The child welfare system can be confusing, but we want you to know we’re here to help. No matter what your situation, we strive to involve you in the process as much as possible. Please know that your child’s safety and well-being are our TOP priority. We want you to think of us as someone in your corner, working for the same things you are: the safety and stability of your child and family.
Your Family Care Counselor (FCC) will be your biggest asset during the time your case is open. Your FCC and even their supervisor are there by phone and email if you have questions. If your case involves court hearings, your child may also be given a Guardian ad Litem. This person is here to help too, and will advocate on behalf of your child’s needs and desires.
What is a Family Team Conference?
When you meet your Family Care Counselor for the first time, he/she will talk with you about scheduling a special kind of meeting called a Family Team Conference.
We believe that you and your family have a lot of strengths and should help decide how to make sure that your children stay safe and happy. This is a voluntary meeting and is designed to allow you, your family and the people you invite to talk about your plans and goals with your Family Care Counselor and others.
The Family Care Counselor will ask you to think of others in your life that you think can help you in meeting your goals. The Family Care Counselor will invite these people to your Family Team Conference. Who do you call on when things are not going well? Who do you consider to be on your side and on the side of your children? These are the people who should be invited and anyone else that you would normally call on for help or support. Others attending the meeting may be a Guardian ad Litem, lawyers and others identified by you and your team as important to attend. Many people invite friends, relatives, therapists, the child’s caregiver(s), case managers, schoolteachers, guidance counselors, ministers, coaches or anyone else they believe should be there. You help decide who should be there, and these people will become part of your team. Your Family Care Counselor can even help invite and arrange transportation for everyone. Take a moment and write down as many people as you can think of who you would like to be on your team.
What happens at a Family Team Conference?
During the first conference, you and your team will decide on a plan that will help your family reach its goals and get the help that it needs. Together with you, the Family Team will come up with a written plan with agreed-upon goals and tasks, and will talk to you about services that can help you reach these goals. This Family Plan will have tasks for you and your child(ren) to complete, along with tasks for other team members. These tasks will help you provide a safe home for your children and yourself. The members of your team will help you find the right services and determine how the services will be paid for, so that you and your family can get started on completing the tasks of your Family Plan.
At every meeting, everyone will review the Family Plan and progress made toward meeting the tasks and goals. It should be easy to see how well you meeting your goals. You should always let the team know how you feel about the help you and your family are getting. Remember that your goals or needs may change and that new services and/or ways to pay for services may be identified. If this happens, the Family Plan may change. You will be supported by your team in your efforts to complete your tasks.
Please remember that your team, and especially your Family Care Counselor, is here to help you when needed. Please call on them for help.
How often do we have a Family Team Conference?
Family Team Conferences will occur within 14 days of your case being transferred to the services unit and will be held at least every three months. Your Family Care Counselor is in charge of making sure that these meetings happen and that your family and other members of the team know when and where they are. We understand that what your family needs may change as time goes on, so you or another team member may request a special meeting at any time. For example, you may want to request a Family Team Conference anytime your child(ren)’s living situation changes.
When do we say goodbye?
When you have met your goals and the team agrees that you no longer need support from PSF to help keep your family safe, it will be time to close the case. Your team will work together to make recommendations to the court for case closure. It is the goal of the Family Team to develop a support system that is ongoing and will continue to support you and your family after PSF is no longer involved. We believe that by getting you and your children the services and support that all of you need, your family can stay together or reunite and your children can be safely cared for.