Saturday, June 13, 2020

Black Lives Matter and the Routines-Based Model

Implementers of the Routines-BasedModel (RBM) around the world and members of The RAM Group stand with our brothers and sisters of color in decrying police brutality, discrimination, and both overt and implicit racism. We want to describe how the RBM is already designed to empower all families and how implementers of the model need to redouble our efforts to identify and combat injustice.

Black lives matter and so do other lives too easily marginalized. Here, we include all people who are treated with judgment and bias, including people who speak differently, look different, understand differently, act differently, and so on. 

To acknowledge the diversity of families, the first thing we do with families is construct an ecomap depicting their informal supports as well as their intermediate and formal supports. Each ecomap begins with a blank sheet of paper because every family is different. Families tell us who is in their lives and how frequently they communicate with them.

To develop a plan of support for children and families, we find out how families lead their lives and what they would like to be different. To assess needs, we don’t hold child and family functioning up to some given standard that might not conform to this family’s priorities or resources. We listen to what families do and want, without judgment. This procedure is the Routines-Based Interview (RBI).

The RBI ends with the family’s deciding on their goals for the child and family. Even for children in child care or preschool. Not only does the family decide on 10-12 goals; they put them in priority order of importance.

In providing supports to families, ideally in the home but also in other settings, the family sets the agenda for the visit, the family helps come up with the strategy, and the family decides what they will do with the child or for the family. In this model, professionals do not assume an authoritarian or “colonial” approach. We provide emotional support, material support, and informational support. But families make the decisions, helped by our information. These are Routines-Based Visits.

In the RBM, when professionals go to children’s classrooms, they really visit the teachers—to help them meet children’s needs throughout the week. Just like home visits. This Collaborative Consultation to Children’s Classrooms (CC2CC) includes rules about respecting whose turf you’re on. Classrooms often reflect the culture of the children and staff, and RBM implementers seek to understand this ecology. As with families, teachers tell early intervention (0-5) professionals what they need.

We have highlighted some of the ways the RBM respects each family’s and teacher’s culture, way of life, decisions, and priorities. The model supports families as they are; it does not try to change them—unless they want to change. Science, ethics, and common sense endorse this approach.

Now, we need to take new action. We need to do the following:
  1. Listen to ourselves as we speak to families and teachers—for signs of implicit racism;
  2. Listen to ourselves and our colleagues when we discuss children, families, and teachers, and put a stop to judgmental language;
  3. Listen for families’ or teachers’ reports about being treated unfairly and follow up to find out more, however uncomfortable that might be for us; and
  4. Speak up to perpetrators of racism, bias, and injustice or report them to their superiors.

Signed by[1]

Robin McWilliam, Nashville, Tennessee, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA
Cami Stevenson, Portland, Oregon, USA
Sue Bainter, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Lisa Spurlock, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
David Munson, Billings, Montana, USA
Margarita Cañadas Perez, Valencia, Spain
Marisú Pedernera, Asunción, Paraguay
Pau García Grau, Valencia, Spain
Catalina Morales Murillo, Valencia, Spain
Denise Luscombe, Perth, Australia
Brooke Serpell, Melbourne, Australia
Ai-Wen Hwang, Taipei, Taiwan
Lily (Hua-Fang) Liao, Taipei, Taiwan
Rosa Fernández Valero, Spain
Lin-Ju Kang, Taoyuan, Taiwan
Valecia Davis, Jackson, Mississippi, USA
Cecília Aguiar, Lisbon, Portugal
Brandi Brown, Montgomery, Alabama, USA
Naomi Younggren, USA and Germany
Charity Yang, Taiwan
Sylwia Wrona, Cieszyn, Poland
Hong Hway Lim, Singapore
Stephen Carberry, Canberra, Australia
Becky Hoo, Singapore
Claudia Escorcia, Valencia, Spain
Hui-Ching (Jane) Su, Beitun, Taichung, Taiwan
Stacy Callender, Jackson, Mississippi, USA

[1] Signatures do not reflect endorsement by our employers