Supportive Virtual Family Time Program

About This Program

Target Population: Children (from birth to 18 years of age), parents, and caregivers involved in virtual supervised family time/visits

For children/adolescents ages: 0 – 18

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 18

Program Overview

The Supportive Virtual Family Time Program was created to support parents and children in foster or relative care in having positive virtual family time visits while they are unable to visit in person; for example, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This free program is designed to create structure, guidance, and training for those supervising virtual parent-child visits, with the goal of helping them facilitate positive remote supervised visits between parents and their children in out-of-home care. The program and training is geared toward both private agency supervised visitation providers as well as child welfare caseworkers who will be supervising these virtual visits.

Program Goals

The goals of the Supportive Virtual Family Time Program are:

  • Prepare parents and caregivers for their roles in virtual visits and to provide them with support and resources
  • Increase collaboration between parents and caregivers to support children during remote visits
  • Promote positive remote supervised visits between parents, their children in out-of-home care, and the children’s out-of-home caregivers

Essential Components

The essential components of Supportive Virtual Family Time Program include:

  • Standalone program that builds upon the foundation and key principles of the Strive Supervised Visitation program and adds a new element, the Family Time Partnership Meeting, to help be a bridge to the parent(s) and foster/relative caregiver(s) as they make the transition to virtual family time visits.
  • An E-Learning and guide that provides structured support, guidance, and training to paraprofessional supervised visitation providers, who are to implement the following pieces of the program:
    • Connect with the caseworker to prepare for remote supervised visits that will, to some extent, include both parent and foster/relative caregiver(s)
    • Prepare the parent(s) for positive remote supervised visitation with their children
    • Prepare the foster or relative caregiver(s) for how to support the child in their care in having positive remote supervised visitation with their parent(s)
    • Hold a virtual Family Time Partnership meeting between the parent(s) and foster/relative caregiver(s) prior to supervised visits taking place to plan and prepare for virtual visits by:
      • Getting to know one another
      • Setting expectations and agreements
      • Discussing and deciding a proposed structure for the remote visits
    • Support the parent(s) and caregiver(s) in having positive and productive remote supervised visits and supervise the visits
    • Create a plan to debrief one-on-one with the parent(s) and the caregiver(s) to celebrate success and troubleshoot challenges
  • The visit supervisor’s work would entail:
    • Completing one hour of online training (only once)
    • Spending up to 2.5 hours facilitating the following set of individual and joint parent(s)/caregiver(s) meetings (per parent/caregiver dyad) ideally before and after the first virtual visit:
      • A 30-minute virtual meeting with the parent(s) which provides an opportunity for the parent and the visit supervisor to:
        • Meet each other and discuss the purpose of their time together
        • Talk about expectations of parents
        • Discuss resources for coping with stress
        • Talk about and address barriers the parent may have for virtual visits
        • Plan for the timing and frequency of virtual visits, identify activities to do during virtual family time visits
        • Create a routine for beginning and ending virtual visits
        • View a video example of a family time partnership meeting
        • Talk about and plan for their family time partnership meeting.
      • A 30-minute virtual meeting with the foster or relative caregiver(s) that provides an opportunity for the caregiver and the visit supervisor to:
        • Meet each other and discuss the purpose of their time together
        • Talk about the role of caregivers in virtual visits
        • Discuss caregiver concerns and safety
        • Address the timing and frequency of virtual visits
        • View a video example of a family time partnership meeting
        • Talk about and plan for their family time partnership meeting.
      • A 60-minute virtual family time partnership meeting provides an opportunity for the parent and the caregiver, with the support of the visit supervisor, to:
        • Meet each other and discuss the purpose of their time meeting together to prepare for positive virtual visits
        • Talk about plans for their virtual visits and make agreements for how they will work together to make them as positive for the child as possible.
      • After the virtual visit, 30 minutes are spent debriefing the parent(s) and the foster/relative caregiver(s) (15 minutes for each or 30 minutes together) which provides an opportunity for the parent, caregiver, and visit supervisor, either separately or together, to:
        • Discuss how they felt about the virtual visit
        • Acknowledge successes in how the visit went
        • Identify ideas and strategies for future visits
        • Address any areas where further follow up may be needed
    • Facilitating the supervised virtual visit (each visit) following the court order for that family
      • Length of supervised virtual visit varies
      • Not included in 2.5 hours previously described
    • Optional: Continuing to use these meetings (especially the debriefings) to the extent that they continue to be helpful to creating positive virtual family time
  • Supportive Virtual Family Time Program materials include:
    • A brief manualized curriculum for supervised visitation providers with suggested scripts and handouts for use in virtual meetings with caseworkers, parents, foster/relative caregivers, and during virtual supervised visits and debriefings
    • A training for supervised visitation providers that is available for free online
    • Video clip to accompany the curriculum featuring a parent ally, foster caregiver, and visit supervisor demonstrating how to work together to make remote visits a success
    • Suggested developmentally tailored activities
    • Resource lists for providers, parents, and foster/relative caregivers
    • Washington State-specific Resource Links Regarding Virtual Family Time (rules, guidelines, and tip sheets) which should be adapted for each jurisdiction that plans to use it.

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Supportive Virtual Family Time Program directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Trauma experienced by not being able to visit with parents in person

Parent/Caregiver Services

Supportive Virtual Family Time Program directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • The challenge of parents having to have visits with children virtually when in many cases parents and the children’s caregivers have not previously met and now have to navigate that awkward situation at a scary and challenging time
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: In the situation where the child is in the care of a relative, the family would also be involved in this program.

Recommended Intensity:

2.5 hours as described in the Essential Components section plus the time of the virtual supervised visit

Recommended Duration:

Designed as one-time events before and after the first virtual supervised visit so the duration is as long as it takes to schedule and do them

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Telehealth (Online, Telephone, Video, etc.)

Homework

This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Computer, tablet, or smartphone and access to WIFI or internet access via smartphone service (i.e., data)

Education and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Existing visitation provider or caseworker

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program, and there is training available for this program.

University of Washington, Partners for Our Children. (2020). A guide to Supportive Virtual Family Time. https://allianceforchildwelfare.org/content/family-time-supportive-virtual-family-time-program-and-training-elearning

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Go to the website and register, download the curriculum guide and take the training (see website link above), please complete brief survey. Total time: 1 hour

Number of days/hours:

1 hour training available online for free

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Supportive Virtual Family Time Program.

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for Supportive Virtual Family Time Program.

Contact Information

Susan Barkan, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: Partners for Our Children at the University of Washington
Website: allianceforchildwelfare.org/content/family-time-supportive-virtual-family-time-program-and-training-elearning
Email:
Phone: (206) 221-3124

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: May 2020

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2020

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: July 2020