[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

   [an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
   <<< Return to OPP Table of Contents [an error occurred while processing this directive]
Handbook 5: In Home Care and Services
5-3  Voluntary Family Maintenance

 

In Home Care and Services
5-3 Voluntary Family Maintenance
Reference Points
Overview
Assessment Considerations for VFM Cases
Transferring a VFM Case
Role of DI Clerical in Identifying CalWORKs Common Cases
Joint Visits (Also known as Warm Hand-Off)
Role of the Manager in VFM Cases
Contact Requirements in VFM Cases
Length of VFM Services
Allegations of Abuse/Neglect During VFM Services
Termination of VFM Services
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: 10/1/07
Last Updated: 10/31/2013
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window The California Department of Social Services (CDSS)Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) Division 31-087 Regulations
Popup Window CDSS MPP Division 31-215
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 300 (a) through (j)
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) §15506(b)
Pdf CDSS, MPP, Division 31-320 Regulations
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Sheriff's Dept. Criminal Record Check Request (CLETS) - (SCZ686A)
MS Word Voluntary Family Maintenance Community Services Agreement (SC 1380) - English/Spanish
MS Word

Emergency Assistance Application for Child Welfare Services

(EA1- CWS)

 CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word CAT - Emergency Response Assessment Tool
bullet Referral Management Section:  Investigative Narrative
bullet Case Management Section:  Case Plan
bullet Client Management Section :  Client Notebook
bullet Services Management Section:  Contact Notebook
bullet CAT - Continuing Services Assessment Tool
bullet CAT - Case Closure Assessment Tool


Overview  

The Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM) program provides time-limited services to children and families.  VFM services may be offered when the social worker determines that the child is in "potential danger of abuse, neglect of exploitation" but there is no basis for filing a petition, the parents are willing to accept services and participate in corrective efforts, and it is safe for the child to remain in the home with the provision of services.  VFM services are appropriate when the social worker assesses that it is unclear as to whether the allegations of abuse or neglect are true or not, and the allegation disposition is inconclusive.

Emergency Response and Dependent Intake social workers may offer VFM services as a disposition to a referral investigation.  Department of Family and Children's Services' (DFCS) supervision of voluntary services benefits the family by providing case management services. Additionally, under DFCS supervision, the family may be able to access funds for some services or necessities through the DFCS Special Funds Unit.

    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Assessment Considerations for VFM Cases  

During the course of a referral investigation, the social worker assesses the family situation and determines whether the family fits the criteria for VFM services. VFM services can be considered when the social worker determines that all of the following conditions exist:

  • The child does not fall under the definitions for filing a petition under the Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 300 (a) through (j), except in special circumstances where a recommendation to offer voluntary services can be supported by the circumstances.
  • The social worker has completed the CAT Emergency Response Assessment Tool, and the children are not considered to be at high risk.
  • No one in the household is known to have a history of criminal convictions serious enough to compromise the child’s safety.
    • To conduct a criminal history check:

 

 

 

Social worker is to ask parents and all other adult residing in the household for the name, DOB and other identifying information necessary to request a CLETS criminal records check through the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department.

If…

Then…

Social worker is able to obtain identifying information for the parents and all other adults residing in the household
  • Social Worker will complete an SCZ686A – Sheriff’s Dept. Criminal Record Check Request (CLETS) for each adult member of the household and forwards to the RAIC for processing.
  • If upon review CLETS reports, any member of the household has any convictions that are serious enough in nature to compromise the child’s safety:
    • Social worker writes a memorandum to their supervisor & to their Bureau Manager including:
      • Brief summary of referral allegations and investigation
      • Brief summary of parents criminal conviction history including type of conviction (degree, law code & brief description) and date of conviction
      • Brief assessment of risk posed by the parents criminal history and justification for recommendation for voluntary services.
      • Brief discussion of the strengths in the family which support voluntary services.
    • If approved, the Social worker documents that SSPM approval was received on the DI-Case Assignment Control Sheet (blue sheet) and files a copy of the approved memorandum in the case file.
Social worker is able to obtain identifying information for the parents, but unable to obtain information from other members of the household
  • Social Worker will complete an SCZ686A – Sheriff’s Dept. Criminal Record Check Request (CLETS) for the parents and forwards to the RAIC for processing.
  • If upon review CLETS reports, the parent(s) has/have any convictions that are serious enough in nature to compromise the child’s safety:
    • The Social Service Program Manager (SSPM) of the bureau must be informed of any convictions and give final approval, prior to offer of VFM services.
      • Social worker writes a memorandum to their supervisor & to their Bureau Manager including:
        • Brief summary of referral allegations and investigation
        • Brief summary of parents criminal conviction history including type of conviction (degree, law code & brief description) and date of conviction
        • Brief assessment of risk posed by the parents criminal history and justification for recommendation for voluntary services
        • Brief discussion of the strengths in the family which support voluntary services.
      • If approved, the Social worker documents that SSPM approval was received on the DI-Case Assignment Control Sheet (blue sheet) and files a copy of the approved memorandum in the case file.

For those individuals residing in the same household, for whom a criminal records check was not completed:

  • Social worker must discuss with the parent(s):
    •  the level of interaction &/or contact between the individual(s) and the child
    • Assist the parents in assessing safety of the interaction/contact 
    • Discuss a safety plan with the parent, explaining that it is their responsibility to supervise their child and to ensure that those individuals who have access to their child do not pose a risk to the child’s safety.
    • Documents discussion and identified safety plan in CWS/CMS.

 

 

 
  • The family has not been provided with voluntary or court-ordered family maintenance services in the past five years for the same or similar allegations.
    • SSPM approval to offer VFM services may be requested if the family falls within this category.
    • The approval by the SSPM is documented in a Contact.
    • The SSPM signed the blue transfer sheet or some other documentation of the SSPM’s approval must be attached to the case file for verification of approval.
  •  

  • There have not been three or more previous referrals involving the family in which at least three of the allegations have been concluded as inconclusive or substantiated. SSPM approval to offer VFM services may be requested if the family falls within this category.
    • The approval by the SSPM is documented in a Contact.
    • The SSPM signs the blue transfer sheet or some other documentation of the SSPM’s approval must be attached to the case file for verification of approval.
  • The allegations do not involve sexual abuse.
    • SSPM approval to offer VFM services may be requested if the family falls within this category.
    • The approval by the SSPM is documented in a Contact.
    • The SSPM signed the blue transfer sheet or some documentation of the SSPM’s approval must be attached to the case file for verification of approval.
  • The family could benefit from case management services.
  • The family is willing to accept voluntary services.
  • The family is willing to cooperate in developing and signing a VFM Services Agreement and subsequent case plan.
  • The presenting problems are amenable to resolution within three months.
              •  

                Note: When working with an intact family, if one parent agrees to Voluntary Family Maintenance Services, while the other parent declines services, the social worker must:

                • Assess the risk to the child in the situation and
                • Consider the ability of the one parent to benefit from services when the other is not engaged and
                • Consider if the presenting problems will be amenable to resolution within three months if both parents are not engaged in services.

                If social worker is uncertain about the appropriateness of offering Informal Supervision in such cases, they are encouraged to request a Joint Case Staffing.

VFM services may be appropriate for families who need assistance to resolve the following issues/concerns, if these issues are related to abuse or neglect for which the referral was made:

  • Improve access to services for children with mental health problems affecting their ability to learn and be maintained in mainstream school classes.
  • Improve parent-child communication and with appropriate strategies for disciplining children.
  • Assistance and advocacy for parents with the public school regarding the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) process.
  • Assistance in locating resources for medical, dental or mental health needs.
  • Monitoring compliance with recommended medical or therapeutic treatment.

The referring social worker may consult with the social work supervisor about any questions regarding the appropriateness of VFM services. Before transferring a case for VFM services, the referring social worker will have verified that the situation meets the criteria for VFM services  and the family is freely deciding to participate in voluntary services without any coercion to participate. 

 

    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Transferring a VFM Case  

All referrals going to Voluntary Family Maintenance must have:

  • A Voluntary Family Maintenance Agreement (SC1380) in the case file, with all children listed.
  • Been staffed with the social worker's supervisor, and offering Voluntary Family Maintenance services has been approved by the supervisor.

Social Worker

To transfer the case, the social worker:

  • Completes:
    • The procedures for closing the referral in CWS/CMS. which includes:
      • Completing the Investigation Narrative (ER social worker).
      • Cross reporting to local law enforcement, if allegations meet the criteria for the cross report (ER social worker).
      • Generating and sending a Letter to Mandated Reporter, if referral came from a mandated reporter. (ER social worker).
      • Entering all Contacts.
        • There must be at least one contact with the purpose of "Investigate Referral" in order to conclude the referral.
      • Completes the CAT Emergency Response Assessment
      • Concluding the allegations.
        • For a VFM case, the allegations are generally determined to be inconclusive or unfounded in CWS/CMS.
          • However, under special circumstances, voluntary services may be offered when the allegation is substantiated, if the recommendation can be supported by the circumstances.
    • The Six-hour Letter, if the child was in custody longer than six hours, and mails the letter.
    • The DI-Case Assignment Control Sheet (blue sheet), including applicable areas of the checklist on the back of form.
    • A brief transfer summary using a Case Summary (SCZ409) providing a summary of staffing outcome, if applicable, and the basis for decision to offer voluntary services, if not discussed in the Investigative Narrative.
  • Attaches the DI-Case Assignment Control Sheet (blue sheet) and transfer summary to the case file.
  • Submits the case file to the unit supervisor for review and CWS/CMS approval.
  • Upon notification of assignment, contacts the  newly assigned social worker to schedule a joint visit to the family which includes the referring social worker, the newly assigned social worker and the family. (See “Joint Visit” section below for further responsibilities.)

Supervisor

  • Approves the case in CWS/CMS.
  • Does not transfer assignment of the case in CWS/CMS.
  • Contacts the Dependent Intake Control Clerk by email to advise that the supervisor has a VFM case for assignment.
    • Only the Dependent Intake Control Clerk transfers assignments in CWS/CMS.
    If the case is transferred from. . Then, within three business days of receiving the case from the social worker, the referring supervisor. .
    ER Delivers the file to ER clerical for further ID-ing.
    DI

    Enters case name and number, date and supervisor's name into Case Processing Log book located in the DI area and places the physical file in the IS basket on the table in DI.

     

To track the processing of the case social work supervisors can utilize the “Doc Tracking” tab in the CWS/CMS case.

  • Click on the + in the Document Tracking Log area of the tab
  • Complete the following fields on the tab:
    • To – SWS enters “Folder Expeditor”
    • From- SWS enters their name
    • Sent Date – Enter the date SWS is processing the case
    • Document Name – Enter “Physical File”
    • Description – can include a brief explanation such as “physical file forwarded to clerical for processing and assignment VFM (VFR or IS) case.”

ER Clerical

After receiving the case file from the ER supervisor:

  • Completes ID-ing of the case.
  • Takes the case file to the DI area and enters case name and number, date and supervisor's name into Case Processing Log book located in the DI area.
  • Places the physical file in the VFM basket on the table in DI.

 

Dependent Intake Control Clerk (DICC) or South County Clerical

  • Upon receiving email notification from ER or DI supervisor of VFM case being processed and sent for assignment, notifies, by email, the supervisor and worker with the name of the social worker, and their supervisor, to whom the case will be assigned. The social worker who will be assigned, and their supervisor, should be copied in the email.
  • Keeps the assignment in CWS/CMS under the referring social worker's case load, until the case is fully processed.
  • Transfers assignment from the referring social worker's caseload into the  receiving social worker’s CWS/CMS caseload.
    • The referring social worker or social work supervisor should not transfer assignment of the case in CWS/CMS.
  • Delivers the physical case to the Unit supervisor.

 

    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Role of DI Clerical in Identifying CalWORKs Common Cases  

After receiving the case file for transfer, clerical staff:

  • Logs the file into log book.
  • Checks eligibility screen for CalWORKs eligibility.

If the family receives CalWORKs, the case is considered a DFCS/CalWORKs Common Case.   Then, clerical staff:

  • Indicates "CalWORKs Case" on top right corner of the Blue Sheet.
  • Completes Part A of the SC1811.
  • Distributes the SC1811:
    • Original and Golden Rod - Supervisor (Attach copies to case folder).
    • Copy - Clerical at: CalWORKs Social Work Unit - 1888 Senter Rd. (Pony).
    • Copy - DFCS CalWORKs Coordinator - 373 W. Julian, 4th floor - (ER mail cart).

If the family does not receive Cal WORKs, and no Common Case is found, then, clerical staff:

  • Indicates "No Cal WORKs" on the top right corner of the Blue Sheet.
  • Ponies the case file in an envelope with routing slip to the unit supervisor.

 

    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Joint Visit (also known as Warm Hand-Off)  

It is expected that the sending and receiving social workers for the Voluntary Family Maintenance case meet together with the family as part of the case transition. The benefits of a joint visit are that it:

  • Creates an opportunity to clarify service requirements and possible misconceptions about the voluntary nature of the VFM services.
  • Presents a team approach to the family.
  • Introduces the receiving social worker to the family and assists the family in gaining closure with the referring social worker.

The visit may be scheduled by either the referring or receiving social worker and takes place before or after the receiving social worker receives the case, depending upon the way the case unfolds and the workers' schedules. 

 

    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Role of the Manager in VFM Cases  

In VFM cases, the manager:

  • Backs up supervisors, in the event that a supervisor is absent or case consultation with a manager is needed.
  • Monitors the overall VFM program.
  • Signs requests for extending VFM services beyond 90 days.
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Contact Requirements in VFM Cases  

It is DFCS policy that social workers providing VFM services are required to:

  • Make an initial face-to-face contact with the child and family within five (5) business days of case assignment. 
  • Make two in-person contacts with the family, including their initial contact, within the first 30 calendar days of case assignment.
  • Make in-person contacts with each child and parents a minimum of once per month, after the first two contacts.
    • The family may require more frequent visits, and it is left to the social worker to assess the need for additional contacts to assure that the family is meeting the service plan goals and that the child remains safe in the family home.
    • VFM cases are not eligible for contact waivers.
    • The majority of visits with the child(ren) must take place in the home.
Please refer to OPP Chapter 10-1 Contact Requirements for more information.
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Length of VFM Services  

VFM services can be offered up to 90 days and can be extended for an additional three (3) months with Social Services Program Manager (SSPM I) approval. The 90-day start date of VFM services is the date the parents signed the CWS/CMS Case Plan.  If the social worker wants to extend services beyond 90 days because continued case management services would benefit the family, the social worker prepares a written request for extension to be sent to the SSPM at least two weeks prior to the end of the three month service period.  The memorandum includes:

  • A brief summary of the case history.
  • The goals for the family.
  • What services have been provided to reach the goals.
  • The family's progress to date.
  • What continued or new services are necessary.
  • A specific length of time for the extension.
  • An updated case plan.
In no situation can the social worker provide VFM services beyond 6 months.

 

    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Allegations of Abuse/Neglect During VFM Services  

If there is another allegation of abuse or neglect during the time the VFM case is open, the situation must be reassessed to determine the appropriate intervention.  If the social worker determines that the allegation involves new circumstances, the social worker must make a Child Abuse and Neglect Center (CANC) report.  If the social worker is concerned about the safety of the child and the stability of the family at any point during the service period, the social worker consults with the supervisor and SSPM regarding the possible need for a Joint Case Staffing.

Referrals alleging abuse/neglect on VFM open cases are investigated by the following: 

  • Immediate Response (IR) social worker investigates immediate response referrals.
  • Social worker providing VFM services investigates 10-day referrals.
 
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Termination of VFM Services  

Voluntary Family Maintenance services are terminated if one of the following occurs:

  • The parents request termination of services.
Note: If a parent refuses further voluntary services, the social worker must assess the safety and needs of the child (ren) and determine if a Joint Case Staffing is necessary.

 

  • The case plan objectives have been achieved.
  • The agreed upon time has expired.
    • The social worker may make a referral for Path II Differential Response services if the family agrees to further voluntary services.
  • A subsequent disclosure of abuse or neglect is made during the time that the family receives VFM services, and/or the social worker assesses that the child must be removed from the home, if exigency or after a Joint Custody Staffing it is determined that a juvenile dependency petition should be filed.
    • The case is transferred to Dependent Intake (DI), after the warrant is executed and child(ren) are in protective custody.
  • The case is presented at a Joint Case Staffing, and the recommendation is for an out-of-custody petition to be filed.
    • The case is transferred to DI.
  • The family moves out of the county/state.
    • If there are concerns about ongoing risk to the child, the social worker should contact the new county/state of residence and make a child abuse/neglect report.

The social worker physically prepares the case for closure by:

  • Reviewing the case file to assure that contact notes and all other reports or documentation are included and current.
  • Completing CAT-Case Closure Assessment Tool.
  • Writing a brief case summary, in CWS/CMS under the “Closure Summary” tab, including the services provided and the parent progress to address the issues which warranted intervention.  
  • Submitting the physical case to the supervisor for review and final closing approval in CMS/CWS. (Note: Cases being referred to DI are not closed in CWS/CMS)
The effective date of closure is the date that the supervisor closes the case in CWS/CMS. This is also the date the supervisor signs the CAT-Case Closure Assessment Tool, which may be signed online.  The supervisor forwards the case to clerical for processing and ponying to the Retention Center.


    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page
   
Other References  
bullet2 OPP Chapter 13-1: Joint Case Staffing
MS Word2 Investigation Narrative
bullet2 OPP Chapter 4-1: Initial Case Plans
bullet2 OPP Chapter: 2-6 ER: Referrals on Children Under DFCS Supervision
bullet2 OPP Chapter 2-6.1: Differential Response: Path 2
bullet2 OPP Chapter 10-2: Contact Waivers
    < Return to OPP Table of Contents | ^ Back to Top of Page

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]