4304. Reasonable Efforts

Created on: 
Aug 21 2015

Approval: Jennifer Strus, Asst. Secretary

Original Date: November 19, 1997

Revised Date: June 12, 2014

Sunset Review: June 12, 2018

Purpose 

The Adoption and Safe Families Act requires that reasonable efforts must be made to prevent placement of a child in out-of-home care and achieve timely permanency for a child who is placed in out-of-home care. For children protected under either the state or federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), active efforts must be made.

Laws

Policy

  1. Reasonable efforts must be made by the assigned CA worker to:
    1. Prevent placement of a child in out-of-home care, unless the child is determined to be unsafe.
    2. Return a child home.
    3. Achieve timely permanency when a child is placed in out-of-home care.
  2. Active efforts must be made by the CA worker for children protected under the state or federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
  3. The CA worker must identify appropriate reasonably available services for the family to remedy identified parenting deficiencies that made the child unsafe.
  4. When a child is in out-of-home care, the CA worker must offer reunification services to the family in an attempt to eliminate the need for out-of-home placement, unless a court has found that aggravated circumstances exist.
  5. Reasonable efforts must be made to achieve timely permanency including efforts to locate a permanent placement other than return home.

Procedures

  1. Placement Prevention - Unless the child is determined to be unsafe (See 1100 Child Safety) and an in-home Safety Plan cannot be used to keep the child safe, the CA worker must make the following reasonable efforts to prevent placement:
    1. Complete the Comprehensive Family Evaluation with the family to determine what reasonably available remedial services and activities would remedy identified safety threats.
    2. Develop a written Case Plan.
    3. Services must:
      1. Focus on the identified safety threats.
      2. Be culturally appropriate
      3. Be geographically accessible.
      4. Consider whether a parent is developmentally delayed and eligible for developmental disability services. If so, services and their delivery must be tailored to the parent's needs and coordinated with Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA).
    4. The assigned worker must review case plans regularly for the following:
      1. Parental progress.
      2. Changes needed in the plan.
      3. Parental resistance to the case plan.
      4. Alternative approaches such as court action that may be needed.
  2. Returning a Child Home - If a child is removed from the home due to present or impending danger, the CA worker must make reasonable efforts to:
    1. Offer remedial services to the family, unless aggravated circumstances exist.
    2. Services must:
      1. Focus on the identified safety threats and help families eliminate the need for placement.
      2. Be culturally appropriate
      3. Be geographically accessible.
      4. Consider whether a parent is eligible for developmental disability services. If so, services and their delivery must be tailored to the parent's needs and coordinated with DDA.
  3. Achieving Timely Permanency
    1. Make reasonable efforts to locate a permanent placement. Identify appropriate relatives, kin or other persons who may be a permanent resource for the child.
    2. Follow Concurrent Planning Policy.
    3. Continue reasonable efforts until permanency is achieved. The following are appropriate permanency options and are listed in order of priority:
      1. Return home
      2. Adoption
      3. Guardianship
      4. Third Party Custody

Forms and Tools

Court reports. Permanency Planning Guide

See Also

1710 Shared Planning

4305 Permanency and Concurrent Planning

Resources

ICW Chapter 7

Suggested Practice Tips

If ICWA applies ensure coordination with the child's Tribe and coordinate with the Tribal social worker. Also review and follow protocols outlined in the CA Tribal Memorandum of Understanding established with the child's specific tribe.