Washington County Department of Social Services, Hagerstown, MD

Family Involvement Meetings

Abstract: The goals of Family Involvement Meetings (FIMs) are to improve outcomes for children and families through a collaborative approach to service delivery, to increase support to child welfare staff, and to engage the larger community in child welfare decisions. FIMs encourage and support creative service delivery to plan for the safety, well-being, and permanency of children. In two years of implementation, the reasons to convene a FIM have expanded and now children across the child welfare spectrum benefit from the technology, philosophy, and skill set of the facilitator. Fewer children are entering foster care placements, more children are placed with relatives and other family supports, foster care placement stability has increased, children are placed in a family setting more frequently as opposed to a group home facility, and children are exiting formal foster care more quickly through reunification, adoption, and guardianship. FIMs facilitate safety for children and facilitate permanency of relationships.

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