placement or if he/she should move, how, when and
where the change will occur.

Reunification:
We are here to determine if __________ can return home. We want to discuss what brought ________
into the agency’s care initially and determine if (Mr./ Mrs./ Ms.) present situation is such that _________
can return home safely.

Other permanency decisions:
We are here to decide how _________ can be provided permanence—in other words, every child needs to
grow up in a stable, permanent family and that’s what we want for ________. We will discuss why
_________ has been in the agency’s care, the progress that you, his parents, have made in addressing
concerns, and what should be done to ensure stability for his/her future. We want to consider ________
individual and family needs.

                               KEY ELEMENTS OF INTRODUCTION

       Welcome

       Statement of purpose and goal of meeting

       Declaration of desire to work together—all opinions and ideas considered. Hope to agree
        on decision, though ultimately agency responsible to make, if unable to agree

       Introduction of participants, roles or relationship to child/family/case and concept of
        building on important family or individual strengths to address the safety and risk issues

       Ground rules with emphasis on right to privacy and exceptions that will necessitate the
        sharing of information

       Opportunity for questions

       Recognition of parent(s) as experts on their children


                                                                                                      10-5
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                                          INTRODUCTIONS
DO
   Be on time                            •   Smile

•   Be polite, respectful and courteous   •   Create a safe climate

   Thank the group for attending         •   Answer questions/concerns

   Encourage participation               •   Be complete

   Be clear

   Allow the family and guests to determine where at the table they wish to sit

   Determine how each participant wishes to be addressed (name tents)

   Explain the purpose and goal of the meeting for all to understand

   Ensure comprehension and agreement regarding the right to privacy information

   Check for agreement with the ground rules


DON’T

   Be too easygoing

   Be too formal

   Be preoccupied

   Use jargon

   Rush




                                                                                    10-6
CA 04-11




                           IDENTIFYING THE SITUATION

DO
   Ask parent(s) if they wish to initiate the discussion by sharing their understanding of
    the situation/their understanding of why they are meeting

   Direct parties to talk to each other
   Allow conversation to flow
   Use participants’ own words when summarizing/paraphrasing
   Point out or describe feelings
   Allow silence
   Ask open-ended questions
   Scan the group for nonverbal behavior—body language and cues
   Allow expressions of feelings, including anger
   Remind people of ground rules, if needed

DON’T
   Exclude participants
   Speak for someone
   Calm too soon
   Panic at signs of emotions or disagreement
   Allow people to talk only to the facilitator
   Lecture
   Interrupt
   Give advice
   Offer opinions on a dispute

   Allow participants to begin assessment of the situation until the precipitating event
    has been clearly identified


                                                                                              10-7
CA 04-11




                         ASSESSING THE SITUATION
DO
   Get to why – magnitude of the situation

   Ensure safety and risk assessment tool information is understandable

   Seek specifics and encourage behaviorally descriptive information

   Encourage full disclosure of concerns. Advocate direct, honest, respectful communication

   Ensure a complete discussion of meaningful family or individual strengths that can be used as
    protective factors

   Write strengths and needs for all to see on flip chart or white board

   Keep discussion clear. Avoid or translate jargon, acronyms, semantics

   Be attentive to nonverbal messages

   Summarize, identify and link differences and common ground


DON’T

   Focus only on negative aspects

   Permit disrespect or attacks

   Panic at signs of emotions or disagreement

   Rush

   Allow the size of your chart to dictate the number of strengths/needs – Add paper, ect. as needed




                                                                                                 10-8
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           10-9
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                   UTILIZING SAFETY AND RISK ASSESSMENT
                      INFORMATION AT A TDM MEETING


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING SAFETY AND RISK ASSESSMENT AND TDM
MEETING:

1. What is safety and risk assessment?
‘Safety and risk assessment’ refers to a structured method of gathering and analyzing information necessary to
identify immediate safety threats, and to classify the levels of risk for re-abuse or neglect which are present in
families served by child welfare. Safety and risk assessment decision making tools typically assign risk ratings
based on research reflecting the predictive value of the presence of certain facts or clusters of facts. Information is
collected to develop a picture of a child’s maltreatment, including type, frequency and severity of occurrences.
Additional details about the child, information regarding the adults in the household, and family functioning are
evaluated and strengths which have relevance as protective factors are also gathered and analyzed. Both risk and
safety issues are captured by examining elements, individually and together.

2. What is the difference between assessing safety and assessing risks at a TDM Meeting?
Assessing safety at a TDM Meeting requires examining what must be done immediately to protect the child from
abuse/neglect. The focus is on identifying the factors that place the child at danger of serious harm at the present
time, as well as the presence of protective factors to counterbalance threats to safety. Assessing risk at a TDM
Meeting involves predicting the likelihood of future harm due to abuse/neglect by the parents. Assessing risks
requires examining past and present behaviors of the parent(s), both positive and negative, to reasonably foretell the
likelihood and severity of future harm to the child.

3. How is safety and risk assessment used in TDM?
TDM provides the forum for child welfare staff to discuss risk and safety issues with family and others, and to
participate in placement-related decision-making. The concept of risk assessment is the foundation for all TDM
discussions regarding child removal, reunification or other permanency planning decisions. It is important to
remember that all risk/safety discussions should occur within the broader context of child well-being, which must
always reference children’s emotional needs and the trauma of separation.

4. How much family history must be discussed at a TDM Meeting?
It is essential that all factors that impact upon the health, welfare and safety of the child are considered when
making a placement decision, because such decisions must be grounded in careful assessment of immediate safety
issues and predictions of future risk. In order to make such an assessment, the TDM team must examine past
events and history, as well as the present situation that resulted in the need for a TDM Meeting. All history relevant
to abuse and neglect of the child, as well as any history of A/N by every adult with access to the child, is important
because the past is sometimes our best predictor of the future. Examining the history of a family’s past must also
include circumstances when they were functioning healthily. If the TDM Meeting discussion only focuses on the
present circumstances, the future well-being of the child may be in jeopardy since the magnitude of future risk, or
the potential to build upon past strengths, may not be understood. The challenge for a TDM facilitator is to ensure
thorough discussion of concerns while remaining strengths-based and solution-focused.

5. What are the safety and risk issues that must be decided at an Initial Removal TDM Meeting?
Participants at the Initial Removal TDM Meeting must decide how to protect the child from serious harm at this
time—can the child safely remain home with protective supports? Or must the intervention include temporary
removal from the home while remedial services are provided to the parents? Discussion at an Initial Removal
TDM Meeting focuses on the precipitating event and immediate safety issues in addition to an
evaluation of the factors that put the child at risk of future abuse/neglect. Strengths must be        10-10
examined in the context of their relevance as protective factors in relation to immediate concerns.
The assessment of future risk is based upon both the current factors and history.
CA 04-11

6. How is safety and risk assessment used at a Reunification TDM Meeting?
When a child is removed from his/her parents’ custody, the goal is usually to reunify him/her as soon as the
parent(s) can provide adequate care, protection and stability. A recommendation for reunification is based upon an
assessment that risk has been reduced during the child’s out of home stay: i.e. that the parent(s) are currently able to
provide safety, and the risk of future A/N is low enough to justify return of the child. Discussion at a Reunification
TDM Meeting focuses on the present familial situation to assess for safety. This includes an examination of the
effectiveness of services or other interventions in eliminating the safety concerns that were present at the time of
removal, and a prediction of no/low risk of future serious abuse/neglect.

8. A summary of the safety and risk issues for different types of TDM meetings:

               SAFETY ISSUES                                                 RISK ISSUES
                                             Initial Removal TDM Meeting
 DETERMINE: Present serious harm and/or                         High probability of future serious abuse/neglect
 dangerous conditions                                           based upon present situation and past history

 FOCUS: Child—what needs to be done now?                         Parent(s)—what must change for the future?

 DECIDE: Immediate response to present               and         Priority services to address risk/needs and
 situation                                                      reduce future risk of abuse/neglect

                                                 Reunification TDM Meeting
 DETERMINE: Significant positive impact                         No/low probability of future serious
 on concerns by services or otherwise that                      abuse/neglect
 resulted in placement and home presently safe

 FOCUS: Child— safe return to parents’ home                    Parent(s)—have successfully addressed all
                                                                 issues that harmed and put child at risk of A/N

 DECIDE: Parent(s) able to provide safe home          and       Positive prediction of parent(s) ability to
 for child at this time                                         maintain safe, nurturing, s table environment
                                                                long-term

                                             Other Permanency Plan
 DETERMINE: Little or no change by parents                       High probability of future serious abuse/neglect
 regarding concerns that resulted in placement
 and safety issues remain

 FOCUS: Child— unsafe to be in parents’ care                    Parent(s)— traits, behaviors, conditions remain
 as issues that endanger child persist                          that indicate likelihood of additional serious risk of harm
                                                                 if child in their care

 DECIDE:                                                         Long-term protection plan in nurturing, stable
                                                                 environment



9. What are the Facilitator’s responsibilities regarding safety and risk at a TDM Meeting?
    Ensure all safety issues and risk concerns are shared and thoroughly examined
    Ensure discussion of risks and safety issues is understandable
    Ensure impact of risk behaviors upon child is clear, especially to parents: “connect the dots”
    Ensure specific and behaviorally descriptive explanations of concerns and expectations
    Ensure all views regarding safety and risks are heard, clarifications provided and questions answered
    Ensure family strengths, particularly those that address safety and risk issues, are recognized
    Ensure thorough discussion of history remains strengths-based and solution-focused
    Ensure all adults in home and having child access are assessed and discussed
    Ensure “reality test” of ideas to address both immediate safety needs and future risks
    Ensure TDM decision provides safety in least restrictive/intrusive manner for child: always raise the
      question of balance between safety and emotional trauma of separation
CA 04-11

10. What are the benefits of using a safety and risk assessment tool?
Safety and risk assessment tools offer an objective, comprehensive format to aid social workers in fairly        10-10
and consistently evaluating safety concerns and predicting the degree of future harm that may result
without successful service intervention. Future risk of additional harm is suggested when identified elements are
not effectively remedied based upon an analysis of historical and current information. The tool can assist social
workers to organize and structure their TDM presentation. Use of an assessment tool contributes to the recognition
of strengths that can be used to impact upon safety, risks and needs. The tool provides a source to measure change
during CPS intervention and to evaluate progress. Finally, safety and risk assessment may provide a method of
countering personal bias, which is believed to be a contributing factor in the overrepresentation of children of color
in out of home care.

11. Does it matter which particular safety and risk assessment tool is used for TDM?
No, the utilization of safety and risk assessment tools that promote comprehensive and objective evaluations is
encouraged. One must remember that any tool has limitations and its effectiveness and usefulness depends upon
the skills of the assessor and the resulting quality of the information shared. The social worker and the TDM
facilitator should work together, using the collected information as the framework for a discussion, to develop
understanding with the family and other participants.

11. What is a social worker expected to present/be prepared to discuss at a TDM Meeting?
The social worker who requests the TDM Meeting, as case manager, must be able to summarize the highlights of
the safety and risk assessment tool in a way that is succinct and understandable to lay people. S/he must share
information (current and historical), offer ideas, and propose recommended solutions. S/he must also listen and
consider the information and ideas of other participants. The worker is typically the source of much of the
information that the team must examine and analyze when deciding how to provide safety and protection for the
child, although in an emergency meeting, there may be limited information available. The worker and facilitator
must ensure ample opportunity for the family to offer their views and guidance.




                                                                                                                10-10
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                                          SUGGESTIONS FOR SOCIAL WORKERS:

The following suggestions are for social workers to use in sharing risk and safety tool-related information at a TDM
Meeting. This guide assumes the primary ‘audience’ for the social worker’s remarks is the child’s parent(s). Strive
to communicate in the clearest and most engaging language possible.

      GUIDE FOR DISCUSSION OF RISK AND SAFETY ASSESSMENT TOOL INFORMATION AT
                           INITIAL REMOVAL TDM MEETING
SW RESPONSIBLE TO:                                        SAMPLE LANGUAGE:
Explain risk and safety assessment                      “As a social worker, it’s my job to make an assessment about your
concepts, and process or tool used, to                  child’s safety. I use a tool that’s been developed by experts in the
family (and other participants)                         child welfare field called risk/safety assessment tool name. It assists me,
                                                        as I collect information and examine your situation, which I can then
                                                        compare to what is known about the factors that tend to endanger
                                                        children generally. We will be talking about the information I’ve
                                                        gathered about your family and discuss why I feel there are serious
                                                        safety and risk issues, using the safety/risk assessment tool. I will
                                                        also share information I’ve gained about your family’s strengths. I
                                                        want you to add to all of this discussion as it unfolds. If you don’t
                                                        understand what I’m saying, please let me know so I can clarify.”
Disclose all safety issues                              “I’ve identified some safety issues that are of immediate concern
                                                        because they could seriously harm child’s name. They are…”
Share all risk concerns                                 “There are some significant risk elements I’ve identified as I’ve
(In an emergency many sites allow partial completion)   gathered information regarding the ____ family. These suggest the
                                                        possibility of future harm to the children. They are...”
Describe impact upon child                              “I’m concerned about safety/risk element because it affects child’s name
                                                        in this way: __________”
Explain what must change in future                      “For child’s name to be safe and protected, I believe these changes
                                                        must occur: _______…”
Discuss strengths of family system,                     “Although there are certainly issues that concern me about the
particularly those able to mitigate or                  _____ family, I also see a number of strengths which might serve to
lower specific risks identified                         counter-balance some of the concerns. They are ...”
Provide succinct history of child’s A/N                 “Our agency’s prior contact with the family has been … I have also
                                                        determined that the family had previous involvement with a child
                                                        welfare agency in county/state. The information we received is…”
Give information regarding A/N of any                   “I have assessed all the adults residing in the home and determined
other child by adult with access to child               that…”
Discuss relative—support & availability/                “I have contacted relative’s name and found that s/he is able to…”
appropriateness, if placement necessary
Share current & previous relevant                       “Parent’s name has an intake appointment scheduled for ______at
services used to resolve concerns                       ________. I believe this service is a priority because…”
Discuss child’s attachment and harm of                  “Child’s name is very attached to his/her mother. I have considered the
remaining in parents’ care vs. emotional                effect temporary removal from her care will have on him/her and
damage of placement                                     weighed it against the trauma of placement and believe that…”
Give recommendation and invite                          “I am recommending temporary placement of child’s name while we
response and examination of your plan                   work to …. However, I hope everyone here will offer your thoughts
of action                                               about my recommendation and discuss if there is any other way
                                                        child’s name can be kept safe and protected.”




                                                                                                                                      10-10
CA 04-11
      GUIDE FOR DISCUSSION OF RISK AND SAFETY ASSESSMENT TOOL INFORMATION AT
                            REUNIFICATION TDM MEETING
SW RESPONSIBLE TO:                                  SAMPLE LANGUAGE:
Explain risk/safety assessment to family          “You may recall that your worker used a method of evaluating the
(and other participants)                          level of safety and future risk called risk/safety assessment tool name when
                                                  child’s name left your home X months ago. The safety and risk
                                                  assessment tool assisted us to collect information and examine
                                                  issues that put child’s name at risk of serious harm. Today I will be
                                                  using the same format to discuss what has changed since child’s name
                                                  came into placement and to explain why I am now recommending
                                                  that your child return to your care and custody. If I say anything
                                                  that you don’t understand, please let me know so that I can clarify.”
Explain present level of risk of future           “The significant risk and safety issues present when child’s name
A/N                                               entered care were these: ____ and the level of risk was ____. Today
                                                  I would assess them very differently, at a risk level of …”
Discuss how risks and safety issues have          “Let’s look at each of the serious risk and safety issues that were
been addressed                                    present at the time child’s name was removed, and review what has
                                                  happened to eliminate or reduce them significantly.”
Address compliance with court orders              “Court orders included these: ______. Parent’s name has successfully
                                                  complied by…”
Explain any remaining concerns                    “We still must address… We plan to manage this issue by…”
Discuss services and supports utilized            “During the past X months, Mr./Ms.____ was able to make positive
 Provide evidence of progress due to services-   change by ________. Parent’s name completed the service and is
  using behaviorally specific examples            demonstrating success by … A written report from the service
 Discuss services during transition and after    provider states… We have a commitment from…to continue
NOTE: ENCOURAGE DIALOGUE RATHER THAN              involvement for a minimum of X months.”
GIVING A ONE-WAY PRESENTATION DURING THIS
PART OF THE MEETING
Discuss assessment of all adults in               “The persons residing in the home currently are… I have talked to
household and with access to child                and assessed everyone in the home and involved in caregiving and
                                                  found…”
Describe living conditions, financial             “The present home conditions are… Parent’s name will support the
situation, etc.                                   family by…”
Discuss plans for child: child care,              “When child’s name returns home, arrangements have been made
health (medical and dental), educational          with…to care for him/her when parent’s name is unavailable. This
etc.                                              child care plan is safe because… Medical care will continue to be
                                                  provided by… Child’s name will remain in his/her present school as
                                                  s/he has resided in the same school district while in placement.”
Discuss family and community supports             “Parent’s name has received support from… They are here today to
                                                  demonstrate their commitment to assist parent’s name. I know they
                                                  wish to speak about their future involvement.”
Address current and/or anticipate                 “We still need to address… We plan to … Also parent’s name knows
needs/concerns                                    that in the future if …should occur, s/he can…”
Share child’s attachment and feelings             “Child’s name has told me that… His/her caregivers are present today
about reunification                               and can also express what child’s name has said about going home.”
Offer recommendations from GAL,                   “Due to other responsibilities, service provider could not attend today
caregivers, service providers (if not present)    but provided a written recommendation that I will read.” I would
                                                  like to invite foster parent or kin caregiver to share their input about this
                                                  family’s readiness to reunify…”
Provide court hearing schedule or other           “There is no court hearing presently scheduled, but if this
timeframe needs                                   recommendation is supported, we will file…”




                                                                                                                                  10-10
CA 04-11
   GUIDE FOR DISCUSSION OF RISK AND SAFETY ASSESSMENT TOOL INFORMATION WHEN
                 RECOMMENDING TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS
SW RESPONSIBLE TO:                  SAMPLE LANGUAGE:
Explain safety and risk assessment to     “You may recall that your worker used a method of evaluating the
family (and other participants)           level of safety and future risk called safety/risk assessment tool name when
                                          child’s name came into the agency’s care, X months ago. At that time,
                                          these things made it unsafe for your child(ren) to stay home: _____.
                                          The safety and risk assessment tool assisted us to collect information
                                          and examine issues that put child’s name at risk of serious harm.
                                          Today I will be using the same format to discuss the issues that
                                          continue to be critical concerns. If I state anything that you don’t
                                          understand, please let me know so that I can clarify.”
Explain present level of risk             “The level of risk at the beginning of this case was ____, because of
                                          these issues: ______. It continues to be high because…”
Discuss compliance with court orders      “The court ordered… To-date parents’ names have not complied
                                          with…”
Address lack of evidence that             “During the past X months, Mr. /Ms. ____’s case plan required them
intervention has reduced risk             to _______. Parent’s name did not accomplish the improvements we
(behaviorally specific)                   hoped for because ______. A written report from the service
                                          provider states… This issue remains a serious concern because it
                                          affects the children in these ways: _____…”
Explain why you feel risks/safety issues “While we have attempted to provide services and supports to
have been inadequately addressed          address …, it remains evident as demonstrated by…that Mr./Ms.___
                                          have been unsuccessful in eliminating the safety concerns present
                                          when child’s name entered care.”
Discuss child’s attachment and            “Child’s name misses his/her parent very much. I have considered the
anticipated emotional damage or harm if effect not having his/her parents will have on child’s name if parental
permanent separation, vs. risk of harm if rights are terminated, but because of the very serious risk due to…”
parental rights not terminated
Discuss services offered/utilized,              “We made X appointments in an effort to enroll parent’s name in…
including efforts to support and aid            Parent’s name refused to participate even when the provider offered
parents to fulfill expectations                 to… We continue to feel this service is critical because… A written
                                                report from the service provider states… In addition to these formal
                                                service opportunities, we attempted to provide support to the parents
                                                through the use of these more ‘natural,’ or neighborhood-based
                                                efforts: _____. However…”
Explain efforts to maintain parent/child        “While child’s name has been in the agency’s custody, we have
relationship during child’s placement           scheduled weekly visits. Parents’ names have attended ___out of
                                                ___visits, and the interaction I observed was …”
Share information regarding relatives as        “I have contacted all relatives identified on the genogram and found
placement/custody options                       that… If parental rights are terminated, I will recommend…”
                                                (comment on continuing contact with birth family.)
Discuss plans to find a permanent family        “If parental rights are terminated our plan to provide permanency
and child’s future if TPR                       will be…”
Discuss child’s wishes for future               “Child’s name has said to me… His/her caregivers are present today
                                                and can also express what child’s name has said about going home.”
Offer recommendations from GAL,                 “The GAL, regrettably was unable to attend today’s meeting, but
current caregivers, service providers           has provided a written recommendation that I will read.” “I would
(if not present)                                like to invite foster parent or kin caregiver to share their input about this
                                                family’s readiness to reunify…”
Provide court hearing schedule or other         “A court hearing to review custody is scheduled for…”
timeframes needs
Discuss rationale for extension of              “While serious concerns remain, parents’ names have made significant
temporary custody in lieu of TPR at this        progress in services. Their positive improvement is evidenced by…
time, if appropriate                            Because of this progress, I would recommend we request an
                                                extension of temporary custody in the belief that within the next 6
                                                months I will be able to recommend reunification of child’s name.”


                                                                                                                                10-10
CA 04-11




                           BRAINSTORMING
                             GUIDELINES




 ANYTHING GOES, BE CREATIVE



 QUANTITY, NOT QUALITY



 HITCH-HIKE (COMBINATIONS & IMPROVEMENTS)



 NO CRITICAL JUDGMENT OR EVALUATION



 EVERYONE PARTICIPATES, NO OBSERVERS



 ONE PERSON SPEAKS AT A TIME




                                             10-11
CA 04-11




                         DEVELOPING IDEAS

DO

 Explain ‘Brainstorming’ if necessary

 Assist in clarifying thoughts

 Encourage creative, innovative thoughts

 Active-listening

 Summarize

 List all ideas

   Help people visualize the ideas by writing on flip chart or white board

   Include everyone


DON’T

   Hurry

   Leave someone out

   Evaluate ideas


                                                                              10-12
CA 04-11




                                                           REACHING
                                              CONSENSUS DECISIONS

DO
   Establish agreement that decision is based on least intrusive/least restrictive that provides safety and
    protection for the child
   Set a positive tone and expectation that the group is capable of reaching consensus
   ‘Reality Test’ ideas/decision—explore consequences and ability to implement
   Initiate ‘Reality Test’ with the least restrictive placement and determine if there are viable ideas that
    can provide safety and protection for the child – Remember the least restrictive option is home and
    needs to always be explored

   Remember that there are three levels of decision making – Consensus by all, consensus by Child
    Welfare participants, Social Worker

   Ensure the dialogue allows everyone to listen and be heard
   Consider the merit of each idea
   Check for agreement
   Be attentive to family members’ feelings and responses
   Discuss the reason for the decision
   Be specific


DON’T

   Ignore body language and cues
   Write it up before agreed
   Be unclear
   Drag it out
   Rush




                                                                                                  10-13
CA 04-11
CA 04-11

                             REVIEW OF A
                               TDM DECISION

                       The assigned social worker makes the decision when
                       there is a lack of consensus between agency staff
                       participating in the meeting.



 Only participating Child Welfare Agency staff can request review of a decision.


 An agency staff member has a DUTY to request a review if he or she believes that
  the decision puts a child at risk of harm, violates law/policy, or is not least
  restrictive/least intrusive.


 Notification of intention to request review must be made immediately, in the
  meeting.


 Review process with the administrator must be done immediately, while everyone
  is still at the table, either in person or via speakerphone.


 Administrator will ask questions and all members of the TDM meeting are invited
  to participate in the review process.


 Decision by the administrator becomes the official agency position.


 Agency staff accepts ownership and implementation responsibility for the
  administrator’s decision.




                                                                             10-15
CA 04-11



                       EXPLAINING A REVIEW
                          TO THE FAMILY

REFRAME THE REASON
 “Because this is a very difficult decision and extremely important to your family, the agency staff
  wants to be careful and make the right decision for your child(ren).
 We feel we must involve an agency administrator in ensuring that the decision (to protect and provide
  safety) is made in the least harmful way possible.
 The staff present at this meeting all agree that we want to protect the child(ren), we don’t agree on
  how best to achieve safety and protection.”



ACKNOWLEDGE
 The feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, confusion, etc.



EXPLAIN REVIEW PROCESS
 How information from the original meeting will be presented to the administrator.



SCHEDULE
 Facilitator will request designated administrator to immediately review TDM decision with
  participants.

 If administrator is not immediately available in person or by phone, the meeting should be reconvened
   the next day with an interim plan developed for the child’s safety for the next 24 hours.




                                                                                                  10-16
CA 04-11


             TEAM DECISIONMAKING SUMMARY REPORT

DATE:____________________________________________________        PURPOSE OF MEETING
                                                                O EMERGENCY REMOVAL
FAMILY NAME:___________________________________________          O IMMINENT RISK FOR REMOVAL
FAMILY CASE NUMBER:__________________________________            O PLACEMENT CHANGE
SOCIAL WORKER:________________________________________           O EXIT FROM PLACEMENT
SUPERVISOR: ____________________________________________
FACILITATOR: ___________________________________________

CHILD(REN) DISCUSSED AT MEETING:
______________________________ DOB:_________   _____________________________DOB:___________
___________________ ___________DOB:_________   _____________________________DOB:___________
______________________________ DOB:_________   _____________________________DOB:___________
______________________________ DOB:_________   _____________________________DOB:___________

SITUATION THAT PROMPTED MEETING:
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________

DECISIONS RESULTING FROM MEETING:
PLACEMENT: ______________________________________________________________________________
CUSTODY:__________________________________________________________________________________
ACTION STEPS:
      WHO                     WHAT                 BY WHEN
___________________   _________________________________________________        _____________
___________________   _________________________________________________        _____________
___________________   _________________________________________________        _____________
___________________   _________________________________________________        _____________
___________________   _________________________________________________        _____________
___________________   _________________________________________________        _____________
___________________   _________________________________________________        _____________
___________________   _________________________________________________        _____________
___________________   _________________________________________________        _____________

SIGNATURES OF PARTICIPANTS:               SIGNATURE DOES NOT IMPLY AGREEMENT
__________________________________________      _____________________________________
__________________________________________      _____________________________________
__________________________________________      _____________________________________
__________________________________________      _____________________________________
__________________________________________      _____________________________________
__________________________________________      _____________________________________


                                                                                               10-17
CA 04-11




 SUGGESTIONS ON WRITING TDM SUMMARY REPORT

1. PRELIMINARY—write only demographic information on the form in advance.

2. CONFIRM—spelling of names and birth dates with the family if any doubt regarding
   correctness.

3. UNDERSTANDABLE—sentences do not have to be complete, merely understandable to all
   parties. Limit abbreviations, acronyms, jargon and vague words.

4. READABLE—write legibly, ensure copies can be read.

5. WRITE DECISION—only when consensus that decision provides safety and protection in
   least intrusive/least restrictive manner. Do not write prematurely.

6. STATE ON REPORT—placement and custody status even when decision about placement
   and/or custody is not changed. Decision must focus on safety and protection in least
   restrictive/intrusive manner.

7. WHO, WHAT, WHEN—must be identified in action steps to address the current situation
   and provide stability. Specific dates should be used – not ASAP

8. CONTINGENCY PLANS—are acceptable when anticipated, discussed, documented and
   very time-limited (able to be completed within 3-5 days).

9. READ—the decision to the group upon completion before requesting participants to sign.

10. ENSURE UNDERSTANDING—of decision including action steps.

11. SIGNATURE—indicates presence/participation in the meeting, not agreement with decision.
    An individual may refuse to sign.

12. SAFETY PLAN DOCUMENT—when developed/revised during the meeting, attach to the
    TDM summary report.

13. COPY—the summary report at the conclusion of the meeting and distribute to all participants.
    Hand copies to family and guests before staff.

14. REVIEW—when consensus can not be reached with the group including the participating
    agency staff, the social worker makes the final decision. If a review of the decision is
    requested by a CPS participant, the facilitator writes the social worker’s decision and indicates
    the review/appeal status on the form.

                  BOTTOM LINE— every TDM summary report must include:
                     Placement and custody decision
                     Action steps to support the decision
                     List of participants
                                                                                               10-18
CA 04-11




       RECAP / EVALUATION / CLOSING

DO

 Read decision and plan back to the group

 Check for understanding

 Ask if there are any questions

 Ensure emotions/responses are addressed

 Set any further meeting dates

 Be sincere—wish parent(s) well or other appropriate closing

 Thank the group
CA 04-11




                                                                                 10-19
            AFTER THE TDM MEETING


DO

    Complete data forms

    Provide feedback to staff and management: positive and negative

    Receive feedback

    Share experiences with facilitator colleagues for mutual learning

    Enter data from meeting




DON’T

    Procrastinate

    Accept practice deficiencies or systemic problems without advocating



                                                                         10-20
CA 04-11




                                             FEEDBACK


Giving and receiving feedback is important for personal and professional development. We
need to know what we are doing well and what could be improved on. Without feedback we
are left to wonder how we are perceived and what could be changed.

However, for feedback to be most effective, there are some conditions that should be met.
They include:


       Feedback is given to be helpful and to benefit


       The recipient of the feedback is ready


       Feedback is descriptive, not a judgmental perception


       Feedback is given timely, that is, at the time of the observation or soon thereafter


       Information addresses concerns that the receiver is capable of changing


       Alternative behaviors are explored


       Feedback is given on positive behaviors, not just negative ones



                                                                                              10-21
CA 04-11




                    TDM INDICATORS AND OUTCOMES
                 CRITICAL COMPONENTS                               INDICATOR FOR MEASURING SUCCESS

             Birth parents are engaged in decision making          # & % of TDMs attended by birth parents


      Community partners and other human service partners          # & % of TDMs attended by community members
                share in decision making and                       # & % of TDMs attended by other service providers
                     support of families


                                                                   # & % of TDMs held prior to placement or
             Placement decisions are made during TDMs              immediately after emergency placement


    Meetings are held at time and place conducive to decision      # & % of TDMs held away from DSS offices
                       making partnership                          # & % of TDMs held outside of normal business hours


           Families are connected to non-traditional services      # & % of TDMs at which services are identified and
                         as a result of meetings                   arrangements are made for families to receive them


                                                         OUTCOMES

       CUSTODY/PLACEMENT                     PLACEMENT PRESERVATION                   PERMANENCY PLANNING TDM
              TDM                                     TDM

    -Increase number & % of children        -Reduce likelihood a child will        -Reduce likelihood of reentry after
     placed in less restrictive              change placements                      exit from an earlier placement
     placements
                                            -Reduce likelihood a child will move   -Reduce the use of long term foster
    -Reduce the likelihood of                to more restrictive placement          care (Planned Permanent Living Arrangement)
     placement
                                            -Engage foster parents in              -Increase the likelihood that TPR
    -Increase number & % of children         decision making                        decisions are made in a timely way
      placed with relatives

    -Increase number & % of siblings
      placed together

    -Increase likelihood of connection
      to community & non-traditional
      services


    In order to measure the impact of TDM on outcomes for children, an agency must be able to link specific TDM
    meetings and decisions to individual children and families. To achieve this, an agency should record the
    unique child and family ID numbers in each TDM record.

                                                                                                                                  10-22
CA 04-11



                   INTRODUCTION                                  IDENTIFYING SITUATION
                AT INITIAL REMOVAL                                 AT INITIAL REMOVAL
WELCOME
PURPOSE                                                WHY ARE WE HERE?
TO DISCUSS RISK & SAFETY CONCERNS & DECIDE WHERE
YOUR CHILD CAN BE SAFE WHILE WE ADDRESS THE ISSUES.    PRECIPITATING EVENT
OPTIONS INCLUDE REMAINING HOME WITH SERVICES
PROVIDED TO TEMPORARY PLACEMENT OUTSIDE HOME.
                                                       CHILD'S CURRENT SITUATION
GOAL
 TOGETHER TO MAKE DECISION THAT BEST PROVIDES         OFFER PARENTS THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY TO BEGIN
  SAFETY & STABILITY, WHILE WE WORK TO REDUCE RISKS.

 TO USE SIGNIFICANT INDIVIDUAL /FAMILY STRENGTHS TO
                                                       COACH
  ADDRESS CONCERNS
                                                       AID SOCIAL WORKER TO COMMUNICATE CLEARLY,
DESIRE                                                 RESPECTFULLY AND TO USE THE MOST ENGAGING
TO AGREE UPON THE DECISION, HOWEVER, ULTIMATELY
AGENCY’S LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY, IF UNABLE TO AGREE
                                                       LANGUAGE POSSIBLE THROUGHOUT THE TDM. THE
                                                       FACILITATOR MUST ASSIST DURING EACH STAGE OF
INTRODUCTION                                           THE TDM. THE IDENTIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT
PARTICIPANTS - RELATIONSHIP TO CHILD
                                                       OF THE SITUATION MAY REQUIRE THE FACILITATOR
GUIDELINES FOR MEETING                                 TO MODEL ENGAGEMENT AND COMMUNICATION
QUESTIONS?                                             SKILLS, INCLUDING REFRAMING MOST OFTEN.
RECOGNITION OF PARENTS AS EXPERTS ON THEIR
CHILDREN




             ASSESSING SITUATION                                    DEVELOPING IDEAS
             AT INITIAL REMOVAL                                    AT INITIAL REMOVAL
      SAFETY/RISK ASSESSMENT TOOL
      WHAT IS MAGNITUDE OF CONCERN?
                                                       IDEAS FROM ALL TO ADDRESS RISKS AND PROVIDE
      ENSURE GROUP PARTICIPATION                      SAFETY / PROTECTION
SAFETY CONCERNS / RISK ISSUES
ENSURE COMPLETE, BEHAVIORALLY SPECIFIC DISCLOSURE      IDEAS SHOULD BUILD ON EXISTING STRENGTHS
OF IDENTIFIED SAFETY AND RISK ISSUES
GET EXPLANATION OF HOW BEHAVIOR AFFECTS CHILD;         IDEAS REGARDING:
WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE.
                                                             PLACEMENT/CUSTODY
STRENGTHS OF FAMILY/PROTECTIVE FACTORS
ESP. THOSE THAT IMPACT ON RISK AREAS                         HOW TO PROVIDE SAFETY
EXAMPLE — “THINK OF A TIME WHEN THINGS WERE GOING
WELL, WHAT WAS DIFFERENT THEN?”                              SERVICES TO REDUCE RISK

SUPPORTS
ENSURE IDENTIFICATION OF RELATIVES, COMMUNITY,
OTHERS
SERVICES
PRESENT, PAST
PAST HISTORY WITH CHILD WELFARE
SUCCINCT SUMMARY




                                                                                               10-23a
CA 04-11


             REACHING A DECISION                          RECAP/EVALUATION/CLOSING
             AT INITIAL REMOVAL                              AT INITIAL REMOVAL
        SAFETY / PROTECTION
                AND
        LEAST RESTRICTIVE / LEAST INTRUSIVE       EVERYONE KNOWS WHO WILL DO WHAT/ WHEN?
        CONSENSUS GOAL / AGENCY OWNED
        REMEMBER THERE ARE 3 LEVELS OF DECISION   ANSWER QUESTIONS
         MAKING
REALITY TEST IDEAS
START WITH LEAST RESTRICTIVE PLACEMENT—CAN THIS
PLACEMENT MEET CHILD’S NEEDS, PROVIDE SAFETY?
IF YES
IDENTIFY SERVICES & ACTION NEEDED
IF NO
WHY NOT, AND THEN EXAMINE NEXT LEVEL OF
RESTRICTIVENESS FOR SUITABILITY
WEIGH RISK OF HARM IN HOME AGAINST TRAUMA OF
SEPARATION
DEVELOP ACTION PLAN
    WHO WILL DO WHAT, WHEN
    ADDRESS PARENTS’ PRIORITY SERVICE NEED
     IMMEDIATELY
IF DECISION TO REMOVE
EXAMINE PLACEMENT OPTIONS, EXPLAIN PROCESS,
TIMEFRAMES, ETC.
DISCUSS GOODBYE, DETERMINE DATE FOR 1st VISIT
                                                                                               .

               SAFETY PLANNING                                  ASSESSING RISK


 CHILD FOCUS                                         ENSURE SUMMARIZATION OF INFORMATION
                                                       FROM SAFETY/RISK ASSESSMENT TOOL IS
 PROVIDES IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION                      UNDERSTANDABLE TO ALL

 REALISTIC, CONCRETE, TIME-LIMITED                   HIGHLIGHT KEY RISK AREAS AND LINK TO
                                                       NEEDS
 MONITORING/OVERSIGHT ENSURED
                                                      IDENTIFICATION OF STRENGTHS,
 COMMITMENT FROM ALL INVOLVED                         ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT CAN IMPACT RISK
                                                       AREAS
 DISCUSSION OF CONSEQUENCE IF NOT
   ADEQUATE OR FOLLOWED                               ENSURE EXPLANATION & UNDERSTANDING
                                                       OF HOW RISKS (BEHAVIORALLY SPECIFIC)
                                                       IMPACT CHILD
CA 04-11

                                                                 IDENTIFYING SITUATION
                INTRODUCTION                               AT PLMT. PRESERVATION/DISRUPTION
      AT PLMT. PRESERVATION/DISRUPTION

WELCOME                                               DEFINE CONCERN
                                                       WHY ARE WE HERE?
PURPOSE
TO MAKE DECISION REGARDING CHILD’S PLACEMENT IN
LEAST RESTRICTIVE SETTING THAT MEETS CHILD’S NEEDS.    CHILD'S CURRENT SITUATION
CONSIDERATION OF REMAINING IN PRESENT PLACEMENT
OR MOVING.                                             OFFER YOUTH OPPORTUNITY TO BEGIN. IF YOUTH NOT
                                                      PRESENT ASK PARENTS IF THEY’D LIKE TO BEGIN. THEN
GOAL                                                  OFFER SOCIAL WORKER OPPORTUNITY TO ADD
   TO AVOID UNNECESSARY MOVES AND TO AVOID FUTURE
    ONES
   TO USE SIGNIFICANT INDIVIDUAL OR FAMILY           COACH
    STRENGTHS TO ADDRESS ISSUES OF CONCERN            AID SOCIAL WORKER TO COMMUNICATE CLEARLY,
DESIRE                                                RESPECTFULLY AND TO USE THE MOST ENGAGING LANGUAGE
TO AGREE UPON THE DECISION, HOWEVER, ULTIMATELY       POSSIBLE THROUGHOUT THE TDM. THE FACILITATOR MUST
AGENCY’S LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY, IF UNABLE TO AGREE     ASSIST DURING EACH STAGE OF THE TDM. THE
                                                      IDENTIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT OF THE SITUATION MAY
INTRODUCTION                                          REQUIRE THE FACILITATOR TO MODEL ENGAGEMENT AND
PARTICIPANTS - RELATIONSHIP TO CHILD                  COMMUNICATION SKILLS, INCLUDING REFRAMING.
GUIDELINES FOR MEETING
QUESTIONS??




            ASSESSING SITUATION                                    DEVELOPING IDEAS
      AT PLMT. PRESERVATION/DISRUPTION                     AT PLMT. PRESERVATION/DISRUPTION
ASSESSMENT OF RISK AND SAFETY ISSUES                  IF COULD REMAIN,
                                                      WHAT IDEAS FOR ADDITIONAL SERVICES & SUPPORTS TO
DOES PRESENT PLACEMENT MEET CHILD’S                   MAINTAIN
CRITICAL NEEDS?
                                                      IF MUST MOVE,
IF YES                                                IDEAS ON PLACEMENT
CAN ADDITIONAL SERVICES / SUPPORT MAINTAIN                           &
PLACEMENT & PROVIDE STABILITY?                        IDEAS ON SERVICES/SUPPORTS FOR CHILD AND CAREGIVER
                                                                     &
IF NO OR CAREGIVER UNABLE TO KEEP                     IDEAS TO ADDRESS TRANSITION—HOW WILL MOVE HAPPEN,
RECOMMENDATION ON LEVEL OF CARE                       WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, WHAT WILL CHANGE, WHAT
    LEAST RESTRICTIVE THAT MEETS CHILD’S NEEDS        WILL STAY SAME—VISITS, SCHOOL, SERVICE PROVIDERS,
    KIN/FOSTER/THERAPEUTIC/GROUP                      ETC.

CAN CHILD RESIDE IN OWN COMMUNITY?                    IDEAS FOR SUPPORT, IF CRISIS

HOW WILL THIS MOVE PROMOTE CHILD’S                    ANYTHING ELSE NEEDED TO PROVIDE STABILITY &
PERMANENCY?                                           SUPPORT CASE PLAN GOAL?

CHILD’S NEEDS/CONCERNS
SERVICES PRESENTLY INVOLVED
ANY BARRIERS TO MEETING NEEDS?

CHILD’S STRENGTHS/SUPPORTS




                                                                                                    10-23b
CA 04-11



          REACHING A DECISION                                RECAP/EVALUATION/CLOSING
    AT PLMT. PRESERVATION/DISRUPTION                     AT PLMT. PRESERVATION/DISRUPTION

CONSENSUS GOAL/AGENCY OWNED
                                                     EVERYONE KNOWS WHO WILL DO WHAT/WHEN?
REMEMBER THERE ARE 3 LEVELS OF DECISION
MAKING                                               ANSWER QUESTIONS

REALITY TEST IDEAS                                   FOLLOW-UP MEETING NEEDED?
                                                     IF YES, SET DATE
IF REMAINING IN PRESENT PLACEMENT
WILL SERVICES/SUPPORTS MEET NEEDS AND PROVIDE
STABILITY?
IF MOVING,
START WITH LEAST RESTRICTIVE PLACEMENT
WILL THIS PLACEMENT MEET CHILD’S NEEDS,
PROVIDE SAFETY & STABILITY?
IF YES
IDENTIFY SERVICES NEEDED TO SUPPORT CHILD &
CAREGIVER IN THIS PLACEMENT
IF NO
WHY NOT, AND THEN EXAMINE NEXT LEVEL OF
RESTRICTIVENESS FOR SUITABILITY & SERVICE NEEDS
ENSURE TRANSITION PLAN IF MOVE
INCLUDE PREPARATION OF CHILD, PREPLACEMENT VISITS,
GOODBYES, INFORMATION TRANSFER, ETC.
DEVELOP ACTION PLAN
WHO WILL DO WHAT, WHEN




              SAFETY PLANNING                                     ASSESSING RISK


 CHILD FOCUS                                         ENSURE SUMMARIZATION OF INFORMATION
                                                       FROM SAFETY/RISK ASSESSMENT TOOL IS
 PROVIDES IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION                      UNDERSTANDABLE TO ALL

 REALISTIC, CONCRETE, TIME-LIMITED                   HIGHLIGHT KEY RISK AREAS AND LINK TO
                                                       NEEDS
 MONITORING/OVERSIGHT ENSURED
                                                      IDENTIFICATION OF STRENGTHS, ESPECIALLY
 COMMITMENT FROM ALL INVOLVED                         THOSE THAT CAN IMPACT RISK AREAS

 DISCUSSION OF CONSEQUENCE IF NOT                    ENSURE EXPLANATION & UNDERSTANDING
  ADEQUATE OR FOLLOWED                                 OF HOW RISKS (BEHAVIORALLY SPECIFIC)
                                                       IMPACT CHILD
CA 04-11

                INTRODUCTION                                    IDENTIFYING SITUATION
               AT REUNIFICATION                                   AT REUNIFICATION
WELCOME
PURPOSE
TO DETERMINE IF HOME IS SAFE FOR CHILD(REN) TO       DEFINE PRESENT SITUATION
RETURN
                                                     WHY ARE WE HERE?
GOAL
 TO WORK TOGETHER TO DECIDE ON BEST PLAN THAT       ASK PARENTS THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF WHY MEETING
  WILL PROVIDE SAFE AND PERMANENT RETURN TO THE
  FAMILY
 TO RECOGNIZE SIGNIFICANT FAMILY/INDIVIDUAL
  STRENGTHS WHICH HAVE ASSISTED PARENT(S) AND WILL
  SUPPORT THE FAMILY IN FUTURE
                                                     COACH
DESIRE                                               THROUGHOUT THE TDM ASSIST THE SOCIAL WORKER TO
TO AGREE UPON THE DECISION, HOWEVER, ULTIMATELY      COMMUNICATE CLEARLY, RESPECTFULLY AND USE THE MOST
AGENCY’S LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY, IF UNABLE TO AGREE    ENGAGING LANGUAGE POSSIBLE. IT MAY REQUIRE THE
                                                     FACILITATOR TO MODEL ENGAGEMENT AND COMMUNICATION
INTRODUCTION                                         SKILLS, INCLUDING REFRAMING.
PARTICIPANTS - RELATIONSHIP TO CHILD
GUIDELINES FOR MEETING
QUESTIONS?




              ASSESSING SITUATION                                  DEVELOPING IDEAS
               AT REUNIFICATION                                    AT REUNIFICATION

           SAFETY/RISK ASSESSMENT TOOL
                                                     ADDITIONAL SERVICES/SUPPORTS NOT
INITIAL RISKS/SAFETY ISSUES
HOW REDUCED/ELIMINATED?                              IN PLACE THAT SHOULD BE / COULD BE CONSIDERED?

SERVICES                                             COMMUNITY SUPPORTS?
WHAT’S BEEN DONE/EVIDENCE OF POSITIVE CHANGE.
SERVICES CONTINUING?
                                                     SUPPORTS FROM FORMER CAREGIVERS—WILL
HOME SITUATION IF REUNITED                           RELATIONSHIP CONTINUE?
WHO IS LIVING IN HOME NOW? ASSESSED?
DESCRIPTION OF CONDITIONS ADEQUACY
SUPPORTS AVAILABLE
INCLUDING WHAT CONNECTIONS IN FAMILY’S COMMUNITY
HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED
NEEDS/CONCERNS
ANY PRESENT? ANY ANTICIPATED?
CURRENT LEVEL OF RISK AND SAFETY
AGREEMENT ON REUNIFICATION?
SERVICE PROVIDERS/CASA/CAREGIVERS




                                                                                             10-23c
CA 04-11

           REACHING A DECISION                      RECAP/EVALUATION/CLOSING
            AT REUNIFICATION                            AT REUNIFICATION


CONSENSUS GOAL/AGENCY OWNED                EVERYONE KNOWS WHO WILL DO WHAT/
                                           WHEN?
REMEMBER THERE ARE 3 LEVELS OF DECISION
MAKING                                     ANSWER QUESTIONS
                                           INCLUDING WHAT WILL YOU DO IF/WHEN FUTURE
                                           PROBLEMS ARISE?
HAVE RISKS AND SAFETY ISSUES BEEN
ADEQUATELY ADDRESSED?                      ACKNOWLEDGE AND CELEBRATE ACCOMPLISHMENT!!

IS PRESENT SITUATION ACCEPTABLE?

ANYTHING ELSE THAT NEEDS TO BE IN PLACE?

ENSURE TRANSITION PLAN
OVERNIGHT VISITATIONS, GOODBYES,
TIMEFRAMES FOR COURT HEARING, MOVE ETC.

DEVELOP ACTION PLAN—
WHO WILL DO WHAT, WHEN




            SAFETY PLANNING                               ASSESSING RISK
 CHILD FOCUS
                                            ENSURE SUMMARIZATION OF INFORMATION
 PROVIDES IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION            FROM SAFETY/RISK ASSESSMENT TOOL IS
                                             UNDERSTANDABLE TO ALL
 REALISTIC, CONCRETE, TIMELIMITED
                                            HIGHLIGHT KEY RISK AREAS AND LINK TO NEEDS
 MONITORING/OVERSIGHT ENSURED
                                            IDENTIFICATION OF STRENGTHS, ESPECIALLY
 COMMITMENT FROM ALL INVOLVED               THOSE THAT CAN IMPACT RISK AREAS

 DISCUSSION OF CONSEQUENCE IF NOT          ENSURE EXPLANATION & UNDERSTANDING OF
  ADEQUATE OR FOLLOWED                       HOW RISKS (BEHAVIORALLY SPECIFIC) IMPACT
                                             CHILD




                                                                                       10-23c
CA 04-11


                     TEN TIPS FOR FACILITATORS
                    FOR EFFECTIVE TDM MEETINGS
1. Start on time. Social workers and parents are most important. If parents are late, but it is known that
   they are coming, you may wait a bit. However, if the latecomers are less essential for the content of
   the meeting, begin as scheduled. If a pattern of lateness with social worker or agency staff emerges,
   discuss the issue in private with the person.

2. Check in with the social worker about the people invited/attending. With the often emergency nature
   of the situation, pre-notice is limited, but it is critical that family know that they should invite their
   support people.

3. Be sure that everyone understands the meeting’s purpose.

4. While it is important to adhere to timeframes for the meeting, remember we are dealing with
   critical and emotional decisions in the lives of families, and whatever time is needed to make a quality
   decision should be expended.

5. Conduct the group’s business in front of the group. No sidebars or staff breaks.

6. Deal with interpersonal business (feedback to staff) outside of the meeting, unless group building and
   maintenance requires intervention during the meeting.

7. Use a flip chart or white board to list concerns, strengths and ideas that have been generated. It will
   help the group stay on track, preserve thoughts and ideas and keep the group focused.

8. Check regularly on the group’s process.
      Is the participation balanced?
      Is the group staying focused?
      Is the purpose, information, discussion, clear?
      Is the group moving through the problem-solving process?

9. Can the group reach a consensus decision? If it appears that it will not be gained, even with additional
   discussion, is the agency’s staff in agreement with a decision? If it appears that agency staff can not
   reach a consensus decision, the social worker will make the final decision.

10. Review the decision and action plan with the group. Is the decision and the steps to implement the
    decision clear and understood by all? Are the responsibilities and timelines determined?




                                                                                                      10-24
  CA 04-11



                     TEN TIPS FOR TDM SUPERVISORS
                 TO DEVELOP AND SUPPORT FACILITATORS
1. ESTABLISH EXPECTATIONS: Supervisors ensure all facilitators demonstrate respectful, professional
   behavior and an understanding of how TDM meetings are to be conducted: provide for facilitators to complete
   the multi-day training and adhere to the practice principles it teaches; mandate data collection responsibilities for
   every meeting; institute guidelines for meeting coverage and documentation requirements and facilitator
   assignments; and provide for coverage of late-day and crisis TDM meetings.

2. BUILD A HIGH FUNCTIONING TEAM: Because TDM meetings provide the opportunity to teach and to
   model best practice for all participants, continuing facilitator development is a major supervisory function.
   Supervisors encourage a spirit of collaboration and teamwork among facilitators. To build consistency and skill,
   facilitators must regularly discuss what they see in TDM meetings: difficult/unusual situations and trends; system
   issues; service gaps; resource issues, etc. They must work together to meet scheduling needs of families and
   social workers, including meetings arranged with short notice or late in the day. Facilitators must readily fill in
   for one another due to lengthy meetings, sickness, vacations etc.

3. MEET AS A GROUP: Supervisors lead frequent and regular staff meetings to educate, coach and provide
   opportunities for peer support and exchange of information. They ensure facilitators are up-to-date and
   competent on agency practices; policies; procedures and resources, as well as changes in statutes and regulations
   that impact practice.

4. OBSERVE/GIVE FEEDBACK/COACH: Routinely attend TDM meetings, primarily to watch process.
   Observe the facilitator’s behavior, attitude, knowledge, and skill. Give feedback based on observations,
   recognizing strengths and coaching for improvement. Use the TDM Facilitator Coaching tool to provide a format
   and suggestions on desired facilitation skills. Mentor staff to support professional growth. Establish regular
   supervisory conferences to discuss cases, issues, needs and progress.

5. CREATE A SUPPORTIVE INFRASTRUCTURE:                            Dependable and efficient clerical assistance is
   indispensable for screening and scheduling TDMs; flagging situations requiring facilitator attention; contacting
   non-meeting specific participants; and providing and maintaining meeting records. Building receptionists who
   are welcoming and knowledgeable establish a positive atmosphere. Security staff must be aware, sensitive and
   responsive to the occasional safety issues that require intervention during TDM meetings. Information analysts
   can assist with programming and interpreting data.

6. SET A POSITIVE EXAMPLE: Supervisors must model Family to Family values, as well as the attitudes,
   behavior and work ethic that they expect from their staff. Supervisors should champion the community’s
   involvement in TDM meetings and reflect their belief by supporting community collaboratives and efforts to
   increase community representatives’ TDM participation.

7. BECOME A TDM DATA CHAMPION: Ensure data is collected, summarized in a quarterly report and
   distributed within the agency and the larger community. Manage the TDM unit based on what the data indicates
   about facilitator performance, and be vocal about agency trends as reflected in TDM data. Ensure that facilitators
   take ownership for the data resulting from their meetings.

8. KEEP MANAGEMENT INFORMED: Keep agency administration/management team apprised of systemic
   patterns and trends which are evident in TDM meetings. Be a champion for your unit: share successes, needs,
   and developmental changes. Use data, including the summary quarterly report, to highlight significant issues. Be
   a strong partner with other agency departments to build broad ownership for TDM.

                                                                                                             10-25
  CA 04-11

9. BE A TDM LEADER: Ensure that TDM is consistently framed as part of a larger change effort that includes
   involving community, adequately supporting caregivers, and self evaluation. As the TDM supervisor, be a
   visible promoter of TDM within the agency and community, advancing understanding of the TDM values,
   principles, and desired outcomes. Advocate for policies and practice that increase support to families, children
   and youth.

10. MAINTAIN HIGH PERSONAL STANDARDS: Strong supervisors are important for strong facilitators.
    Avoid model drift and deterioration of skills. Strive to sustain quality and search for ways to improve practice.
    Don’t forget to have fun with your staff.




                                                                                                            10-25
CA 04-11




           MORE ABOUT QUALITY DECISIONS

OR, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE KNOWLEDGE AREAS THAT WILL NEED TO BE
    REPRESENTED AT THE TDM TABLE TO ASSURE GOOD OUTCOMES?



   1. Laws and regulations (federal, state, local)


   2. Agency policies / procedures


   3. Foster care/Caregiver rules (licensing, kin care, etc.)


   4. Safety and risk assessment decision making practices


   5. Resources, both internal and external to agency
        a. Traditional and non-traditional
        b. Specific to family’s community


   6. Cultural differences (especially for those populations most represented in the
      communities served)




                                                                                  10-26
CA 04-11




      100 FAMILY FRIENDLY IDEAS
          FOR A TDM MEETING

BEFORE THE MEETING
1.    Have TDM meeting scheduler ask about cultural or language issues, so facilitator can
      contact worker/supervisor in advance to discuss how to assist with making the family
      comfortable, ensuring interpreter available, if needed
2.    Have times slots available that accommodate family’s schedule
3.    Have meetings in the community
4.    Provide a brochure that explains in simple language about a TDM meeting—the purpose, the goal,
      who will be present, etc. Ensure pamphlet encourages family to bring support person(s) to meeting
5.    Educate social workers regarding the importance of support person(s) and their responsibility to
      encourage the family to bring support to the TDM meeting
6.    Check with the social worker to see that everyone who should be invited is
7.    Ask the social worker what assistance they need to make the TDM meeting a respectful, positive,
      productive process
8.    Have parking available
9.    Have a greeter/receptionist
10.   Provide a comfortable, private waiting area for the family with restrooms available, a telephone
      accessible and a place to hang up coats, umbrellas etc.
11.   Offer water, coffee, tea
12.   Have bus schedules available
13.   Provide information on resources in the waiting area
14.   Have child care available and/or toys for children
15.   Allow time for birth parents and foster parents to meet and talk in advance of the TDM
      meeting with social worker introducing and facilitating the contact
16.   If a community representative attends, introduce them to the family before the meeting. Ensure
      parent(s) understands the partner’s role, so that parent(s) doesn’t feel pressured to say “yes” when
      asked if community person may participate
17.   Pre-conversations and activity should show respect and awareness of the level of seriousness and
      importance of the meeting
18.   Take a stand against staff sidebar conversations, late arrivals, early departures, and other disruptions
      during TDM meetings
19.   Prepare yourself to be focused, attentive and responsive
20.   Be optimistic about the group’s ability to develop a plan that provides safety and protection for the
      child as gently as possible
21.   Be polite
22.   Allow the family to choose their seats first, before staff and others
23.   Start on time
24.   When the start of the meeting is delayed, explain the reason, give a time estimate of when meeting
      will begin, and ask if that will be okay.


                                                                                                     10-27
CA 04-11


DURING THE MEETING
25.   Have family friendly, comfortable, private TDM meeting room—round tables preferred
26.   Post agency’s mission statement, Family to Family values etc.
27.   Limit interruptions, perhaps a sign on door “Meeting in Progress”
28.   Have a calendar in the room—possibly wall calendar for all to see
29.   Have tissues and water available
30.   Be aware of your nonverbal communication. It should be positive, open, interested, pleasant etc.
31.   Stand and greet participants as they enter the meeting. Welcome with comments such as “Good
      morning. We are glad you are able to attend”
32.   Allow family members to be the first to sit down and choose where they sit
33.   Be cognizant of seating arrangement. Eliminate or reduce isolation or intimidation
34.   Develop a climate for cooperation, open, honest, respectful interaction and communication.
      Encourage, empower and advocate
35.   Ask if agreement to group guidelines and inquire if additional ground rules needed
36.   Enforce group ground rules evenly
37.   Explain forms the facilitator fills out or completes
38.   State the purpose of the meeting and verify that is what parent(s) understand as the purpose. Don’t
      ask, “do you know why you’re here,” since a parent may fear saying something wrong or “sounding
      stupid”
39.   Explain how the meeting will be conducted (consensus goal/agency owned) and acknowledge that
      the process can be difficult
40.   Address people with their proper names, unless instructed differently. Ask family how they would
      like to be addressed (stay away from mom and dad)
41.   Use name tents or name tags
42.   Give time expectations. Have a clock in the room to assist with maintaining timeframes
43.   Explain the importance of the meeting and the need for full attention and participation. Request cell
      phones and pagers are turned off
44.   Give parent(s) opportunity to speak first. Invite parent(s) to present information about their
      child(ren) (name, age, interests, share photos, etc.)
45.   Ask “who would like to explain why we are here today” rather than assume that the social worker
      should always begin the discussion of the precipitating event
46.   Be ‘soft on the person, hard on the problem’
47.   Allow child(ren) to be present when appropriate due to age, mental ability and issues being
      discussed. Ensure the purpose, process and participants have been explained to the child(ren) in
      advance and the child(ren) allowed to decline attending if they wish
48.   Be very sensitive, aware and protective of child(ren) in attendance. Excuse child(ren) if discussion
      becomes unsuitable for their continued participation
49.   Make sure the child is spoken about as an individual with unique needs, qualities and strengths
50.   Listen to understand. Reframe and clarify statements and feelings
51.   Pay attention to use of jargon, acronyms, overly complex words, vague or abstract language etc.
      Focus on listening with “family’s ears” at all times and translate or seek clarification
52.   Remind staff and service providers that discussion should be clear and understandable
53.   Look at family when they are speaking. Have eye contact with every participant.
54.   Monitor nonverbal communication and check for accuracy.
55.   Model and/or coach a social worker who direct eyes or remarks to facilitator rather than family or
      speaks about family in the third person, as if they aren’t in the room
56.   Be sensitive to cultural and/or ethnic differences. Demonstrate acceptance, openness and
      willingness to learn
57.   Use “we” language                                                                               10-27
CA 04-11


58.   Avoid directing questions to social worker for information that the family can provide
59.   Regularly ask family if they have questions. Check for understanding
60.   Provide information, ensure explanations
61.   Speak sincerely, honestly and respectfully. Monitor your tone of voice
62.   Model polite behavior and engagement skills
63.   Ask the family what they feel are their needs, supports. “What can we do to help you with your
      needs?”
64.   Engage family members and rest of the group in process of recognizing and acknowledging the
      family’s positive attributes and strengths
65.   Ask about times in the past when things were going well for the family, identify and reinforce past
      successes
66.   Ask each family member to give their input and ideas about how to resolve situation
67.   Use flip chart/white board to list needs, strengths, and ideas
68.   Discuss all ideas. Give consideration to each option
69.   Expect expression of emotions. Acknowledge and validate feelings
70.   Don’t take anger personally and become defensive
71.   Be responsive to family’s feelings and express concern, empathy
72.   Offer family member(s) who become upset during the meeting a room to vent and/or collect
      themselves emotionally before returning
73.   Allow “family alone time” when it appears that it will benefit family to discuss and develop a plan
      without agency staff in the room
74.   Do not allow staff sidebars or breaks
75.   Recognize and respond if it appears that personal assumptions, values and/or biases are affecting
      staff presentations, recommendations or decisions
76.   Explain why an idea was denied so that participants can understand if their suggestion or option was
      not selected
77.   Have resource information available including services that meet culturally unique needs and is
      community-based
78.   Connect family to individualized, priority services immediately
79.   Acknowledge progress and celebrate achievements
80.   Explain the decision and the course of action clearly.
81.   Write the action and safety plan(s) legibly and so the plan(s) can be understood. Avoid vague words
      and abbreviations
82.   At conclusion of the meeting, summarize, give positive feedback, ask if questions, understanding
      etc.
83.   Give the copy of the action and safety plan to parent(s) first
84.   Close the meeting thanking members for their participation and input. Comments could include:
      “Thank you for coming to the meeting” and/or affirm the difficulty of the task “It was hard work,
      but we got through it and have developed a plan that will hopefully be very supportive for you”
85.   Ensure all questions answered

If the meeting decision is to place the child(ren) in out-of-home care…
86. Explore/encourage relative placement
87. Explain the placement process. Give as many specifics as possible regarding placement matching,
      keeping siblings together, etc.
88. Emphasize what parent(s) need to do to get their child(ren) returned to them—give ownership back
      to the parent(s)
89. Review process with timelines, periodic progress meetings etc. Explain agency’s responsibilities
90. Straight talk about goals/reunification
91. Allow family to grieve. Acknowledge feelings                                                   10-27
CA 04-11


92.   Encourage (if possible) continued involvement in child’s life—school, doctor, activities
93.   Facilitate identification of appropriate places for visits—get creative
94.   Speak about family team meetings (3-5 days after placement) to allow parents and foster parents to
      meet, discuss visitation schedule, location (including relatives, neighborhood sites)


AFTER THE MEETING
95.  Walk to the elevator or lobby or ensure family knows where the exits are
96.  Ensure mental health intervention is provided for suicidal ideation or other behaviors/issues needing
     immediate attention
97. Determine if family has transportation to get home
98. Give feedback/request feedback from staff. Limit/eliminate negative talk
99. Refer late parent/partner to social worker
100. Clean up/prepare room for next meeting




                                                                                                     10-27
CA 04-11



                                       FACILITATOR SKILL TIPS

    A. Understand sexual abuse dynamics; Be self-aware of personal reactions and emotions regarding
    sexual abuse and professional impact; Maintain focus on protection and safety; Balance sensitivity with
    ensuring straight talk of concern and safety issues; If criminal investigation determine status; Discuss
    any process issues with worker in advance including if alleged perpetrator and/or alleged child victim
    will be present

    B. Remember it’s the worker’s meeting, facilitator’s primary role is to guide process; Support and aid
    worker’s competence; As facilitator, do not try to be center of attention; Encourage parties to talk to
    each other; Welcome and encourage experience of supervisor; Reiterate goal/purpose of meeting;
    Redirect; Reframe; Summarize; Clarify; Ask if others present can assist in explaining needs, risks,
    safety issues etc.; Model professional behavior; Avoid power struggles; Acknowledge difficulty of job
    and emotional triggers that come with it; If negative behavior seriously impacts or impedes process
    describe and ask about it; Ignore behavior and deal with it in private manner if it doesn’t disrupt group
    process

    C. Make sure everyone present at TDM is either a person who 1) has legal right to discuss the
    information (pay attention to present custody status to determine this), or 2) is there because the
    parents, with adequate guidance, gave their informed consent for the person to participate; Clarify
    participants’ role and purpose for attending; Discuss respecting privacy and sensitivity of information
    shared at TDM in introduction; Explain exceptions regarding release of information, i.e. case planning,
    new allegation; litigation; Inquire if participants understand responsibility to maintain information
    private and agree; Indicating that information is confidential is misleading due to exceptions; Exercise
    good judgment and sensitivity to make on-the-spot decisions about late-arriving participants, birth
    parents changing their minds mid-meeting about permitted participants or other unanticipated
    circumstances

    D. Focus on issues and behaviors rather than emotions and personalities; Ask about behavior; Use ‘I’
    message to describe effect of person’s behavior; Search for solutions rather than blaming; If negative
    behavior indicates pattern and/or endangers children involve superiors; Ask staff member about their
    complaints, issues etc.; Clarify facilitator’s role and answer questions about process; Listen without
    interrupting; Reflect back what you hear; Understand, before responding; Don’t get defensive; Own
    your mistakes; Don’t hold grudges

    E. Include information regarding consensus in introduction; Use solution-focused, structured format
    throughout meeting; An individual must feel that they were heard to be able to support a group’s
    decision; Begin reality-testing with least restrictive placement suggestion to determine if it can possibly
    provide safety and protection—if not, ensure explanation before moving to next level of restrictiveness;
    Check with team to confirm consensus, never assume; Understand inability to bring every group to
    consensus does not mean TDM was failure

    F. Ensure invitation to TDM (particularly for considered removal TDM) is made; Confirm community
    representative introduced to parents before the TDM – in the lobby- and parents receive an
    explanation of how rep can be helpful; Determine if parents gave informed consent for representative’s
    participation at TDM; Encourage representative to provide support, knowledge and resources during
    meeting; Demonstrate appreciation for input/contributions

    G. Maintain child focus; Safety not services; Must be immediate action/intervention, time-limited,
    realistic and concrete; Ask parents their ideas/resources for safety; Involve family’s support system
    and community partners; Ensure understanding of expectations and oversight responsibilities;
    Determine that monitor is capable and committed to performing required responsibilities if child
    remains at home; Discuss benefits of compliance and consequences for non-compliance; Safety plans,

                                                                                                              10-28
CA 04-11

    case plans and TDM summary reports each have a specific purpose and while they share elements
    should not be confused




    H. Ensure parents understand the TDM purpose and process; Facilitate open, honest discussion
    between parents and agency staff; Be inclusive in speech and behavior, Treat parents with respect;
    Explain cooperative intentions; Address parents first and last; Recognize parents’ importance; Thank
    them for attending and participating; Have parents identify their goal for the meeting; Encourage
    parents to speak about their child and recognize parents’ expertise; Acknowledge and validate parents’
    feelings and emotions; Watch for nonverbal messages; Actively listen and credit contributions; Ask
    parents their understanding of situation; Encourage parents to share their needs, ideas, & perspective;
    Be strength-focused, needs-driven; Ensure team members talk with and to parents, not about and/or at
    them; Provide community partner as ally and advocate; Find common ground; Eliminate/explain
    agency’s jargon, acronyms; Invite questions from parents; Keep discussion understandable
    I. Start on time as much as possible; State time estimate in introduction; Have clock in room; Ensure
    complete, clear disclosure and discussion of risks/safety issues, needs and identification of strengths
    when assessing the situation but avoid endless repetition by utilizing summarization; Thorough
    discussion of the situation can eliminate the need to revisit when developing ideas and reaching a
    decision; Evaluate and pace a team’s readiness to move to next step in resolution process

    J. Link behaviors associated with risk factors with concerns for child safety; Ensure discussion is
    thorough and understandable; Identify strengths, especially those that can influence risk areas; Ensure
    family has ample opportunity to offer their perspective, ask questions, offer ideas; Assist social worker
    to communicate safety/risk concerns clearly and using the most engaging language possible.

    K. Welcome and thank them for coming; Appreciate their contributions; Ask them to participate in
    identifying strengths; Inquire about the support they offer presently and/or could in the future; If
    parental opposition to other parent’s support, ascertain reason for objection and attempt to negotiate
    agreement for attendance unless deemed potentially counterproductive or harmful

    L. Determine case by case appropriateness of youth’s presence for all or part of meeting; Check if teen
    asked if s/he wishes to attend and have opportunity for ‘voice and choice’; Ensure youth prepared for
    TDM in advance regarding participants, process, expectations, rights, etc.; Support for youth
    needed/present?; Request teen’s perception of problem and ideas; Ask the youth what they would
    consider a good outcome from the meeting; Listen carefully to responses—verbal and nonverbal;
    Validate/acknowledge emotions, feelings; Discuss positives/strengths/talents; Empower them to feel
    they have input and that it is valued; Allow teen to ask questions and state ideas; Ensure youth are
    talked ‘to’, not ‘around’ or ‘about’; Be sensitive; Be flexible; Be real

    M. Critical communication skill; Prepare to listen—mentally & physically; Keep an open mind;
    Suppress your emotional reactions; Don’t let your mind wonder; Be aware of personal biases to avoid
    distorting comprehension; Overcome distractions; Listen to everything being said; Listen actively;
    Listen to understand; Be empathetic; Practice!

    N. Determine intentions and commitment along with timelines; Provide information on rights and
    responsibilities; Ensure explanation about how to establish paternity

    O. Embrace concept that visual aids assist participants in visualizing, understanding and focusing;
    Determine if agreement on list of concerns summarization; List all strengths, highlighting those that
    can address concerns; Ensure all ideas offered are listed; Reality test least restrictive placement
    suggestions first with team—will it keep child safe? What supports/services are needed for this
    placement to work?
CA 04-11




                      FACILITATOR SKILL TIPS QUIZ


           Enter the letter of the appropriate tip next to the corresponding facilitator skill.


                        SKILL                                                  TIPS
   1. LISTENING

   2. INVOLVING PARENTS

   3. ENGAGING YOUTH

   4. MANAGING STAFF ISSUES DURING TDM

   5. INCLUDING ALLEGED FATHERS

   6. INCLUDING FAMILY’S SUPPORTS

   7. DEALING WITH PRIVACY ISSUES

   8. INCLUDING COMMUNITY PARTNER

   9. HANDLING SEXUAL ABUSE ISSUES

   10. DISCUSSING RISKS AND SAFETY ISSUES

   11. DEVELOPING A SAFETY PLAN AT A TDM

   12. USING CHART PAPER

   13. REACHING CONSENSUS

   14. MANAGING TIME DURING THE TDM MEETING


   15. PROVIDING FEEDBACK & COACHING STAFF




                                                                                                  10-29

				
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