Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

1.6 Engaging the Family

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter 1-Fundamentals of Practice
1.6 Engaging the Family

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Legal Authority/Introduction



The SSW completes the following tasks prior to and during an FTM or case planning conference in order to engage the family:

  1. Ensures that the family has input as to the meeting time/date/location. Every effort should be made to accommodate the family’s schedule and impose as little disruption to work schedules as possible. Advanced planning for the meeting is critical to success;
  2. Explains the purpose of the meeting and the role of all of the participants;
  3. Listens to the family’s concept of what is important;
  4. Incorporates information from all sources into a coherent, individualized planning document with specific and measurable objectives that will guide the provision of services;
  5. Partners with families and other staff and uses engagement skills that focus on strengths of the family to build consensus about the case plan;
  6. Makes a concerted effort with the family to promote and explain the necessity for community partner involvement in case planning for successful attainment of desired outcomes;
  7. Explores the family’s vision for a safe future, which may be included in the case plan, to encourage co-ownership;
  8. Recognizes and builds upon the family’s strengths;
  9. Gives family members time to talk about their concerns and issues;
  10. Practices active listening;
  11. Encourages the family to actively participate in problem solving; and
  12. Is creative in ways to include individuals who cannot physically attend the meeting by:
    1. Offering options such as participation by conference call or by written correspondence outlining progress or lack of progress in obtaining negotiated goals; or
    2. Considering non-traditional hours for meeting including before and after hours or during lunch.


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