Family Support Providers
Family Support Providers (FSPs) exist within the Wraparound system, a strength based, needs driven planning process for families who are raising children who are experiencing mental health, behavioral or substance related challenges. It is facilitated by a Care Coordinator and a Family Support Provider who work with the family to build a Child and Family Team (CFT), made up of professionals and natural supports, that helps the family create a plan to meet their needs by using the strengths of the family members, the CFT, community supports and resources, and by helping the family to gain new skills.
What is a Family Support Provider?
The Family Support Provider is a formal member of the wraparound team whose role is to serve the family and help them engage and actively participate on the team and make informed decisions that drive the process. Family Support Providers have a strong connection to the community and are very knowledgeable about resources, services, and supports for families. The FSP’s personal life experience is critical to earning the respect of families and establishing a trusting relationship that is valued by the family. FSP’s can be found throughout the Oklahoma Children’s Systems of Care in various settings such as Comprehensive Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHC), School Based Services, Substance Abuse Services, Crisis Stabilization Units, Urgent Recovery Settings and within Mobile Crisis Teams across the state.
Benefits of Utilizing a Family Support Provider
Creating a sense of belonging and family connectedness: The inclusion of kin and extended family members in case planning expands placement and permanency options for children when in-home care is not feasible and can nurture children's sense of belonging during what is oftentimes a tumultuous, unsettling time. Some people who play an important role may be "fictive kin"—those who may not be related, but who have an emotionally significant relationship with the family or child. Improved quality of caseworker visits. The engagement of families through empathy, genuineness, and respect leads to quality, purposeful interactions between families and caseworkers. In turn, quality contacts provide opportunities for caseworkers to make an improved assessment of the child's safety, risk, and needs so they can better support the family (Capacity Building Center for States, 2017b). Youth empowerment. There are also tangible benefits to engaging youth. These include supporting adolescent brain development, encouraging development of leadership skills, improving self-esteem, and helping form critical social connections (Children's Bureau, 2019).
Family preservation: Involving family members early in the casework process may eliminate the need for a child to be placed outside of the home (Children's Bureau, 2019). Improved interpersonal relationships. A family's belief that all its members are respected—and that its strengths, challenges, concerns, and cultural differences are recognized and accepted— strengthens the relationship with the caseworker. This creates confidence in the process that increases the chances for a successful intervention (Horwitz & Marshall, 2015). Increased family buy-in. Families are more likely to commit to achieving goals when they help make decisions about a plan that will affect them and their children (Horwitz & Marshall, 2015).
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Family Support Providers positively impact their communities by:
- Reducing parental stress, insecurity, and helplessness.
- Improving motivational levels, patience, and tolerance.
- Increasing sense of empowerment.
- Decreasing isolation.
- Decreasing (internalized) blame and increasing realization of importance of self-care for parents.
- Increasing ability to take action (through gaining knowledge and learning how to take action).