We know that children heal in relationships, and that children’s outcomes are better in life when they are better connected. The goal of Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE) is to work together to make a lifelong team around children, youth, and their families, so that they are sufficiently connected, cared for and safe.
Having conversations with the children and families we serve about their connections is immensely important, but it can be difficult and even awkward at times. It takes trust and vulnerability to open up about your life, who you love, and who loves you. Knowing this, our CFE team has created tools to help make these conversations easier.
One of the tools used in CFE is Connect Cards. These cards were uniquely designed by the CFE team to help adults, children and youth connect and learn about one another, with a family engagement focus. There are two different decks of Connect Cards. Each card has a different prompt to encourage conversation.
Check out this true story of the Connect Cards in action, courtesy of Fannin County Children’s Center CASA Program Director Julie Luton:
We have a CASA volunteer advocating for a teen who is in a placement where he has limited contact with others. We have been using CFE to try to locate family for him.
Recently, the CASA volunteer brought a deck of the Connect Cards with her to a visit. The volunteer and the teen made a game out of the cards. The volunteer played, too! The volunteer later reported they shared so many laughs and memories with the cards. The teen asked if he could keep the deck of cards to play with his friends—which he did! The CASA volunteer showed up at the office requesting a few more decks to share with some other teenagers at the placement. CFE works!
Both Decks 1 and 2 of the Connect Cards have been incredibly popular statewide. In fact, DFPS is currently in the process of ordering 1,000 decks of the cards due to demand!
Connect: Deck 1 is available digitally, for free, in the CFE Tools App. If you are with a local CASA program in Texas, you can ask your program for a physical deck of cards. Both decks are available in English and Spanish.
To learn more about some of the other tools used in CFE, check out our CFE Pocket Guide.