Family-centered, strengths-based case planning and case management engages family members throughout the case to ensure services are tailored to best address the family's strengths and needs. Family members can recommend services that will be most helpful to them and participate in identifying expected outcomes and setting timelines to achieve the plan.
Ongoing case management requires frequent, planned contact with the family to assess progress toward goals. Caseworkers communicate and plan with multiple service systems to ensure provision of appropriate services and assess service effectiveness. Family members also are encouraged to use their skills to access resources, fully participate in services, and evaluate progress.
The following resources offer information about family-centered case planning and management and include State and local examples.
Case Plan Field Tool: How to Make Case Plans With Parents to Achieve Child Safety, Well-Being, and Permanency (PDF - 1,321 KB)
Martin & Giardina (2014)
Provides information for caseworkers to help them work with families to create quality case plans that increase the likelihood of safe, timely reunification based on behavior change rather than merely completing services. The tool helps parents and caseworkers communicate up front about how they will partner to increase safety for children and prevent cases staying open in the child welfare system longer than necessary.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
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Making Child Welfare Case Plans With Families
National Council on Crime & Delinquency
Explains how when case planning becomes a dynamic process that involves the family, it feels more useful for everyone involved. By engaging with family members, caseworkers can create an opportunity for them to make informed decisions about what they would like to do to reduce the chances of their family being involved with child protective services in the future.
Partners in Planning: When Parents Are Supported to Participate in Planning, We Can Make Better Decisions
Examines the importance of parents' perspectives and parent involvement in case planning. The article presents a personal story from a foster care agency worker about her experience working directly with families.
Quality Matters: Improving Caseworker Contacts With Children, Youth, and Families
Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative, Center for States
Provides a list of publications and resources designed to support child welfare agencies and service providers in building capacity for conducting quality contacts throughout ongoing case management between caseworkers and children, youth, and parents.
Understanding the Child Welfare System: Case Plan
Child and Family Services Reviews Information Portal (2018)
Outlines the case plan and the development of a case plan for children and their families in a planned, purposeful way that is directed toward safety, permanency, and well-being. The webpage discusses how when working with families, caseworkers should work closely with family members and the family's support network to identify safety threats, risks, and problematic behaviors. Then the caseworker should work with the family to identify and plan for strategies and interventions to facilitate needed change.
Case Planning in Child Welfare (PDF - 299 KB)
Kansas Department for Children and Families (2017)
Reviews the six-step process for case planning in Kansas and the importance of engaging the family in a collaborative partnership. Case planning requires collaboration between the caseworker and the family, both immediate and extended. Involving families in case planning improves outcomes because the family's thoughts, feelings, and experiences have been heard and considered; it increases the family's commitment to working the plan; it empowers the family to act to change behaviors and conditions; and it ensures everyone is working toward the same end goal.
Case Practice Model (PDF - 513 KB)
New Jersey Department of Children and Families (2015)
Reviews the New Jersey Department of Children and Families' case practice model and includes a section on engaging youth and families, on working within family teams, and working on individualized plans with family assistance. The guidance states that whenever possible, youth and parents will be included in decision-making about case planning for services and supports and will be active participants in finding solutions to family issues and concerns.
Developing and Reassessing the Family-Centered Case Plan
Arizona Department of Child Safety (2018)
Reviews the case-planning process for the development of an individualized, family-centered, written case plan for every child and family receiving ongoing services from the Arizona Department of Child Safety. The manual includes guidance on case plan content; identifying services, supports, and tasks to include; and developing behavior-change statements in collaboration with the parent or legal guardians.
Facilitated Family Engagement
Colorado Department of Human Services (2018)
Describes family meetings in Colorado designed to provide families that have an open child welfare case with case-planning meetings aimed at resolving safety concerns as effectively and efficiently as possible. The Facilitated Family Engagement Meetings value live decision-making and the family's voice as the best way to promote safety and permanency for children.
Florida's Child Welfare Practice Model
Florida Department of Children and Families (2014)
Outlines the safety, permanency, and well-being goals of Florida's child welfare professionals, as pursued through seven key practices: engage the family; partner with all involved; gather information; assess and understand information; plan for child safety; plan for family change; and monitor and adapt case plans.
Hennepin County Children and Family Services Practice Model (PDF - 980 KB)
Hennepin County, Minnesota (2016)
Reviews different aspects of the child welfare practice model, including planning, and stresses the importance of using a team approach to planning, which includes the child, the extended family, providers, Tribal representatives, and social services staff. This approach allows for the creation of a plan that highlights the family's strengths, addresses their needs, and recognizes the trauma the family has experienced.
Oregon Child Welfare Caseworker Competencies (PDF - 412 KB)
Oregon Department of Human Services (2017)
Outlines caseworker competencies in Oregon, including sections on engaging families and on family-centered casework. Involving families in case planning empowers them to express their feelings and concerns, ask questions, and improves communication overall.
Re-Visioning Case Management: Partnering With Families and Communities to Create Meaningful Change (PDF - 3,623 KB)
Offers a framework to guide staff and organizations in reviewing, discussing, and adapting their approach to case management; highlights programs that are implementing best practices; and includes questions to consider when incorporating partnership into case management.
Quality Contacts With Children and Families [Webinar] (PDF - 3,635 KB)
Tennessee Department of Children's Services (2017)
Provides a training for caseworkers on how to best conduct family-centered quality contacts with families and children in Tennessee. The presentation provides an overview of the components and characteristics of a quality contact, three phases of a contact, the impact of increasing quality of contacts with families, and more.
Quick Guide: Child & Family Teams and the Teaming Framework (PDF - 195 KB)
City and County of San Francisco, Family & Children's Services (2017)
Provides an overview of the Child and Family Teaming Framework, which includes the family, their neutral supports, and any individual working with them toward their successful transition out of the child welfare system. The guide discusses why meetings are held, how child welfare services professionals are involved, and links to additional information about the process.