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July/August 2011Vol. 12, No. 6Training in Child and Family Team Meetings

The North Carolina Division of Social Services uses a culturally adapted form of Child and Family Team (CFT) meetings that are integral to the State's family-centered child welfare practice. North Carolina State University's Center for Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) recently released an annual report on the North Carolina Family-Centered Meetings Project for 2009-2010, which details how the State's child welfare workforce is trained in CFT meetings. The report describes the curricula's guiding principles, training methods, evaluation, inclusion of family trainers, technical assistance, and cultural adaptation.

The report notes that the Center uses four guiding principles in developing, implementing, and evaluating training on CFT meetings:

  • Cultural safety
  • Family leadership
  • Community partnerships
  • Inclusive planning

The Center devised a CFT training program consisting of five courses:

  • Step by Step: An Introduction to Child and Family Teams (mandatory for all workers and supervisors)
  • Anchors Away! How to Navigate Family Meetings: The Role of the Facilitator
  • Widening the Circle: Child and Family Teams and Safety Considerations
  • The ABCs of Involving Children in Child and Family Teams
  • Keeping it Real: Child and Family Teams with Youth in Transition

The report indicates that workers from more than 80 of 100 counties in the State participated in formal CFT trainings during the year. In addition, the Center also offered statewide forums, regional forums, and online policy events that focused on how agencies were implementing CFT State policies. Training evaluations were based on participant satisfaction forms (completed by 761 trainees) and trainers' feedback on issues and questions brought forward by trainees in the classroom. These issues helped shape curricula revisions.

Most notably, the curricula incorporated family and youth partner trainers to offer workers the perspective of those who had personally used the services and could talk about the impact of CFT meetings. Six months after the training, a majority of those who had heard from the family trainer said they had used what they learned from the family trainer on the job and their relationships with families improved as a result.

To read the full report, North Carolina Family-Centered Meeting Projects: Annual Report to the North Carolina Division of Social Services, Fiscal Year 2009-2010, Summary, by Joan Pennell, Dara Allen-Eckard, Jenny King, and Marianne Latz, visit the CFCE website: