In the FTM program we meet a family that we have not had a long relationship with and help them
address the issues they are facing. I received a referral to facilitate an FTM for a removal for two teens
from their father. The nature of the removal placed the teens in the care of their mother and it was
ordered that the father was not to be involved in this FTM for safety reasons. When I called the mother
to discuss the FTM, I could hear the worry in her voice. After I told her who I was and why I was calling, I
asked if she had any questions about the FTM. She asked if the father was going to be in the room with
her and their teens. I assured her that he was not going to be there or even in the building while they
were there. This answer made her breath a huge sigh of relief and the worry in her voice disappeared.
At the FTM, the teens and their mother were present along with DHHS workers and myself. The teens
were a little nervous as well as the mother. I always start FTMs with introducing myself, talking about
what the purpose of the FTM. After the confidentiality statement is discussed, we start talking about the
strengths of the family. I ask the family if they want to share first, they did not understand what I was
asking for. I then told them that strengths were good things that were happening, things like mom being
concerned about the safety of her children for today. Mom then gave some strengths for the teens and
the teens gave strengths for themselves and their mom. Their level of nervousness seemed to decrease
and the participants seemed to grow more calm as we continued to talk. The FTM continued and we
openly discussed the relevant issues.
This may not seem like a lot, but I feel that I made a difference for this family by giving them the peace
of mind that they would be safe and by encouraging them to see mom’s concern for their safety as a
strength for their family.