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Family Team Conferencing helps family of six remain together after year-long separation

Her home was filled with hope. After more than a year in out-of-home care, Jacinta Brown’s five children returned home.

But soon, new allegations arose of environmental hazards, inadequate supervision and substance abuse in the Brown family home. So Jacinta and her family were referred for Family Team Conferencing at One Hope United (OHU).

The OHU Family Case Manager Ansonio Mitchell and Supervisor Yolanda Walker worked with Jacinta to identify family supports, which included her father and two members of the community. The family supports as well as the children’s therapist would all be a part of the Family Team Conferencing meetings with the family.

At the first meeting, Jacinta identified her goals, which were to obtain an education, a new home, get a job, a car, remain drug free and explore her spirituality. The team helped Jacinta to identify the strengths of the family and what was needed to help Jacinta achieve the goals that would help keep her family together.

All team members were focused on the safety and well-being of the children. Additional meetings were held as a follow up and to identify any new needs that arose to help the mother achieve her goals and ensure safety of the children. Updates of the progress made were listed and the mother appeared to feel that she was moving ahead. Jacinta trusted the process, allowing the team to build rapport. She openly assisted in the identification of her needs and was excited about the meetings and seeing results.

“Jacinta accepted guidance, ideas, hints and suggestions that will help her to achieve her goals,” said Ida Rivera, OHU family team coordinator. “There was no judgment made and what was available to her was support.  Jacinta was able to see the plan not as added services or tasks, but as the steps that will allow her to achieve her life goals.”

Jacinta became confident in her abilities to independently reach out and build new connections in her community, and her protective capacity in regards to her children visibly grew. She assumed an active role in their academics and supported the importance of addressing the children’s emotional and mental health needs.

The team process provided Jacinta with access to new resources and helped her develop a commitment to give back to her community—strengthening herself as a woman, as a mother and as a member of society. She obtained her driver’s license, developed a strong support system at the church that she and her family attend, and practiced her newfound respect for her body and soul.

Jacinta participates in her neighborhood community watch program and attends General Equivalency Diploma (GED) classes.

“Many of us might think those steps are small, but to a woman who had a difficult childhood and saw herself as a person without a future, those steps represent her achievements and open a future and a life for her and her children,” said Will Jones, senior vice president at OHU – Florida Region.

The team process could not be successful without the contribution and commitment of each team member, which were willing to go the extra mile to assist the mother and family.

The child care provider, Little Citizens Day Care owner Donna Reed, was available to Jacinta after closing times. Jacinta could reach out to Donna at any time.

The neighborhood community builder, Hopes and Dreams Team and its Director Melody Hills, chose Jacinta as a speaker for a community meeting. This helped build Jacinta’s self-confidence through sharing her newly discovered public speaking skills and allowed her a chance to encourage others through her new found hope.

The Family Team Conferencing process and dedicated team members along with Jacinta’s passion toward her goal of self-improvement and keeping her family together ultimately resulted in successful closure of the case.

Today, Jacinta is drug-free, has a stronger bond with her children and improved her protective capacities to ensure that the family remains safe and together. She has developed an insight into her addiction, has taken responsibility for the impact her behavior had on her children and the risk she placed them in. She developed personal satisfaction by trusting herself.

The goals of the team were measurable and the outcomes were a direct result of the agency involvement. Today the family has the tools to continue to care for themselves and thrive in the community without agency support.