Section 3, Chapter 2 (Family-Centered Services Assessment and Planning), Subsection 3 – Safety Network Contacts and Team Meetings

(Effective:  05/01/19)

2.3 Safety Network Contacts and Team Meetings

Safety Network Contacts

Through the family assessment approach, safety network contacts are used to gain information regarding the family’s strengths, needs, and overall supports. Safety network contacts include face to face contact, phone contact, and e-mail correspondence. In addition to providing staff and the family with differing perspectives on the strengths and needs of the family, safety network contacts also assist staff to identify changes in the family dynamics. Safety Network Contacts should be meaningful to the family’s situation.

Staff shall exercise professional judgment in the selection of information sources. To protect the family’s right to privacy and the confidentiality of the case use the Authorization for Release of Medical/Health Information, SS-6, or the Authorization for Release of Non-Medical Records by/to Children’s Division, CD-98,  when necessary.

It might seem like a small step, but planning with the parent on how they will approach the people they want in their network is important. It is best for the parent to be clear on what they are asking of their safety network contacts.  The members of the network must understand the family’s safety concerns in order to provide long term safety to the children in their safety network.  For additional information on how to create safety networks see Section 1, Policy Guide to the Practice Model.

Activities of the Safety Network

Safety Network contacts can fill a number of roles. These include being a mentor, being responsive to questions and concerns (from the family or agency), and supervising contact with parents and children.  The network member can provide feedback to the parent and agency about contact with the family, as well as their strengths and needs.

Safety Network Meetings for FCS Cases

These meetings should be held on every FCS case and involve the network, parent, and agency staff.  Children can also attend, depending on the situation.  Staff should prepare for these meetings and have a clear purpose and agenda for the meeting.  Safety Network meetings for FCS cases may look somewhat different from Alternative Care (AC) cases, lacking the structure of a court presence and mandated timeframes for completion. This allows the worker and the family more flexibility in inviting and assembling participants that can address the family’s specific needs.

Topics that are often discussed to prepare parents for the first safety network meeting include:

  • The importance of involving a network;
  • The plan for the meeting;

    • Agency and family goals for the meeting
    • Topics that will be covered
    • Key questions for each topic
  • Facilitation of the meeting and strategies for managing possible issues;

    • Use of a neutral facilitator
    • Mapping format
    • Possible ground rules
  • Review of danger statements and safety goals;
  • How this first network meeting fits into the bigger process of safety planning (number and frequency of meetings);
  • Logistics for the meeting;

    • Where do the parents and the children feel most comfortable to hold the meeting?
    • When is the best time for the meeting?
    • Who will invite the participants (preferably parents if possible)?  What information will be shared with the invitees prior to the meeting?
  • Professionals attending and their roles; and
  • Children’s involvement/attendance. 

For additional information on Safety Network Meetings see Section 1, Policy Guide to the Practice Model.