I’ve been thinking a lot about timeless treasures. My last parent died in 2013 and I’ve unearthed amazing treasures going through the nooks and crannies of the 100-year old farmhouse where my parents lived.
One of my discoveries was a box of 80 handkerchiefs, all hand-knitted. I looked at them for a while but decided not to take them as I didn’t know what to do with them. When I arrived home that evening, there was the box of hankies among the other items! My friend who was helping me said she couldn’t bear to see the hankies go to auction. Instead, she found a picture of a handkerchief quilt to show me and immediately those 80 hankies increased in value.
As you can see from the photo, the formation of the quilt featuring the re-purposed hankies is coming along nicely.
Let’s explore some timeless treasures that can help us in our work with families:
1. How can we build a knowledge base about families that will provide guidance for the services they need and the results everyone wants to see?
It begins with assessment and the timeless treasure here is Comprehensive Family Assessment Guidelines for Child Welfare (Patricia Schene).
http://1.usa.gov/1feam7F (PDF, 340 KB)
2. Is it possible to build a child welfare system in a county of over 1 million people that simultaneously keeps families safely together whenever possible, reunites them or places a high percentage of children with kin when reunification is not possible, and prevents child deaths?
Allegheny County Department of Human Services has been doing that for the past 18 years. Marc Cherna, the director, is the first person ever awarded the Casey Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Child Welfare Leadership. To learn how Mr. Cherna and his staff established this quality system visit:
3. Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS) have been around for 40 years. How do we know if they are effective?
One treasure of effectiveness is a large, multi-year study conducted in North Carolina. More than 1,200 children who had received IFPS services were compared with over 110,000 children who had not received these services. IFPS outperformed traditional child welfare services in every case by reducing the number of placements or delaying placements. IFPS interventions improved family functioning and were most effective with the highest risk families.
4. If children do need to be placed in out-of-home care, how can they be reunified with their families? What works and what doesn’t work?
Here’s a compilation of evidence-based practice:
5. Which family member is often missing in action?
Over the past decade, the importance of healthy father involvement has moved to the forefront in best practice with families. What do we know about fathers? View a foundational document for involving fathers:
http://1.usa.gov/1feaYdn (PDF, 1.2 MB)
What can you do with all of these timeless treasures?
One way is to share them! These documents can be put to good use by new workers, colleagues, evaluators, and quality assurance staff. Timeless treasures need to be revitalized, re-purposed, and reviewed. Remember the box of 80 hankies!
And, here’s a repository for information on assessment, family preservation, reunification, and father-involvement: NFPN News Notes is 10 years old and editions are searchable by topic. Visit the NFPN News Notes blog often at: https://nfpnnewsnotes.wordpress.com/