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2010 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 15, No. 3
June 2010

Tools to Strengthen Your Practice
Outline for a Supervisory Conference


  • What is my agenda for this conference?
  • What are the key safety and high risk-related cases and issues I must review?
  • What professional goals do I want to reinforce and support with this worker?
  • What are the performance issues I want to address?
  • Have I protected the conference time so I won’t be unnecessarily interrupted or distracted?
  • What are the worker’s questions or issues from the last conference that I need to be prepared to address in this conference?
  • Are there issues or information from administration that I need to share in this conference?
  • Have I shared my agenda with the worker so the worker is able to prepare?
  • Has the worker had an opportunity for input into the agenda?
  • Have I prepared myself to focus and listen objectively and “lead from one step behind” (Tuning-in skills; solution-focused values and questions)?
  • Have I considered the worker’s learning/work style in preparing the conference environment and my engagement style?


  • Greet the supervisee.
  • Small talk, if appropriate for worker’s learning/work style.
  • Review and confirm agenda, adding new items based on worker/supervisor input.

Work Phase

  • Ask the worker to review a selected case.
  • Ask worker about any changes in demographics, household composition, or whereabouts.

Examples of solution-focused questions useful in exploring the area of safety.

  • Ask the worker for last safety assessment results and current safety plan.
  • Ask the worker if child remains safe.
  • Using scaling, ask the worker to assign a number that reflects the worker’s confidence level about the child remaining safe, with 0 being no confidence at all and 10 being very confident.
  • Ask the worker for information and observations that led the worker to assign that confidence number, especially exceptions to the problem behaviors and/or evidence of client making more effective use of strengths.
  • Ask the worker what the client or others need to do to increase that number by one point.
  • Ask what he or she believes the worker needs to do or continue to do to help the client reach that one point improvement.
  • Ask what the worker needs in terms of supervisor support, training, etc. to effectively support the client’s progress in meeting service/permanency goals.

NOTE: The above questions can be modified to review current levels of risk and/or service plan objectives and to explore client and worker strengths and opportunities to promote positive change.

Ask worker about client’s goals/”Miracle” (personal goals; family goals; well-being issues).

  • What are the strengths that the client possesses that can contribute to accomplishment of the “Miracle”?
  • Has the client experienced any small part of the “Miracle”?
  • What can the worker do to further support positive movement toward the “Miracle”?

Review worker’s professional goals
(This review can be done periodically on a schedule determined by the supervisor and worker).

  • Review goals
  • Ask what the worker is presently doing to move toward accomplishing professional goals.
  • Ask how well these efforts are working.
  • Ask what else the worker can do.
  • Ask what the worker needs from the supervisor and/or others to continue positive movement toward accomplishment of professional goals.

Transition/Ending Phase

  • Give/receive feedback about what was useful to the worker and what was less useful.
  • Prepare tentative agenda for next supervisory meeting.
  • Assign tasks that need to be accomplished in preparation for next conference with timeframes.
  • Thank worker for preparation, presentation of information, and feedback.

Excerpted from the course 521 Strength-Based, Solution-Focused Supervision. Reprinted with permission from the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program, 2008 <>