A joint project of NC DHHS and the NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI Home)
Child and Family Teams work in local schools to help students succeed in the classroom and have stable lives with permanent families. Schools work with community agencies to create individualized solutions for each student. The teams arose with a focus on education and children.
How do Child and Family Support Teams work?
Full time school nurse and social worker teams in each of the selected schools work with parents, school staff and local agencies to get students the help they need. (Find participating schools.) They find students in the schools that need help, get the parents’ consent to serve them, work with families to figure out what the real needs are, and partner with them and others to get services.
The nurses and social workers help the family choose who else may be needed to get them needed services. This group becomes the family’s Child and Family Team. It includes anyone who is important to the student and family and knows their strengths and need. Extended family members, friends, neighbors and other members of the community are often part of the Child and Family Team; as well as mental health providers, medical professionals, Juvenile Court Counselors, social workers, and others as needed.
Local mental health agencies and county departments of social services also help. They each do this by having one person work closely with the school teams. They make sure that nothing keeps the students from getting the services they need from their agencies. They also provide information about their agencies and join the students to the services they need.
Other local agencies also work with the schools to serve the students who need help. These include public health departments and juvenile court systems. (Find your local agencies.)
Parents are the experts in things dealing with their children and families. The nurse and social worker teams include the parents in everything they do. They work flexible hours and make home visits so that parents are not left out of anything done with their children.
The Child and Family Team Meeting
All plans made for services are done during Child and Family Team meetings. Child and Family Team meetings are times when family members and their supports come together to make and update plans to meet the needs of the student and family. The plans focus on the strengths of the student and family and speak to their needs, desires and dreams.
What do these services cost?
There is no direct cost for the services provided by the school nurses and social workers. Services received through other agencies or providers may have cost. The CFST nurses and social workers will try to help the family find affordable services.
Any child in a school that has a CFST nurse and social worker team (CFST is in 21 school districts across the state), and who is having trouble passing school or living in his or her home may be helped by the team.
Most referrals are made by school staff but anyone, especially parents, can make a referral to the nurse and social worker teams. The referral form is available, but not required.
If you want to refer a student for services, contact the school and speak to the CFST nurse or social worker. Participating schools are in 21 school districts across the state.
You will be asked questions about the student and why he or she needs help. Be prepared to explain these things, as well as share some strengths that the student and family may have.
Tony Troop is the state’s CFST Program Coordinator. He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone. His office telephone number is 919-707-5516.
Many agencies across North Carolina have collaborated to make the program a reality:
The NC National Guard Family Programs serve military members and their families.
Also, the Duke University's Center for Child and Family Policy is doing the evaluation of the CFST. Their web site has information and tools for those involved with the CFST.
Updated on: August 9, 2012