Ten Guiding Principles of the Integrated Core Practice Model

Workshop proposals are encouraged to reflect the shared values and principles as laid out in the California Integrated Core Practice Model (ICPM). The ICPM further articulates the core components and standards of practice expected from those serving California’s children, youth and families.

The Ten Guiding Practice Principles of the ICPM include:

Family voice and choice: Each family member’s perspective is intentionally elicited and prioritized during all phases of the teaming and service process. The team strives to find options and choices for the plan that authentically reflect the family members’ perspectives and preferences.

Team-based: The team consists of individuals agreed upon by the family members and committed to the family through informal, formal, and community support, and service relationships. At times, family members’ choices about team membership may be shaped or limited by practical or legal considerations, however, the family should be supported to make informed decisions about who should be part of the team. Ultimately, family members may choose not to participate in the process if they are unwilling to accept certain members.

Natural supports: The team actively seeks and encourages full participation of members drawn from the family members’ networks of interpersonal and community relationships. The plan reflects activities and interventions drawn on sources of natural support. These networks include friends, extended family, neighbors, coworkers, church members, and so on.

Collaboration and integration: Team members work cooperatively and share responsibility to jointly develop, implement, monitor, and evaluate an integrated, collaborative plan. This principle recognizes that the team is more likely to be successful to accomplish its work when team members approach decisions in an open-minded manner, prepared to listen to, and be influenced by, other team members. Members must be willing to provide their own perspectives with a commitment to focus on strengths and opportunities in addressing needs, and work to ensure that others have opportunity to provide input and feel safe doing so. Each team member must be committed to the team goals and the integrated team plan. For professional team members, interactions are governed by the goals in the plan and the decisions made by the team. This includes the use of resources controlled by individual members of the team. When legal mandates or other requirements constrain decisions, team members must be willing to work creatively and flexibly to find ways to satisfy mandates while also working toward team goals.

Community-based: The team will strive to implement service and support strategies that are accessible and available within the community where the family lives. Children, youth, and family members will receive support so that they can access the same range of activities and environments as other families, children, and youth within their community that support their positive functioning and development.

Culturally respectful: The planning and service process demonstrates respect for, and builds on the values, preferences -including language preferences, beliefs, culture-and identity of the family members, and their community or tribe. Culture is recognized as the wisdom, healing traditions, and transmitted values that bind people from one generation to another. Cultural humility requires acknowledgement that professional staff most often cannot meet all elements of cultural competence for all people served. Professionals must ensure that the service plan supports the achievement of goals for change and is integrated into the youth’s and family’s cultures. Cultural humility and openness to learning foster successful empowerment and better outcomes.

Individualized: The principle of family voice and choice lays the foundation for individualization and flexibility in building the plan. While formal services may provide a portion of the help and support that a family needs, plans and resources must be customized to the specific needs of the individual child, youth, and family members. Each element of the family’s service plan must be built on the unique and specific strengths, needs, and interests of family members, including the assets and resources of their community and culture.

Strengths-based: The service process and plan identify, build on, and enhance the capabilities, knowledge, skills, and assets of the child, youth, and family members, their tribe and community, and other team members. The team takes time to recognize and validate the skills, knowledge, insight, and strategies that the family and their team members have used to meet the challenges they have encountered in their lives -even though sometimes these strengths have been inadequate in the past. This commitment to a strengths-based orientation intends to highlight and support the achievement of outcomes not through a focus on eliminating family member’s deficits, but rather through an effort to utilize and increase their assets. This begins with a uniform and singular use of the CANS assessment. Doing so validates, builds on, and expands each family members’ perspective (e.g., positive self-regard, self-efficacy, hope, optimism, and clarity of values, purpose, and identity), their interpersonal assets (e.g., social competence and social connectedness), and their expertise, skill, and knowledge.

Persistence: The team does not give up on, blame or reject children, youth, or their families. When faced with challenges or setbacks, the team continues working towards meeting the needs of the youth and family and towards achieving the team’s goals. Undesired behavior, events, or outcomes are not seen as evidence of youth or family “failure” but, rather, are interpreted as an indication that the plan should be revised to be more successful in achieving the positive outcomes associated with the goals. At times, this requires team commitment to revise and implement a plan, even in the face of limited system capacity or resources.

Outcomes-based: The team ties the goals and strategies of the plan to observable or measurable indicators of success, monitors progress consistent with those indicators, and revises the CANS and service plan accordingly. This principle emphasizes that the team is

Accountable: To the family and all the team members, to the systems of care which serve the children, youth, and families, and to the community. Tracking progress toward outcomes and goals keeps the plan on track and indicates need for revision of strategies and interventions as necessary. It also helps the team maintain hope, cohesion, and effectiveness and allows the family to recognize that things are, indeed, changing and progress is being made.

Historically, the ability to retain children, youth, and family members in treatment services to completion has been a problem. Particularly, children, youth, and families from vulnerable populations (e.g., children of single parents, children living in poverty, minority families) are least likely to stay in treatment. When asked about reasons for dropping out, parents often identify stressors associated with getting to appointments, a sense that the treatment or service offered is irrelevant to their needs, and a perceived lack of connection with the service provider.

While a provider may have little control over a child and family’s daily life stressors or difficulties in accessing care, they clearly have control over the relevance and opportunity to avoid redundancy of services offered to families (supporting the principles of voice and choice and individualized), as well as their efforts in relationship building (also known as engagement). Within the CFT process, including a focus on the needs identified as highest priority by the child, youth, and family members themselves is a critical component of initial and sustained engagement during the service delivery process.