The Family Connections training materials, resources, and research capsules on this website are meant to be a resource for others committed to the evolution of family connections practice.
Oregon has long been known as a site for innovative family engagement practice. Multiple forms of family meetings have been implemented in Oregon over the years and many child welfare offices use some form of intensive efforts to find family for children in care. Beginning in the Fall 2012 and over the next three years, Oregon implemented a federally funded (Children's Bureau) demonstration project, Family Connections Oregon, to test a model intervention, to develop a supportive infrastructure for sustaining family connections practice, and to establish a family voice association at the policy level. These practices are continuing in Oregon through a IV-E waiver demonstration project called Leveraging Intensive Family Engagement (LIFE).
As part of Family Connections Oregon, this training curriculum was developed to teach the theoretical foundations, applications and facilitation skills required for a variety of collaborative team decision-making models used in child welfare. It can be used in its entirety, with some modifications and/or sections may be excerpted independently to train staff on various components.
- Gain an understanding of the historical context of Family Meetings in Oregon, as well as nationally.
- Describe the philosophy and values that underlie the use of family meetings as an engagement strategy.
- Recognize the importance of family meetings in achieving the Children and Family Services Review (CFSR) goals of safety, permanency and well-being for children and families.
- Explain the role of the facilitator in the Family Meeting Process to various types of stakeholders.
- Articulate knowledge of and demonstrate ability to use engagement skills to prepare all participants for a Family Meeting.
- Demonstrate the skills and knowledge to assess child and family strengths and needs in a culturally relevant and trauma-informed family meeting.
- Demonstrate increased skills and competency for facilitation of Family Meetings within child welfare including managing challenging team dynamics.
- Knowledge of facilitation approaches when there are cultural and linguistic issues in Family Meetings.
- Articulate the assessment and facilitation approaches needed when domestic violence exists.
Strengths Needs Culture Discovery (SNCD):
Additional resources on family engagement, family find and family group conferencing practice are available in our Resources and Research section.
Family Group Conferencing Practice
Family Connections Research
Family Connections Oregon (FCO) was a three-year demonstration project funded by the Children’s Bureau in which a co-located coordinator provided a package of services – intensive family finding and engagement, family group conferencing, and follow-up - within the first 60 days of a child’s out-of-home placement. These practices are continuing in Oregon through a IV-E waiver demonstration project called Leveraging Intensive Family Engagement (LIFE).
Research Capsule #1: Timing of Family Finding (PDF) »
Research Capsule #2: Family Finding Lessons Learned (PDF) »
Research Capsule #3: Family Group Decion Making (FGDM) Lessons Learned (PDF) »
Research Capsule #4: Family Connection Demonstration Project: Supplemental Evaluation Report (PDF) »
Research Capsule #5: A Rigorous Evaluation of Family Finding in San Francisco (PDF) »
Research Capsule #6: Family Finding Iowa (PDF) »
Research Capsule #7: Family Finding Hawaii (PDF) »
Research Capsule #8: Summary of Recent Child Welfare Family Meeting Literature (2009-2014) (PDF) »
Research Capsule #9: Family Finding North Carolina (PDF) »
Resarch Capsule #10: Annotated Bibliography of Child Welfare Family Meeting Literature 2000-2014 (PDF) »
Family Voice in Oregon
Through funding from Family Connections Oregon- Morrison Child and Family Services developed a strategic plan for the creation of a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) to advise Oregon Department of Human Services at the state level on policy and implementation across a range of initiatives. Morrison was successful in bringing together 45 parent leaders from 7 counties in Oregon who participated in a Parent Leadership Training [designed by parents, for parents, by Parents Anonymous of Oregon Parent Mentor Program]. Resulting from this empowering training, 14 members were selected to ultimately become the PAC.
The PAC has quarterly strategic planning meetings with the Director of the Department of Human Services, Child Welfare. In particular, the PAC is assisting in identifying the challenges families are experiencing and the lack of services of or gap in services for families. The PAC also gives input and prepares comments for the Director regarding DHS' key initiatives and policy issues. The Director of Parents Anonymous and DHS have identified funding for the next five years to maintain PAC with dedicated funding for a part-time Program Manager position. The PAC will make a meaningful contribution to improve overall outcomes for families involved with DHS in Oregon.