The language in the Written Service Agreement shall be clear and understandable to the family. Expectations must be written in simple, behaviorally specific and descriptive terms.
The Written Service Agreement shall be written in a clear, legible manner. If the case manager, parents, child, and placement resource are not located in the same county or state, the family Children’s Service Worker will be responsible for sending the portion of the Written Service Agreement completed in the service county to the case manager county. The case manager will send a complete copy to each participant.
Below are five (5) steps important in developing an effective Written Service Agreement with the family:
- The Children’s Service Worker shall actively involve the family in the planning process. As in the family assessment process, the Written Service Agreement is developed with the family, not for them.
Family involvement serves to:
- Facilitate the development of a therapeutic alliance between the Team members. It provides evidence that the family’s feelings and concerns have been heard and considered
- Promote the family’s investment in the reunification process. People who are involved are more likely to change
- Empower parents to take the necessary actions to change dysfunctional behavior patterns
- Help ensure that all Team members are working toward the same end and
- Initially, the members of the Team may have differing perspectives on the reasons for the Division’s intervention, which resulted in the child’s placement in out-of-home care. This obstacle can be overcome through reframing behaviors, emphasizing strengths and giving Team members an equal voice in identifying problems and solutions.
- The Team shall identify reasonable and achievable goals and tasks which correspond with the appropriate domain from the NCFAS G+R assessment.
- Goals and tasks should be behaviorally stated so the Team knows when change has occurred
- Goals and tasks should be phrased in a positive manner. They should specify what change needs to take place, not what should be stopped
- Goals and tasks should be phrased in a clear and understandable language
- Tasks should be very specific. All Team members should know exactly what has to be done within the specified time frame and
- Initial tasks should be meaningful to the person or family. They should be achievable in a two (2) to four (4) week period. These tasks should be viewed as a need and priority by the family member(s).
- The Team shall address the relevant needs and risk factors identified in the assessment. The family’s strengths and resources are to be considered when determining the tasks needed to achieve treatment goals. The Team should:
- Consider the environmental and other influences upon the family. Start where the family members are and help them select goals which can realistically be achieved in the time frame and
- Recognize and reinforce family efforts. Acknowledge their achievements.
It should be understood that any significant change in the family’s circumstances (i.e., change in household composition) which could increase the risk of abuse/neglect to children would affect the treatment plan.
The Children’s Service Worker shall be able to document what all participants in the plan will do and when. Therefore, the plan should:
- Describe what family members, the family Children’s Service Worker, placement provider and any other service providers will do and
- Identify time frames for accomplishing each task and the overall treatment goals. Treatment plans must not exceed 90 days.
- The Team shall decide how achievements and goal attainment will be measured.
- The Team will review the plan every 30 days, or more frequently, if necessary, to evaluate progress and the need for plan revision.