In 1996 Child Protective Services determined that Stanislaus County (California) had several hundred children in foster care. In this situation too many parents were failing to reunite with their children. Administrators of child welfare services decided to change the way social work was practiced with families. Inasmuch as removing children from their homes and families could be as detrimental as maltreatment at home, Child Protective Services adopted a philosophy and practice called xe2x80x9cfamily decision meetings.xe2x80x9d A family decision meeting brings together family, extended family, friends, community persons, and service providers to discuss and plan for the care and safety of children in the family. This document is the handbook for the family decision meeting program. It provides an overview of the philosophy and program of family decision meetings, referral procedures, criteria for deciding upon a family decision meeting, the meeting process, services provided under this program, and training.