Family Team Conferences: An Overview


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In most states, if your family is receiving any preventive services you will be invited to attend Family Team Conferences, and play an important role in any decision made about your family.

What is a Family Team Conference?

  • A family team conference is a meeting organized by your local Children and Family Services agency that brings together important people in a child’s family, such as relatives, doctors and close family friends, to discuss safety, placement stability, permanency and the overall well-being of a child.
  • It’s a time to make the best possible decisions with you and your family.
  • It’s a place to talk about achievements, concerns, and other important issues your family may have.

Who attends the Family Team Conference?

  • Family members:
    • Parents.
    • Children 10 years and older.
    • Other people you invite, such as a relative, church member, godparent, or friend.
  • Service providers:
    • The preventive agency case worker, case aide and/or supervisor.
    • Service providers who are already working with your family.
    • Other service providers not working with your family, but who may be able to help.
  • Community representatives, or parent advocates.
  • A Preventive Family Team Conference Specialist will attend some of the conferences to support the preventive agency and ensure services are meeting your family’s needs.

Why should I attend?

  • This conference is for and about you and your children.  You know your family best.
  • To express your ideas and feelings. Your voice is very important and you should be heard.
  • To make sure that services are meeting your needs and the needs of your family.

What happens at the Family Team Conference?

A trained Conference Facilitator guides the conference to explore the following:

  • The purpose and ground rules for the conference.
  • The goals to achieve from the conference.
  • Your family’s strengths, needs and concerns.
  • Group ideas on how to address concerns and develop a plan.
  • Agreement on who will do what and when it will be done.

What types of Preventive Family Team Conferences will I be expected to attend?

Planning Conference:

Planning conferences are held every six months to discuss your family’s progress and review your service plan.

Elevated Risk Conference:

If your case worker believes that your children are at risk or unsafe, at any time during your case; you and other providers who are involved with your family, will be invited to participate at a conference to prevent potential harm to your children”.

Other Conferences:

Your case planner may schedule a special conference if important changes have happened in your family, or when services are coming to an end.

What if I have questions?

  • Talk with your case planner about what you can expect and who you should invite.
  • Your case planner can also help you with services concerning your attendance at a conference such as transportation, child care, or interpretation services.

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