Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Family Foster Care and Kinship Care (FKC) 2: Personnel

Program personnel have the competency and support needed to provide services that ensure the safety of children and promote the well-being of children and families.

Interpretation

Competency can be demonstrated through education, training, or experience. Support can be provided through supervision or other learning activities to improve understanding or skill development in specific areas.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: FAMILY FOSTER CARE AND KINSHIP CARE (FKC)

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Purpose

Children in Family Foster Care and Kinship Care live in safe, stable, nurturing, and often temporary family settings that best provide the continuity of care to preserve relationships, promote well-being, and ensure permanency.
1
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
2
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,  
  • With some exceptions, staff (direct service providers, supervisors, and program managers) possess the required qualifications, including education, experience, training, skills, temperament, etc., but the integrity of the service is not compromised; or
  • Supervisors provide additional support and oversight, as needed, to the few staff without the listed qualifications; or 
  • Most staff who do not meet educational requirements are seeking to obtain them; or 
  • With few exceptions, staff have received required training, including applicable specialized training; or
  • Training curricula are not fully developed or lack depth; or
  • Training documentation is consistently maintained and kept up-to-date with some exceptions; or
  • A substantial number of supervisors meet the requirements of the standard, and the organization provides training and/or consultation to improve competencies when needed; or
  • With few exceptions, caseload sizes are consistently maintained as required by the standards or as required by internal policy when caseload has not been set by a standard; or
  • Workloads are such that staff can effectively accomplish their assigned tasks and provide quality services and are adjusted as necessary; or
  • Specialized services are obtained as required by the standards.
3
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.  Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • A significant number of staff (direct service providers, supervisors, and program managers) do not possess the required qualifications, including education, experience, training, skills, temperament, etc.; and as a result, the integrity of the service may be compromised; or
  • Job descriptions typically do not reflect the requirements of the standards, and/or hiring practices do not document efforts to hire staff with required qualifications when vacancies occur; or 
  • Supervisors do not typically provide additional support and oversight to staff without the listed qualifications; or
  • A significant number of staff have not received required training, including applicable specialized training; or
  • Training documentation is poorly maintained; or
  • A significant number of supervisors do not meet the requirements of the standard, and the organization makes little effort to provide training and/or consultation to improve competencies; or
  • There are numerous instances where caseload sizes exceed the standards' requirements or the requirements of internal policy when a caseload size is not set by the standard; or
  • Workloads are excessive, and the integrity of the service may be compromised; or 
  • Specialized staff are typically not retained as required and/or many do not possess the required qualifications; or
  • Specialized services are infrequently obtained as required by the standards.
4
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Table of contents of training curricula
  • Procedures or other documentation relevant to continuity of care and case assignment
  • Procedures for peer mentor program, including for: recruiting, screening, training, and supervising mentors
  • Training curricula
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of required trainings and/or competencies
  • Sample job descriptions from across relevant job categories
  • Caseload size requirements set by policy, regulation, or contract when applicable
  • Documentation of current caseload size per worker
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
  • Review personnel files

 

FKC 2.01

Workers are qualified by: 
  1. an advanced degree in social work or a comparable human service field; or 
  2. a bachelor’s degree in social work or a comparable human service field with two years of related experience.

 

FKC 2.02

Supervisors are qualified by an advanced degree in social work or a comparable human service field and two years of experience working with children and families, preferably in family foster care or kinship care.

Interpretation

Additional support in the form of monthly clinical consultation should be provided for supervisors in treatment foster care programs who do not have an appropriate advanced degree or sufficient experience.

 

FKC 2.03

Workers are trained on or demonstrate competency to:
  1. empower, support, and mentor parents and children;
  2. assess risk and safety;
  3. conduct comprehensive assessments of strengths, needs, and protective factors;
  4. collaborate with families to identify strengths and needs and develop effective service plans;
  5. conduct well-planned, quality home visits that focus on issues pertinent to service planning; 
  6. understand child, adult, and family development and functioning, including child and adolescent brain development;
  7. collaborate with different organizations, agencies, and systems likely to serve or encounter children and families, including the mental health, health, educational, and judicial systems;
  8. evaluate progress on identified goals and the continued need for placement;
  9. facilitate permanency, family connections, and community supports; and
  10. follow the organization’s protocols for responding to allegations of maltreatment in resource homes.

 

FKC 2.04

Workers who collaborate with resource families are trained on or demonstrate competency to:
  1. recruit, assess, and engage with resource parents;
  2. help resource families provide a safe, nurturing environment and meet the needs of the children in their care; 
  3. provide timely and responsive support to resource families; and
  4. facilitate relationships between birth parents and resource families, when appropriate.

Interpretation

Personnel responsible for conducting resource parent assessments should receive initial and periodic training on how to conduct these assessments in order to reinforce the consistent application of the methods.

 

FKC 2.05

Workers who support expectant and parenting youth are trained on or demonstrate competency to:
  1. present information in a manner that will resonate with expectant or parenting youth;
  2. address the dual developmental needs of adolescents and young children;
  3. promote youths’ transition to adulthood while parenting; and
  4. facilitate father involvement when appropriate and feasible.
NA The organization does not serve youth 14 and older.

 
Fundamental Practice

FKC 2.06

Workers and supervisors, depending on job responsibilities, are trained on or demonstrate competency to implement relevant provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), including: 
  1. the importance of ICWA and special considerations for working with American Indian and Alaska Native children; 
  2. the identification of American Indian and Alaska Native children; 
  3. determination of jurisdiction; 
  4. appropriate notice and collaboration with the child's tribe; 
  5. placement preferences that support the child's connection to their native culture and heritage; 
  6. active efforts requirements to reunify families; and 
  7. court procedures.

Interpretation

All child welfare personnel should be trained in the basic requirements of ICWA and informed of the cultural norms and historical trauma associated with Indian tribes and staff in specialized service units (e.g. intake or permanency planning) should receive additional specialized training. All screening personnel must be trained on how to identify children with American Indian or Alaska Native heritage.

NA The organization provides kinship care services only.

NA The organization provides services for foreign-born children only.


 

FKC 2.07

The organization minimizes the number of workers assigned to the family over the course of their contact with the organization by:
  1. assigning a worker at intake or early in the contact; and
  2. avoiding the arbitrary or indiscriminate reassignment of direct service personnel.
Examples: Organizations can strive to minimize the number of workers assigned to the family by, for example: (1) examining any policies or procedures that require families to be passed from one specialty worker to another as they move through the system, and considering whether families would be better served by fewer transfers; and (2) addressing factors that may contribute to personnel turnover (e.g., by ensuring caseloads are reasonable and providing appropriate training, supervision, and support).

 
Fundamental Practice

FKC 2.08

Employee workloads support the achievement of positive outcomes for families, are regularly reviewed, and generally do not exceed:
  1. 12-15 children in foster care or kinship care, and their families; and 
  2. 8 children in treatment foster care, and their families.

Interpretation

When workers manage a blend of case types, caseloads should be weighted and adjusted accordingly. Caseloads may be higher when organizations are faced with temporary staff vacancies. New personnel should not carry independent caseloads prior to the completion of training. 

Interpretation

For programs that exclusively serve resource families, such as in foster care home services or informal kinship care, this standard will be evaluated based on whether the assigned workload is manageable for personnel, taking into account the factors cited in the standard and example. Each organization should determine what caseload size is appropriate, and reviewers will evaluate: (1) whether the organization’s designated caseload size reflects a manageable workload, and (2) whether the organization maintains caseloads of the size it deemed appropriate.
Examples: Factors that may be considered when determining employee workloads include, but are not limited to:
  1. the qualifications, competencies, and experience of the worker, including the level of supervision needed; 
  2. the work and time required to accomplish assigned tasks and meet practice requirements, including those associated with individual caseloads and other organizational responsibilities; 
  3. service elements provided by other team members or collaborating providers; and
  4. service volume, accounting for the complexity and status of each case, including intensity of child and family needs, size of the family, and the goal of the case.

 

FKC 2.09

The organization prevents and counters the development of secondary traumatic stress by:
  1. helping personnel develop the skills and behaviors needed to manage and cope with work-related stressors;
  2. encouraging respectful collaboration and support among co-workers; and
  3. considering how the organization’s culture and policies may contribute to or prevent the development of secondary traumatic stress.
Examples: Organizations can support workers by helping them to: develop the skills and behaviors that will enable them to engage in positive thinking; increase their self-awareness; know their limits and needs; establish healthy boundaries; monitor and regulate their emotions and behaviors; identify and manage emotional triggers; and take time for self-care. Regarding element (c), it may make sense to consider the organization’s culture and policies in areas including but not limited to: supervision, caseload assignment, scheduling, and crisis response.

 

FKC 2.10

When peer mentors provide support to birth parents or resource parents, the organization:
  1. clearly defines the role and responsibilities of the mentors;
  2. establishes guidelines for recruitment of prospective mentors, including how much time must elapse before a former client is eligible to participate;
  3. carefully screens prospective mentors to ensure they are a good fit for the program;
  4. trains mentors to work in a professional setting and fulfill the roles they are expected to perform; and
  5. provides ongoing support and supervision to ensure that mentors have the skills they need and address any issues that arise.
NA The organization does not use peer mentors to provide services.
Examples: Responsibilities of peer parent mentors may include: providing social and emotional support, facilitating family engagement in services, helping families understand and navigate the child welfare system, certification process, or adoption process, connecting families to needed resources, and/or helping families advocate appropriately for themselves.