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February 2015Vol. 16, No. 1Engaging Families Through Family Team Meetings

Child welfare agencies are increasingly making efforts to engage families in case planning and placement decisions, and Federal legislation such as the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 recognizes the importance of including families in decision-making processes and encourages the use of family teaming. There are a number of different approaches that have evolved for how to engage families, and many of them share similar characteristics and components. While there currently is no strong basis in evidence for the effectiveness of one approach over another, the Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released a paper that describes four approaches to family team meetings that have a strong preliminary research base. 

Four Approaches to Family Team Meetings was designed to help child welfare professionals understand the concepts behind and components of Family Group Decision-Making, Family Team Conferencing, Permanency Teaming, and Team Decision-Making Meetings. The paper includes tables that describe each approach's structure and components and draw comparisons among the components. Professionals can use this paper in their efforts to determine which approach might best help them to improve family outcomes.

Access Four Approaches to Family Team Meetings on the Annie E. Casey Foundation website at (2 MB).

For more information on family engagement and family team meetings, explore Child Welfare Information Gateway's Family Engagement Inventory at