Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Family Resource Network

Name of Innovative Program: 
The Family Resource Network (FRN) Standards: The Family Inclusion Component of Philadelphia's Behavioral Health System Recovery Transformation
Sponsoring Organization
Family Resource Network
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
Kathleen Cantwell
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Project Description: 
Having families and significant people in a person’s recovery is helpful to the person in recovery, and the family. This is common-sense and evidence based. Efforts to accomplish this across agencies are sporadic and often without, written policies. Some mental health professionals remain resistant to routinely involve families. To address these facts, the Family Resource Network developed Standards to optimized Family/Significant Person involvement in agencies. The process involves initial assessment of the agency’s current policies and practices relevant to the engagement of Families/ Significant Persons.  Based on those results, a training package is developed and offered to Direct Service and Supervisory staff.  The agency’s Policy and Procedures are assessed and specially tailored Templates are offered to the agency.  We conduct a measurement of Family Involvement evidenced in the service participant’s Clinical and Rehabilitative records to determine the efficacy of the training, policy adaptation, and implementation by the agency’s Administrative Team.  
Creativity and Innovation: 
Agencies have long provided services to participants primarily based in the accepted assumption that the majority of work toward Recovery Goals must be accomplished through the relationship between the agency’s staff and the service participant.  This assumption has neglected the relevant effects of the Family/Significant Persons network on the Recovery process and the day-to-day living environment of many service participants.  In addition, Families/Significant Persons have knowledge of many other aspects of the service participant’s life that may be very relevant to her/his recovery, but will not be raised to the agency’s awareness if they are not engaged in the process.  The Family Involvement Standards Project increases the chances that the service participant will receive the optimum in benefit from the Recovery program in which s/he participates, thus releasing the already existing assets and resources of their Family/Significant Persons to join with the agency staff in support of the Recovery Plan.  
 With the goal of adapting or restructuring practices and policies of how family inclusion becomes an established component of an agency’s efforts, a collaboration and partnership between the Family Resource Network, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, and community provider leadership, the FRN Family Inclusion Standards creates a driving force toward implementation with regularly planned meetings which reviews the current status of  family inclusion practices and policies, determines what modifications and changes need to be made in compliance with all federal, state and local regulations,  includes staff input and provides supportive training and technical assistance to finalize implementation.
The Family Involvement Standards project includes the Supervisory and Administrative staff of the involved agency from the very initiation of the project through to the analysis of results of the final review of Clinical and Rehabilitative records.  Before the initial assessment of the agency’s capacity to engage family, these agency representatives are in discussion with the Family Involvement Standards implementation team to assure the initial agency assess reflects the existing policies and practices regarding Confidentiality, acceptance of Verbal Releases, and other aspects essential to the success of the project.  Thus, upon completion of the project, the practice changes have already become part of the agency’s culture and sustainability is assured by the Supervisory chain-of-command already in place.  
The Family Involvement Standards project has developed a set of power points, videos, and other presentation materials which have been refined over several years and continue to be adapted to each involved Agency’s needs. The project has been primarily delivered to organizations in the City of Philadelphia, but has also been offered at remote sites in the Commonwealth with varying sets of trainers.  While there clearly needs to be a significant level of education, work and lived experience, practical background, and comfort in providing presentation materials to relatively small groups of trainees; the project could be replicated in larger agencies, using existing agency staff with a reasonable level of consistency after engaging in a didactic and practical training process with the team currently in place.   
This is a Standards project, not a recommended practice, or guidelines. Successful implementation gives us the desired outcome of increased family involvement in a consistent manner.  Success of the project is gauged though various measurement tools which reflect the overall effect of the project in increasing the involvement of Family/Significant Persons in the Recovery plan and in the feedback from the trainees as to their opinions on each training session and trainer.  There are pre and post measurements of the evidence of engagement in Clinical and Rehabilitative in addition to participant evaluations of each session and presenter during all training opportunities.  Furthermore, there is a plan to create a certification process by which an Agency achieves “Certification in Family and Significant Person Involvement” by continuing to assess its levels of Involvement and policy enforcement though an annual or biennial reporting process to the project.