A few words
RTQ Academy upholds family engagement practices which rely heavily on participation and cooperation amongst children’s loved ones in order to address and navigate child welfare issues.
Trust the process
The Family Group Decision Making meeting model is evidence based and has been implemented in over half of PA counties, starting in 1999.
There have been years of work within the child welfare scope and even juvenile probation, mental health, and educational settings with this model to create a strategy resulting in positive outcomes based on family and community supports creating change within their system on behalf of their loved child(ren).
At times, crisis scenarios arise that don’t allow for the length of time expected in the FGDM process, and in so, a practice known as Crisis Rapid Response meetings have evolved to bring a very similar process as FGDM to the family but within a 24–72-hour window.
The FGDM and CRR processes that RTQ Academy employs have shown a direct impact on ensuring children remain in safe and stable environments within their known and trusted family circles when the family make themselves available to work together and create a plan.
Family Group Decision Making and Crisis Rapid Response Meetings.
Bringing Together Families to Create a Plan of Action:
When government gets involved in a child’s welfare, the child’s family and youth themselves can feel helpless. You are not disenfranchised due to the involvement of your county’s child welfare agency, and at RTQ Academy we believe your voice should be included in your family’s and child’s case planning.
The FGDM/CRR meeting process puts a megaphone to your family’s strengths and capacities by asking you to speak up and impact the plan for your child(s) safety and well-being. Under the neutral framework of RTQ Academy’s team of coordinator and facilitator, families engaged in FGDM/CRR process can discuss the needed assistance to properly care for children within the family unit or within the family’s community and then develop a sensible and sustainable plan for removing or getting past current barriers.
While this is not a one and done scenario, it provides families and their communities an opportunity to take charge of a child’s future, rather than leaving the child’s care up to the discretion of the state. As long as everyone involved in meeting is committed to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of the child or children in question, a plan developed through the FGDM/CRR model can empower the family to shift their capacities and control the outcomes of their loved ones.
Our Meetings Are Designed for Children and Families to Remain Unified.
Ensuring certain values are upheld, the best outcomes of the FGDM/CRR/YTC model respect that…
– All children should be free from harm.
– Children are best raised in families.
– Families should care for their children. – Families can make safe choices.
– Families must be respected.
– Families are the experts and can learn about their own strengths and needs.
When FGDM/CRR/ YTC is properly utilized:
– There is less trauma for children.
– Culture, dignity, and values are respected.
– Fathers and families are involved more often.
– Community support is easier to find and use.
A trained, neutral coordinator (who is independent of the county case) helps organize the meeting and guide the youth and/or group through the process. The youth or family takes the lead in decision-making, and the service providers help support the plan written to address any child welfare concerns. In FGDM/CRR and even YTC, the collaboration and leadership of family groups is key to creating and implementing plans that support the safety, permanency and well-being of children.
Youth Transition Conferences
Youth who have been engaged in the child welfare placement system throughout their
teenage experience have resources available from the federal, state, and local level of
providers to ensure they achieve their developmental and personal milestones.
A YTC meeting is a planning session focused on the domains of housing, education,
employment and finances, transportation, community and mental health supports, as well
as medical and dental plans where the youth discuss what they see as their goals post 18.
The youth determine who to involve from their biological and chosen family and supports,
and they gather with their professional teams to discuss how the group can assist and
support the youth on the way to achieving these goals.
Supports you will often encounter in a YTC:
-Biological family and caregiver system -Friends or Significant Others
-County case team (CYS, CYF, OCYS, etc.)
-Independent Living Provider (IL)
-Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)
-Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)
-Juvenille Probation Officer
-Facility support staff / MH providers / School professionals
A YTC can be referred as a youth is approaching their 18th birthday or court ordered. The transition plans are due 90 days before the youth’s 18th birthday if to be approved by court.
– For youth choosing to stay in care, the transition plan identifies the way they will meet the ACT 91 requirements and the resources they’re eligible to use under their county’s services.
– For youth who are choosing to leave care at 18, the transition plan will be an opportunity for their professional supports to explain their options available after discharge and if they decide they want to return and utilize resumptive care options in their county.
Child welfare is the focal point for an FGDM/CRR/YTC referral, yet the entire process can bring
tools to increase communication and bonds within a family unit. Appropriate application of a
family engagement meeting can strengthen families and give them the tools they need to be
better caregivers and supports for the children in their lives.
Coordinators: All coordination is delivered by at minimum bachelor’s level trained individuals who
participate in yearly FGDM conferences, 12hrs of professional development annually, and cleared with bi-
annual FBI, Child Abuse, and Criminal Background checks.
Facilitators: All facilitation is conducted by master’s level individuals in the mental health and social
services fields who also attend all of the above with same clearances.