Parents' Experiences of Family Team Meetings in Child Welfare

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Child & Family Social Work

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This article describes the benefits of monthly family team meetings for parents involved with child welfare. Findings are shared from semi‐structured, qualitative interviews conducted with 17 parents whose children had been placed in substitute care. While much of the scholarship on family meetings focuses on opportunities for family voice, this study found that parents received multiple benefits from meetings including, but not limited to, the opportunity for input into decision‐making. Specifically, parents appreciated receiving information and feedback, encouragement, and a range of other supports from members of the team. Meetings also facilitated communication and improved the coordination of services and other efforts by team members. Notably, parents reported that regular meetings helped to hold caseworkers and other providers accountable regarding their activities and duties related to the case, often resulting in better follow through. Parents and their advocates were also able to use meetings to push child welfare to respond in a timely way to parents' progress. These findings should be viewed as preliminary evidence of how a particular model of family meetings might work and thereby expand our understanding of what family team decision meetings can do to improve parents' experiences and child welfare outcomes more generally.


© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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