UM SSW The Institute  

Family-Centered Practice & Family Team Decision Making

Contact Info:

Melissa Watson-Clark, Trainer/Coach, Technical Assistance Coordinator, or 443-423-5481.

Family-Centered Practice (FCP) is a way to assure that families are engaged in the planning and decision making for their own care and safety of their children. It recognizes the strengths of family relationships and utilizes both formal and informal supports, across service systems, to achieve the best outcomes. The Institute places a high value on using a family-centered practice philosophy in its service delivery and provides training and technical assistance to organizations that desire to infuse FCP values into their programs, policies, and procedures. In Maryland, FCP was implemented as a practice model to highlight how children and families should experience the child welfare system across the state by ensuring that all levels of the Department of Human Resources (DHR; Maryland's child welfare agency) are family-centered.

Currently, The Institute is providing training and coaching to organizations throughout Maryland as they create, build, and strengthen approaches that demonstrate FCP values in their work with families. The Institute also provides training to organizations on the FCP model, philosophy, values, and principles.

Family Involvement Meetings (FIM; also known as Family Team Decision Making) is a nationally recognized innovative child welfare practice that was one of the core components of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Family to Family Initiative . Its primary goal is to engage families in their own service planning and decision making. They are now accepted casework practice in several states and countries, and although known by different names, they are considered best practice in service delivery throughout child welfare. In Maryland, FIM is one of the FCP strategies in the State's Place Matters initiative, created to reform child welfare in a data-driven and results-oriented way. The Institute worked with DHR to develop statewide standards for FIMs and qualifications for facilitators. The Institute can provide support to agencies to help ensure model fidelity and skill development for facilitators.

For more information on Family Involvement Meetings and Family-Centered Practice values and Maryland model see the following links: