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F: Program-centered <<>> Family-centered <<>> Community-centered

At the basic practice level, worker activities are prescribed by the procedures associated with the program to which the worker is assigned. Children are clients of specific programs that may include resources, services, and workers from multiple departments within the agency. Although children can be clients of more than one program, they typically are not.

For example, clients of the foster care program are usually not clients of the adoption program. Clients of the ongoing services program are not clients of the investigation program. If a child’s status or situation change, he (or she) transfers to another program better fitting his (or her) new status or situation.

At the intermediate practice level, practice incorporates workers doing what is needed to achieve family outcomes prescribed by individualized case plans developed jointly between the worker and the family. The family is the locus for services development instead of the program.

At the advanced practice level, expansion is to community centered practice. This does not mean family-centered practice displaces program-centered practice or community-centered practice displaces family-centered practice. Rather, it means practice becomes fully three-dimensional.

Community-centered practice is not an option, it is a requirement. Children cannot adequately cope with their needs, problems, and vulnerabilities without the support and assistance of a nurturing family. Families cannot adequately cope without the support and assistance of a nurturing community. It is not possible to appropriately and adequately protect children in the absence of community-centered practice.

“Community” refers to the array of services, opportunities, and resources available to and accessible by the family. Child protection practice involves the identification and, if necessary, development of the services, opportunities, and resources required by each family. You and your agency or program may or may not be directly involved in services provision. Rather, you assure the availability of and the family’s access to the array of services, opportunities, and resources needed to optimally respond to the family’s interests and needs. If “community organization” is developing and organizing services, opportunities, and resources for identified groups or sub-populations, community-centered services is “community organization,” one family or child at a time.

How it works:

Program-centered practice expands to incorporate family-centered approaches through the development and implementation of individualized family case plans. In turn, practice expands to incorporate community-centered approaches and strategies to assure availability of and access to the services, opportunities, and resources required by each family.

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