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  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 5: In Home Care
5-6 Informal Supervision Services
In Home Care
5-6 Informal Supervision Services
Reference Points
Overview
Services Offered Under Informal Supervision
Supervisor Review of Cases Transferred to Informal Supervision
IS Agreement and Case Plan
Draft Petition
Length of Services
IS Social Worker Responsibilities
Contact Requirements for IS Case
When a Parent Fails to Comply with the Case Plan
Six Month Assessment of IS Cases
Extending IS Services
Terminating IS Services
Closing an IS Case


Reference Points
Effective Date: 10/1/07
Last Updated: 7/5/12 - update pending
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 300
Popup Window WIC § 332(f)
pdf California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) Division 31-320
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Informal Supervision Agreement (SCZ1649c)
MS Word Infromal Supervision Agreement (SCZ1649c Spanish)
MS Word Authorization for Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information (SCZ 244)
MS Word DI-Case Assignment Control Sheet
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Case Management Section:  Case Plan
bullet Service Management Section:  Contact Notebook
bullet CAT - Continuing Services Tool
bullet CAT - Case Closure Assessment Tool


Overview  

Informal Supervision (IS) is a voluntary program under which the Department of Family and Children's Services offers the provision of non-court, time-limited protective services to families whose children are in potential danger of abuse, neglect or exploitation, when the child can safely remain in the home and the family is willing to accept services and engage in corrective action. The agreement for Informal Supervision services may be initiated by a social worker or by the court.  IS services may be offered if a child comes within or may soon come within the purview of the Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 300.

Though there is an Informal Supervision Unit whose social workers specifically carry IS cases,  IS cases are also carried throughout the Department by social workers in Continuing Service Bureau Units, those at the South County Bureau, and those at the Family Resource Centers.

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Making a Referral for Informal Supervision Services  

See OPP Chapter 5-5: Informal Supervision:  Referral Procedures.

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Services Offered Under Informal Supervision  

The case management services a family may receive under the Information Supervision program include:

  • Monthly face-to-face contact between the social worker and the family.
  • Monitoring of the child's safety in the home.
  • Monitoring the parents' compliance with the case plan.
  • Referrals to:
    • Parenting classes.
    • Parent Orientation.
    • Mental health counseling.
    • Domestic violence counseling.
    • Drug testing.
     
  • Family Preservation and other funds for e.g.:
    • Furniture.
    • Child Care.
    • Counseling (short-term).
    • Transportation.
    • Utility bills.
    • Rent.
     
  • Crisis intervention.
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Transfer of a Referral to an IS Case  

Assignment of IS cases is done through the DI Control Clerk and is based upon case load and language.

A new case is transferred to the IS unit with the following documents:

  • Transfer Case Summary Form (SC 409).
  • Informal Supervision Agreement (SCZ1649).
  • Draft petition.
    • The draft petition requires (WIC § 332[f]) a concise statement of facts, separately stated, to support the conclusion that the child is a person within the definition of each of the sections and subdivisions under which the proceedings are being instituted. 
  • CWS/CMS Case Plan, if not transferred in a timely manner.
  • DI-Case Assignment Control Sheet (purple Sheet ) (if transferred from EI or DI).

Documentation by the referring social worker should be current in CWS/CMS. The information in CWS/CMS must match the information on the Transfer Summary Sheet.

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IS Agreement and Case Plan  

Cases that are transferred for Informal Supervision services from Emergency Response or Dependent Intake social workers are required to include a signed Informal Supervision Agreement (SCZ1649). The case must be received by the VFM social worker within 15 days of the initial face-to-face contact with the child by any DFCS social worker.  If the case is not transferred in a timely way so that it will be received by the IS or Contiuing social worker within 15 calendar days of the first face-to-face contact with child by any DFCS staff, the referring worker completes the:

  • CAT - Continuing Services Tool and
  • CWS/CMS case plan

If a case comes to the IS or Continuing social worker with the IS Agreement and/or Case Plan, the social worker providing IS services may, after meeting with the family and assessing the family's situation, make changes to the Agreement or Case Plan. Any changes to the IS Agreement requires that the social worker providing IS services writes up a new Agreement with the parents and has them sign it. Any changes to the Case Plan requires that the social worker providing IS services updates the case plan in CWS/CMS.  An updated Case Plan must have signatures of the social worker, the parents and the social work supervisor.

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Draft Petition  

For every IS Agreement a draft of a petition is prepared that identifies the WIC § 300 and the allegations under which the petition could be filed with the Juvenile Court.   Welfare and Institutions Code Section 332(f) requires that the petition include a concise statement of facts, separately stated, to support the conclusion that the child is a person within the definition of each of the sections and subdivisions under which the proceedings are being instituted. 

The purpose of writing and reviewing the petition with the family is to clarify the basis of the IS services for the parents.  It may serve as a tool for engaging the family in services.  Ideally, the draft petition is reviewed with the family during a warm hand-off meeting with the ER or DI social worker and the social worker that will be providing the IS services.  If a warm hand-off meeting cannot be arranged, the referring social worker who writes the draft petition should review the draft petition with the family.  The social worker assigned to provide IS services should, again, review draft petition with the parents.

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Length of Services  

Informal Supervision services are offered for up to an initial period of 6 months. The social worker may request an extension of up to 3 months beyond the initial six months. To request the extension, the social worker must submit a memo with the request to his/her supervisor. The extension must be approved by both the supervisor and Social Services Program Manager. If the case is extended beyond the initial 6 month period, the social worker is required to update the Case Plan at the 6 month period.

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IS Social Worker Responsibilities  

Upon receiving the Informal Supervision case, the social worker:

  • Reviews the case, including the Safety Assessment, Informal Supervision Agreement and, if completed, the CWS/CMS case plan.
  • Has a face-to-face contact with the parent/guardian within five business days of the date of transfer.
  • Introduces him/herself as the newly assigned IS social worker.
  • Makes an appointment for a face-to-face contact in the home with all parties present.
    • During the first contact, the IS social worker:
    • Reviews with the family the:
      1. Informal Supervision Agreement
      2. Draft petition
      3. CWS/CMS case plan, if one has been developed.
      4. Potential barriers to the achievement of the objectives and provides solutions.
      5. Tasks to be accomplished prior to the next visit.
    • Completes the CAT - Continuing Services Tool.
    • Completes the Case Plan with the family, if the CWS/CMS case plan has not been developed.
    • Assesses the child(ren)'s continued safety in the home.
      • Each child should be interviewed separately and in private.
    • Requests that the parents sign a Authorization for Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information (SCZ 244) for each collateral service provider the IS social worker may need to contact.
    • Documents the visit in the CWS/CMS Contact Notebook.
     
  • Makes regular face-to-face contact with the parent/guardian and child(ren) as required by CDSS Division 31 regulations and, more frequently, if assessed to be needed by the worker.
  • Contacts collateral service providers to obtain updates and reports on the parents' progress with services, throughout the IS service period.
  • Prepares a Case Plan update as frequently as the service needs of the child and family dictate, but no less than every six months.
    • A CAT-Continuing Services Assessment Tool is completed with every Case Plan update.
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Contact Requirements for IS Cases  

It is DFCS policy that IS social workers are required to:

  • Make an initial face-to-face contact with the family within five business days of being assigned the case. 
  • Make weekly in-person contacts with the family for the first three weeks, after the case is assigned to the IS social worker.
  • Have in-person contacts with each child and parents a minimum of once a month, after the first three weekly in-person 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.  

The standards are set in the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Division 31 - 320, for contact requirement between a social worker and a child who resides in the family home. The specific Division 31 contact requirements state that the social worker shall:

  • Visit the child at least three times in the first 30 calendar days, including the initial in-person response.
    • If the case plan is completed in the first 21 calendar days after the initial removal of the child or in-person response, the social worker shall be permitted to have less frequent visits, up to a minimum of twice in the first 21 calendar days.
     
  • Visit each child with an approved case plan who remains in the home at least once each calendar month.
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When a Parent Fails to Comply with the Case Plan  

If there are any concerns about the safety of the child and/or stability of the family, social workers carrying Informal Supervision cases are required to schedule a Joint Case Staffing or staff the case with there Social Services Program Manager (SSPM) when the parent(s):

  • Does not begin complying with the service plan within the first 30 days.
  • Ceases to comply with services at any time during the service period.
  • Does not complete the agreed upon services within the six months of IS services.

If, at any point in the service period, the parents' failure to comply with services results in a heightened risk to the child, and the child is assessed to be in immediate danger (exigent circumstances or warrant), the social worker has the option of:

  • Removing the child from the home, if the child falls under WIC § 300 (b) or (g) or
  • Requesting law enforcement assistance to remove the child from the home, if the child falls within any section of the WIC § 300.
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Six Month Assessment of IS Cases  

Five months from the date the case was transferred to the social worker, the worker confers with all collateral contacts and the family to reassess the progress towards the Case Plan objectives and the current level of risk to the child(ren). At that time, the plan for the next service period is delineated.   The possible actions include:

  • Terminating services and closing the case.
  • Extending IS services for an additional 3 months.
  • Removing the child(ren) from the care of the parents/guardians.
  • Scheduling a Staffing with the first level SSPM
  • Referral for Path 2 Services
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Extended IS Services   If, by the end of the fifth month of services, the social worker assesses that the case plan goals could be achieved with a few more months of services beyond the six months, the social worker writes a memo to the SSPM requesting a 30, 60 or 90 day extension of IS services.  Any request for longer than 90 days requires a written request to the DFCS Deputy Director for approval.
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Terminating IS Services  

Informal Supervision services are terminated when one of the following occurs:

  • The case plan objectives have been achieved and the child is no longer endangered.
  • The parent/guardian refuses continued services, and there is no present endangerment to the child.
  • The child reaches the age of 18.
  • The whereabouts of the child and/or family become unknown, and all efforts to locate have been unsuccessful.
    • If, at the point the family's whereabouts becomes unknown, the IS social worker had raised concerns about the child's safety, the IS social worker consults with the unit supervisor to discuss the possible filing of a protective custody warrant.
     
  • The child dies of causes not related to child abuse, with additional siblings in the home.
  • The maximum time allowed by State regulations is completed.
    • If the situation has not been ameliorated after nine months of services, schedule a Joint Case Staffing for consultation and recommendations.
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Closing an IS Case  

In preparing the case for closing, the social worker:

  • Documents in his/her final CWS/CMS Contact Note:
    • The itemized reason(s) why the family came to the attention of the child welfare system.
    • The services offered and the level of the parent's participation in services.
    • An assessment as to whether the services have been successful in stabilizing the family's situation.
  • Completes a CAT - Case Closure Assessment Tool.
  • Enters information into CWS/CMS for pending approval.
  • Submits the case to the supervisor for review and final CWS/CMS closing approval.


The social work supervisor:

  • Reviews the CWS/CMS case record and the case file to ensure that the risk level to the child is low and that all necessary contacts and documentation is completed.
  • Documents in the CWS/CMS Closure Statement that the case was reviewed and a summary of the results.
  • Approves End Case request in CWS/CMS, if appropriate, or returns the case to the social worker for corrective action.
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Other References  
PDF Other Reference Text goes here...
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