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Family Focused Treatment Association joins CARF International’s IAC

Families gain important voice in development of standards for child and youth services

November 22, 2017, Tucson, Arizona — On its website, Family Focused Treatment Association (FFTA) publishes a document titled “Practice Wisdom Guide.” The guide features a quote from Charles Darwin. In bold, blue font, Darwin’s words explain that the members of a species most likely to survive are the ones most responsive to change.

Change is an appropriate word to describe the child welfare field, which has expanded over the past few decades to meet the evolving needs of children, youth, and families. FFTA embraced change with a new name reflecting its full scope of services for foster and kinship care, as well as family preservation and adoption/reunification. At CARF International, change is reflected in the input it seeks during the standards development process.

Over the past ten years, CARF has added seven associations from the child and youth services field to its International Advisory Council (IAC). The IAC comprises organizational and individual members representing the spectrum of CARF’s accreditation services. Members provide guidance on development of CARF standards and input on issues affecting fields in which CARF offers accreditation.

Diverse child welfare representation in the IAC allows CARF to gather perspectives across the range of children’s services, including public policy advocacy, treatment of complex clinical and behavioral health conditions, and youth self-advocacy. The inclusion of FFTA adds to these perspectives by strengthening the input of families.

FFTA is a national, nonprofit association that promotes and supports Treatment Foster Care (TFC), a model of care that combines elements of traditional foster care and residential treatment centers. FFTA promotes best practices and resources for TFC and believes it can successfully be adapted and provided in family settings by relatives or other people with family-like relationships to the child.

“FFTA is the only national association of providers of treatment family care and as such, I am delighted to participate with CARF’s International Advisory Council,” says Laura Boyd, Ph.D., National Public Policy Director for FFTA. “CARF has an amazing reach for quality programming across the spectrum of physical and behavioral healthcare. Adding representation for children and family services is my honor.”

FFTA’s strong foundation of family input and family-driven practices makes it a natural partner for CARF, which aims to develop standards that address the needs of families along with those of children and youth needing services.
CARF has coordinated with FFTA in the past for conferences and workshops and has gathered input from FFTA members. For a recent workshop, CARF conducted a crosswalk between the two organizations’ standards. The crosswalk demonstrated many similarities, including:

  • Promotion of best practices.
  • Encouragement of continuous performance improvement.
  • Maximization of individualized, community- and family-connected supports for youth.
  • Emphasis on issues around cultural diversity.
  • Placement of high value and focus on the well-being of children and youth served.

These similarities, combined with FFTA’s strong national advocacy impact and representation of family input, underscore characteristics that make FFTA a valuable member of the CARF IAC. CARF’s Managing Director of Child and Youth Services, Leslie Ellis-Lang, offered the invitation earlier this fall. “FFTA really looks at how the family is involved in providing treatment to the children and youth in care,” says Ellis-Lang. “FFTA is not just about children’s voices. It recognizes they are part of families. If children are removed from their birth family, adopted family, or other current family placement, FFTA promotes placement into a family setting where they can learn the skills necessary to thrive within a family and their permanency plan can include family placement.”

As focus in the child-welfare field continues to evolve in areas such as outcomes, evidence-informed service delivery, needs of different age children, and relationships between providers and community resources, CARF looks forward to its new partnership with FFTA to address these changes and improve services for children and families.

11/22/2017 9:00:00 AM

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