Strengthening Families Process
What's Important To Us
We know that families are often the best people to identify what would really help them to meet the needs of their children and young people. Bringing together agencies and government departments working with, or able to offer support to, the family in one meeting gives an opportunity for family and agencies to make a plan for co-operatively meeting those needs.
The following provides information about the Strengthening Families process and how it might be used to support positive outcomes for children, young people and their families.
Government and community agencies collaborate at Strengthening Families meetings to improve the well-being of the family/whānau with a minimal level of intrusion. Strengthening Families is not a substitute for care or protection processes, and no care or protection decisions can be made in the Strengthening Families process.
How does Strengthening Families work?
Strengthening Families brings together all the agencies a family/whānau is currently working with. All agencies meet together, and with the family/whānau, to develop a plan addressing the family/whānau's concerns, rather than agencies working independently from one another. This means that the family/whānau won't have to repeat the same information to multiple agencies, and everyone sees the big picture.
The process can be initiated by any family/whānau member or any agency. A meeting only occurs when the family/whānau gives consent. The family/whānau decide when and where the meeting will be held, who should be invited and what the key issues are.
How should family/whānau information be disclosed?
It is important to remember that each agency holds intimate information about the family/whānau. Care should be taken to disclose only information that is necessary for the purpose of the meeting. If you anticipate that the family/whānau may wish for some information to remain confidential, clarify this with them before the meeting. A discussion with your supervisor and site lawyer will also assist with the type of information available to be shared.
What is the Strengthening Families plan?
A Strengthening Families plan is based on the needs identified by the family/whānau. The plan will co-ordinate the work of the agencies involved around the concerns and priorities of the family/whānau. To assist with this, a lead agency is selected.
Because Strengthening Families is voluntary, the family/whānau decides who does and does not attend, and can even choose which individuals come to the meeting from the agencies involved.
For further information, talk to your local or national Strengthening Families co-ordinator.