Child and Family Teams

0070-548.01 | Revision Date: 10/06/17

Overview

This policy guide provides an overview of the Child and Family Team (CFT) process and provides guidelines for conducting Child and Family Team Meetings (CFTMs).

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Policy

Teaming with Families

Staff Engagement

Family Engagement Meeting

CFTM

Legal Matters

Team Members and their Roles

Immediate Family

Relatives, NREFM and Informal Supports

Community Partners and Service Providers

Certified Facilitators

SCSW/CSW

CFTM Location

Debriefing

Subsequent CFTMs

Inter-Agency Collaboration

Procedure

Initiating the CFT

CSW Responsibilities

Scheduler/Clerical Support Responsibilities

Case Coaching/Staff Engagement

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

Family Engagement Meeting

CSW Responsibilities

Certified Facilitator Responsibilities

Holding the CFTM

Certified Facilitator Responsibilities

CSW/Certified Responsibilities

Post CFTM

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

Certified Facilitator Responsibilities

Approvals

Helpful Links

Attachments

Forms

Referenced Policy Guides

Statutes

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 06/03/2016 version to include the timeframe requirements for convening a CFTM for children/youth in out of home care, confidentiality requirements and clarification on the required composition of the team, as outlined in All County Letter (ACL) 16-84, Requirements and guidelines for creating and providing a child and family team.

POLICY

Teaming with Families

The Child and Family Team (CFT) process is aligned with the values of the County of Los Angeles Shared Core Practice Model (CPM). The shared values of both the CPM and the CFT process are the family-centered approach used to identify:

 

The CFT process is a solution-focused approach meant to draw on the family's history of protection and ability to solve problems. The information assists families develop their vision for their future and assists them in gathering a formal and informal support network (team) that will be available to them after termination of formal services.

 

An effective CFT continues the process of engagement with the family, child and/or youth, Nonminor Dependent (NMD), and/or caregivers, and provides a process for transparent communication. CSWs certified at the level of facilitator coordinate CFTs. SCSWs certified at the level of coach, guide this teamwork and assist the CSW with their practice.

 

The formation of a CFT should begin as soon as possible. CFTMs must be convened within the required timeframes and include collaboration with services providers to ensure that the appropriate services are well coordinated. However, CFTMs should not be delayed to accommodate pending mental health screenings, assessments or pending referrals for services.

 

The CFT is a group of individuals identified by the family as important, professionals and others who are invested in the child, youth and family's success. As the family and youth's needs change, the team participants may change. Although some families may be initially reluctant to identify and invite team members, it is important that CSWs and Coaches work with the family to mitigate their reluctance to invite specific individuals by offering reassurance, encouragement and demonstrating respect and cultural humility. CSWs and Coaches should document these efforts.

 

The CFT composition always includes:



The activities of the team shall include, but are not limited to the following:

 

As part of the teaming process and the CPM, it is expected that children, youth and families, or NMD and the current caregiver be involved with Child Welfare Services will:

 

The overall CFT process consists of four major components: 

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Staff Engagement

Staff Engagement is a key process that assists CSWs and SCSWs prepare to engage and team with the child and/or youth and family, caregiver and NMD. It is an ongoing opportunity for the CSW and SCSW to plan for reflective practice and explore possible biases and barriers when working with a family. The process includes the Case Review and Case Coaching.

 

All DCFS staff assigned to the case, other county agencies involved with the family and service providers should participate in the staff engagement. Staff who will be involved in the process should have sufficient knowledge of the child and family history and case documentation. The information is necessary in order to clarify safety issues and the family's past struggles and successes that may be different from what the professional system knows. An in-depth case review should be strength-based and include identification of the following (not an exhaustive list):

 

During the staff engagement:

 

When the CSW is aware of a family's history of violent or threatening behavior, this information should be discussed when exploring meeting locations to allow for adequate planning. In rare circumstances, a family member may be excluded from the process due to security concerns.

 

In addition, if a potential decision or plan requires higher level approval, the CSW and SCSW must consult with the ARA.

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Family Engagement Meeting

The family engagement meeting aims to empower the family as partners in creating or maintaining sufficient safety for their children. It may occur at any point when a member of the immediate family, child and/or youth, NMD, and/or other key participants, identify the need to meet. The initial meeting:

 

During the family engagement meeting, the designated DCFS staff must discuss the non-negotiables with the family and assist them in:

 

Any potential legal conflicts (e.g. restraining orders, visitation restrictions) or confidentiality issues should be discussed with the family during the family engagement meeting and prior to the CFTM.

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Child and Family Team Meeting

For children and/or youth placed in out-of-home care, the Department is required to convene a CFTM, or attend and participate in a team meeting that is aligned with the CFT process (i.e. meets the minimum criteria for a CFTM), including but not limited to a Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (MAT) Summary of Findings (SOF), Wraparound (WRAP), Full Service Partnership (FSP), Intensive Field Capable Clinical Services (IFCCS), Multi-Disciplinary Case Planning Committee (MCPC), Treatment Foster Care Services (TFCS) and Residential Based Services (RBS) team meeting on the child's behalf, within 45 days but no later than 60 days, of the child being placed in out-of-home care.

 

This applies to:

 

A CFTM must occur at least every 90 days thereafter, following the initial CFTM.

 

In the event that an initial CFTM is held and the child/youth or NMD is subsequently placed in out-of-home care, a follow up CFTM must still be held within the 45 days but no later than 60 days of the child being placed in out-of-home care.

 

CFTMs will be offered to all children/youth, family or NMD at minimum:

 

However, a CFTM may be held at any point when a family is involved with DCFS. Anyone on the team may request a meeting to address or prevent a crisis and to track and adjust the plan to best address safety, permanency and well-being. Best practice dictates that meetings should be held as frequently as needed to address emerging issues, provide integrated and coordinated interventions, and refine the plan as needed and, therefore frequency of meetings and timeframes should be decided by CFT members.

 

CFTMs may be offered to families as often as necessary to meet their needs:

 

A  CFTM may not be warranted prior to closure of a referral if all of the following conditions have been met:

 

CFTM participants must include those identified in the composition of the team. Things to consider:

 

In the event a parent(s) declines to participate in a CFTM, the CSW/SCSW must move forward and hold a child-centered CFTM to ensure the child's underlying needs and safety are adequately addressed and appropriate services are set in place. CSWs however, must continue to engage the parent(s) in efforts to help them overcome their reluctance to participate.

 

CSWs must document efforts to:

 

Other meetings that may occur include team meetings aligned with the CFT process (i.e. meet the minimum criteria for a CFTM), including the MAT SOF, WRAP CFTs, FSP, IFCCS, MCPCs, TSFC and RBS team meetings to ensure the child or youth's needs are met.

 

Special situations that must be evaluated, prior to scheduling a CFTM, include:

 

All participants in attendance must be informed of the non-negotiables, including mandated reporting requirements. In the event that new information is shared that jeopardizes a child and/or youth's, or NMD's immediate safety and well-being, DCFS staff must address the situation accordingly.

 

If a decision or plan requires higher level approval, it is the coach's, SCSWs or facilitator's responsibility to contact a higher level manager, provide a summary and request approval prior to the conclusion of the CFTM.

 

Legal Matters

In the event that the Dependency Court orders a CFTM, the assigned CSW/facilitator and respective SCSW must consult with County Counsel.

 

The child and/or youth and family, or NMD, have the option of inviting their respective attorneys to the CFTM. If and when an attorney, or their representative, is expected to participate, DCFS staff must consult with County Counsel. If an attorney is present, County Counsel must also be present. It is the CSWs /Facilitator's responsibility to work with County Counsel on scheduling.

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Team Members and their Roles

The family, including parents, children and/or youth should identify and invite individuals they would like to include as part of their team. The family may invite the prospective team members via a method of their choice (by phone, text, e-mail, in-person, etc.). However, it is important that the CSW or facilitator contact key participants to explain the purpose of the team and the CFT process. The child and/or youth and family's, or NMD's consent is required prior to contacting the participants.

Immediate Family

Immediate family members may include biological parents, legal guardians, or adoptive parents, NMD, and the child(ren) and/or youth. The family members who are the focus of the DCFS case:

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Relatives, Non-Related Extended Family Members (NREFM) and Informal Supports

Members in this category can include family members, child care providers, clergy or any significant individuals in the family's circle of support. These informal supports:

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Community Partners and Service Providers

The FFA social worker or representative, STRTP or residential care representative, Behavioral Health staff (e.g. mental health service provider) and Tribal representative or Indian custodian, as applicable, must always be included. Other professional /members that should be also included are:

 

Members in this category may advocate for the child(ren) and/or youth and parents, or NMD, and caregiver by:

 

A CFTM scheduled to address placement issues should include representatives from the FFA, residential treatment center, caregiver, or any agency providing out-of-home placement services. If placement into a short-term residential treatment center or a FFA that provides treatment services has occurred or is being considered, the mental health representative is required to be a licensed mental health professional.

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Certified Facilitators

The facilitator/coach is responsible for the following (when applicable):

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SCSW/CSW

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CFTM Location

The family should select an appropriate setting of their choice that is most comfortable for them. Options include the family home or other locations near the family home that will maximize attendance and participation by the family and community support systems. It should provide adequate seating and facilities to support the meeting process. The location should ensure confidentiality, safety and privacy for the family and all those in attendance. If a family member or other team member perceives that the setting is not safe, an alternate location closest to the site should be identified and discussed with the family.

 

Options for CFTM locations include, but are not limited to the following:

 

If a team member is unable to attend the CFTM in person (due to proximity issues or other conflicts), it is encouraged that he/she participate by video conferencing or phone. This option may be helpful when a child is placed in another county or when schedules do not allow in-person participation.

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Debriefing

Following the CFTM, the CSWs, Coach, Facilitators and SCSWs meet to discuss the CFTM to explore what happened during the meeting, what DCFS has learned from the team and how the team is able to support the family's goal(s) and outcomes. It is an opportunity to review the family's action plan and make sure all relevant items of concern were addressed and that all important points are documented accordingly. Debriefing is also an opportunity to link practice to outcomes for the family and review how safety was addressed during the meeting.

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Subsequent CFTMs

A subsequent CFTM may be held on an as needed basis but, must occur at least every ninety (90) days. The family or anyone on the team may request subsequent CFTMs to address any new or continuing worries or concerns or when there is a change in status.

 

The subsequent CFTMs may or may not include all the original team members and may be convened in conjunction with other team meetings aligned with the CFT process (i.e. meets the minimum criteria for a CFTM), including, but not limited to MAT SOF, WRAP, FSP, IFCCS, MCPC, TSFC and RBS team meetings on the child's behalf.

 

During the follow up CFTM, the family provides updates rather than sharing their story. The goal(s) should be updated to reflect the case status, family progress, family involvement or any changes in circumstances.

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Inter-Agency Collaboration

To ensure alignment of services, CSWs must collaborate with county agencies and other providers that offer CFTMs to families. Inter-agency collaboration is required to determine the lead agency and how to best address the needs of the children and/or youth and family, or NMD.

 

DMH offers families the CFTMs and will take the lead when the primary client is a recipient of the following programs:

 

In the event that DMH, or another intensive mental health service provider (Wraparound, IFCCS, FSP, RBS and TFC), is determined to be the lead agency, CSWs are expected to attend and participate in the CFTM. Attendance and participation must be documented accordingly.

 

Although school districts do not take the lead in CFTMs, they are the lead agencies during an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or Special Education Services meeting. CSWs should collaborate with the respective school district and the ERH to best address the educational needs of the child and/or youth, or NMD (e.g. when addressing issues related to the school-of-origin).

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PROCEDURE

Initiating the CFT

CSW Responsibilities

  1. After assessing the case/referral situation, consult with the case SCSW in preparation for the CFT process. 
  1. Schedule a Case Coaching /Staff Engagement with the respective supervisor/facilitator.

 

  1. If necessary, complete the DCFS 174 on the Referral Portal.

 

  1. Provide the scheduler/clerical support staff with a printout of the DCFS 174 and request assistance in making arrangements for the CFT process.

Scheduler/Clerical Support Responsibilities

  1. Assist with meeting arrangements, as applicable, including, but not limited to the following tasks:
  1. Reserve a room for the Staff Engagement, as necessary.
  1. Make copies of documents (sign-in sheets, informational brochures, etc.)
  1. Prepare a packet with documents needed for the CFTM including the:

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Discuss with the CSW any concerns regarding the case/referral and the CFT process.

 

  1. Review and approve the DCFS 174, as needed.

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Case Coaching/Staff Engagement

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Review case records and prepare to discuss the following with the SCSW:

 

  1. Consult with outside professionals/ service providers that may provide additional insight as to the child and/or youth's, or NMD's underlying needs and options for services.

 

  1. After the staff engagement and conversation around the CFT Coaching Guide with your SCSW:
  1. Contact the family and offer a CFTM.
  1. Schedule a face-to-face contact for the Family Engagement Meeting.
  1. File the original CFT Coaching Guide in the green case folder.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Conduct a case record review/ case exploration with the CSW.

 

  1. Review and discuss the CFT Coaching Guide with the CSW.
  1. Discuss the reason for the family's involvement with DCFS, risk factors and if applicable, any prior involvement with DCFS.
  1. Engage the CSW in a dialogue regarding the child and/or youth and family's, or NMD's potential underlying needs, worries, goal(s) and the available support system.
  1. Discuss the family's story and the child and/or youth and family's, or NMD's functional strengths.
  1. Review and discuss the non-negotiables to be shared with the family during the engagement and the CFTM.
  1. Discuss any special circumstances that need to be considered (e.g. existing legal orders, domestic violence, location, etc).
  1. Discuss the CSW's practice strengths and areas for development.
  1. Provide balanced feedback using practice behaviors and QSR definitions.

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Family Engagement Meeting

CSW Responsibilities

  1. During the face-to-face contact with the family, ask where they would prefer to meet during the CFTM.
  1. If here are extraneous circumstances that prevent a family / team member from participating in person (e.g. individual is out-of-state, incarcerated, bedridden, or transportation is a hardship due to the location of their residence or place of employment) make alternate arrangements.

 

  1. If the CSW is a certified facilitator, conduct steps 1 -8 below.

Certified Facilitator Responsibilities

  1. Engage the family in person and explain the purpose of a CFT and the CFTM.
  1. Provide the family with a CFTM brochure and/or other available literature.
  1. Describe the CFTM process.
  1. Explain that this is their meeting in partnership with the Department and that it is their choice to hold a CFTM. If the family chooses not to hold a CFTM at that time, it is important to continue engaging the family and providing support to ensure continuity of the teaming process.
  1. Inform them that the CSW, SCSW and/or Facilitator will assist them throughout the meeting.

 

  1. If the family agrees to hold a CFTM, continue with the process in preparation for the CFTM.
  1. Provide the family with the CFTM Agenda.
  1. Review the agenda with the family and explain that it is a tool to help them prepare for the CFTM.
  1. Assist the family develop their family goal(s) and prepare to share their story as it relates to the safety of their child(ren) and/or youth, or NMD.
  1. Discuss the non-negotiables.

 

  1. Together with the family, identify potential team members and explore what each team member can contribute towards the outcomes.
  1. Request authorization from the family to contact the identified team members.

 

  1. Determine if there are any potential conflicts (legal, relationships, etc.).
  1. Work toward resolving the potential conflicts and explore ground rules that can be set to address these potential conflicts during the CFTM.

 

  1. Discuss the date, time and location of the CFTM with the family.
  1. Allow the family to select a location and time that best works for them.

 

  1. Discuss any necessary special arrangements including childcare, language, special needs, etc.

 

  1. Explore alternatives for input if some team members are unable to attend (participation via phone, written submission, other electronic media, as available).

 

  1. Discuss with the family who will notify all the invitees to the CFTM and how this will be done.

 

  1. Contact key participants and/or those requested by the family, via telephone.
  1. Explain the family's goal(s).
  1. Case information is confidential and should not be shared.
  1. Ask if they are in support of the family and their goal(s).
  1. Briefly review the agenda.
  1. Ask if they have any questions about the process.

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Holding the CFTM

Certified Facilitator Responsibilities

  1. Ensure the charting is set up.

 

  1. Designate the staff person to document the action plan.

 

  1. Request the parent(s), child/youth and/or NMD sign an authorization of release form ABCDM 228 in order to release any confidential information, including the action plan following the CFTM.

 

  1. Explain the purpose of the CFTM Understanding of Confidentiality Form and obtain signatures from all participants/attendees.

 

  1. Invite the family to welcome their team, initiate introductions and lead the meeting.

 

  1. Ask the family to share their goal(s) and ground rules.

 

  1. Support the family in emphasizing the importance of confidentiality, modifying the family goal, and other ground rules or agreements.

 

  1. Ask the CSW to discuss the non-negotiables, including any existing legal orders related to child safety (e.g. existing restraining orders, family law orders or other protective orders), and briefly explain the mandated reporter requirements.

 

  1. Ask the participants to sign-in and ensure all confidentiality and release of information forms are completed.

 

  1. Encourage/assist the parent(s) in leading the discussion around the following agenda items:
  1. Family story
  1. Functional strengths
  1. Worries
  1. Underlying needs of the family
  1. Action plan and next steps that include identifying the team members assigned to the task, the time frame and contingency plans
  1. Back-up plan (based on what could go wrong)
  1. Next steps including the date, time and location of the follow up meeting

 

  1. Obtain signatures on the action plan, copy and distribute to all team members in attendance, including any youth over the age of ten (10) .
  1. If unable to make copies at the location (e.g. family home or public location), inform the team that copies will be provided as soon as time permits.

 

  1. Ensure that the responsible parties and timelines for completing action items are clearly identified in the action plan.

 

  1. Follow up with the CSW to verify that the required follow up action items are clearly identified.

CSW/Certified Facilitator Responsibilities

  1. Actively support the family in facilitating the meeting, as necessary, and ensure that participants have the opportunity to offer feedback.

 

  1. Share the following with the team:

 

  1. Complete the action plan and ensure that it clearly outlines:

 

  1. If placement of a child and/or youth is being considered, including out-of-county, the CSW must inform the parent(s), the child, if age-appropriate, and the ERH, of the following:

 

Back to Procedure

Post CFTM

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Meet with the Certified Facilitator or respective SCSW for debriefing.

 

  1. If placement/replacement of a child is a follow up action plan, follow existing procedures for placing/replacing a child.

 

  1. When providing services to pregnant and/or parenting youth or Non-minor Dependents (NMDs), determine if a referral for a DCFS Pregnant and Parenting Teen (PPT) Conference is necessary.
  1. Submit a DCFS 174 requesting a PPT Conference.

 

  1. Ensure that all additional follow up actions are completed, including referrals to services identified.

 

  1. Document the CFTM in the Contact Notebook on CWS/CMS within (3) business days of the meeting.

 

  1. Update the case plan to reflect the action plan.

 

  1. When completing and submitting the court report, include the following:

 

  1. Attach the action plan to the court report.

 

  1. Enter the required CFTM information in the CFTM database application within (3) business days of the CFTM.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Follow up with the CSW to verify that the case plan and court reports have been updated to reflect the safety / action plan developed at the CFTM.

 

  1. Verify that the CSW has initiated / completed the action plan items, as applicable.

Certified Facilitator Responsibilities

If the CSW is not a certified Coach and there is a Certified Facilitator present during the CFTM:

 

  1. Following the CFTM, meet with the CSW and SCSW for debriefing.

 

  1. Complete step item #8 above, under CSW responsibilities.

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APPROVALS

SCSW Approval

ARA Approval

RA Approval

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HELPFUL LINKS

Attachments

CFT Brochure

For Your Information (FYI) 16-42, Child and Family Teams and the Continuum of Care Reform New Requirements for Convening Child and Family Teams

QSR Rating Table

Team Conference Understanding of Confidentiality Form

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Forms

LA Kids

ABCDM 228, Applicant's Authorization for Release of Information

DCFS 174, Family Centered Referral Form

DCFS 179-PHI, Authorization for Disclosure of Child's Protected Health Information

DCFS 5402, Notice to Child's/NMD Attorney Re: Case Status

DCFS 6074, Child and Family Team Meeting Notes

DCFS 6074S, Child and Family Team Meeting Notes (Spanish)

DCFS 6075, Child and Family Team Coaching Guide

DCFS 6076, Family and Youth Engagement Form

DCFS 6077, Child and Family Team Meeting Agenda

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Referenced Policy Guides

0070-500.10, Education of DCFS Supervised Children

0070-537.10, Assessment of Domestic Violence

0070-548.10, Disposition of Allegations and Closure of Emergency Response Referrals

0080-502.10, Case Plans

0100-510.17, Placing a Child in Out-of-Home Care

0100-510.46, Out-of-County Placements

0300-506.05, Communication with Attorneys, County Counsel, and Non-DCFS Staff

0400-503.10, Contact Requirements and Exceptions

0500-501.20, Release of Confidential DCFS Case Record Information

0600-500.20, Health and Medical Information

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Statutes

All County Letter (ACL) 13-20 - Provides a description, purpose and context of the Core Practice Model Guide. It further provides a description of the Intensive Care Coordination (ICC) and Intensive Home Based Services (IHBS).

 

ACL 16-84 - Provides information and guidance regarding the use and formation of child and family teams to deliver child welfare services, as required by AB 403.

 

Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 16501 (a) (4) - Provides the definition of a Child and Family Team, outlines the activities entailed in a CFT and lists suggested participants. 

 

Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 16501.1 - States that the case plan shall consider the recommendations of the child and family team when making a decision regarding placement. The decision shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive family setting that promotes normal childhood experiences, and the most appropriate setting that meets the child's individual needs and is available, in proximity to the parent's home and the child's school.

 

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