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2003 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 9, No. 1
October 2003

Questions that Promote Family-Centered Practice

One of the best ways supervisors can encourage social workers to respect, listen to, and involve family members is by exhibiting these attitudes in their discussions with workers about specific families. The following questions, which employ elements of scaling and strengths-based techniques, ask the supervisor to adopt a “not knowing” stance that will encourage workers to come up with their own family-centered solutions (Alderson & Jarvis, 2003).

• How can we reunify the family and build a safety net for the child?

• If you were _____________(birth father, foster parents, etc.), what would you want to see happen?

• Describe a resolution in which everyone wins.

• What has happened so far on this case?

• What information are we missing?

• On a scale of 1 to 10, how ready is mom to parent?

• What are the birth mother’s strengths?

• How can we build on her strengths?

• What would it take for dad to show he’s overcome his substance abuse problem?

• How willing are the birth family and the foster parents to participate in a child and family team meeting?

• What would such a meeting look like?

• How can I help you bring together the team?

• How can we help the child feel more connected to both the birth family and the foster parents?

• How do you (as worker) see your role in helping this plan come together?

• How do you think others (the grandmother, the mother, other agencies, the court) see as their roles?

Source: Alderson, J. & Jarvis, S. (2003). What’s good for families is good for workers [curriculum] Raleigh, NC: N.C. Division of Social Services.

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