Source: (2000) Portland, Oregon: Portland State Graduate School of Social Work.

A Family Decision Meeting is a family-focused intervention facilitated by professional staff and designed to strengthen the natural care-giving system for a child. The purpose of a meeting is to establish a plan providing for the safety, attachment, and permanency needs of a child. For families who are clients of Oregon’s State Office of Services to Children and Families, Family Decision Meetings (FDMs) have been used since 1990 as a means of including families in the process of making decisions about their children’s welfare. In October 1997, legislation in Oregon mandated that caseworkers consider holding a Family Decision Meeting within 60 days of placement for every family whose children are in substitute care for more than 30 days. This led to a significant increase in the use of FDMs. A previous study (1999) examined the dynamics of decision making in meetings to discover best practices in the use of FDMs and essential elements for a successful meeting. This current study serves to create a profile of average practice in the use of FDMs by providing answers to several key questions. What are the patterns of usage related to timing, frequency, format, purpose, attendance, and facilitation of FDMs? Do FDMs address children’s safety, attachment, and permanency needs? To what degree are extended family members and community members involved in plans resulting from FDMs? How are FDM plans implemented, monitored, and revised? Sections on research methods, objectives, findings, and analysis detail the study and its results.

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