Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health

Family Involvement

A major part of developing a system of care community is to work toward being family driven in all areas. According to the Cooperative Agreements for Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program Request for Applications (RFA), family driven means families have a primary decision-making role in the care of their own children as well as the policies and procedures governing care for all children in their community, state, tribe, territory and nation. This includes:

  • choosing supports, services, and providers;
  • setting goals;
  • designing and implementing programs;
  • monitoring outcomes;
  • and determining the effectiveness of all efforts to promote the mental health and well-being of children and youth.”
    Assistance is provided in numerous ways, including the Family Involvement Community of Practice (FI CoP), which is open to everyone within systems of care, and the lead family contact affinity calls, which are solely  for lead family contacts.  In addition, events, newsletter articles, resource lists, as well as individual and community technical assistance, are offered regularly.

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Featured Resources

Caregiver Guide: Substance Use Disorder Treatment Planning for Youth With Co-Occurring Disorders (PDF)

The Caregiver Guide: Substance Use Disorder Treatment Planning for Youth With Co-Occurring Disorders provides a single source of basic information about co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder treatment. Topics include an overview of mental health and substance use, and the role of the family in treatment. It describes prevention, early intervention, evidence-based treatment, continuing care services and supports, and paying for treatment. An extensive resource list and questions to ask when making treatment decisions are provided as additional tools.

The Power of Family Organization Collaboration in Expanding Systems of Care (PDF)

This resource provides strategies for family and advocacy organizations to collaborate within states and communities to improve and expand children’s mental health services and strengthen systems of care.

A Guide for Father Involvement in Systems of Care (PDF)

Technical Assistance Partnership (2013)

Shares information about the importance of fathers in the lives of their children, and it identifies potential consequences if they are not involved. Offers strategies for systems and families, especially those who are involved in systems of care, to help fathers become more involved. It was updated to include new resources and information about fathers involved in substance abuse, fathers who have been or are incarcerated, and gay fathers and fathers of LGBT children.

Family-Provider Relationships: A Multidisciplinary Review of High Quality Practices and Associations with Family, Child, and Provider Outcomes (PDF)

Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2011)

Identifies common practices in positive family-provider relationships and explores associations between these relational practices and child, family, and provider outcomes. The brief can inform members of the system of care team about positive outcomes when intentional relationship development occurs.

LGBT Parenting in the United States

The Williams Institute (2013)

Provides a demographic portrait of LGBT parenting in the United States. Data about the prevalence and experiences of LGBT parenting are useful in planning and implementing systems transformation.

Recruiter Outreach Exercise from Building Successful Resource Families: A Guide for Public Agencies

Annie E. Casey Foundation (2012)

Provides a “scavenger hunt” exercise for locating resources and recruiting families in your community.

The Family Room Blog

Administration for Children and Families (2013)

Discusses new ACF initiatives including resources, success stories, and policy announcements.

Guiding Principles of Family-Driven Care

National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health

Ten principles to ensure a strong and diverse family voice in decision-making for individual children and their families as well as in system design, implementation, and evaluation.

Promising Practices Toolkit: Working with Drug Endangered Children and Their Families(PDF)

This toolkit was developed by the Federal Interagency Task Force on Drug Endangered Children and is a compilation of many practices, separated into three categories: (1) increasing drug endangered children awareness, (2) fostering community collaboration, and (3) creating a more effective response. The intent of this toolkit is to provide guidance and resources to professionals in identifying, responding to, and serving drug endangered children.

Checklist of Family Roles in System of Care Communities

The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health (2012)

Responding to a need articulated at the last system of care meeting, this Checklist of Family Roles in System of Care Communities was created by members of the Family Involvement Community of Practice. The checklist provides a list of possible roles families can fill in systems work, keeping their level of experience in mind. Communities are encouraged to add roles as they develop family participation. It is intended to be used by project directors, lead family contacts, other system of care staff members, and family organizations.

Working Toward Family Driven Practices – Definitions & Working Toward Family Driven in the Area of Governance

The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health (2012)

Members of the Family Involvement Community of Practice worked on this document to illustrate levels of family involvement and define family involvement, family engagement and family driven. These definitions were used to detail what they look like in the area of governance. This document can expanded by communities to show levels of participation in evaluation, social marketing, choosing services, training development, hiring, etc. Principal investigators, project directors, social marketers, clinical directors, family leaders and all members of the system of care team can reference this document as they plan and implement their work.

Additional Resources

Family Involvement Community of Practice (FI CoP)
The FI CoP focuses on understanding and implementing the family-driven value in everyone’s work. Participants in this CoP include all who are interested in working toward the implementation of family-driven practices and policies. Membership in this forum is neither restrictive nor exclusive. Implementation of familv-driven practice is challenging, transformative work that requires a more informed approach to learn new ways of working within community-based children’s mental health. Through the FI CoP, participants have access to some of the following activities:

  • annual meetings
  • quarterly calls
  • opportunities to participate on workgroup activities
  • list serve

Topics for the meetings and calls are selected by our listserv membership. Our presenters have included national leaders, system of care community staff, and technical assistance experts. The list serv provides opportunities to network, ask questions, share examples of what has worked, discuss challenges, and make announcements pertinent to this work. Please join us!

Lead Family Contact Affinity Calls and Meetings
Lead family contact affinity calls are held quarterly and there are annual face-to-face meetings for those who are employed in the role of lead family contact in their local system of care communities. These calls and meetings focus on particular topics and questions pertaining to the role and responsibilities of lead family contacts and may include:

  • highlights from the field
  • training opportunities
  • resource sharing
  • and problem solving 

The agendas for these national conversations with lead family contacts are determined by the participants. The forum for the meetings and calls is facilitated by the TA Partnership’s Family Content Specialists.