Family Meeting Descriptions

Initial Meeting (IM)


The IM ensures the child’s needs are met and the resource parents have the supports needed to care for the child. This practice reduces stress and trauma to the child, biological parents, and resource family while building a trusting relationship which impacts safety, permanency, and well-being.

Who Attends

  • Biological parents/caregivers
  • Foster parent
  • CPS specialist
  • Permanency Planning specialist
  • Resource specialist
  • The child(ren)

What Occurs

The IM provides an opportunity for the biological parents to share information with the resource parents related to the child’s needs. When the biological and resource parents are unable or refuse to attend the IM, the CPS, PP, and resource specialists gather information surrounding the child and resource family to develop a support plan to ensure placement stability. The support plan is reviewed and agreed upon by the biological and resource family. When issues come up about the support plan, the PP and resource specialist work with the biological and resource family to ensure an effective plan is developed and agreed upon to ensure stability.

A Child and Resource Family Support Plan develops naturally from the IM interactions that details the child’s needs.The Initial Meeting Guide and the All About Me form facilitate conversation. The plan includes items, such as what makes the child happy or sad, how to calm the child, and the child’s hobbies, favorite foods, favorite extracurricular activities, supports, or friends. Based on the information, the needed supports for the child and the resource parents are identified and a plan is put in place to ensure the resource parents have access to the necessary resources to ensure placement stability.

Team Decision Making


The purpose of the meeting is to include the family, extended family, community members, caseworker, and other agency staff in assessing the families’ strengths, needs and risks, to formulate the best possible plan regarding placement.

Who Attends

  • Biological parents/ family members
  • Foster parent (if the child is in placement)
  • Community service providers
  • OKDHS staff/ ICW Staff

What Occurs

  • Meetings are held for ALL placement-related decisions, for ALL families served by the public child welfare agency.
  • In team decision making, the group is convened for the specific purpose of making an immediate placement related decision.
  • The public agency shares but does not delegate its responsibility to make critical placement decisions.
  • The meeting is a sharing of all information about the family that relates to the protection of the children and functioning of the family.
  • The goal is to reach a consensus about a plan that protects the children and preserves or reunifies the family.

Family Group Conferencing


Combines the strength of the family, their support systems, community organizations, and public agencies to support and empower the family to make and carry out a plan to safeguard children as well as resolve issues within the family unit.

Who Attends

  • Biological parents/Caregivers/ Family members
  • Community Service Providers
  • OKDHS staff/ICW Staff
  • Foster Parents (at different phases)

What Occurs

Phase 1- Placement

  • Takes place within 2 weeks of removal or can occur when an open case is identified with a child needing permanent placement
  • Discussion includes: placement, ICWA compliance, family dynamics, medical information, diligent search, visitation
  • Identify internal/external support systems for the family.

Phase 2-Individual Service Plan Development

  • Takes place within 45 days of removal or 2 weeks of adjudication
  • Family and workers discuss Strengths and Needs assessment, safety issues and available services

Phase 3- Reunification Preparation

  • Conference takes place prior to child returning home
  • Service plan progress discussed with family
  • On-going safety assessment and safety plan completed
  • Support/Reunification services in place prior to trial reunification

Phase 4 – Progress to Permanency

  • Can occur at anytime in the life of the case
  • If 6 month review and reunification prep meeting is not feasible this meeting should be scheduled
  • Identify continued risk, barriers, progress and/or resolutions
  • Permanency options are discussed by participants