Family Assessment Response (FAR)

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: Families with an accepted child maltreatment report that does not allege sexual abuse or substantial child maltreatment (as defined by MN statute 626.556)

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 17

Brief Description

Family Assessment Response (FAR) [originally named Alternative Response] is one of two responses for an accepted child maltreatment report as part of the Minnesota Child Protection Response Continuum. This continuum covers a range of responses from the Parent Support Outreach Program, a statewide voluntary early intervention outreach offer of supports and services to families at risk of future child protection involvement (no accepted report yet), to the Family Investigation Response, which is for more serious reports of child maltreatment (e.g., sexual abuse, serious physical abuse, child endangerment). FAR falls in the middle of this continuum and was formerly named Alternative Response. FAR is for families that don't require a traditional investigative approach and are best served through an approach that offers support and assistance.

Minnesota’s public child welfare system is committed to, and guided by, the following values and principles:

  • Family Focus: Families are the primary providers for children’s needs. The safety and well-being of children is dependent upon the safety and well-being of all family members.
  • Partnership: Families, communities, and the child welfare system are primary and essential partners in creating and supporting meaningful connections in a safe and nurturing environment for children and youth.
  • Respectful Engagement: Children, youth and families are best served when public child welfare staff actively listen to them and invite participation in decision making. Respectful engagement includes understanding and honoring of the family’s history, culture and traditions, as well as empowering them to meet their unique and individual needs through utilization of family strengths, and educating them regarding the child welfare process.
  • Organizational Competence: Minnesota’s public child welfare agencies will perform as high quality organizations, guided by a clear mission, priorities and resource allocation with committed, qualified, trained and skilled staff and providers applying evidence informed practices.
  • Professional Competence: The professional competence of Minnesota’s public child welfare system will be demonstrated by a workforce that: proactively responds to the evolving needs of communities, is knowledgeable of the historical context within which the child welfare system operates, provides respectful treatment to families, and continually strives for professional excellence through critical self-examination.
  • Cultural Competence: Cultural competence is achieved through understanding and serving children, youth, and families within a context of each unique family and community. This includes, but is not limited to, families’ beliefs, values, race, ethnicity, history, tribe, culture, religion and language.
  • Accountability: The child welfare system holds itself accountable to the highest standards of practice. It recognizes its responsibilities to children, youth, families and other stakeholders to assess and manage its performance, self-correct, innovate and enhance its ability to achieve positive outcomes through continuous improvement efforts. The system also recognizes the need for its practices, service delivery and performance to be easily understood, evaluated, and open to feedback from stakeholders.
  • Safety: Child safety is paramount and best achieved by supporting parents within their community.
  • Permanency: Children and youth need and have the right to lifelong nurturing and secure relationships that are provided by families who can meet their specific needs. Efforts to identify and secure permanency for children are continuous and integrated into all stages of involvement with children and families.
  • Fostering Connections for Youth: As youth transition to adulthood, they benefit from services that promote healthy development, academic success and safe living conditions, as well as establish connections to caring adults who will commit to lasting supportive relationships.
  • Well-Being: Children’s well-being is dependent upon strong families and communities meeting their physical, mental, behavioral health, educational and cultural needs.

Program Goals:

The goals of Family Assessment Response (FAR) are:

  • The same as the goals of the Minnesota Public Child Welfare System:
    • Children are cared for in safe, permanent, and nurturing families who have the necessary skills and resources to provide for their physical and mental health, behavioral, and educational needs.
    • Children, youth, and families who encounter Minnesota’s child welfare system are supported to achieve equitable outcomes regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or tribal status.
    • Children are safely maintained in their families and communities with connections, culture, and relationships preserved and established.
    • Minnesota’s public child welfare staff is a diverse, professionally competent team that supports strength-based practice and demonstrates inclusiveness at all levels.

These outcomes are achieved through partnerships involving Minnesota’s public child welfare system, the state’s children, youth, and families as well as the communities in which they live and work.

Contact Information

Rebecca Wilcox
Agency/Affiliation: Minnesota Department of Human Services
Phone: (651) 431-4699
Fax: (651) 431-7522

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: September 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2014

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2008