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2007 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 13, No. 1
December 2007

What Families Want from CFTs

In focus groups North Carolina family members have said they want the following in connection with child and family team meetings.

Before the Meeting

  • Give me a chance to share my story
  • Help me find my informal supports so they can come to the meeting
  • Educate yourself about my child’s illnesses or my situation, don’t just say you don’t know
  • No surprises—make sure I know beforehand what we will be talking about at my meeting
  • If it is about me, don’t have the meeting unless I can come
  • Work with me to set up a time that I can be present at the meeting; be sensitive to my needs
  • Recognize my feelings (e.g., angry, scared, tired of the mess)
  • Help me understand my options and how the meeting works
  • Listen to what I am saying and explore why I am saying it

At the Meeting

  • Allow me to introduce myself to the team
  • Talk to me, not about me
  • Monitor your tone of voice
  • Call me by my name, not “mom,” “dad,” or “the youth”
  • Make sure I have someone at the table I feel will support me
  • Use words I can understand
  • Use humor to make me feel safe
  • Give me a chance to share my story
  • Help me to meet my immediate needs first (e.g., housing, transportation, child care, food, lights)
  • Remind me of my family’s strengths and build on them
  • Ask me how my situation looks in my child and family’s life
  • Provide services where needed, not just mandated services—don’t waste my time on services that will not help my family
  • Know what the family has to do in all of the agency plans so we can come up with one plan
  • Listen to my needs and my family’s needs
  • Use visual prompts so I can follow better
  • Tell the truth
  • Let me explain why I behave the way I do
  • Let us speak more
  • Be open to our questions and opinions
  • Make the meeting more active and fun
  • Everyone who says they’ll attend must be at the meeting
  • Speak to the me and my child like we are a part of the solution, not like we are the problem
  • Ask for information—don’t assume you know the answers
  • Respect me and know that I am doing what I know to do

After the Meeting

  • Respect my confidentiality—don’t talk about me to others
  • Allow me the opportunity to call meetings when I feel I need to
  • All team members need to be held accountable, not just the parents

Source: NCSOC, 2007


References for this and other articles in this issue