3000. Family Voluntary Services

Approval: Connie Lambert-Eckel, Acting Assistant Secretary

Original Date: September, 1995

Revised Date: July 1, 2018

Policy Review:  July 1, 2021


Purpose

Family Voluntary Services (FVS) allows parents to voluntarily engage in services to increase their protective capacities and meet the child’s safety, health, and well-being needs.

Scope

This policy applies to DCFS caseworkers.

Laws

RCW 13.32A.140 Out-of-home placement - Child in Need of Services Petition by Department - Procedure.

RCW 26.44.030  Reports - Duty to Make

RCW 26.44.056  Protective Detention or Custody of Abused Child

RCW 43.185C.315 Youth Services - HOPE centers - Requirements

RCW 43.185C.320 Youth Services - HOPE centers - Eligibility

RCW 74.14A.020 Services for Emotionally Disturbed and Mentally Ill Children, Potentially Dependent Children, and Families-In-Conflict

PL 113-183  Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act

Policy

  1. The following cases are assigned for FVS:
    1. A non-Child Protective Services (CPS) intake, including:
      1. Request for services.
      2. Intakes on runaway youth under age 12 who are at a Crisis Residential Center (CRC), Hope Center or overnight youth shelter.
    2. CPS investigation or risk-only cases when the family has agreed to participate in services and any of the following exists:
      1. A moderately high or high risk score on the Structured Decision Making Risk Assessment (SDMRA) tool.
      2. A safety assessment has identified a safety threat that can be managed with a safety plan.
      3. Child is placed in out-of-home care on a Voluntary Placement (VPA) due to a safety threat that cannot be managed in the home.
      4. Cases require six months of child safety monitoring when all three of the following conditions are met:
        1. The child is placed on a hospital hold by the physician or hospital administrator.
        2. The child is placed in protective custody by law enforcement (LE); and
        3. CPS determines the child can return home.
  2. The FVS supervisor will:
    1. Hold a case transfer staffing with the CPS supervisor, including the sending and receiving caseworkers, when a request is made to transfer a case from FVS to CPS. An FVS caseworker must be assigned within three days of the request for transfer.
    2. Address issues in the case transfer staffing including the safety, permanency and well-being needs of the child, family’s progress in services and any other identified service needs. The staffing must be documented in a case note.
    3. Consult with the area administrator (AA) when there is a disagreement about an intake screening decision or the transfer of a CPS investigation to FVS.
    4. Assign CPS risk only intakes to the FVS caseworker per the Case Assignment policy. If the case is co-assigned to FVS and CPS investigation, assign the risk only intake to the CPS investigation caseworker. Follow 2331 Child Protective Services Investigation policy.
    5. Conduct monthly supervisor case reviews, review all safety plans and case plan. Document the reviews in a case note.
    6. Review for case closure if the family:
      1. Has completed or is no longer in need of services and there is no present danger or identified safety threat.
      2. Is unable to be located and the FVS caseworker followed the steps outlined in the “Guidelines for Reasonable Efforts to Locate Children and/or Parents” on the CA intranet.
    7. Review FVS cases that remain open to:
      1. Verify a case plan has been developed if the case has been open beyond 45 days and the family is participating in services.
      2. Verify monthly health and safety visits occurred if the case has been open beyond 60 days.
      3. Continue reviewing the case every 90 calendar days from FVS case assignment to determine if continued services are needed.
      4. Obtain AA approval if the case is open beyond 180 days from FVS case assignment and every 90 days thereafter if services are still needed.
  3. The FVS caseworker will:
    1. For FVS Cases Transferring from CPS Investigations:
      1. Prior to initial contact with the family:
        1. Review the case file, safety assessment and Case Plan DSHS 15-259A  and all other case information as it becomes available.
        2. Participate in a case transfer staffing, if applicable, to discuss the case including safety, permanency and well-being needs of the child, family’s progress in services and any other identified service need.
      2. Make contact with the family within seven calendar days from the date a case transfers from CPS investigation to FVS.
      3. Conduct an initial private face-to-face health and safety visit with all of the children within ten calendar days of the transfer. 
      4. Complete the following during the initial meeting with the child and family and subsequent meetings as needed:
        1. Assess for present danger. Take immediate protective action if a child is in present danger.
        2. Identify all individuals living in the home and assess for safety threats and risk.
        3. Provide infant safety education and intervention for all children in the household birth to one year of age if not completed and any time a new infant enters the home if previously completed. This includes:
          1. Engaging the parent to create a safe sleep environment if one does not exist; and
          2. Providing parents with a bedside co-sleeper or pack and play that meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard as soon as possible if the child does not have a safe and separate sleeping environment.
        4. Inquire about the child’s possible membership or eligibility for membership in a federally recognized tribe. Follow Indian Child Welfare Chapter 3 Inquiry and Verification of Child’s Indian Status.
        5. Prior to contacting or sharing any information about a family with collateral contacts and service providers, obtain releases of information from parents. This includes any information being shared about the mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, access to reproductive services and sexually transmitted diseases (STD)/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) for parents or youth age 13 years and older.
      5. Complete a new safety assessment at key decision points per CA safety assessment policy.
      6. Complete a safety plan with the family if a safety threat is identified and can be controlled and managed with a safety plan.
      7. Conduct routine and universal domestic violence (DV) screening at key points in a case, i.e., a new intake, case transfer, and re-assessment of safety to identify if DV is present.
      8. Complete the Commercially Sexually Exploited Child (CSEC) Screening Tool DSHS 15-476 when there is suspicion, indication or confirmation that the child or youth may be a victim of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE).
      9. Complete the Comprehensive Family Evaluation (CFE) within 45 calendar days of a FVS assignment, and every 90 days after the CFE is approved.
      10. Complete an investigative assessment within 60 calendar days when assigned a CPS risk only intake and follow 2331. Investigative Standards policy.
      11. Provide concrete goods and supports that strengthen the family’s ability to safely care for and meet their children’s needs. Concrete goods must be directly related to the issues of safety and risk identified in the assessment.
      12. Conduct monthly health and safety visits with children and monthly visits with caregivers and parents.  
      13. Review the case with the supervisor and assess whether to place the child in out-of-home care when any of the following apply:
        1. Safety or risk cannot be managed with a safety plan.
        2. The family refuses services.
      14. Complete the following case planning and service referral activities for children in-home or placed out-of-home under a VPA.
        1. Develop a case plan with the family based on the assessment of the family’s needs.  The case plan must address the moderately high or high risk factors and the identified safety threats for the child.
        2. Refer the child and family to service providers or community resources when needed and available. This includes referring a child or youth with complex behavioral health needs for a Wraparound Intensive Services (WISe) screen per 4542. WISe policy.
        3. If a child is a member or eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe from Washington state, contact the tribe to:
          1. Determine the tribe’s level of involvement.
          2. Identify any available tribal services and resources.
          3. Review and follow the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that CA has with the child’s tribe (if one has been completed)
      15. Complete the following additional case planning and service referral activities for a child placed out-of-home on a VPA:
        1. Conduct a Family Team Decision Making (FTDM) meeting prior to placement and when returning the child home per the VPA policy.
        2. Develop a parent, child and sibling visit plan that includes visits in the least restrictive setting based on risk factors, existing danger, safety threats and protective factors. 
      16. Transfer the case to Children and Family Welfare Services (CFWS) if a dependency petition has  been filed. If the case is co-assigned and is within two weeks of case transfer, the CFWS worker will file the dependency petition.
      17. Make a report to intake per RCW 26.44.030 (1)(a) when any child in an open case is believed to be at imminent risk of serious harm or there is a new allegation of child abuse or neglect
      18. Close the case when:
        1. The family has completed or is no longer in need of services and there is no present danger or identified child safety threats.
        2. The family is unable to be located following the steps outlined in the “Guidelines for Reasonable Efforts to Locate Children and/or Parents” on the CA intranet.
    2. For Non-CPS FVS Cases
      1. Make contact with the referrer, youth or family member on non-CPS intake cases within the following times (excluding weekends and holidays):
        1. 72 hours for a request for services.
        2. 24 hours for intakes on runaway youth under age 12 who are currently located at a CRC, Hope Center or overnight youth shelter.
      2. Prior to initial contact with the family review the intake, history and all other case information as it becomes available.
      3. Complete the following during the initial meeting with the child and family, and subsequent meetings as needed:
        1. Assess for present danger. Take immediate protective action if a child is in present danger.
        2. Identify and verify all individuals living in the home and assess for safety threats and risk.
        3. Provide infant safety education and intervention for all children in the household birth to one year of age. This includes:
          1. Engaging the parent to create a safe sleep environment if one does not exist; and
          2. Providing parents with a co-sleeper or pack and play as soon as possible if the child does not have a safe and separate sleeping environment.
        4. Inquire about the child’s possible membership or eligibility for membership in a federally recognized tribe. Follow Indian Child Welfare Chapter 3 Inquiry and Verification of Child’s Indian Status.
        5. Prior to contacting or sharing information about a family with collateral contacts and service providers, obtain releases of information from parents. This includes any information being shared about the mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, access to reproductive services and STD/ HIV for parents or youth age 13 years and older.
        6. Initiate referrals to service providers or community resources when needed and available. This includes referring a child or youth with complex behavioral health needs for a Wraparound Intensive Services (WISe) screen per 4542. WISe policy.
        7. Complete an investigative assessment when assigned a CPS Risk-Only intake and follow 2331. Investigative Standards policy.
        8. Complete the CSEC Screening Tool DSHS 15-476 when there is suspicion, indication or confirmation that the child or youth may be a victim of CSE.
        9. Provide concrete goods and supports that strengthen the family’s ability to safely care for and meet their children’s needs. Concrete goods must be directly related to the issues of safety and risk identified in the assessment.
        10. Complete the  CFE by the 45th calendar day of the intake. Update the CFE every 90 calendar days if the case remains open.
        11. Should the case remain open beyond 45 days the following must occur and the parent must be informed of the following:
          1. Conduct monthly health and safety visits with all children in the home and monthly visits with caregivers and all parents if the case is open beyond 60 days.
          2. Develop a case plan with the family based on the assessment of the family’s needs. 
          3. Complete routine and universal DV screening and re-assessment of safety to identify if DV is present.
      4. Complete the following additional case planning and service referral activities for a child placed out-of-home on a VPA:
        1. Conduct a FTDM meeting prior to placement and returning a child home per the VPA policy.
        2. Develop a parent, child and sibling visit plan that includes visits in the least restrictive setting based on risk factors, existing danger, safety threats and protective factors.

Forms

Case Plan DSHS 15-259A

CSEC Screening Tool DSHS 15-476 located on the CA intranet

Indian Identity DSHS 09-761

Voluntary Agreement Plan DSHS 09-004B located on the CA intranet

Resources

Social Worker’s Practice Guide to Domestic Violence

4519. Concrete Goods policy