Child & Family Services - DCFS

Our Practice Model

Quality outcomes are most often realized when children and families are engaged with a service organization offering an array of services by qualified and committed staff. It is the aim of our Practice Model to create such an environment – staffed by the best child welfare professionals in the nation.

Practice Model Principles

The Practice Model Development Team worked hard to incorporate the suggestions that came from our staff and our community partners into the following set of principles.

Principle One – Protection. Children’s safety is paramount; children and adults have a right to live free from abuse.

Principle Two – Development. Children and families need consistent nurturing in a healthy environment to achieve their developmental potential.

Principle Three – Permanency. All children need and are entitled to enduring relationships that provide a family, stability, belonging, and a sense of self that connects children to their past, present, and future.

Principle Four – Cultural Responsiveness. Children and families are to be understood within the context of their own family rules, traditions, history, and culture.

Principle Five – Partnership. The entire community shares the responsibility to create an environment that helps families raise children to their fullest potential.

Principle Six – Organizational Competence. Committed, qualified, trained, and skilled staff, supported by an effectively structured organization, helps ensure positive outcomes for children and families.

Principle Seven – Professional Competence. Children and families need a relationship with an accepting, concerned, empathetic worker who can confront difficult issues and effectively assist them in their process toward positive change.

Practice Model Skills Development

A set of key practice skills has been formulated from the Practice Model Principles to “Put Our Values Into Action.” The training on the Practice Model will provide for the development of these practice skills. These basic skills are:

Engaging

The skill of effectively establishing a relationship with children, parents, and essential individuals for the purpose of sustaining the work that is to be accomplished together.

Teaming

The skill of assembling a group to work with children and families, becoming a member of an established group, or leading a group may all be necessary for success in bringing needed resources to the critical issues of children and families. Child welfare is a community effort and requires a team.

Assessing

The skill of obtaining information about the salient events that brought the children and families into our services and the underlying causes bringing about their situations. This discovery process looks for the issues to be addressed and the strengths within the children and families to address these issues. Here we are determining the capability, willingness, and availability of resources for achieving safety, permanence, and well-being for children.

Planning

The skill necessary to tailor the planning process uniquely to each child and family is crucial. Assessment will overlap into this area. This includes the design of incremental steps that move children and families from where they are to a better level of functioning. Service planning requires the planning cycle of assessing circumstances and resources, making decisions on directions to take, evaluating the effectiveness of the plan, reworking the plan as needed, celebrating successes, and facing consequences in response to lack of improvement.

Intervening

The skill to intercede with actions that will decrease risk, provide for safety, promote permanence, and establish well-being. These skills continue to be gathered throughout the life of the professional child welfare worker and may range from finding housing to changing a parent’s pattern of thinking about their child.