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