DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 5: In Home Care
5-1 Settle at Intake and Awaiting Social Worker Action
In Home Care
5-1  Settle at Intake and Awaiting Social Worker Action
Reference Points
Overview
DFCS Reorganization Principles
Settle at Intake (SAI)
Awaiting Social Worker Action (ASWA)
Six-Hour Letter
Referrals Open More Than 30 Days
When Not To Consider the SAI or ASWA Options
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: TBA
Last Updated: 12/17/06
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code § (WIC) § 307 and 309
Popup Window WIC § 313(b)
Popup Window Rule of Court 1404 (b),(c)and (d)
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Six-Hour Letter
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Service Management Section: Contact Notes


Overview  

Welfare and Institutions Codes (WIC) § 307 and 309 provide authority for the release of a child to a parent or responsible relative pending the outcome of an investigation and/or a detention or placement order of the Juvenile Court. A child may be released to a parent, without the provision of child welfare services, within 48 hours of the child's being placed in temporary custody under two options. Those options are referred to as Settle at Intake (SAI) and Awaiting Social Worker Action (ASWA). Once released to the parent, the child is no longer considered to be in temporary custody.

A child may also be released to a responsible relative or non-relative extended family member (NREFM) as a temporary or emergency placement within 48 hours of the child's being placed in temporary custody. A temporary, emergency relative/NREFM home assessment must be completed.  When a child is released to a relative under this condition, without a voluntary agreement signed by a parent, a detention hearing is always scheduled and the child is considered to remain in temporary custody.

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DFCS Reorganization Principles  
  • Maintenance of front-end diversion.
  • Family-focused services delivered seamlessly.
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Settle at Intake (SAI)  

One option a social worker has, after completing an investigative assessment, is to release a child back to the parents within 48 hours of the child's having been placed in temporary custody and to close the case. [Rule of Court 1404(b)and (c)]  This is referred to Settle at Intake (SAI).

The criteria for SAI are that:

  • A criminal record checks on the parents or guardians shows no reports of recent or serious offenses, which would cause concern for the child's safety.
  • A Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) report on the parents or guardians shows no reports of recent or serious abuse or neglect reports, which would cause concern for the child's safety.
  • The allegations of the referral are unfounded or inconclusive.
  • There are no grounds for filing a 300 Petition.
  • The matter appears to have arisen from a temporary problem within the family which has been or can be resolved.
  • The child is interviewed, if the child is old enough to express his/her feeling about returning home and states a desire to return home.
  • A home visit is made, if there are concerns about the safety of the home.
  • The social worker offers the family referrals to community services, if appropriate, that may be better suited to serve the needs of the family.
  • A Six-Hour Letter is sent to the parents or guardians.
  • As a result of the investigation and action, the referral is closed in CWS/CMS and no case is opened.
    • Do not close the referral until at least two days from the date the child was taken into temporary custody, in order to facilitate reimbursement to the Agency.
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Awaiting Social Worker Action (ASWA)  

Another option a social worker has, after completing a preliminary investigative assessment, is to release a child back to the parents within 48 hours of the child's having been placed in temporary custody and monitoring the child's situation for up to 21 days. This is referred to as Awaiting Social Worker Action (ASWA).

The criteria for ASWA are that:

  • Criminal record checks on the parents or guardians shows no reports of recent or serious offenses, which would cause concern for the child's safety.
  • Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) reports on the parents or guardians shows no reports of recent or serious abuse or neglect reports, which would cause concern for the child's safety.
  • There are no grounds for filing a 300 Petition.
  • The child is interviewed, if the child is old enough to express his/her feeling about returning home and states a desire to return home.
  • A home visit is made, if there are concerns about the safety of the home.
  • The social worker offers the family referrals to community services, if appropriate.
  • All contacts with the family and those factors that ensure the safety of the child in the parents' home are documented in CWS/CMS Contact Notes.
  • A Six-Hour Letter is sent to the parents or guardians.
  • The referral remains opened in CWS/CMS during the 21-day monitoring period.

During the 21-day monitoring period, the social worker:

  • Assures that three face-to-face contacts with the child are made, as required by Division 31 regulations.
  • Leaves the child in the home, if the child continues to be assessed as being safe.
  • Files an out-of-custody petition, if necessary, if an assessment is made that court intervention may be necessary to assure the ongoing safety of the child.
  • Places the child in temporary custody, if the child, once again, appears to be in immediate danger at home.

If, by the end of the 21-day monitoring period, the child appears to be safe, the family is using services and/or the situation is resolved or close to resolved, the social worker may consider any of the following:

  • Close the referral in CWS/CMS with no further services.
  • Offer Voluntary Family Maintenance services.
  • Offer Informal Supervision services.
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Six-Hour Letter  

Whenever a child is held in temporary custody for more than 6 hours and is subsequently released back to the parents within 48 hours of being placed in temporary custody, the social worker prepares a written explanation of why the child was held in custody for more than six hours. The Six-Hour Letter must be sent to the parents, guardians or person having custody of the child within 72 hours of the child's release from temporary custody.

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Referrals Open More Than 30 Days  

California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Division 31 regulations instructs that a case plan be developed within 30 days of the first face-to-face contact with the family. If a social worker keeps a referral opened more than 29 days, a case plan must be developed with the family on the 30th day.

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When Not To Consider the SAI or AWSA Options  

Following the mandates of WIC § 309, when a child is placed in temporary custody, the social worker must immediately investigate the circumstances of the child and the facts surrounding the child's placement in temporary custody. The social worker must attempt to maintain the child with the child's family through the provision of services. Further, the child must immediately be released to the custody of his/her parents, guardians or responsible relative, unless one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • The child has no parent, guardian or responsible relative; or the child's parent, guardian or relative is not willing to provide care for the child.
  • Continued detention of the child is a matter of immediate and urgent necessity for the protection of the child, and there are no reasonable means by which the child can be protected in his/her home or the home of a responsible relative.
  • There is substantial evidence that a parent, guardian or custodian of the child is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court.
  • The child has left a placement in which he/she was placed by the juvenile court.
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Other References  
bullet2 Temporary, Emergency Home Approvals
bullet2 300 Petition
PDF CWS/CMS Contact Notes
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