Direct Practice Tools for Social Workers

This toolkit section contains tools that are used by social workers in direct practice with children/youth, families and their networks, organized by the practice elements of California’s Integrated Core Practice Model (ICPM) and California Child Welfare Core Practice Model (CPM).

Foundational

Foundational ICPM practice behaviors focus on open, honest, clear and respectful communication, as well as accountability for commitments made, biases and mistakes. Cultural humility, a commitment to removing institutional barriers to equity, and trauma-informed practice are woven throughout ICPM and SOP. The Foundational Tools folder contains tools such as the following:

  • Multicultural Guidelines for Communicating Across Difference
  • Practice Brief: Cultural Humility in Safety Organized Practice
  • Cultural Humility Practice Principles
  • Trauma-Informed Quick Guide – Emergency Response
  • Trauma-Informed Quick Guide – Ongoing Practice
  • Trauma-Informed Quick Guide – Permanency Planning
  • CPM Guide: Social Workers

Engagement

ICPM Engagement behaviors focus on listening to the child/youth, family, network and Tribe; demonstrating genuine interest in connecting with them and helping them to identify and meet their goals; identifying and engaging family members and others who are important to the child/youth and family; as well as supporting the family’s capacity to advocate for themselves. This toolkit section contains materials to support Engagement behaviors in SOP practice.

Solution-Focused Questions & Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative inquiry is a philosophical framework that underlies Safety Organized Practice. Appreciative inquiry attempts to use ways of asking questions and envisioning the future in order to foster positive relationships and build on the present potential of a person, organization or situation. 

Solution-focused questions are a form of Appreciative Inquiry and a foundational skill and strategy of SOP that helps the social worker explore worries, what is working well and next steps with a family in a strength-based manner that is in itself an intervention. The Solution-Focused Questions and Appreciative Inquiry folder contains tools such as the following:  

  • Quick Guide: Solution-Focused Questions
  • Supervisor Quick Guide: Solution-Focused Questions
  • Practice Brief: Appreciative Inquiry and Safety Organized Practice
  • Practice Brief: Solution-Focused Scaling Questions and Safety Organized Practice
  • Solution-Focused Questions for Assessment
  • Solution-Focused Inquiry by Program

For additional SOP engagement strategies, an interactive SOP/CPM Micro Learning Game is available.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a foundational skill set for Safety Organized Practice. MI is a clinical conversational approach developed in part by clinical psychologists William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick. MI is a directive, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. MI skills are foundational to SOP, as they are an important tool to support the primary goal of SOP, which is behavior change by a parent to achieve their Safety Goal. Although there are no specific MI tools for SOP, individuals and agencies are encouraged to build MI skills to support use of SOP. 

Children’s and Youth’s Voices

In SOP, voices of children/youth are brought forward because of the belief that they likely witness much of what goes on in their family and can contribute to a comprehensive understanding of what is happening, and that they often can and need to collaborate with other stakeholders in their own safety planning. These are specific tools to help gain the child’s perspective and ideas.  The Children's and Youth's Voices folder contains SOP tools such as the following: 

  • Three Houses & Safety House – all tools
    • Three Houses Template
    • Three Houses Booklet
    • Three Houses Diagram
    • Three Houses & Safety House Kit
    • Three Houses & Safety House Prompts
    • Quick Guide: Three Houses
    • Supervisor Quick Guide: Three Houses
    • Quick Guide: Safety House
    • Supervisor Quick Guide: Safety House
  • Words and Pictures Tool
  • Fairy: SOP Three Houses Engagement Tool
  • Wizard: SOP Three Houses Engagement Tool
  • Practice Brief: Tools for Integrating the Child’s Perspective

Tools for Families Experiencing Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Worries

Families involved with child welfare experience challenges with specific issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health challenges. These SOP tools help social workers explore with parents specific issues that may be affecting their family. The Families Experiencing Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Worries folder contains tools such as the following:

  • SOP Domestic Violence Timeline
  • IPV Intact Couple Scale
  • IPV Separated Couple Scale
  • Relapse Scale
  • Healthy Relationships Tool

Assessment

ICPM Assessment behaviors focus on collaborative assessment of safety, permanency and well-being with children, youth, families and their networks throughout a child/youth’s involvement with child welfare. This toolkit section contains materials to support Assessment behaviors in SOP practice.

Mapping

Safety Mapping is a process designed to help agency staff, children and youth, families and their networks critically think through presenting issues, including harm, danger, complicating factors, safety and strengths, and move toward agreement about what needs to happen next to ensure the safety of the child or youth. Permanency and Independence Mapping can also be used to evaluate safety, permanency, wellbeing and progress towards independence goals with older youth; and to assess safety, permanency and wellbeing with resource/adoptive families. 

Mapping may occur in the context of an internal agency case consultation, Group Supervision, RED Team or CFT meeting with families and their networks. For additional tools to use in CFT meetings, see the Teaming section.

The Mapping Tools folder contains tools such as the following:

  • Emergency Response Map
  • Family Maintenance and Family Reunification Map
  • Permanency Planning/Non-Minor Youth Map
  • 3 Column Map
  • Consultation and Information Sharing Framework
  • CAP Framework
  • Quick Guide: CISF
  • Quick Guide: Safety Mapping
  • Practice Brief: Mapping
  • Safety Mapping Facilitation with Families
  • Mapping with Families Cards

Harm, Danger and Worry Statements; Safety Goals; and Goal Statements

Harm and Danger or Worry Statements are simple, behaviorally-based statements that help the family and everyone involved become very clear about why child welfare is involved and what we worry may happen in the future if nothing changes.

Safety Goals/Goal Statements explain what the parents’ behavior will look like, over time, to ensure safety, permanency and well-being for their child in the future.

Goal Statements can be developed with youth or young adults to describe permanency and independence goals.

The SOP Harm, Danger and Worry Statement and Safety Goal Tools folder contains tools such as the following:

  • Quick Guide: Harm & Danger Statements
  • Harm & Danger Statement Examples
  • Emergency Response Field Tool

Front-End Practice Tools

These tools support front-end child welfare practice, including the Hotline and Emergency Response. Additionally, there are tools to support Review, Evaluate, Direct (RED) Teams, created by Sue Lohrbach, which are a group decision-making process at the Intake/Screening level to evaluate hotline referrals and determine the appropriate child welfare intervention and response time. The Front-End Practice Tools folder contains tools such as the following:

  • SOP Screener Narrative Template
  • SOP Emergency Response Investigative Narrative Template
  • Consultation and Information Sharing Framework
  • Quick Guide: Consultation and Information Sharing Framework
  • Quick Guide: RED Teams

Teaming

ICPM Teaming behaviors focus on building and engaging a team of family, friends, and Tribal and community members for collaborative decision-making and planning; ongoing supportive roles with the child/youth and family; monitoring and adapting plans as children’s and parents’ needs evolve; and improving access to needed services. This toolkit section contains materials to support Teaming behaviors in SOP practice.

Building and Strengthening the Network

A Safety Network is a Child and Family Team with a specific function: a group of family, friends and professionals who care about the child, understand the harm/danger concerns, and are willing to do something concrete that supports the family and helps to keep the child safe.

Actively building networks is a critical function in SOP, and there are several tools to support this. The Building and Strengthening the Network folder contains tools such as the following:

  • Safety Circles/Circles of Support
  • Quick Guide: Circles of Support
  • Supervisor Quick Guide: Circles of Support
  • Family Safety Circles: Identifying the Network
  • Youth Safety Circles
  • Ecomaps
  • Genograms
  • Practice Brief: Family Safety Networks
  • Getting to Know the Network
  • Orienting the Network
  • Safety Networks: Things to Try

Child and Family Team Meetings

CFT meetings are a core practice in SOP to generate shared understanding, decisions and plans between the child/youth, parents, families, agency, service providers, natural supports, Tribe and other network members in order to enhance safety, work toward permanency and promote well-being. The Child and Family Team Meetings folder contains tools related to the following:

  • Emergency Response Map
  • Family Maintenance and Family Reunification Map
  • Permanency Planning/Non-Minor Youth Map
  • Emergency Response Structure & Content Guide
  • Family Maintenance and Family Reunification Structure & Content Guide
  • Permanency Planning/Non-Minor Youth Structure & Content Guide
  • CFT Meeting Key Issues & Questions by Meeting Type
  • Quick Guide: Child & Family Team Meetings
  • Supervisor Quick Guide: Child & Family Team Meetings
  • CFT Facilitator Guide

SOP and the Courts

The Courts are a vital partner in the success of using Safety Organized Practice with children and families. Full SOP implementation results in changes to processes and documents that interface with the Juvenile Court and its stakeholders. Teaming with court partners is critical to help them understand the values, key elements and practice tools of SOP that will interface with the court process. The SOP and the Courts folder contains tools related to the following: 

  • Court Partners Handout
  • Quick Guide: SOP & the Courts
  • Judicial Council Information Sheet 22: SOP

Safety Planning, Case Planning & Service Delivery

ICPM Service Planning and Delivery behaviors focus on teaming with the child/youth, family and network to create and adapt plans that include tasks for the parents, network and sometimes child/youth – plans that directly address the key child welfare issues and move towards healing from trauma, permanency and safety. This toolkit section contains materials to support Service Planning and Delivery behaviors in SOP practice.

Safety Planning

Safety plans focus on specific strategies to ensure short-term safety from the harm or danger that happened or may happen imminently to the child as a result of the parent’s or caregiver’s behavior. Safety plans are necessary when the SDM Safety Assessment tool is completed accurately, per the SDM definitions, and the Safety Decision is not “Safe.” A Safety Network must be involved in every safety plan that is created. As we say in SOP, “No network, no plan!” The Safety Planning folder contains tools related to the following:

  • Quick Guide: Safety Planning
  • Supervisor Quick Guide: Safety Planning
  • Family Roadmap Booklet
  • Family Roadmap Notes
  • Safe Contact Tool

Behaviorally-Based Case Plans

Behaviorally-based case plans focus on specific strategies and actions to help parents permanently change their behavior and its impact on their child, rather than mere completion of or compliance with services. The Behaviorally-Based Case Plans folder contains tools related to the following:  

  • Quick Guide: Behaviorally-Based Case Plans
  • Supervisor Quick Guide: Behaviorally-Based Case Plans
  • Case Plan Field Tool – Children & Youth
  • Case Plan Field Tool – Parents
  • Progressive Visitation Plan
  • Case Plan Field Tool
  • SOP Case Plan Guide

Transition

ICPM Transition behaviors focus on supporting the child/youth and family at all key transition points during their involvement with child welfare, including changes in social worker, changes in legal involvement, and strengthening natural supports and decreasing the role of professionals over time to create lasting safety. This toolkit section contains materials to support Transition behaviors in SOP practice.

Permanency and Independence Tools

Permanency and Independence tools focus on supporting older youth as they prepare for adulthood by strengthening natural supports and decreasing the role of professionals over time to create lasting safety and stability once they leave care. The Permanency and Independence Tools folder contains tools related to the following:

  • Youth Safety Circle
  • Independence Mapping Overview & Definitions