Strong, knowledgeable County leaders model and promote a culture of respect, support, and empathy for current and prospective Resource Families. Agency policies, staff evaluations, and the criteria for promotions reflect this culture.
All County staff understand the meaning of RIEB: Recruitment Is Everyone's Business. They know and show that recruitment begins with respect and support for the current, prospective, and re-recruited Resource families.
The Recruitment, Development and Support activities are community based and located in areas with high child welfare intake to ensure that recruited families reflect the race, ethnicity, and culture of children coming into care.
The County staff works with neighborhood partners, youth, Birth Families, and Resource Families to establish a well developed system of neighborhood-based family care to meet the needs of all children coming into care, including teens and sibling groups.
Placement services and supports offered to families are based on the needs of the children. The placement process is conducted in a manner that is respectful and supportive of the children and families involved.
Resource Families, social workers, youth, community partners, and Birth Families work as a team in every step of the process leading to reunification or another permanent goal. They participate in placement decisions at TDM meetings; they participate in Permanency Teaming Meetings; they have an opportunity to play a major role in recruitment, training, and placement, and they serve as active members of policy development work groups.
A meeting between the caseworker, Resource Family, and Birth Parent is held within three days following all new placements or any change of placement to introduce the two sets of parents and to give them an opportunity to exchange any information that will benefit the child. These meetings have different names in different locations (e.g. Icebreakers or Family Team Meetings) but the goal is always to begin to build a bridge between the Birth and Resource Families for the good of the child.
Permanency Teaming Meetings between the caseworker, Resource Family, Birth Parents, Family Advocates, and pertinent treatment team members meet quarterly to discuss the safety, permanency, and well-being of the child(ren); and to discuss the concurrent plan for the child(ren).
In order to assist the Resource Families in caring for the children placed with them, all child-placing agencies practice full disclosure by securing and providing to those Resource Families all information about the child in their care prior to and throughout the time the child is with them.
The County takes a leadership role in partnering with contract agencies involved with all aspects of RDS work in order to implement the values, goals, and strategies of Family to Family.
Training for new and experienced Resource Families is relevant, participatory, and accurately describes the experience of Resource Families. It is accessible geographically and culturally. Foster youth, birth, and resource families function as co-trainers sharing their experience and their lessons learned.