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2002 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 7, No. 4
August 2002

A Snapshot of
Family-Centered Practice

Family-Centered Services
Conventional Services

Families are engaged in ways relevant to the situation and sensitive to the values of their culture.


Efforts focus on getting the facts and gathering information, and not in the building of the relationships.


The assessment protocols look at families’ capabilities, strengths, and resources throughout the life of the case and are continuously assessed and discussed. Awareness of strengths supports the development of strategies built on competencies, assets and resources.

The assessment focuses on the facts related to the reported abuse and neglect; the primary goal is to identify the psychopathology of the “perpetrator.”
Safety Planning

Families are involved in designing a safety plan with the input and support of worker/team members.


Child protective services, courts, or lawyers develop the plan without input from the family or from those who know the child.


Out-of-Home Placement

Partnerships are built between families and foster/adoptive families or other placement providers. Respectful, non-judgmental, and non-blaming approaches are encouraged.
Biological, adoptive, and foster families have little contact with one another.
Implementation of Service Plan

Workers ensure that families have reasonable access to a flexible, affordable, individualized array of services and resources so that they can maintain themselves as a family.


Implementation most often consists of determining whether the family has complied with the case plan, rather than providing services and supports or coordinating with informal and formal resources.


Permanency Planning

Families, child welfare workers, community members, and service providers work together in developing alternate forms of permanency.


Alternate permanency plans are introduced only after efforts at parental rehabilitation are unsuccessful.


Reevaluation of Service Plan


Information from the family, children, support teams, and service providers is continuously shared with the service system to ensure that intervention strategies can be modified as needed to support positive outcomes.


Few efforts are dedicated to determining the progress of the family in reaching the plan’s outcomes. Reevaluation results are often not shared with the families.
Source: Nat’l Child Welfare Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice. (Spring 2001). Best Practice/Next Practice Newsletter, 2(1).