IV. D-6. Family Team Meetings
Effective June 16, 2014
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OCFS Family Team Meeting Policy & Facilitated Family Team Meeting Policy
The Office of Child and Family Services joins with families, their natural supports and the community to develop plans and make decisions for the safety, permanency, and well-being of children. The FTM process should focus on building a unique safety network for the involved children that consists of committed lasting supports for the family that continue long after OCFS involvement and closure.
In accordance with the Child and Family Services Practice Model, this policy integrates Family Team Meetings into the way we do our work. This policy provides guidance as to when a Family Team Meeting (FTM) and a Facilitated Family Team Meeting (FFTM) must be held.
Parents’ voices are valued and considered in decisions regarding the safety, permanency and well-being of their children and family.
Title 22 M.R.S. § 4003 & § 4004
A Family Team Meeting must occur:
A Family Team Meeting has to be done minimally every three months on all cases.
If ICWA applies, the steps of the Family Team Meeting must be done in conjunction with the tribal child welfare caseworker from the planning phase, invitations, preparation and determining who will facilitate the meeting. The tribe may have team members that are considered essential and must be invited to the FTM.
Preparation for the first FTM:
The caseworker will:
Caseworker/Facilitator introduces themselves and their roles. Team members will introduce themselves and their connection to the family. Confidentiality is reviewed, and ground rules are established. The FTM/FFTM Summary Report is signed by participants.
Caseworker/Facilitator explains that the purpose of the FTM is to ensure team decision making in regard to child safety, well-being and permanency.
Caseworker/Facilitator and team members share the limitations and guidelines, such as court orders and legal mandates under Title 22 M.R.S. in relation to decision-making in the FTM.
The Family Story is the opportunity for the family members to share their perceptions of what happened to cause the family to be involved with Child Welfare Services. In cases where this is a subsequent FTM it is an opportunity to update the family team members as to what progress the family has made towards reaching family plan goals.
The team, with the assistance of the caseworker/facilitator, will review the harm, danger, and complicating factors as they apply to the case at the time of the meeting. Caseworker/Facilitator asks the family team to identify protective strengths of the family and how strengths can support goals that will keep the child(ren) safe. The team develops safety goals and a family plan that ensures child safety. The plan includes who will do what by when to meet the goals. Contingency plans are developed to address, “What could go wrong with this plan?”
FACILITATED FAMILY TEAM MEETING:
The goal of the Facilitated Family Team Meeting (FFTM) is to involve birth families, community members, along with resource families, service providers and agency staff in all decisions regarding the removal of a child, as well as any decisions requesting a change in placement when it is against caregiver wishes. The meeting is led by a skilled, immediately accessible, internal facilitator.
The initial plan developed at an FFTM is a short-term plan that cannot last more than 35 days, to address the immediate safety needs of the children and to determine if removal and/or court action is necessary. At a follow-up FTM, a comprehensive and long-term plan will be developed that addresses not only the safety of the child(ren), but also the child’s well-being and permanency needs.
A FFTM MUST OCCUR:
A pre-meeting will occur with the facilitator, caseworker, and supervisor to discuss case-specific information, bottom- lines, who should attend, and logistics of having the meeting (i.e. location).
FFTM Agenda: Same as FTM except the family story might or might not be shared depending on the prep work the caseworker was able to do and the time available for the meeting.
The goal for the outcome of the FFTM meeting is to have a decision by the team regarding removal or placement change that provides for the safety of the children; however, OCFS maintains legal responsibility to make a decision regarding the safety of the child, if agreement by the team cannot be achieved.
Facilitated Family Team Meeting Referral Form
Where does the child currently reside?
Is there a current family plan? (If yes, please provide a copy with the referral form)
Next Hearing Date:
Situation that Prompted the Meeting:
Recommended Removal/Placement Change Against the Caregiver’s Wishes Facilitated FTM:
Planning for Facilitated FTM:
If yes, explain:
If yes, Explain:
(If no, have alternative options been discussed for youth involvement?)
Worker plans to invite the following people- at least 2 of which are informal supports:
(Please indicate both maternal and paternal relatives)
MAINE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
OFFICE OF CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES
FTM/FFTM SUMMARY REPORT
Child(ren) Discussed at Meeting:
Situation that Prompted the Meeting:
Decisions Resulting from the Meeting:
I understand that through my involvement on a family team, I will have access to information about an individual or a family’s involvement with the Department of Health and Human Services. This information may be in the form of written records or may be shared verbally by a member of the family team. I understand that this information must remain confidential because of state law. I understand and agree not to share or discuss any information about this family learned through the family team meeting process with anyone who is not a part of this team. I also understand that my access to this information is only to be used as necessary to carry out my role as part of the family team. This information may be used 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 the court.
Signatures of Participants: Signature indicates participation, it does not imply agreement
Invited, Unable to Attend
I accept the Department of Health and Human Services offer to assist me in obtaining needed services and will receive targeted case management services from the Department in order to gain access to and manage needed medical, nutritional, social, educational, transportation, housing and other services identified in this plan.