Texas CASA’s Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE) Coaches, Anna McDonnell and Catherine Dooley, were both recently recognized by CPS with the Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) award for their dedication to CFE. As CFE Coaches, McDonnell and Dooley each cover a region of Texas and work closely with CPS and local CASA programs implementing and using CFE by providing support and mentorship.
FGDM is an integral part of CFE and consists of a variety of different practices on engaging youth and families in safe planning and decision-making with the ultimate goal being to devise a plan that will support the children, the parents and other caregivers. Many of these practices come to form in meetings between families, CPS and CASA.
“Family meetings are where healing starts – where families can express their pain and start to move past it and to start authentically engaging in the CPS process to work toward reunification,” said McDonnell. “It is also critical for caregivers to help the network understand their needs and concerns caring for children who may have experienced trauma.”
The positive outcomes created through FGDM are what makes the efforts worthwhile. The professionals sitting in on these family meetings help everyone work to create long-lasting objectives and support systems that ultimately can benefit both the child and their family.
“FGDM helps get the family and professionals all on the same page,” said Dooley. “The best experience I’ve had with FGDM are when all professionals in the room are on the same page with what they are hoping to accomplish during the meeting and the FGDM staff are able to facilitate difficult conversations while keeping everyone engaged.”
CFE Manager Candice Dosman leads the CFE Coaches and shares that “this recognition is so well deserved.”
“[The award] speaks to the great job they are doing, the respect they have earned from those they are coaching at CPS, and an understanding of the importance of family meetings – which we always say are the heart of CFE,” said Dosman.