Case Management is an important service that fits into the continuum of services provided in child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, physical health and other social service initiatives. Case Management has been a core service provided in our communities for decades and is often a first level intervention given to clients before more intensive therapeutic interventions are provided, or in conjunction with such services. However, Case Management has become an ubiquitous term with significant variation throughout the field and unfortunately, the variation leads to role confusion, inconsistent practices, unclear service provisions and ambiguity.

In many contexts, particularly with traditionally underserved communities, individuals face a myriad of social and community pressures that, unresolved, make it difficult, if not impossible to benefit from formal community services. We know that childhood poverty has negative impacts on children’s physical, mental, social, emotional and educational development. We know that exposure to childhood traumas is associated with poor adult outcomes, and the greater the number and severity of the traumas, the higher the negative and lasting impact. What is often missed, is that each of these occurrences happen in family relational symptoms and there is a ripple effect that occurs within families and within communities. Risk factors can get in the way of forming positive family attachments and it is the formation of those positive caregiver attachments that can strengthen resiliency and combat the impact of adverse childhood experiences. Viewing the whole family as the client, rather than treating  each member as a separate individual, is critical to successful community-based intervention. Given that people do not live in isolation, the best way to understand need is within the context of the family, culture, and environment. 

FFT- Family Case Management (FFT-FCM) is a new variation of case management that takes the whole family as the client, aims to increase enduring abilities to access and obtain services, and prevent the need for further care. The FFT-FCM intervention is evidence-informed and guided by the same underlying principles and change mechanisms that have been proven to be effective in Functional Family Therapy. The intervention is collaborative, alliance based, family focused, trauma informed, focused on daily functioning, developmentally appropriate and uses clinical decision making tools to inform case management decisions and integrate family voice. This is a comprehensive intervention that begins by engaging families, assessing their individualized needs and building within family motivation to successfully connect to community services in order to build families self-sufficiency. FFT-FCM takes a developmental and systemic approach to working with individuals or families based on where they are in the family life cycle, and to build the support and motivation necessary to sustain lasting relationships with support systems within their own communities. The focus of FFT-FCM is to help the family successfully navigate their context, getting the support they need and learning how to manage the system in the future so that they become self-sufficient without the need for future system involvement. 

For more information or to set up an information session contact Marta Anderson, LCSW


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