Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
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Practices and Procedures Guide

4000. CHILD WELFARE SERVICES

4100. INTAKE

4110. Purpose

The purpose of Child Welfare Services (CWS) intake is to determine whether the family's need for service is most appropriately addressed by a Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) assessment or by referral to another agency or other family members.

4120. Eligibility

4121. New Referrals

  1. Requests from parents or children for child placement services are received by Intake per 4307 Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) policy when the placement request is not a direct result of a need for child protection due to abuse or neglect or the family's needs are beyond the scope of Family Reconciliation Services (FRS).
  2. Requests from parents or caretaker relatives are received by Intake when the service requested is for Medicaid Personal Care Services. Medicaid Personal Care Services may be authorized for a child who has a physically disabling condition; such services are not authorized based on child protection concerns.

41211. Safety of Newborn Children Act

  1. Procedure
  2. CA staff must accept an intake of a newborn transferred (abandoned) under the Safety of Newborn Children Act. See Practices and Procedures Chapter 2000, Section 2559A for policy.

    CA CFWS Responsibilities:
    1. CFWS Supervisor assigns intake to a social worker
    2. CFWS Social worker:
      1. Has face-to-face contact with the newborn and gathers available information from hospital and other caregivers.
      2. Locates and places the newborn in emergency out-of-home, when able to be released from the hospital.
      3. Verifies CA custody through a law enforcement transfer of custody.
      4. Drafts and files a dependency petition.
      5. Completes the child information/placement referral form (DSHS 15-300) based on available information and provides information to the caregiver/foster parent.
      6. Schedules shared planning meeting to identify permanent plan and placement.
      7. Consults with supervisor as necessary.

4122. Transfer of Open CPS or FRS Cases

See section 4132 below for case transfer standards.

4130. Scope

4131. New Referrals

  1. The intake function for new CFWS referrals includes obtaining brief initial information from the referrer regarding the family composition, nature, duration and urgency of the problems creating a request for:
    1. Placement services per 4307 Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) policy and an initial determination of the family and child's desire to obtain services;
    2. Medicaid Personal Care (MPC) services and referral to CFWS for completion of a Comprehensive Assessment of the child's need for the MPC services. After CFWS has completed the MPC Comprehensive Assessment, authorization of services and/or referral to other resources may occur.
  2. Intake social workers determine if a family assessment by CFWS is needed or if another state or community based resource can more appropriately provide an assessment or services. Intake staff provide information and referral to other services when appropriate.
  3. Intake services may, with the permission of the family, gather collateral information from schools, doctors, other agencies, or family members if such information is necessary to make a decision regarding acceptance of the intake referral.

4132. Cases Transferring from CPS and FRS

  1. Purpose and Scope-This section provides guidelines for CA staff for the transfer of client records between Child Protective Services (CPS) or Family Reconciliation Services (FRS) and Child Welfare Services (CWS) within an office following out-of-home placement or establishment of an in-home dependency by court action.
  2. Policy and Procedure
    1. Regional Administrator shall establish procedures for the transfer of CPS and FRS cases and files to CWS consistent with the CA Operations Manual, chapter 15000, section 15202 and this section.
    2. In Those offices where the Regional Administrator has determined that a single worker or unit will carry a case from intake or case assessment through case resolution (i. e., from CPS through CWS), the Regional Administrator shall ensure that the assigned worker(s) has received CA Academy training in each program “track” within a reasonable period following assignment to multiple programs.
    3. For all cases being transferred from CPS, the assigned CWS social worker shall review and provide input on proposed dispositional plans, to the CPS social worker, prior to their submission to court. If the CPS and CWS social workers cannot come to agreement, supervisory review will be required.
    4. Supervisors from the sending unit must ensure that cases include all relevant information regarding the child(ren) prior to case transfer. Supervisors in the receiving unit must ensure that the newly assigned CWS worker review the case to become familiar with the presenting issues for placement.

4140. Screening New Referrals for Acceptance

  1. When the family requests an assessment or services but is not requesting placement, the family will normally be referred to the appropriate agency/school providing services without opening a case. Examples of this type of situation include:
    1. Requests for mental health assessments or counseling. Youth who need immediate psychiatric treatment because they are a danger to themselves or others or are gravely disabled as a result of a psychiatric condition.
    2. Requests for assessment for in-home services for developmentally disabled children unless the family has already applied for and exhausted services available through the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).
    3. Requests for assessment of a child who is primarily delinquent and will be in a detention or institutional setting for more than six weeks.
    4. Requests for educational evaluations or other services made primarily because the child has a problem in school.
  2. When the family requests placement follow policy per 4307 Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA).

4141. Accepted Referrals

Following screen-in, the intake worker shall document the intake information consistent with policy and the CA Operations Manual, chapter 13000, section 13100. Regional offices may establish priorities for case assignment of accepted CWS intakes.

4150. Case Opening Activities

  1. Screened in referrals will become DCFS cases. The local office opens a family case, in CAMIS and a paper file, for the family. The office will open an individual child case only if a child is placed in out-of-home care.
  2. The intake supervisor sends cases to the appropriate CWS supervisor for assignment to a social worker for a full assessment.

4200. ASSESSMENT

4201. Emergency Planning for Birth Parents and Legal Guardians

Purpose

To store current birth parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s) name, address and phone number and emergency contact information for all children in out-of-home care, in case of a disaster or emergency.

Policy

  1. The assigned Social Worker is responsible for ensuring birth parent(s) and/or legal guardians of children placed in out-of-home care have the following information documented in the information management system:
    1. Emergency Contact Name; Recommend One In-State and One Out-of-State Contact
    2. Current Address for Birth Parent/Legal Guardian and Emergency Contact Person(s)
    3. Current Phone Number(s) for Birth Parent/Legal Guardian and Emergency Contact Person(s) (As applicable)
  2. The social worker is responsible for reviewing and updating this information as change occurs and at a minimum annually.

4210. Working with Non-US Citizens

4211. Notification to Foreign Consulates

Purpose Statement Ensure children or parents who are citizens of another country are connected to the appropriate consulate. Provide staff practice guidance about how and when to contact a foreign consul for a dependent child placed in out of home care.
Laws

Vienna Convention on Consular Notification - Article 37

Policy
  1. The citizenship or immigration status must be assessed for each parent and child when the child is placed in out-of-home care.
  2. When CA obtains legal custody of a child who is a foreign national, federal treaty obligations require that the foreign consulate be given notice.
  3. Limited English Proficient (LEP) clients must have access to interpreters and culturally relevant services from certified or authorized contracted translators as listed in the provisions of Access to Services for Clients who are Limited English Proficient (LEP) Administrative Policy No. 7.21
Procedures
  1. Determine and document each parent and child's citizenship at the time a child is placed in care by asking:
    1. Are you a US citizen? Are you a citizen of another country? If, yes what country?
    2. The child or parent: if the if child is a US citizen? Is the child a citizen of another country? If, yes what country?
  2. Notify the foreign consulate by faxing the Notice to Foreign Consulate of Child Protection Proceedings DSHS 15-402 of the child's or parent(s) home country as soon as citizenship is known when CA obtains legal custody of a child. Notification must be made as soon as possible but no later than 30 days. (Notifications to consulates are preferably made by fax but may also be made by telephone or email).

    Note: The address of the nearest consular office for a foreign country can be found in a publication entitled Foreign Consular Offices in the United States.

  3. Coordinate if the consulate contacts CA to:
    1. Obtain a signed release from the parent(s) to share information with the consulate; and
    2. Provider identified services with the family.
  4. Document in FamLink any:
    1. Foreign citizenship on the person Management page.
    2. Notification to a consulate by uploading the Notice to Foreign Consulate of Child Protection Proceedings DSHS 15-402.doc form into FamLink.
Cultural Considerations

Family Centered Approach:
The way CA staff engages the family (or fails to engage the family) can directly affect the willingness of the family to work with other members of the department. The level of trust and integrity established between the agency and the family often has a direct relationship on the child being able to remain/reunify with his/her family. Everyone who meets the family needs to build positive relationships.

For example:
The definition of family varies from group to group. While the dominant culture has focused on the nuclear family, African Americans define family as a wide network of extended family, non-blood kin and community. Native American Indian families traditionally include at least three generations and multiple parental functions delegated among aunts and uncles, as well as grandparents and cousins. Different cultural groups also vary in their traditional practices and views of adoption.

Determine if there are cultural considerations that need to be addressed as part of the planning process, for example, obtaining information about protocols, such as, how to approach a family, use of a cultural elder, matriarch or patriarch or the need for a culturally appropriate support person.

Forms and Tools

Consent to release Information DSHS 14-012

Notice to Foreign Consulate of Child Protection Proceedings DSHS 15-402.doc

Foreign Consular Offices in the United States

TIPS on Mexican Consulate Services

Resources

Foreign Consular Offices in the United States

Suggested Practice Tips When a child is a citizen of a foreign country, the best practice is to give the consul notice. In addition to satisfying the legal requirement, contact with the consul may facilitate locating family members or other resources in a foreign country

4220. Assessment for New CWS Cases

4221. Family-Focused Assessments

The social worker shall complete a full family-focused case assessment to identify family strengths and problems. The assessment includes multi-family groupings; e.g., the family home from which the child was removed as well as the home of another parent. RCW 74.14A.020

4222. Community-Informed Decision-Making

The CWS assessment focuses first on identifying family resources or services within the community, which can be utilized to safely maintain a child in his/her own home and community. The social worker identifies services that may be needed in the future through coordination with the family and other relevant community agencies.

4223. Culturally Appropriate Assessment

Culturally sensitive assessment means viewing the family from its own perspective, cultural context and values. The family, the extended family, and the community must be encouraged to identify their own solutions to mitigate the need for services.

4224. Initial Assessment

The FVS social worker's initial assessment includes:

  1. For youth missing from care that are referred by overnight shelters the social worker must:
    1. Notify Law Enforcement of youth's whereabouts per Practice and Procedures Guide 4550 Children Missing from Care
    2. Notify the youth's parents that a report has been received and the youth is currently safe and off the streets within 24 hours,
    3. Inform parents of services designed to resolve the conflict and accomplish reunification of the family.
    4. Make contact by telephone or other reasonable means.
  2. For cases involving sexually exploited youth as defined in Appendix A, the FRS social worker must refer the youth and family to available services through the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy. The FRS social worker must explore filing a CHINS petition if applicable.
  3. Identification of family needs and strengths.
  4. Determining who is or may be legally responsible for the child, including presumed and alleged fathers.
  5. Clarifying the presenting problems and resolutions expected.
  6. Obtaining the family and child's own description of the situation and family's recommendations for how to solve the problem.
  7. Reviewing family history, including such factors as ethnic and cultural heritage, family and community resources, emotional/social support systems, medical histories, family dynamics, educational backgrounds of parents and children, work histories/employment stability, availability of financial resources (TANF, public housing, Supplemental Security Income [SSI], Social Security, Veterans Administration benefits), and family mobility.
  8. When the social worker or CHET Screening Specialist identifies a child birth to three years old with a concern about the child's developmental delays, a referral will be made to a Lead Family Resources Coordinator with the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT).
    1. Referrals are made by contacting the local ESIT Lead Family Resource Coordinator or through the ESIT web site.
    2. The referral must also be discussed with the child's parents/caregivers. The parents/caregivers should also be informed that services from ESIT are free. This service is required for children in out-of-home placement.
    3. The referral must be made no more than two working days after a concern(s) has been identified. The family may request that the referral timeline be extended beyond two days. This request must be documented.
    4. At the time of the pre passport staffing, or earlier if appropriate, the assigned social worker should be notified that a referral was made on behalf of the child. Document this in the pre passport Action Plan under the Developmental Domain for the child.
  9. Reviewing available case records, previous service/placement history, and response to previous services.
  10. Making collateral contacts necessary to complete assessment.
  11. Consultation with supervisor as needed.
  12. Determine Native American status.
  13. The social worker shall determine ethnic status of family members, complete the Indian Identity Request Form, DSHS 09-761, and determine whether any family members are of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) or are persons of sensory impairment. Interpreter services will be provided as needed by the family. All services subsequent to intake will also utilize interpreter services as needed.

4240. Assessment for Transferred Cases

The newly assigned CWS social worker reviews the assessments completed by CPS, FRS, or another CWS unit upon case assignment.

4250. Assessment for Out-Of-Home Placement

4252. Assessing for Reasonable Efforts

The social worker shall assess if safety threats exist and then complete the Safety Plan Analysis to determine if and in-home or out-of home safety plan will manage and control all indentified safety threats. The social worker shall not place any child unless the Safety Plan Analysis indicates the identified safety threats cannot be managed and controlled with an in home safety plan.

4253. Assessment for Decision to Place in Out-Of-Home Care

  1. Some children have dual status in that they may be dependent as well as meeting the service definitions for other programs or divisions. For example, a child may be found by the court to be both a dependent child and a juvenile offender who may also be committed to a Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) placement for a period of time, or a child may be developmentally disabled and eligible for some DDD services. In such cases, DCFS services will be offered in accordance with state and local interagency agreements.
    1. DCFS is required to make a referral to the Division of Child Support (DCS) whenever a child is placed in out of home care for more than 72 hours.
    2. CA's electronic case management system will automatically send a referral to DCS once the child is placed for 72 hours or more. The sent referral initiates the process for establishment and collection of support from the child's parents to reimburse DCFS for foster care expenditures.
    3. In certain cases there may be Good Cause for not pursuing collection and for those situations DCS will not collect support to reimburse the FC expenditures.
    4. Basis for a good cause determination as defined in CA's WAC 388-25. For a more complete description see 91400 in the CA Operations Manual.
  2. Within the constraints of available financial resources, placement services will be provided to children according to the following ordered priorities:
    1. Children who urgently require protection from child abuse or neglect (CA/N).
    2. Children who are developmentally disabled as defined by DDD and are referred for placement shall be assessed against the process/criteria outlined in the DCFS/DDD agreement.
    3. Children who are mentally ill or who are among the priority populations identified by statute and Regional Support Networks (RSN) shall be assessed according to criteria defined in local DCFS/Mental Health agreements.
    4. Referrals of children with conduct disorders or juvenile offender histories shall be assessed utilizing DCFS guidelines. The juvenile justice system has primary responsibility for community protection. However, DCFS staff will assist in planning to the extent possible and as defined by DCFS agreements with the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) or other local agreements.
  3. DCFS social workers shall not place children in the types of situations outlined below, as they relate to CFWS. For placement standards for CPS, see chapter 2000, and, for FRS, see chapter 3000.
    1. Children who, after assessment, the DCFS worker believes will not be helped in out-of-home care.
    2. Youth 12 - 17 years of age in conflict with parents and who have not been through FRS, except adoption support families that have already received extensive counseling services.
    3. Youth 12 - 17 years of age whose parents are unwilling to have them at home due to misbehavior and who have not been through FRS.
    4. Youth for whom the primary placement issue is community protection, including sexual predators not covered by the Sexually Aggressive Youth (SAY) statute.
    5. Youth who are unwilling to live in the home of parents who are willing to have them at home, when this is the only presenting problem.
    6. Youth who are mentally ill and a danger to themselves or others as defined by a mental health professional.
  4. Admission of Children to Nursing Facilities
    1. Upon receiving a referral of a child for admission to a nursing facility, the Home and Community Services (HCS) division, Aging and Adult Services Administration (AASA), will confirm the involvement of the child with DCFS. If the child is not currently involved with DCFS, HCS will refer the child to DCFS or DDD if that is appropriate.
    2. DCFS will decline acceptance of the referral of the child if the child does not meet the service definitions of DCFS' programs.
    3. If the child is or becomes a client of DCFS and the DCFS social worker, in consultation with the worker's supervisor, determines that nursing facility admission is the most appropriate service for the child, the social worker will request that HCS staff:
      1. Attend any multi-disciplinary team staffings held; and
      2. Complete, or assist with the completion of, the HCS Comprehensive Assessment and, if appropriate, authorize nursing facility care.
    4. If the child to be placed is a DCFS client, DCFS will be expected to cover the cost of care through its programs in most instances. The DCFS social worker should consult with HCS and DDD staff, as appropriate, to identify other suitable resources to cover the cost of care. In addition, the social worker must establish the child's eligibility for and authorize Title XIX Medicaid.
    5. DCFS will not place the child in any facility without a court order or a voluntary placement agreement per 4307 Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) policy.
    6. If the child is a DCFS client, the assigned DCFS social worker retains case management responsibility, including locating the appropriate nursing facility, discharge planning, and other activities. The DCFS social worker may request assistance of HCS staff in locating an appropriate nursing facility for the child.
  5. The social worker shall conduct, and document, a social study whenever a child is placed in out-of-home care under the supervision of the department. The study shall be conducted prior to placement, or, if it is not feasible to conduct the study prior to placement due to circumstances of the case, the study shall be conducted as soon as possible following placement. The social study includes, but is not necessarily limited to, an assessment of the following factors:
    1. The physical and emotional strengths and needs of the child.
    2. The proximity of the child's placement to the child's family to aid reunification.
    3. The possibility of placement with the child's relatives or extended family.
    4. The racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious background of the child.
    5. The least-restrictive, most family-like placement reasonably available and capable of meeting the child's needs.
    6. The reasonable efforts to place siblings in the same foster home, relative caregiver, other suitable person or adoptive home.
    7. Reasons why siblings are unable to be placed together including if placement is contrary to the safety and well-being of any of the siblings.
    8. Compliance with RCW 13.34.260 regarding parental preferences for placement of their children. RCW 74.13.065

4254. Parent, Child, and Sibling Visits

Purpose Statement To provide early, consistent, and frequent visits to maintain parent, child, and sibling relationships. Visits are vital to maintain connections between parents, children and siblings. Meaningful visits improve the safety, permanency and well-being of children in out of home care.
Laws RCW 13.34.025, RCW 13.34.065, RCW 13.34.130, RCW 13.34.136, RCW 13.34.200
Policy
  1. Parent/Child Visits
    1. Parent/child visits are the right of the family when visits are in the best interest of the child. Early, consistent, and frequent visits are crucial for maintaining parent-child relationships and make it possible for parents and children to safely reunify.
      1. Efforts must be made to hold a visit within 72 hours of placement. The initial parent/child visit must occur within 5 days of placement or signing of the VPA, unless there are documented safety concerns.
      2. Written visit plans must be developed within three (3) calendar days of placement, when a child is in CA custody via a court-ordered placement (licensed or unlicensed).
      3. Written visit plans must be developed at the time the Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) is signed when a child is placed on a VPA.
      4. Visits can only be limited or terminated when the child's, safety, health and welfare is compromised. The court must approve all changes to a visit plan if the child is dependent.
      5. Visits cannot be limited as a sanction for the parent's lack of compliance with court orders.
      6. Discontinue parent/child visits after parental rights are terminated or relinquished, unless otherwise specified in an open communication agreement.
      7. Court approval must be obtained to reassess visit plans when a psychosexual evaluation has been court ordered.
  2. Sibling visits
    1. Sibling contact is crucial for maintaining sibling relationships and supports their well-being while in care. This policy applies to "siblings" as defined in RCW 13.38.040. Efforts will be made to maintain sibling relationships that existed prior to placement.
      1. Siblings who are separated as a result of placement will have a minimum of two visits each month, unless an approved exception applies. This requirement also applies to all siblings who remain in the home.
        1. Document the basis for any approved exception(s) or other reasons when sibling visits are not occurring.
        2. All reasons and approved exceptions must be documented and approved by the assigned social worker's supervisor.
        3. Any limits, exceptions or denial can be challenged in court by child, parent or GAL/CASA
      2. An initial sibling visit will occur as soon as possible after placement.
      3. A written sibling visit plan for two or more monthly visits must be developed within 14 calendar days of placement, unless an exception to policy is approved by the assigned social worker's supervisor. The visit plan will include all allowable forms of contact.
      4. Sibling contact during a parent/child visit meets the requirement for a sibling visit. Staffing meetings and court events do not meet the requirement for a sibling visit.
      5. Other forms of contact may be substituted when a visit is not possible, and contact in addition to regular visits is encouraged. Other forms of contact may include telephone contact, or electronic contact through video chat or email.
      6. Sibling visits will continue after a parent's rights have been terminated or relinquished, unless an approved exception applies.
      7. The Department cannot limit visits or contacts between siblings as a sanction for a child's behavior or as an incentive to change a child's behavior.
Procedures
  1. Visit Plans
    1. Develop a written visit plan with the parent(s) and child input outlining the structure and logistics of visits.
      1. Visit plans will be in the best interests of the child including safety, permanency and well-being. Visit plans are maintained in FamLink with current contact information.
      2. Visit plans can be developed with the family at the shelter care hearing, Family Team Decision Making meeting, case conference, or other shared planning meeting.
      3. When applicable, request the participation of the:
        1. Tribal worker.
        2. CASA/GAL.
    2. Pre-approve visit location, duration and frequency of visits using the following criteria, except when a court order states otherwise:
      1. Least-restrictive, inclusive setting with consideration given to the culture and social patterns of the family.
      2. In the child's community whenever possible.
      3. A setting that is age appropriate and assures safety of the child(ren).
      4. In a Children's Administration office when necessary for the protection of the child(ren) or to allow for support before, during or after visits.
    3. Determine who participates in visits by completing the following:
      1. Request a BCCU background check and CAMIS/FamLink check for any adult visit participants who will have unsupervised access to children (See Operations Manual Chapter 5000, sections 5515 and 5522).
      2. Follow policy and get supervisor approval before allowing contact between the child and perpetrator in serious physical and sexual abuse cases. (See P&P Section 2331)
    4. Verify all persons or contracted providers supervising, transporting, or monitoring visits, meet the following criteria:
      1. Approved Background Check Central Unit (BCCU) check (See Operations Manual, Chapter 5000, Section 5522 for list of disqualifying crimes)
      2. Approved CAMIS/FamLink check (See Operations Manual Chapter 5000, section 5515)
      3. Valid driver's license if transporting, and insurance on the vehicle used in transport.
      4. Transport vehicle must be licensed and have approved child restraints (car seat, lap and shoulder belt).
      5. Willing and able to intervene to keep the child safe.
      6. Able to prioritize the safety and well-being of the child.
      7. Willing and able to enforce visit rules, court orders, limitations and activities.
      8. Keeps all information confidential.
      9. Reports visit observations to the social worker (e.g. behaviors and interactions; concerns).
    5. Determine the level of supervision for parent/child visits based on the identified safety threats. Three levels of supervision are recognized by the courts:
      1. Supervised visits require another approved adult to maintain line of sight and sound supervision and intervene as needed.
      2. Monitored visits require another approved adult to periodically observe and intervene as needed.
      3. Unsupervised visits require the parent to be the primary care giver and able to demonstrate the willingness and ability to safely care for the child.
    6. Make an effort to consult with the assigned law enforcement officer before recommending changes to parent/child or child/sibling contact, when a parent or sibling is identified as a suspect in a violent crime.
    7. Consult with the AAG before disseminating any information shared by Law Enforcement during a visit consultation.
    8. Notify all participants as soon as possible when a visit must be rescheduled.
    9. Document in the Visit Plan the reasons for the level of supervision.
  2. Parent/Child Visits Plans
    1. Review the visit plan with case participants when:
      1. Any increase or decrease in safety threats.
      2. Change in permanency plan.
      3. Change in the well being of the child.
    2. Monitor visit progress during monthly case conferences with supervisor.
    3. Recommend to the court limiting or terminating parent/child visits when one or more of the following conditions occur:
      1. Therapist recommends decreasing or suspending visits due to the harm to the child.
      2. The child is at risk of physical or emotional abuse.
      3. The supervisor/monitor of the visits is threatened.
      4. If the parent appears intoxicated, the visit will be stopped immediately, but may resume after review of the plan.
      5. The court adopts a permanency plan other than return home.
    4. Review recommended change in visit plan with the assigned supervisor.
    5. Use Shared Planning meetings to discuss changes in visits. Meetings will include the parents and caregivers.
    6. Inform the court of any changes to visit plans in dependency cases.
      1. A court hearing is required unless the child's safety is jeopardized or the court order allows for a change in visits.
      2. Review recommended changes to the visit plan with the AAG.
    7. Document parent/child visits in FamLink using the following codes:
      1. Visit- Unsupervised
      2. Visit- Supervised
      3. Visit- Did not occur
    8. Document parent/child visit and include the following information:
      1. Date and time of visit
      2. Who participated in the visit/contact
      3. What type of contact (visit, phone call, Skype)
    9. Upload visit reports from visit contractors and notes from approved natural supports that provide visits into FamLink.
    10. When a visit includes the child's parent and sibling, use both parent and sibling visit Case Note codes to record the visit.
  3. Sibling visits
    1. Determine the level of supervision for sibling visits based on:
      1. Age of the children.
      2. Children's perspective.
      3. Best interests of the children, including safety, health, and well-being.
    2. Review the visit plan with case participants when:
      1. Any increase or decrease in safety threats.
      2. A change in circumstances which causes an approved exception to apply. Obtain supervisor approval when an exception applies.
      3. A change in circumstances when the reason for the exception no longer exists.
      4. Change in the well-being of the child.
    3. Monitor visit progress during monthly case conferences with supervisor.
    4. Review recommended change in visit plan with the assigned supervisor.
    5. Use Shared Planning meetings to discuss changes in visits. Meetings will include the parents and caregivers.
    6. Document sibling visits/contacts in FamLink using the following Case Note code:
      1. Visit- with siblings
    7. Documentation for all sibling visits/contacts must include the following:
      1. Date and time of visit/contact.
      2. Participants in the visit/contact.
      3. For contacts, document the type of contact (visit, phone call, Skype).
    8. Upload visit reports from visit contractors and notes from approved natural supports that provide visits into FamLink.
    9. When a visit includes the child's parent and sibling, use both parent and sibling visit Case Note codes to record the visit.
  4. Exceptions for Sibling Visits
    1. When sibling visits are not occurring as directed in policy, the approved exception or reason must be documented and approved by the assigned social worker's supervisor. Approved exceptions are:
      1. A court order prevents or limits visits or contacts.
      2. CA determines visits or contacts are contrary to the child's health, safety or welfare.
      3. CA determines visits or contacts will hinder reunification efforts.
      4. Child and/or sibling are developmentally able to determine his/her needs for sibling contact and request that contact occur less than two times per month, or not at all.
      5. Parent of a non-dependent sibling objects to or wishes to limit visits or contacts with the dependent sibling.
      6. The facility where the child or sibling resides prohibits/limits visits or contacts with siblings (i.e., during an intake period at an in-patient facilities).
      7. Child is on the run from his/her placement for a majority of the calendar month.
      8. Child is not complying with visitation arrangements.
    2. Document approved exception(s) or other reasons siblings are not having visits or contacts as it applies to each sibling in the Sibling Visit Details tab on the Visit Plan Page in FamLink.
    3. Print a copy of the completed Sibling Visit Details tab in the FamLink Visit Page; obtain written approval of the assigned social worker's supervisor on the print screen.
    4. Upload print screen copy documenting supervisor's approval of exception into FamLink.
Effective Date Initial:     Revised: 7/28/2013 Approved by: Jennifer Strus, Asst. Secretary

4260. Considerations For Placement Choice

4261. Placement Priorities

Purpose Statement To provide a safe, stable and least restrictive placement in close proximity to the family home for children entering out-of-home care.
Laws

RCW 74.14A.020

RCW 13.34.130

RCW 13.34.200

RCW 13.34.260

42 USC 671a

Policy
  1. Placement of a child(ren) in out-of-home care must be the least restrictive setting available and in close proximity to the family home, consistent with the best interests, special needs and well-being of the child.
  2. Due diligence efforts must be made to identify and notify all grandparents, all adult relatives and Tribe(s) within the required timeframes outline in 45273 and ICW Manual Placement Preferences 07.05.
  3. Placement of child(ren) with unlicensed relatives requires a Basic Household Safety Assessment per section 45274 - Unlicensed Placements Policy.
  4. Child placement priorities must be made in the following order:
    1. The parent(s) placement preference for the child(ren),unless good cause is indicated.
    2. The child's relative or Tribe according to 45271- 45273 Choosing Relatives for Placement policy and RCW 74.14A.020.

      For Indian children, placement preference must follow the Indian Child Welfare Act definition 15.058 Sec. 1915 - Placement of Indian Children. The child's Tribe(s) if known must be contacted as soon as possible to request placement preference. See also ICW Manual Placement Preferences 07.05

    3. All siblings must be placed together whenever possible, unless an exception applies. (Siblings as defined in RCW 13.34.030). All exceptions must be fully documented and require written approval by the assigned social worker's supervisor and Area Administrator.
    4. A suitable person defined as someone who has a pre-existing relationship with the child or child's family. See RCW 13.34.130(1)(b)(ii)(B)
    5. A licensed out-of-home setting, this includes:
      1. Family foster home.
      2. Treatment or therapeutic foster home.
      3. Rehabilitative Group Placement includes non-institutional settings that are staffed.
      4. Short and long-term psychiatric facilities.
      5. Other institutions, accessed by court commitment only.

    Note: For all licensed placement requests complete the Child Information/Placement Referral DSHS 15-300 form and send to the regional Placement Coordinator.

  5. When a child returns to out-of-home care, place the child(ren) with the previous caregiver if:
    1. The caregiver is available, willing and able to meet the child's needs.
    2. Placement with caregiver is in the best interest of the child.
  6. Important: Assess and identify the caregiver's ability and willingness to maintain sibling and community connections.

Procedures

Relative Search Due Diligence

Complete the following relative search "due diligence steps" to identify other known relatives within the 30 day timeframe outline in 45273.

  1. Ask parents, child, identified relatives or other persons (e.g. school personnel) with family information.
  2. Review the following to identify additional family information:
    • Case files and records
    • On-line available data sources (e.g. Google)
    • DSHS data bases (e.g. ACES, DOL, Client Registry and Barcode)
  3. If available, CA Relative Search Specialists must review all prior search efforts and use Accurint for further extended searches.
  4. Document all "due diligence" notifications by using the Relative Notification Letter DSHS 15-330 and document due diligence efforts in the case file.

Placement Priorities

  1. Every effort will be made to place siblings together. Any decision to separate siblings initially, during, or after placement requires approval by the assigned social worker's supervisor and Area Administrator. Siblings may be placed separately under the following exceptions which must be approved and documented in FamLink:
    1. As a result of an admission of a sibling into detention, a psychiatric hospital or a residential treatment setting to meet the unique and individual needs of one of the siblings;
    2. A sibling becomes a significant safety threat to the safety of another sibling or cannot be controlled if the siblings are placed together;
    3. A sibling becomes a significant threat to the safety of another person in the placement, and a risk to that person's safety cannot be controlled if the sibling remains in the placement. If movement of the entire sibling group is determined not to be in their overall best interest, the sibling presenting the threat will be moved;
    4. A sibling with a physical, emotional or mental condition requires specialized services in order to accomplish specific therapeutic goals. The sibling may be placed apart from other siblings for the length of time necessary to meet the need requiring separate placement;
    5. An abusive relationship between siblings exists where therapy, with a safety plan in place, is not effective or not the appropriate intervention;
    6. To permit placement with relatives who live near the home of a sibling;
    7. A court order prohibits the Department from placing siblings together; or
    8. Other extraordinary circumstances that are documented and approved by the assigned supervisor and Area Administrator under these procedures.
  2. Child Placement with Relatives and Suitable Person(s)
    1. Request information from the parent about possible relative resources or suitable person(s) (s) prior to the 72-hour shelter care hearing. Document the information obtained from the parent in the electronic case file.
    2. Note: The definition of relative is the same definition as Relative of Specified Degree in RCW 74.15.020 (2) (a). For Tribal cases refer to the policy above (3)(b).

    3. Explore and identify all other relatives and suitable person(s) that have an existing relationship or an attachment with the child as a possible placement resource.
    4. Document in the case file decisions to exclude any relatives or suitable persons as a placement resource for the child.

      Note: Relative search continues throughout the life of the case.

  3. Documentation for Placement of Siblings
    1. Document exception(s) or other reasons siblings are being placed apart as it applies to each child on the Sibling Visit Details tab in the FamLink Visit Page.
    2. Print a copy of the Sibling Visit Details tab in the FamLink Visit Page; obtain approval signatures from supervisor and AA.
    3. Upload approved Sibling Visit Details tab copy into FamLink.
  4. Child Placement in Licensed Foster Homes

    Complete the Child Information/Placement Referral DSHS 15-300 form and send to the Placement Coordinator (or the social worker coordinating placement) for all licensed placement requests.

4262. Routine and Special Needs

  1. The social worker considers and documents the child's routine and special needs, including cultural, educational, medical, religious, psychological, and safety factors. The placement provider need not be of the same ethnic background as the child in order to meet the ethnic or cultural needs of the child. Unless a compelling reason is identified, the social worker will not match children on the basis of race to foster or adoptive families, except as provided in the Indian Child Welfare Act.
  2. The social worker considers whether the placement provider chosen can cooperate with the overall permanency plan in a positive way that contributes to a timely and safe resolution of problems for the family. In addition, the social worker always considers the child's need for stability in relationships when choosing a placement.

4264. Native American Children

CA social workers must follow the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare (ICW) Manual when placing Native American children.

  1. Upon initial acceptance of a case for service, the social worker must seek to discover and document whether the involved child is of Indian ancestry. The social worker must do this in every case.
  2. Each time the case is transferred from one worker or program to another, the social worker receiving the case must confirm that verification of Indian ancestry has previously been completed.

4265. Minimizing Placements

The social worker develops and chooses placements designed to provide stability and permanency for the child. Utilizing short term receiving care does not violate this principle. Although multiple placements may occur, they are generally not considered to be in the best interest of children or their families.

4266. Out-of-State Placements

  1. Purpose and Scope
    1. This section establishes guidelines for CA staff to follow when considering placement, usually in a treatment setting, of a child in an out-of-home care setting in another state. Such placements include, but are not necessarily limited to, Behavior Rehabilitation Services/Group Care, Treatment Foster Care, Child in Needs of Services (CHINS) placements, and mental health treatment. They typically do not include relative placements.
    2. While providing directions regarding such placements, CA reaffirms its commitment to meeting needs of children through resources that are geographically close to their families and that are the least restrictive, most home-like setting, consistent with the individual needs of the child.
    3. This procedure applies to placements from this state to another state as well as to placements of children into specialized out-of-state facilities from out-of-state foster care or relative placements when the department no longer considers the home from which the child has been removed to be the child's permanent placement.
  2. Procedure
    1. Placements in out-of-state programs with which CA has current contracts in the states of Idaho and Oregon require only approval of the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Region which utilizes the contract with the particular program and the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) program manager. See paragraph 3.f below. Current programs meeting this criterion are Northwest Children's Home, Lewiston, Idaho; Morrison Center, Portland, Oregon; and Janus, Portland, Oregon.
    2. CA does not pay educational costs of children, including those placed out-of-state. The school district in which child resides has the responsibility for these educational costs. If the social worker finds the school district reluctant to cover the educational costs, the social worker needs to consult with the worker's supervisor and area manager, as appropriate, as well as the regional group care coordinator, to develop a plan for obtaining school district support.
      1. If the proposed placement is due, in part, to the inability of the educational district of the child's current residence to meet the educational needs of the child, the school district should be involved in the planning for the placement and should agree to pay for the educational costs for the child in another district, including a district in another state.
      2. If the child's educational needs are being met in the child's residence school district, the school district is under no obligation to pay for the education of the child in another district. However, as the district may be expending large amounts to meet the child's educational needs, the district may be willing to help support the educational needs of the child in another district. It is the school district's decision to make.
      3. The procedure, for any out-of-state placement being considered, is:
        1. The social worker, at the earliest opportunity, must contact the school district in which the child is enrolled and ask for an Individual Education Plan (IEP) conference to discuss the benefits of the possible placement. If the child is not in special education and the placement is not imminent, the social worker must ask that the child be made a “focus of concern,” a federal term related to accessing federal special education dollars.
        2. The social worker must invite the school district to participate in the placement planning process.
        3. In situations where there is an additional charge for educational services within the out-of-state facility, school districts have the ability to write a contract directly with the facility for these services. The district can then apply for federal funding by making the child a “focus of concern.”
    3. For children to be placed in non-currently contracted out-of-state programs, CA staff must meet the following requirements.
      1. The social worker must consult with the regional group care coordinator to discuss the child's needs and options to meet those needs.
      2. The child's social worker must explore all reasonably available and appropriate placement options within this state that may be reasonably expected to meet the child's special needs. CA discourages out-of-state placement of children unless the child's needs can clearly be met only in the out-of-state placement. The social worker must consult with and advise the Juvenile Court and the child's guardian ad litem on the need for out-of-state placement, the proposed placement, and the plan for the child. In addition, the social worker must complete and document in the child's case file the following steps:
        1. Use of a team process to identify child and family needs, including names of participants and dates of meetings or consultations;
        2. Development of a plan to meet identified family and child needs;
        3. Exploration of non-traditional, alternative ways of meeting the child's needs; identification of barriers to these options;
        4. Assessment of relationship of the proposed placement to the child's permanency plan;
        5. Preparation of a description of the behavioral goals to be achieved through this placement;
        6. Determination of anticipated length of stay in out-of-state placement; and
        7. Development of a preliminary discharge plan which includes a description of how supports will be developed so that the child can be returned to the community quickly and which relates to barriers previously identified.
      3. The regional group care coordinator must consult with the CA Residential Care Program Manager to explore all options that may be available within the state before proceeding to place the child out-of-state.
        1. This consultation must occur prior to submission of the written request described in subparagraph d below to the Regional Administrator for the out-of-state placement.
        2. The program manager can provide technical assistance or facilitation of meetings as requested and explore with the group care coordinator goals of the out-of-state placement and discharge planning.
      4. The child's social worker must document, in writing using an Exception to Policy (ETP) form, the need for out-of-state placement, efforts to locate a suitable in-state placement, how the placement will further the permanent plan, a description of the specific facilities considered, the reasons for their rejection, the planned length of out-of-state placement, and the plan for return of the child to this state.
      5. The Regional Administrator or designee must sign the ETP form to approve the placement, and the social worker files the signed form in the child's record.
      6. For all out-of-state placements, CA staff must comply with the requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and the CA Practices and Procedures Guide, chapter 4000, section 4533, Rehabilitative Treatment Services. For those placements in Oregon and Idaho facilities with which CA has contracts, the social worker needs only to complete the CAMIS/ICPC page or an Interstate Compact Placement Request, DSHS 15-092, and fax it to the headquarters ICPC program manager at (360) 902-7903 for ICPC approval.
      7. The Regional Administrator or designee may authorize an out-of-state placement only in a facility within 100 miles of the home from which the child is being placed, with the exception of a currently contracted program. The CA Assistant Secretary, or designee, must approve any out-of-state placement where the placement treatment facility is located more than 100 miles from the child's home and is not a currently contracted facility or program.
      8. The Regional Administrator, or designee, as applicable, may approve out-of-state placement of a child only when:
        1. The placement is consistent with the child's permanent plan;
        2. Necessary services to meet the child's special needs are unavailable within this state;
        3. Appropriate services are offered in closest proximity to the family resource;
        4. There is a plan to return the child to this state within a limited period of time, unless the plan is to achieve proximity to the child's permanent planning family.
        5. Placement is in a facility licensed in accordance with the rules of the state in which the facility operates; and
        6. The child placed under a dependency or CHINS order is not placed in an out-of-state locked facility.
      9. The assigned CA social worker does not require Regional Administrator approval for placements of children into specialized out-of-state facilities from out-of-state foster care or relative placements when the department continues to consider the home from which the child has been removed to be the child's permanent placement.
      10. When the state of Washington pays for services, the regional contracts coordinator or other regional staff assigned by the Regional Administrator must negotiate a written child-specific purchase of service agreement between the department and the facility. This agreement must conform to form, content, and approval required by the CA Division of Management Services.

4267. Removal Of Children From Licensed Care

42671. Purpose

The purpose is to provide guidelines for Children's Administration (CA) Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Division of Licensed Resources (DLR) staff involved in the placement and removal of children from licensed or certified care. Such care may be provided by DLR licensed facilities, private child care agencies, and tribal social service agencies. However, CA does not remove children in the custody of Tribes or private agency.

42672. Policy

  1. DLR has the responsibility to investigate all allegations of child abuse and neglect (CA/N) in DSHS licensed, certified, and state operated care facilities for children. DLR also must ensure the immediate safety of alleged child victims and other children in the home or facility in the course of any investigation. DLR has the responsibility to make licensing decisions.
  2. RCW 26.44.056 and RCW 13.34.050 provide that a child may be removed from a biological parent, adoptive parent, or legal guardian when CPS or law enforcement determines that the child would be at risk of imminent harm or danger if left with the parent. Only law enforcement may remove a child from a biological or adoptive parent or legal guardian or custodian without a court order.
  3. The standard that must be met before a foster child can be removed from foster care is lower than that for removal from the child's parent or guardian. RCW 74.13.300 states the standard for removal from foster care by providing that removal may occur if the foster child's safety is in jeopardy. The term “child's safety is in jeopardy” is a lower standard than the imminent harm standard. RCW 74.15.010, the intent section for the licensing statute, clarifies this standard.
  4. For children placed through a tribal child placing agency, CA must consult with the Tribe's social service program when undertaking the steps for removal of children under this policy. Such actions must be consistent with the requirements of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), 25 U. S. C. 1901, et. seq., and the CA Indian Child Welfare Manual. CA may not remove a child in the custody of the Tribe.
  5. RCW 13.34.236 requires that a dependency guardian meet the minimum requirements to care for children as provided in RCW 74.15.030.

42673. Procedures

  1. If the investigating social worker determines that a child is at imminent risk or the child's safety is in jeopardy, CA staff will follow the steps below:
    1. The DLR/CPS supervisor will make a recommendation to the appropriate DCFS supervisor so that DCFS staff can act to protect the children at risk.
    2. When children in CA's care and custody are determine to be unsafe in licensed or unlicensed care, children are removed from that placement.
    3. The two divisions must make every effort to resolve any differences of opinion regarding the assessment of risk.
    4. If DLR and DCFS staff are unable to resolve differences of opinion and DLR/CPS still believes that the child or children are at risk and need to be removed, the DLR/CPS Section Manager makes the final decision regarding initial assessment of risk.
  2. DLR/CPS staff must inform the licensed or certified person or agency of the investigation findings. DCFS staff, who are responsible for the child in the placement, must inform the care provider of the need to remove the child, unless DLR staff has agreed, on an individual basis, to inform the provider.
  3. DLR and DCFS staff will coordinate and cooperate regarding the removal of the children to ensure that the removal is in accordance with CA policy and procedures. DLR/CPS staff may assist in the transport of children if this is the agreed upon plan with DCFS.
  4. If, in the course of a CPS or licensing investigation, OFCL staff determine that DLR will revoke the license and DCFS, child placing agency, or tribal-supervised children in the custody of CA (foster care, guardianship, pre-adopt) are present in the home, DLR and DCFS staff will take the following steps:
    1. The DLR Regional Manager will notify the DCFS Regional Administrator (or designee) and the private agency or tribal social service agency, when applicable. The DLR Regional Manager will convene a staffing to include ALL parties. The focus will be to review the issues and concerns AND to discuss the dual mandates of safety and permanency.
    2. If DCFS, the private agency, or the Tribe requests DLR to continue the license of a foster/group care provider after a finding of child abuse/neglect, the continuation must be within the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) guidelines.
      1. This provision covers only homes and facilities licensed or certified by CA; it does not include homes or facilities licensed by sovereign Tribes.
      2. DLR Regional Managers need to consult ASFA guidelines for corrective action plans and continuation of foster care licenses.
    3. The DCFS Regional Administrator or the applicable private agency or Tribe must initiate a request for a continuation of the foster care license, under a corrective action plan, and the DLR/OFCL Regional Manager must make a decision on the request before DLR takes any adverse licensing action.
    4. If DCFS, or the private agency or Tribe and DLR still cannot reach agreement, the DCFS Regional Administrator or the designated representative of the private agency or Tribe and the Director of DLR must meet to discuss and resolve the situation, taking into consideration both safety and permanency.
    5. All removals of children from foster care placements must comply with RCW 74.13.300. The foster parent has the right to request a review of the decision to move the child pursuant to RCW 74.13.045, the department's complaint resolution process.
    6. The DCFS Regional Administrator and the Director of DLR must review the situation with the Assistant Secretary before DCFS staff process adoption consents and/or guardianship agreements if a child remains in a facility with founded CA/N or where OFCL believes revocation is indicated.

4270. Department of Corrections Confinement Alternatives

Purpose Statement CA families applying or participating in the Family and Offender Supervision Alternative Programs (FOSA) and the Community Parenting Alternative (CPA) are supported through case coordination and collaboration with Department of Corrections (DOC).
Laws

RCW 9.94A - Sentencing Reform Act of 1981

Policy
  1. CA will provide DOC with requested case information to support DOC's assessment of parent's eligibility for the FOSA and CPA programs.
  2. CA will collaborate with DOC and other programs in case planning on all open shared cases.
Procedures
  1. Respond to DOC request within 5 calendar days for CA related information for an offender when:
    • The court is considering FOSA or
    • DOC is considering CPA
  2. Provide ongoing case coordination and collaboration with DOC to prevent service duplication for all parents accepted in the FOSA or CPA programs and have an open CA case including:
    1. Invite DOC worker to all shared planning meetings.
    2. Participate in a minimum of one monthly face to face contact with DOC worker.
    3. Participate in safety staffing for DOC Parenting Program with DOC worker and offender to determine services and case coordination.
    4. Until the child is placed ensure parent child visiting occurs per 4254 Parent-Child-Sibling Visiting Policy.
  3. Consider if an incarcerated parent with an open CA case should be referred to DOC for eligibility determination in FOSA or CPA. Make any referrals through email or phone to CA Headquarters CFWS Program Manager.
Cultural Considerations

Family Centered Approach:
The way CA staff engages the family (or fails to engage the family) can directly affect the willingness of the family to work with other members of the department. The level of trust and integrity established between the agency and the family often has a direct relationship on the child being able to remain/reunify with his/her family. Everyone who meets the family needs to build positive relationships.

For example:
The definition of family varies from group to group. While the dominant culture has focused on the nuclear family, African Americans define family as a wide network of extended family, non-blood kin and community. Native American Indian families traditionally include at least three generations and multiple parental functions delegated among aunts and uncles, as well as grandparents and cousins. Different cultural groups also vary in their traditional practices and views of adoption.

Determine if there are cultural considerations that need to be addressed as part of the planning process, for example, obtaining information about protocols, such as, how to approach a family, use of a cultural elder, matriarch or patriarch or the need for a culturally appropriate support person.

Forms and Tools
  • Request for Information - Initial Request Form
  • Request for Information - Open Case Request Form
See Also
Resources
  • DOC Information Request Process Document
  • CA-DOC Confinement Alternatives Matrix
  • Regional DOC Leads

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