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 DHS News March 2013

DHS Conferencing and Teaming

As the Department of Human Services continues to work towards becoming a more integrated and comprehensive human service system, it has identified a model for engaging consumer participants in assessment and planning across all program offices.  A common practice of assessing, planning and integrating services fosters and supports interweaving our services around the particular needs of client/consumer participants.

Last year, DHS adopted Family Team Conferencing (FTC) as the model of common practice. As implementation of FTC progressed, it became evident that DHS would benefit from its own unique family engagement model, rather than trying to fit all of its needs into an existing model. DHS Conferencing and Teaming emerged from blending the best of FTC, Family Group Decision Making and High Fidelity Wrap Around, our three former participant and family engagement models. 

This new model relies heavily on FTC for many of its main practices, but incorporates strengths from the other conferencing models. DHS Conferencing and Teaming combines initial engagement, assessment and planning through a family conference, with continuous service integration through teaming to help a participant meet his or her goals. It also includes the opportunity for private family time in every conference or meeting, should the family want it.

The conferencing portion of the new model engages the participant and his or her natural support system in a planning process that manages risks and improves long-term functioning. Using existing records and assessments, the participant, family and all natural supports formulate a plan based on the perceived needs and goals of all involved. The main principle behind this conferencing portion of the model is that the participant benefits from decreased dependency and increased personal responsibility.

The teaming portion of the model recognizes that as a person’s situation changes, his or her plan may need alteration. The individual meets periodically with his or her natural supports and attending professionals to address events or circumstances that may call for a reassessment of current plans and strategies. The goal of this process is to build a strong support system of that can continue to assist the individual after services end.

DHS Conferencing and Teaming will be slowly phased in across DHS. Families currently being served through FGDM or High Fidelity Wrap Around will continue under those models. But once Conferencing and Teaming is fully implemented, all new individuals needing services will be using this newly developed approach.  As such, updates and additional information about DHS Conferencing and Teaming will be coming in the weeks and months ahead.

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