Vol. 18, No. 1 • November 2013

Supporting Children During CFTs

Although they bring lots of benefits, CFTs can also stir up a lot of feelings. As a foster or adoptive parent, you are in a position to help young people prepare emotionally for these meetings.

Begin by asking children how they feel about the upcoming CFT. As you discuss their feelings, make sure they understand the purpose of the meeting, who has been invited, and their own role.

Help children understand that they have a right to be present at a CFT that concerns them. If they want to be there, they have the right to be heard. If they don't want to participate or there is some reason why full participation is not possible, help them find a way to ensure their voice, thoughts, and ideas are shared at the meeting.

How Do Youth in Foster Care Feel Before a CFT?

Afraid, homesick, and hopeful are the emotions I feel at my team meeting. --Dalton, age 11

I hate CFT meetings. I hate the "all eyes on me" feeling. I also hate the embarrassed feeling you have when you have to explain why you're in trouble. --Nikki, age 16

I sometimes get scared when I am about to go into my meetings, because I do not know what the team is going to say or if they are going to move me. Sometimes I am happy to meet because I have important things to talk about. Sometimes I am so excited to see the people who are in my meeting that I just can't sit still. --Tiffany, age 14

Why do I get nervous when I hear that I have a [meeting]? I cannot express how I am really feeling, but I do have many emotions. My hands are shaky and I feel sick to my stomach. I don't know what's going to happen next. I feel like my future is being tossed around like a ball. I have questions that need to be expressed out loud. I have to face my fears. --Melanie, age 14

Reprinted from Fostering Perspectives, vol. 16, no. 2

~ Family and Children's Resource Program, UNC-CH School of Social Work ~