DCFS provides coordination and information and referral within each region for locating appropriate medical and support services for clients with HIV or AIDS and for assisting social workers with administrative policy and law specific to casework with clients who may be HIV positive.
Clients who are at risk of becoming or who are HIV positive are eligible for the service.
- The social worker consults with their regional AIDS coordinator regarding HIV statute and policy whenever an issue surfaces that involves HIV.
- Specific confidentiality statutes apply regarding sharing information about HIV status. Testing for HIV also is governed by specific statute. Refer to the Operations Manual, chapter 5000, section 5700, for state policy and guidelines on blood borne pathogens.
- See the Case Services Policy Manual, chapter 4000, section 4120, paragraph A, for requirements to disclose information regarding HIV infection and sexually transmitted diseases to the residential care provider for the child who is less than 14 years of age.
- Services to provide psychiatric and psychological evaluations and treatment to implement a permanency plan, to prevent CA/N, to prevent out-of-home placement, or to make placement/permanency planning decisions. See section 4539, below, for information regarding Inpatient Mental Health Treatment for Children. In general, there are two main types of psychological/psychiatric funding sources available for utilization by DCFS: Title XIX/Healthy Kids (EPSDT) services through the Regional Support Networks (RSN) and DCFS direct funded services.
- The RSNs in the state are the conduit for mental health services for recipients of Medicaid. Serving as Prepaid Health Plans, these networks receive and distribute all state and federal mental health dollars to the community mental health centers, institutions, and other certified mental health providers.
- Under Healthy Kids Services, Medicaid-eligible children and their families are provided specific mental health evaluation and treatment. For eligible children under 19 years of age, mental health services must be determined to be medically necessary as a result of a Healthy Kids/EPSDT health screen.
- Medicaid-funded mental health services must be the first choice for treatment. DCFS-funded services are to be used only when all other payment resources have been exhausted. Families or children are eligible for DCFS direct-funded psychological/psychiatric services under the following circumstances:
- Parents or children with an active CPS, FRS, or CWS case.
- All RSN resources have been exhausted or the child/parent is not eligible to receive the service under a Healthy Kids plan.
- The child/family has demonstrated it doesn't have the financial resources or insurance to pay for the service.
- Funding is available to provide the service.
- Services are only available from DCFS-contracted providers.
- Children and families can access RSN funding by presenting at any mental health provider which is certified to accept Medicaid. For Healthy Kids services, the following steps shall be taken:
- The social worker refers Medicaid-eligible children and families for a Healthy Kids screening utilizing regional procedures.
- If the child does not have a current Healthy Kids/EPSDT examination, the social worker must schedule a Healthy Kids examination to be completed within 30 days.
- For situations involving inpatient treatment, see section 4539, below.
- DCFS social workers supply mental health screeners and providers with the information they request to make screening decisions and to provide mental health services.
- For DCFS direct-funded psychological/psychiatric services, the following steps shall be taken:
- The social worker determines that Healthy Kids services are not available and that funding is not available for the service through other sources listed below.
- The social worker authorizes psychiatric/psychological services utilizing the authorization guidelines in paragraph A above and regional procedure.
- The social worker authorizes psychological/psychiatric procedures using current SSPS codes and sends a copy of the authorization to the provider.
- The worker requests a final report and terminates payment.
- If the need for the service is primarily to support the child's ability to stay in school, funds for evaluations/treatment may be available through the local school district. The social worker may contact the child's school, or have the child's family contact the school, and make a referral to determine if the child is eligible for special education services.
- DDD may provide psychiatric/psychological evaluations and/or behavior management training or treatment for developmentally disabled children living in their own homes or parents.
- The JRA or local juvenile probation offices may provide similar services for delinquent children.
- Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), General Assistance-Unemployable (GA-U), and SSI evaluations may be a resource. If the child has a current or recent SSI application, the social worker shall ask the SSI facilitator to access the SSI file for current medical or psychological assessments.
Services are to provide financial assistance to meet the basic needs of a family for housing, utilities, food, clothing, etc.
- DCFS refers individuals and families to Economic and Medical Field Services' (EMFS) CSOs for determination of eligibility for specific income maintenance programs such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or GA-U.
- Eligibility for some federally funded financial maintenance programs, such as Social Security disability and SSI, are determined by the federal Social Security Administration.
- As part of initial and on-going family assessment, the social worker assesses the family's ability to maintain financially to meet basic needs. When it appears that the family may have little or no income, the social worker assesses the reasons contributing to the situation (e.g. injury, lay-off, divorce, lack of needed job skills) and refers the family to the CSO or other appropriate agencies for determination of eligibility for benefits.
- When a child who may be eligible for federal disability payments is in the home of their parent or guardian, the social worker refers the parent to their local Social Security office for information on applying for benefits. SSI facilitators in each region can provide technical assistant to a family/child needing to make application for SSI or survivor's benefits.
- When a child is in out-of-home care and it appears that the child may be eligible for federal disability benefits, the social worker makes a referral to the Social Security disability specialist in the DCFS regional office to begin the process of determining benefits.
- The social worker completes the federal funding forms and provides them to the federal funding specialist, who determines fund source for children in out-of-home care.
- Clients whose jobs have ended may be eligible for unemployment benefits.
- The Division of Child Support (DCS), formerly the Office of Support Enforcement, will assist in the collection of child support with parents who are due court-ordered child support and have been unable to collect it.
- Some clients injured in the course of employment may be eligible for financial assistance through the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).
- Many communities and non-profit charitable organizations maintain private, non-profit sources for food and clothing for families and individuals in emergency need. Schools and churches may also maintain food and clothing banks. The Community Public Health and Safety Networks may contribute to this resource.
- While not providing income maintenance, private non-profit credit counseling services are available in many communities to assist individuals in managing debt.
- Food and formula supplements are available for some low-income women with infants through the WIC program to help promote healthy infant development.
- Families and children of U.S. military service veterans may be eligible for veteran's benefits provided through the Veteran's Administration.
Services to assist an individual or family obtain housing. Services consist of information and referral, coordination, advocacy, and case management to assist clients with housing needs. Contracted Independent Living Skills (ILS) programs for adolescents are available to assist youth emancipating from foster care with counseling regarding the location of housing.
DCFS clients with either no housing or inadequate housing are eligible for the service. Homeless youth may be eligible for out-of-home care services through DCFS when they have been determined eligible for placement following a CWS assessment. CPS referrals are not accepted on a family if the only reason for the referral is homelessness.
- The social worker works with a family to obtain housing through referrals to the CSO and, in emergencies, through direct referral to emergency shelter programs in the local communities. EMFS can provide the social worker with information on how to assist clients who need to apply for available publicly funded housing through the federal Section 8 or other programs, including those operated through the state Department of Trade, Community, and Economic Development (CTED).
- In accordance with regional procedures, the social worker refers adolescents emancipating from foster care to regionally contracted ILS programs for education and counseling regarding housing needs.
- For placement in out-of-home care for children, the social worker follows procedures outlined in this chapter.
- Many communities provide shelter programs for youth with funding through the Runaway Youth Act for runaways.
- Housing advocacy/case management are often provided through the RSN for clients with a mental illness.
Services to assist individuals to complete their education or to locate employment or training that would qualify them for employment. DCFS direct services consist of information and referral to state, federal, and community funded programs. DCFS contracts regionally with community agencies to provide educational and job counseling services for youth emancipating from foster care. See the ILS program description.
DCFS clients who need education, job training, or employment are eligible.
- The social worker refers adults who need to complete their high school diploma or General Equivalency Development (GED) certificate to the school district nearest the client's home for information regarding programs available in the local community.
- The social worker refers youth emancipating from foster care to the regionally contracted ILS program for career and job counseling utilizing regionally established procedures.
- Adults or youth who are seeking employment may be referred to the Employment Security Department, Job Service Center office, for listings of job openings and other services available to help find employment.
- Services are available through colleges, universities, and vocational institutes to provide career counseling, job training, and education for individuals. Financial Aid Offices and Career Counseling Offices in those institutions provide information and assistance.
- Private Industry Councils (PIC) in communities coordinate and administer job training programs available from the federal government. The Employment Security Department provides information about the availability of such programs. Information on other federal programs such as Job Corps, providing training for young adults, and Summer Youth Employment Programs for low-income youth can also be accessed through the Employment Security Department.
- DVR and L&I provide services to train workers who have had injuries or disabilities so that they can regain employment.
- When placement is necessary, the social worker is required to exercise "due diligence" to identify and provide notification (DSHS 15-330) to all grandparents, all adult relatives, and Indian tribes or bands within 30 days after the child is removed from the custody of the parents (RCW 13.34.060(1)(a).
- The relative(s) must be considered as placement options for the child prior to consideration of placement in other types of out-of-home care. Preferred relative placements are those:
- Where the child is comfortable living with the relative;
- The relative has a relationship with the child; and
- The relative is assessed by DCFS to be capable and willing to cooperate with the permanency plan for the child. (See chapter 5000, section 5231, for assessment procedures).
- The relative(s) must be able to provide a safe home for any child placed by DCFS, and each child placed in the home must have their own bed or crib if the child remains in the home beyond 30 days. Non-related family members must also be considered as potential resources.
Children for whom DCFS has assessed to need out-of-home care and for whom an appropriate relative is available.
- Relative Search
"Unless there is reasonable cause to believe that the health, safety, or welfare of
the child would be jeopardized or that the efforts to reunify the parent and child
will be hindered, priority placement for a child in shelter care shall be with any
person described in RCW 74.15.020 (2) (a). The person(s) must be willing and
available to care for the child and be able to meet any special needs of the child.
The person must be willing to facilitate the child's visitation with siblings, if such
visitation is part of the supervising agency's plan or is ordered by the court. If a
child is not initially placed with a relative pursuant to this section, the supervising
agency shall make an effort within available resources to place the child with a
relative on the next business day after the child is taken into custody. The
supervising agency shall document its efforts to identify and to provide
notification (DSHS 15-330) to all grandparents, and all adult relatives within 30
days after the child is removed from the custody of the birth parents and to place
the child with a relative pursuant to this section on the FamLink Relative Search
screen. Nothing within this subsection (1) (a) establishes an entitlement to
services or a right to a particular placement RCW 13.34.060 (1) (a).
- Definition of Relative:
Relative is defined as:
- Any blood relative, including those of half-blood and including first cousins, second cousins,
nephew and persons of preceding generations as defined by prefixes of grand,
great, or great-great; stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother or stepsister;
- A person who legally adopts a child or the child's parent as well as the natural
and adopted children of such persons, and other relatives of the adoptive parents
in accordance with law;
- Spouses of any persons named in (a), (b) or (c) of this subsection, even after
a marriage is terminated,
- Relatives, as named in A, B or C above, of any half sibling of the child; or
- In cases where ICWA applies an extended family member is
defined by law or custom of the Indian child's tribe or, in the
absence of such law or custom, a person who has reached the age
of 18 and who is the Indian child's grandparents, aunt or uncle,
brother or sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, niece or nephew,
first or second cousin, or stepparent who provides care in the
family abode on a twenty-four basis to an Indian child as defined
in 25 USC sec 1903(4) RCW 74.15.020
- At the time placement is first considered or when out of home placement is necessary, the DCFS Children's Administration (CA) social worker
must search for appropriate relatives to care for the child prior to consideration of placement in other types of out of home care. This search includes attempts to locate and notify all grandparents, adult relatives, including relatives of presumed, but not alleged fathers who can care for the child. Placement with an appropriate and qualified relative, even when there is no previous relationship with the child, may be in the best interest of the child, and CA prefers that placement rather than a placement with a foster parent who has no previous relationship with the child. See the definitions of "alleged" and "presumed" father in the CA Case Services Policy Manual, Appendix A.
- When it is not possible to locate an appropriate relative prior to the initial placement, the CA worker or designee will begin relative search activities the next business day and document all information in FamLink Relative Search screen.
- The relative search activities include a three tiered process including Initial Search, Secondary Search and Extended Search (Each region will
decide how to implement the three tiers within the first 30 days after a child is removed from the parent's custody).
- The initial relative search activities, required to be completed by the social
worker or designee include:
- Asking the parents, the child, or other known relatives;
- Asking any other person having family knowledge such as the
schools, medical providers, Faith Based community, CASA/GAL for
the purpose of identifying all grandparents, all adult relatives, or
other suitable individuals who are willing to become a placement
option or provide support for the child;
- The tribe should be contacted to identify individuals available to care
for or provide support for the children if the children are members of
a federally recognized Indian tribe, eligible for membership in a
recognized Tribe, or the biological child of a member of a recognized
- Review the case files/records to identify names of relatives or
extended family who could be contacted;
- Completing a DCFS computer search in FamLink to identify names
associated with the child or parent;
- Checking the Department of Health online system. Birth certificates,
death and marriage certificates can be accessed;
- For those children involved in a Dependency process, social workers
are required to initiate a request to the Court to order parents to
disclose contact information for all grandparents, all adult relatives,
and other individuals who might be a resource for the child - i.e.
respite, mentor, childcare, visitation or future placement resource -
within two weeks of an entered order,
- Following Regional protocol, collaborate with other DSHS
information systems (Community Service Office, Division of Child
Support, and the Department of Corrections) to identify additional
- If the assigned social worker has not identified any relatives within 7
working days of the child's removal from the parent's custody it is recommended that Relative Search Specialists begin searching for
relatives utilizing the advanced search data base.
- The secondary relative search activities, required to be completed by the
social worker or designee will include reviewing information in databases
that CA currently has full or limited access to including ACES with
narratives, Department of Licensing, Client Registry and Barcoding.
- The request for an extended relative search should be implemented after
the initial and secondary search efforts have not identified all adult
relatives within 7 working days of the child's removal from the parent's
- Relative Search includes:
- Once CA identifies, provides notification to the relative (DSHS 15-330), and the relative agrees to be a placement option or support resource, CA shall assess the relatives for their ability to be a placement option or support resource to the child.
- Social workers may discontinue the relative search after consultation with the assigned supervisor. The supervisor must review and agree the standard of “due diligence” for the relative search has been met and all grandparents and adult relatives notified. The CA social worker or designee will document the search activities, all contact with the relatives and the rationale for selecting the permanent family. When a permanent placement is identified the decision to discontinue relative search efforts must be documented on the FamLink Relative Search screen.
- If the permanent placement disrupts, CA will resume the relative search efforts and will document the efforts in the FamLink Relative Search
- The documentation of the relative search shall include the names of the relatives identified, notification (DSHS 15-33), and discussions with
relatives concerning their decision of becoming placement option or a support resource to the child as well as any other relatives who may provide placement or support for the child and family.
- Legal Authority for Placement: Legal authority to place is needed with relative placements either through a police pickup order, court order, or voluntary consent to place agreement with parents.
- When a potential relative placement resource has been located, unless an emergent placement, the social worker completes a criminal history/background check on the relative and assesses suitability of the relative prior to placement. As part of the criminal background check, the worker must contact local law enforcement agencies, including tribal police if the person resides or has resided on an Indian reservation or is known to be or may be affiliated with a particular Tribe. For emergent placements see Operations manual Chapter 5000, section 5517 and Practice and Procedures Manual Chapter 4000, section 45274.
- To determine if the home is minimally adequate for the care of children, the social worker, including after-hours staff, visits the relative's home prior to initial placement. If a child is placed with a relative by night staff following a home visit, then the ongoing social worker also visits the home within the first week of the child's placement.
- In those situations where questions about appropriateness arise, the social worker may enlist the assistance of a foster home licenser or other staff skilled in conducting home studies in evaluating suitability of the home and family.
- See chapter 5000, section 5230, for requirements regarding home studies and for licensing requirements and exemptions.
- Information Sharing: Either prior to or soon after placement, the social worker must have a candid discussion with the relatives to inform them of the following:
- The reasons for the placement.
- Full disclosure of the child's needs and characteristics.
- The agency plan for the child's parents, relatives, and the care providers.
- The legal process. If a child is dependent pursuant to a proceeding under chapter 13.34 RCW, the social worker must keep the care provider informed regarding the dates and location of dependency review and permanency planning hearings pertaining to the child.
- See the Case Services Policy Manual, chapter 4000, section 4120, paragraph A, for requirements to disclose information regarding HIV infection and sexually transmitted diseases to the residential care provider for the child who is less than 14 years of age.
- Continuing Services
- At critical decision points when permanency planning options are being reevaluated, the social worker re-evaluates the possibility of relative placements. Family members who might not have been available when the child was first placed may later become an option for permanent placement, the social worker will consider the child's attachment to their current placement caregiver and the relationship between the child and prospective caregiver (family member).
- The social worker provides case management support to relative caretakers in the same manner as any other type of placement.
- The child's assigned social worker must conduct a face-to-face interview, or have face-to-face contact with the child incapable of being interviewed, with the child placed into care after hours or on weekends in the placement facility within the next few days following placement. The worker must document the interviews and observations in the case SER.
- The child's social worker conducts face-to-face interviews in the home of the relative care provider with the child while in a relative placement on a quarterly basis and documents the interviews in the case SER. The social worker conducts these interviews to ensure the health and safety of the child, to assess the child's adjustment to the placement; to assess services needed by the child and the care provider; and to provide casework support.
- The assigned social worker provides the relative caregiver with information about needed training and support as funding is available.
- Financial Support - For relatives needing financial support to care for the child, the social worker may assist the family to apply for TANF through the CSO, or the relatives may choose to receive foster care payments, without regard to eligibility for federal matching dollars, on behalf of the child if the relatives are licensed foster parents. See chapter 5000, section 5232.A.
- All placements with relatives or suitable persons known to the child and/or family require completion of a home study prior to placement except under the following conditions:
- Emergent placement
(See Practices and Procedures Guide Section 5513 -National Crime Information Center Checks for Emergency Placement)
- Original placement of the child from the parent or guardian's home
- Child must be moved from an out of home placement without advance notice
When possible the social worker who completes the home study should be someone other than the child's social worker.
The social worker assigned to complete the relative home study requests a case number be assigned per local office procedures.
Steps and Timeframes of the relative home study are:
- A relative or suitable person is identified and the placement move is in the child's best interest.
- Area Administrator approval is obtained prior to placement
Step 1: Placement Safety Assessment
- Prior to ALL placements complete:
Within 72 hours of placement:
- Background checks:
- NCIC criminal background check with fingerprints submitted within 10 days (for emergent placements), OR
- In-state BCCU check with fingerprint submitted within ten days and AA approval (for urgent placements)
- FamLink check
- Assess the suitability of the placement resource, and
- Complete a home visit to determine if the home is adequate for the care of the child(ren).
- Complete the Placement Agreement (DSHS 15-281, revised 02/2007) - Identifies the expectations of the caregiver and the social worker.
- Initiate the Caregiver Placement Checklist/Caregiver Intake (DSHS 15-280, revised 9/07) -Provides a standardized place to document required steps and information on all persons living in the home.
- Report to the court when required:
- The results of the above activities
- The relationship of the identified placement resource (relative or suitable person) with the child or family,
- The family's view on the placement
- CA recommendation to the court
Step 2: Caregiver Personal Information
Within 30 days of placement, request the placement resource to complete and return the Personal Information form (DSHS 15-276).
Step 3: Home study
Within 120 days of placement, complete the written home study including a recommendation regarding continued placement.
The social worker also provides support to the relative caregiver or suitable person during the home study process, by:
Upon completion of the home study the social worker completing the study will:
- Facilitating the completion of the Personal Information form if required
- Checking references
- Completing the criminal history background and CAMIS checks (if not already completed upon placement)
- Date stamping all returned materials and following-up as needed
- Performing at least one home visit, which must include at least one face to face meeting with all residents of the home
- Encouraging the family to attend the next local foster parent preservice training and other trainings offered that may be relevant to the care of the child.
If relatives or suitable persons decide to pursue a foster care license the social worker who completed the home study will:
- Maintain the home study in the relative or suitable person's family's home study file (it should not be placed in the parent's file)
- Notify the child's social worker (if someone other than the person completing the home study) of the home study completion and recommendations regarding the appropriateness of the placement
- Make the home study available for review by the child's social worker
- Request a staffing, following local office procedures, if there is a disagreement regarding the home study recommendations
- Sign the completed home study and obtain the supervisor's signature.
- Send a referral to DLR and transfer the home study file to DLR per local office procedures
- Inform the family of the referral to DLR and provide them with contact information.
- Providing assistance if the relative has difficulty and/or needs help
- Receiving home care is out-of-home care provided in licensed foster homes which are designated to provide emergent or short-term care.
- Receiving home care is temporary care not to exceed 30 days.
- Receiving home care is used when need for placement is immediate, and time does not allow for planning to place directly into regular foster care or other alternate care.
- The social worker first determines that relative care is not available.
- The social worker locates and contacts an available, appropriate receiving home parent utilizing the locally determined placement system. For example, in some offices, placement in receiving care is accessed through a Home Finder or placement desk. In other offices, social workers contact the receiving home parent directly.
- To assist the receiving home to make a decision about the child, the social worker provides the receiving home parent with information about the immediate condition of the child, the child's behaviors, school and medical information, background information, and specifics of the permanency plan that will affect the child and the placement. For example, the worker will let the receiving home parent know what behaviors to expect, what the visitation plan is, what the foster parents' responsibilities are, when the child next needs to see a doctor or other professional, and where and when the child is likely to be moved.
- The social worker clarifies future visits to the receiving home and provides the receiving home with written background information and emergency numbers upon placing the child.
- The social worker completes the following paperwork after placement:
- Open appropriate SSPS codes and complete the CAMIS placement module.
- Complete a federal funding packet (all Title IV-E documents), answer Categorical Criteria questions in CAMIS, and send the packet to the DCFS federal funding specialist within 10 days of placement. Utilize local procedures to notify the SSI facilitator of placement of an SSI/SSA eligible child or for screening for SSI of a special needs child.
- Notify the licenser of placement of the child in a particular home.
- The federal funding specialist shall notify the CSO Financial Services Specialist of the child's placement if the child is receiving TANF and, in all cases, the Division of Child Support (DCS) and provide a copy of the authority to place in care.
- Receiving care is meant to be very short term care. However, in rare instances, it may become necessary to request an authorization from the Regional Administrator or designee, according to regional procedures, to extend receiving care beyond 30 days. A child is not to be moved to another receiving home simply to avoid requesting an extension.
- The child's assigned social worker shall conduct a face-to-face interview, or have face-to-face contact with the child incapable of being interviewed, with the child placed into care after hours or on weekends in the placement facility within the next few days following placement. The social worker shall document such interviews and contacts in the case SER.
Specialized receiving care is short-term licensed foster care. Certain receiving homes have been identified as specialized receiving homes to serve some children who are in conflict with their parents, runaways, and other children with special needs. This type of care is short-term, emergency care for thirty days or less.
- The social worker determines that relative care, regular receiving care, and Crisis Residential Center (CRC) care are not available or are inappropriate prior to placement in specialized receiving care.
- The social worker locates and contacts an available, appropriate specialized receiving home parent utilizing the locally determined placement system.
- The social worker provides the specialized receiving home parent with information about the immediate condition of the child, the child's behaviors, school and medical information, background information and specifics of the permanency plan that will affect the child and the placement. For example, the worker will let the specialized receiving home parent know the visitation plan, what the foster parents' responsibilities are, when the child next needs to see a doctor or other professional, and where and when the child is likely to be moved.
- The social worker clarifies future visits to the specialized receiving home and provides the specialized receiving home with written background information and emergency numbers upon placing the child.
- See section 45282 for procedures regarding federal funding.
- See section 45282, paragraph H, for the requirement to contact the child placed after hours or on weekends within the next few days following placement.
- See section 45283 for information regarding TANF maintenance for the child's family.
Continue to sections 4530 - 4539