IV. D-6. Family Team Meetings

Effective 6/16/14

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IV. D-6. Family Team Meetings

Effective 6/16/14

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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:

At the request of the family or others connected to the case.

Development of any safety plan unless circumstances prevent one from occurring. If a FTM cannot be held prior to a safety plan, then one will be held within 30 days.

Development of initial and subsequent Family Plans, including Rehabilitation and Reunification    Plans.  This is to be done within 30 days of the plan.

Development of the Child/Youth Case Plan or Youth Transition Plan.  This is to be done within 30 days of the plan.

Recommendation of any change of placement, including return home to parents, kinship care, or discharge from residential care.

When a case is ready for closure.

Prior to any Reinstatement of Parental Rights.  

Prior to a case transfer between districts.

Any decision or transition time is a valid reason to hold a FTM  


    A Family Team Meeting has to be done minimally every three months on all cases.



The family and caseworker will decide together who the family team members will be (see below for decision making around cases that involve domestic violence).


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:

Talk with the family and prepare them for the meeting prior to all family team meetings.

Discuss with the family the harm, danger, complicating factors, and their protective strengths as they relate to the case.

Work with the family to identify the best location for the FTM, preferably in the family’s home or other agreed upon setting.

Develop the agenda with the family once the purpose of the meeting is clear.

Help the family to identify prospective family team members, discuss how to best explain to them why this meeting is taking place, and what is hoped each can do to help build child safety.

Speak with family team members and share the purpose of the meeting.

Assess for possible domestic violence within the family; if domestic violence is a concern the      caseworker will:

Work with the DV advocate to address safety concerns for the youth and the non-offending caregiver.

Ensure in cases where domestic violence is a concern that there will be separate meetings for the offending and non-offending caregivers.

Ensure that if there is a no-contact court order in place, OCFS staff will not have those participants together in the same FTM.

Preparation can be done throughout ongoing work with the family and members of the team or in the process of inviting new members to the team.

There are times when preparation for the FTM is not able to happen.  In these instances supervisory approval must be given and the reason for not doing the preparation documented in the narrative log. Exceptions for not doing the preparation cannot be given in families where there is domestic violence.



1.Welcome and Introductions:

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.

3.Non-Negotiables/Bottom lines:

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.

4.Family Story/Updates at Subsequent 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.

5.Develop Plan:

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?”


Documentation/Written Plan:

Preparation done with the family and team members will be documented in the narrative log.

FTM/FFTM Summary Report will be entered into MACWIS narrative log under the primary caregiver.

The plan that comes out of the FTM will be entered under the appropriate plan listed in the plan icon of MACWIS (i.e. Family Plan) within 10 days of the FTM.

The FTM/FFTM Summary Report and Plan will be distributed to all team members within 10 days of the meeting.

If the family refuses to participate in the FTM, the caseworker will document this in the narrative log, stating the reason for the family’s refusal to participate.





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.     



Prior to any emergency removal of a child from the home or the decision to file a straight petition requesting removal.  If a removal occurs after hours, or a FFTM cannot occur, a FTM will be held within 3 days.  The decision that an FFTM will not be held requires approval by the PA/APA and will be documented in the narrative log by the PA/APA.

Immediately prior to any recommended removal or placement change from a relative or non-related caregiver against the caregiver’s wishes.  The decision not to have a FFTM must be documented in MACWIS narrative by the PA/APA as to why the FFTM was not held.

At other times, as determined by district need and PA/APA.  


Referral Process:

Caseworker/Supervisor identifies the need for a FFTM, and caseworker completes the referral.

Referral form is given to the FFTM Facilitator’s supervisor or designee to assign.

Caseworker and FFTM Facilitator coordinate logistics of the meeting.

Caseworker and facilitator will discuss case-specific information from the referral form, to   prepare for the meeting.  


FFTM Preparation:  

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.  


Decision Making:

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.


Documentation/Written Plan:

Preparation done with the family and team members will be documented in the narrative log.

The FFTM Facilitator will enter the FTM/FFTM Summary Report into the MACWIS narrative log under the primary caregiver and the plan into the MACWIS plan list module under the appropriate plan (i.e. safety plan).  The facilitator will provide a copy to his/her supervisor.

The FTM/FFTM Summary Report and Plan will be distributed to all meeting participants at the end of the meeting or within 48 hours from the end of the meeting.

The caseworker will complete a narrative log entry to document their contact with family team members and any key information not already reflected in the FTM/FFTM Summary Report and Plan.  

If the family refuses to participate in the FFTM, the caseworker will document this in the narrative log and indicate the reason.



FTM/FFTM Summary Report

Facilitated Family Team Meeting Referral Form



Facilitated Family Team Meeting Referral Form



Date of Referral:























Mother’s Name:






Father’s Name:












Caregiver’s Name:


























Case Status:            


 Placement Change



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:

Harm Statement:

Danger Statement:

Safety Goals:



Recommended Removal/Placement Change Against the Caregiver’s Wishes Facilitated FTM:


1.Who is requesting change in placement? (birth parent(s), caseworker, GAL, other professional, other):




Planning for Facilitated FTM:


2.Conference call access needed?    Yes       No       Maybe


3.Do you have any safety/security concerns for this meeting?    Yes       No

If yes, explain:



4.Do you need any special accommodations? (location, transportation, interpreter etc.)  

 Yes       No


If yes, Explain:  


5.Does the family have any prior CPS history?    Yes       No


6.Is DV a known or suspected issue?    Yes       No


7.Has there been consultation with the DV Advocate?    Yes       No


8.Is there an active PFA in effect?    Yes       No


9.Is either parent incarcerated or otherwise unable to attend the meeting?

   Yes       No


10.Is youth attending the meeting?    Yes       No          

(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)




Requested Date, Time, Location of Meeting:  
















Pre Removal

Placement Change


Family Name:

MACWIS Number:



Was this a facilitated FTM?:    Yes         No



Child(ren) Discussed at Meeting:










Situation that Prompted the Meeting:


Decisions Resulting from the Meeting:





Visitation Plan:


Statement of Financial Responsibility for Parents and DHHS:


Progress Will Be Measured by:


Time Schedule for Rehabilitation/Reunification:  







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          



Name, Address, Phone Number


Relationship to Family






























Invited, Unable to Attend

Name, Address, Phone Number

Relationship to Family











Next Meeting Date:  



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.  




Parent Signatures