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1. What is a strength-based program?
A strength-based program is one in which the focus is to identify and use family strengths, not deficits. The programs all utilize a family meeting or conference where a team is assembled. The team will include family, children, neighborhood or community partners, persons that the family deems as a support or advocate, caregivers, resource and treatment staff, Department of Children and Family Services personnel and a trained facilitator to guide the process.

The family meetings or conferences engage families in developing an individualized planning process and formulate out-come based plans using family strengths to assure family voice and choice.

The strength based programs at DCFS are Family Preservation, Child Safety Conferences (Family to Family), Family Group Decision Making, Permanency Teams, System of Care, and Wraparound.

While the population of the clients may differ, all of the strength-based programs involve core beliefs, that include:

  • All families have strengths
  • Families are experts on themselves
  • Families deserve to be treated with respect and dignity
  • Families can make well-informed decisions about keeping their children safe when supported
  • When families are involved in decision making, outcomes can improve
  • A team is often more capable of creative and high quality decision making than an individual

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2. What is Wraparound?
Wraparound is a multi-agency initiative. The Department of Mental Health and Probation use a similar process to refer children and youth for enrollment in Wraparound. The Wraparound approach is a family-centered, strengths-based, needs-driven planning and service delivery process. It advocates for family-professional partnership to ensure family voice, choice and ownership. Wraparound children and family teams benefits children by working with the family to ensure Permanency.

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3. What is Concurrent Planning?
In concurrent planning, reunification services are provided to the birth family, but at the same time an alternative Permanency plan of adoption is made for the child should reunification fail. Under concurrent planning, if it is assessed that the birth parent's progress on reunification does not appear promising, the alternative permanent plan of adoption is activated by beginning an adoption home study for the child's current caregiver or moving the child to a pre-adoptive home (a family who is licensed/certified for foster care and approved to adopt).

Concurrent planning expedites Permanency and results in fewer, more stable placements for children.

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Wraparound Program
Steps to Independent Living - Current and Former Foster Youth
Kinship Care Services
Permanency Guide
Wraparound user guide
Wraparound Initiative
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