4313. Notification of Court Hearings to Out-of-Home Caregivers

Approval:            Jennifer Strus, Assistant Secretary

Original Date:    July 31, 2010

Revised Date:    October 31, 2016

Policy Review:  October 31, 2020


Purpose 

Out-of-home caregivers are important and respected team members who have a vital role in meeting the individual needs of children placed in their care. Caregivers must be provided timely notification of court hearings.

Scope

This policy applies to Division of Children and Families staff.

Laws

RCW 13.34.096  Right to be heard notice

RCW 13.34.260  Foster Home Placement - Parental Preferences

RCW 13.34.820  Permanency for Dependent Children Annual Report

Policy

Out-of-home caregivers must be:

  1. Notified of all court hearings in a timely manner. Caregivers will be:
    1. Informed of all court hearings via telephone, writing or in-person and their right to be heard at those court hearings.
    2. Notified at the same time parties to the case are required to be notified; even though caregivers are not parties to the dependency action.
    3. Notified at the time of placement or as soon as possible if the child changes placement.
  2. Provided the Caregivers Report to the Court form DSHS 15-313. Caregivers will be:
    1. Encouraged to complete and submit the Caregivers Report to the Court form DSHS 15-313 to the guardian ad litem or caseworker before each court hearing.
    2. Informed that the report only includes information about the child and that the report cannot include any information about the child’s parent that is not directly related to the child’s well-being.

Procedures

Caseworkers will:

  1. Document the date the caregiver was notified in the Caregiver Notification page in FamLink.
  2. Provide the court with the dates and method by which the caregiver was informed of the court hearing.

Forms

Caregivers Report to the Court form DSHS 15-313

Resources

A Relatives Guide to Child Welfare Services