Maximizing Your Child Family Team (CFT) Meetings

Santa Clara County Social Services Agency
Department of Family and Children’s Services
Presented by Reneé Lay

  • Decrease rate of first entries into foster care and the over representation of children of color
  • Decrease multiple foster care placements
  • Increase timely social worker visits with the child
  • Increase child abuse referrals with a timely response
  • Decrease rate of foster care re-entry
  • Held for all placement decisions
  • Brings together the people who are involved with and care about the family
  • Ensures the best possible decisions are made regarding the child’s safety and placement
  • Introduction/Welcome
  • Identify the situation and concerns
  • Strengths
  • Develop ideas
  • Reach a consensus
  • Recap/Closing/Evaluation

Better decision is made because:

  • More information is made available
  • Broader participation leads to creative ideas and workable solutions
  • Provides participants an opportunity for their voice to be heard
  • Placement decision made with support from others
  • Decision made at TDM can lead to a better court experience
  • Case plans accepted more readily
  • Family appreciates opportunity for their voice to be heard
  • Fosters positive relationships
  • A child may be initially removed from his/her homes
  • A child is out-of-home care and a change of placement is required or could potentially occur
  • A child may be returning home
  • Required for every child served in DFCS

A social worker plans a TDM by:

  • Calls/emails TDM Specialist to request a TDM meeting
  • Alerts TDM Specialist of any client’s prior history of violence, sexual abuse, language/cultural needs, child supervision, etc.

San Jose Office
Maria Araiza 408-299-1527
Gina Lewis 408-299-1528

Gilroy Office
Carmen Carrasco 846-5053

  • Determines date and time of meeting
  • Invites community partners
  • Invites interpreter if needed

Meetings will be geographically located throughout Santa Clara County

  • Children’s Shelter on Union Avenue
  • West Julian Campus (Building 1)
  • Family Conference Institute
  • Four Family Resource Centers
  • Asian Pacific Family Resource Center
  • Nuestra Casa
  • Ujirani
  • Gilroy Family Resource Center
  • Sunnyvale Community Services (as available)
  • Columbia Neighborhood Center (as available)
  • Other sites as necessary

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Recognized as the expert on their family needs and strengths
  • Absence or lack of participation would not preclude or postpone the scheduled meeting
  • 12 years and older can be included
  • Social worker and facilitator determine if child remains during whole meeting or part of it
  • To assist and be a support

Who is a community Partner?

  • Parent Advocate
  • Domestic Violence Advocate
  • Child Advocate
  • Resource family support team
  • Service providers
  • Faith-based community
  • Schools
  • Mental Health
  • Community representative
  • Current caregivers
  • Public Health Nurses
  • Interpreters


  • Be familiar with the TDM process
  • Recognize the goal of TDM
  • Discuss family strengths and concerns
  • Offer solutions that build on family strengths
  • Maintain the privacy of information shared at the TDM
  • If unable to attend, provide concerns and/or recommendations to social worker
  • Connect clients with resources
  • Provide emotional support
  • Content expert
  • Consult with supervisor and agree on recommendation
  • Discuss issues relating to safety and risks
  • Identify family needs and strengths
  • Avoid using acronyms and jargon
  • Responsible for carrying out legal mandate to ensure sate placement of children
  • Invite family members
  • Arrange child’s transportation (if appropriate)
  • Provides support and guidance to social worker
  • Provides support lo facilitator on policy, procedures and knowledge on community resources
  • Has an opportunity to observe how the worker interacts with the family
  • In the event the supervisor cannot attend, an arrangement should be made to send a representative or be available by phone

(i.e. Independent Living. Social Worker I, Case Aide, Placement, CalWorks, Family Finding Worker, etc)

  • Provide helpful information
  • Share responsibility for high quality decision
  • May seek review of caseworker’s decision when it is believed there is a violation of policy

(i.e. Members of the family community)

  • Participate and snare ideas to help ensure child’s safety
  • Provide support
  • Resource experts
  • Help family members feel comfortable
  • Assist family in understanding agency’s concerns in relation to safety and risk
  • A trained process expert
  • Knowledgeable on Agency policies and procedures
  • Responsible for high quality decision
  • Provides written TDM Plan to participants outlining the decision and action steps
  • May seek review of caseworker’s decision
  • Per DFCS policy, attorneys do not attend TDM meeting
  • TDM involving a dependent child, the District Attorney’s office will be informed

Second languages TDM

Pool of bilingual/bicultural back-up facilitators available in

  • Spanish
  • Cambodian
  • Farsi
  • Vietnamese


The social worker cannot bring up the following information in a TDM:

  • The child’s HIV status
  • The child’s pregnancy
  • The child’s mental health diagnosis
  • The child’s psychological evaluation
  • The details of the child abuse
  • The child’s rap sheet
  • The child’s IEP documentation
  • The child’s sexual orientation

If you think any of the above items are pertinent to the decision of placing the child you should bring them up in the meeting, the social worker is not at liberty to do so.

What information from the TDM can be reported to the court?

The statement of TDM issues and the TDM action plan. (Quotes from participants, summary statements from participants and notes taken at the TDM cannot be reported to the court.)

Note taking

The TDM action plan prepared by the TDM facilitator should be filed in the social worker’s file. All other notes should be destroyed in order to preserve the confidential nature of the TDM meeting.

Confidentiality Statement

All participants in the TDM shall sign a TDM confidentiality statement prior to participating in the TDM.

Confidentiality information from L. Michael Clark/ TDM Confidentiality/ Revised November 2004