Working with Families
KidSafe convenes the Chittenden County Child Protection and Family Support Team (CPFST). This interagency multi-disciplinary team develops plans for community based services to support children and families and to protect victims from further harm.
TO MAKE A CPFST REFERRAL: Call KidSafe (802-863-9626) and download the referral packet.
If you would like to consult about a situation, please call. A team meeting is one option, but there may be other ways to improve the safety of the children you are concerned about.
Two Teams to Improve Family Safety
Our community offers an array of supports and services to families in crisis. To be effective and ensure that children are safe, it is essential that their parents or other primary caregivers have access to coordinated services. That’s where KidSafe comes in:
- Serving as ‘neutral convener’ with no agency agenda other than improved child safety
- Making sure everyone is communicating and providing services effectively
- Cutting through interagency red tape and preventing duplication of effort, while ensuring that no child ‘falls through the cracks’.
Child Protection and Family Support Team (CPFST)
Connects: Families in crisis/kids at risk with services and supports
The need – one example: A young couple, parents of an 8-month-old, have been homeless and living at a campsitewith the child, do not own a car, lack employment, and struggle with substance abuse. At the same time, they want what is best for their little girl.
The response: A KidSafe Child Protection and Family Support Team meeting brings together the key service providers who can help the family, gathered around the same table. Together the participants identify support services and actions that can improve safety for the children and strengthen the family.
A CPFST meeting:
- is convened and led by KidSafe, drawing on the skills of partner agencies including Lund, Howard Center, the Visiting Nurse Association, VT Department for Children and Families (DCF) and others;
- is tailored to each family’s needs but might include school and health care personnel, a social worker, visiting nurse, substance abuse counselor, a probation officer and others, as appropriate to the specific situation.
- ensures key supports are in place
- creates a specific action plan to improve child safety;
- often enables families to break the cycle of violence or neglect, by identifying supports and family strengths.
The intensive team approach can transform lives.
Children and Recovering Mothers Team (CHARM)
Connects: Women who are expecting or have recently delivered babies and have a history of opiate dependence with coordinated prenatal care and substance abuse treatment – to improve health for both mothers and babies.
The need -- one example: A single woman has learned that she is pregnant. She is overjoyed but also worried – she has a history of substance abuse. In her case, the substance is Oxycontin, a prescription painkiller that is highly addictive. She’s tried treatment before. This time, she is much more motivated to stay with treatment, but can she? KidSafe brings together a team that will support her health progress and track her attendance at pre-natal care and substance abuse counseling. Any obstacles to her attendance will be identified and addressed – issues like a lack of transportation. The goal: improved health for mom and baby.
A CHARM meeting:
- supports these mothers while they are highly motivated toward improved health for their babies and for themselves – a positive note amid Vermont’s opiates crisis;
- brings together a range of service providers including health care professionals from the University of Vermont Medical Center, the Vermont Department for Children and Families (DCF) and others;
- encourages mothers to stay with their substance abuse treatment, get good prenatal care, and in the end, be able to safely mother their newborns
CHARM in the news:
Personal story: “I never meant to become a heroin addict” - Burlington Free Press
A Collaborative Approach to the Treatment of Pregnant Women with Opioid Use Disorders - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (CHARM Case Study Appendix 5)
What do participants say? Some representative comments:
- “It was wonderful to …see all these resources I didn’t know existed come together. I thought it was great, empowering.”
- “It provided the family with resources and hope.”
- “[The family] was able to get assistance with temporary housing sooner.”
- “Thank you for doing such a fine job facilitating this complex case.”
- CPFST provider participants
- “It was helpful to me as an extended family member to hear positive and encouraging messages and to know that professionals involved have the child’s and mom’s best interests in mind. Thanks!”
- “No one treated me like I wasn’t a person. They treated me like I was a person.”
- “It made me feel better to hear what I heard at the meeting. Not 1 negative thing was said that was no.”
- CPFST family participants
TO MAKE A CPFST REFERRAL: Call KidSafe (802-863-9626) and download the referral packet. If you would like to consult about a situation, please call. A team meeting is one option, but there may be other ways to improve the safety of the children you are concerned about.
CPFST Referral Packet.pdf (Printable PDF Download)