Guide to Effective ftm facilitation

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Guide to Effective FTM Facilitation

Keys to a Facilitator’s Success

  1. Stand true to FTM format and process

  2. Listen, trust the group

  3. Ensure family’s voice is heard, needs are met

  4. Adjust when conflict surfaces, manage power and control issues that arise, manage the flow of the discussion to ensure that all are heard and no one dominates

  5. Ensure all agency/legal “non-negotiable” are explained and addressed

  6. Be sure all identified safety/risk factors are clearly explained and addressed

  7. Remember three rules of facilitation:

    • Keep it Simple

    • Keep it Clear

    • Keep it Moving

Preparation Interview

  • Engage the family, build trust

  • Describe FTM process/purpose

  • Emphasize that the FTM is driven by the family

  • Explain FTM outcome: Plan or Decision

  • Explain specific agency/legal non-negotiable issues that will be discussed during FTM

  • Explain “family story” during FTM

  • Identify family purpose

    • What would you like to see happen as a result of FTM?”

  • Identify who family wants to attend

  • Identify anyone else who needs to attend, come to agreement

  • Identify/discuss any potential conflicts

  • Be sure HIPAA Release Form is explained and signed

  • Answer any questions family may have

  • Meeting time, place, date

  • Complete CFSR Preparation Interview Worksheet

  • Time frame for preparation interview: 45 minutes – 1 hour

Family Team Meeting: Stages

  • Welcome and Introductions

    • Have “Welcome to the _____ Family Team Meeting” posted on Easel Pad

    • Facilitator and Co-facilitator begin, explaining their roles

    • Primary FTM person (mom, dad)

    • Family, describing relationship to primary

    • Professionals, describing relationship to primary/FTM

    • Food

  • FTM Outcome, “What we will leave with.”

For DFCS cases, always a decision or a Family/Case plan. Choose one:

    • For Family Preservation

      • 45 day FTM: Creating a Family Plan

      • Closure FTM: To celebrate case closure and create a personalized Family Plan (NOT DFCS driven)

      • Critical Situation: Requires an immediate decision to be made or new goals or steps to be added to the Family Plan due to new Safety/Risk factors arising

    • For Foster Care:

      • Imminent Risk/Considered Removal: To determine whether or not the children can remain in the home or have to come into care

      • To Create a Preliminary Family Plan, finalized at the MDT

      • To Preserve a child placement or change the placement

      • Change in Permanency

      • Case Plan Review/Barriers to achieving Permanency

      • Reunification/Transitional Case Plan

      • Case Closure/needed After Care Services

    • OFI:

      • Determine need for TANF at beginning of case
      • Plan for time when TANF runs out (24th month)

      • Plan long term family self-sufficiency

  • Family Purpose

    • Refer to “family’s purpose” statement posted on EP on wall

    • Read to group

    • If no family purpose is posted (e.g., was not identified during Preparation Interview), ask family

      • In addition to {OUTCOME}, what would you like to see happen as a result of today’s Family Team Meeting?”

  • Non-negotiable/confidentiality

    • Use neutral, general language. DO NOT be “family specific” or use the term “non-negotiable” in the FTM

      • By law or policy there are certain things that have to be in the plan—we’ll talk about what those are later.”

    • NOTE to DFCS: Non-negotiable issues are all Safety/Risk factors, court orders, or other legal requirements—NOT services or predetermined case plans. These issues will be identified and discussed later in the FTM

    • Discuss confidentiality and HAVE EVERYONE SIGN FORM. Use FTM Sign In form, which includes HIPAA clause.

      • By signing this, you agree that everything that is said today in this room stays in this room. Can everyone agree to that?”

    • Explain exceptions to confidentiality: mandated reporter requirement (use clear, neutral general language), threats to self or others
      • There are a couple of exceptions to confidentiality. Because of our jobs, some of us in the room are ‘mandated reporters’. If you’re a ‘mandated reporter’, can you raise your hand?’ Thanks. This means is that if something is said here today that rises to the level of child abuse or neglect, a report has to be made to DFCS—and this is something said about anyone in the room, about me or anyone else. The only other exception to confidentiality is if anyone makes a threat to hurt themselves or somebody else.”

  • Ground Rules

    • Have set of predetermined Ground Rules in mind (but NOT prewritten)

    • Ask group to create, then add any you need to

    • Co-Facilitator writes on EP

    • Examples:

      • “Agree to disagree”

      • “One person speaks at a time”

      • “Respect each other.”

    • Always have “no blaming”

    • Always have the “Golden Ground Rule of FTMs”:

      • Speak to a person, not about a person, and look at a person when you speak to them.”

    • Always ask the “agreement question”

      • Does everyone agree to abide by these ground rules while we are together?”

  • Family Story

    • Facilitator introduces

    • Chance for primary family members (mom, dad) ONLY to tell story to everyone in room

    • Prompt primary person to tell story:

      • Would you please explain how you got here today?”

    • Do NOT go around room and have entire family share their “story”

    • Chance for further assessment/info gathering

    • Everyone begins “on same page”

    • For Foster Care FTMs: Have an update on how the children are doing presented here

NOTE: In some Family Preservation or Foster care FTMs you may need to discuss Family Safety and Risk factors here in the FTM—in between “Family Story” and “Strengths”. “Needs” will always be discussed after “Strengths”. This should only be done if the family refuses to tell their story, if the family genuinely doesn’t understand, if denial would impede the FTM, or if telling the story would place the person or FTM in jeopardy.

  • Strengths (to build on, and achieve Outcomes)

    • Begin by asking primary persons (mom, dad, and child)

      • What is one strength or positive quality you have?”

    • Go around Team: Openly ask for each person in room to share one strength for the identified person, but DO NOT solicit each person independently.

    • Each DFCS personnel should give at least one strength

    • Co-Facilitator records on EP

    • Critical to FTM success: Builds hope

REMEMBER! Ask clarifying/probing questions. For example, if the mother says her strength is “I really love my children,” then ask “If I’m ____(child’s name), how do I know that about you? What do you do with me that show me you love me?” This helps the whole team see behavioral specifics that demonstrate strengths.

REMINDER! Remove children after Strengths section, especially if under age 12. Do not move to the Needs discussion until after children have exited the room.

  • Needs/Growth Areas and Identification of Individual and Family Safety/Risk Factors

    • Introduce

      • Now we’re going to discuss ‘needs’ or ‘concerns’—the issues that brought us here today.”

    • Begin with primary family person (who the FTM is for)

      • What needs do you want us to discuss today?”
    • Then turn to DFCS SSCM or DFCS representative, asking

      • From the Department’s point of view, what needs or issues do we need to discuss today?”

    • Be sure all past and present Safety and Risk factors (identified in the Risk Assessment or disclosed during services of the case) are discussed by DFCS SSCM or representative. If Safety and Risk factors have been resolved, this must be noted.

    • Facilitator may have to prompt SSCM to discuss all known agency and legal “non-negotiable” and Safety and Risk Factors. Ask DFCS SSCM

      • So, from the agency’s point of view, are these ALL the safety/risk factors or issues by law or policy, we need to discuss to achieve (OUTCOME) today?”

    • Foster Care:

      • Identify the Barriers to obtaining Permanency

      • Discuss the Safety and Risk Factors to preserve or change a placement

    • Then, open to rest of team

    • Identify additional Safety and Relative Resources. (There must be discussion in the FTM regarding Relatives) In Family Preservation, FTMs ask

      • Would you please tell us who are your family members and friends who help you with your child(ren) or you would trust to watch your child(ren) in an emergency?”

For Foster Care FTMs, these are the family members who may be

able to help with childcare or transportations issues and may wish

to have Home Evaluations.

    • Co-Facilitator records on EP

    • Facilitator or Case Manager may need to add specific needs if family does not (e.g., DV, substance abuse, neglect, child abuse, inadequate supervision)

      • I

        REMEMBER, SERVICES ARE NOT NEEDS! Do not let team discuss services/resources during this stage. If a service or resource is brought up, ask how it would help/benefit the family. “How would ‘Parenting Classes’ help mom?”, or “Mom, you say your family needs ‘family counseling.’ What would family counseling do for your family now? How would it help?” This ensures identity of the family’s true needs, and avoids having a superficial “service driven plan.”

        F DV is an issue, focus on victim and child safety, abuser accountability, and prevention. Don’t use the terms “DV or Domestic Violence issues” in FTM if abuser is present. This will place victims at RISK. Instead use terms such as “safety concerns or safety factors.” Abusers shouldn’t be in the same FTM without a DV professional present.

  • Select Needs

    • Family and team decide which needs belong on plan

    • Use “check marks”; and DO NOT number needs in order of importance

    • Convert selected “need” to “goal”

      • Co-Facilitator records each on separate EP

    • Use Parking Lot for Resource Referrals, Safety Plan, or other items like personal improvement goals that will not be part of Case Plan

    • Facilitator may need to help in sorting out which needs belong on the plan

      • Must include needs related to why case was opened in conjunction with Safety/Risk factors

  • Brainstorm to Create Plan or Make a Decision: Formal Agency plan (Family Preservation 45 day Family Plan, Foster Care) or “informal” family plan (Family Preservation Closure FTM)

  • Facilitator/DFCS does not plan for the team, but helps the team create a plan that builds on the family’s functional strengths and which addresses all agency/legal “non-negotiable” issues. Goals and steps must be written in clear language and terms that the client understands.

  • Agreed-upon goals for the family include measures of behavioral changes and action plans that are consistent with safe case closure requirements (safety, permanency, and family well-being)
  • Co-Facilitator records steps on EP in clear language from the group

  • Determine if an evaluation of the child and/or parent is necessary to ensure the development of an appropriate case plan.

  • For each need on the plan, team brainstorms possible solutions

  • Help team be very specific in “steps.” For each need on the plan, team identifies who will do what, when, for how long, and how often. Must include:

      • agency contact standards

      • duration of plan

      • established time limits

      • clear explanations, and alternatives

    • Be sure all family supports are included in steps along with professional service providers.

    • Plan should include community and sustainable resources, whenever possible

    • Arranged-for supports and services are most likely to work for the family and are culturally competent

    • Teens and children must be included in creating their plan, but don’t have to be present as long as someone is advocating for them

    • For Foster Care, or situations where the children are not in the home, include in plan:

      • All changes required for children to be returned home

      • Visitation agreement documented in clear steps

        • Minimum number of visitations to be completed weekly/monthly

        • Sibling visits if not in the same home

    • Domestic Violence:

      • Couples or marriage counseling are not appropriate services; family counseling should only be done when recommended by a DV expert

      • Anger management classes alone are not appropriate for a batterer/abuser (DV is about power and control not anger); Refer to individual/group Batterer’s Intervention counseling
      • Individual/group counseling for victims focus on victimization and overcoming barriers

    • Substance Abuse

      • Include and anticipate relapses in family plan

  • Assess what can go wrong

    • Once Family/Case Plan is created, explained, and agreed, ask:

      • Now, what can go wrong with this plan?”

    • Address contingencies

    • Check: Are alternative permanency plans, safety plans, crisis plans, and any necessary transition plans identified?

  • Scaling Question, Next Steps and Closing

    • Thank everyone for coming

    • Do a “check in” with primary parent(s), ask Scaling Question:

      • On a scale of 1 to 10, with ‘1’ meaning you’re feeling anxious, confused, like you just can’t do this, and ‘10’ meaning you’re feeling good, comfortable, like you can succeed, where were you when you came here today before the meeting? And, on a scale of 1 to 10, where are you now? What has helped you move from a ‘___’ to a ‘___’?”

    • Close meeting

  • Time frame: 1.5 - 2 hours

Georgia DFCS Education & Training Section November 2008
Family Team Meeting Facilitator Training

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