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  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 7: Relative Home Approvals
7-2  Relative Home Approval (RHA) Procedures

 

Relative Home Approvals
7-2  Relative Home Approval (RHA) Procedures
Reference Points
Overview
Relative Home Approval Process Checklist
Mandated State Forms
Collecting Initial Information
Criminal Background Checks
Child Abuse Record Checks
Conducting a Home Inspection
Caregiver and Child Orientation
Assessing the Relative
Placing a Child in An Approved Home
Home Approved But Not Recommended for Placement
Home Not Assessed or Approved
Changes in the Relative/NREFM Home After the Initial Approval
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: In effect
Last Updated: 9/19/12
 Legal Basis:
PDF California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policy and Procedures, Section 31-406
PDF All County Letter 07-54:The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006
PDF Community Care Licensing (CCL) Evaluator Manual - Background Checks
Popup Window Welfare and Institution Code 362.05  (prudent parent standard)
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Agency-Relative/Non-Relative Extended Family Member Placement Agreement (SOC156R)
bullet Caregiver Approval Process Summary/Checklist (SCZ200)
bullet Caregiver Information Sheet (SCZ200A)
bullet Checklist of Health and Safety Standards for Approval of Family Caregiver Home (SOC817)
MS Word

Emergency Plan for Foster Family Homes (LIC610B)

bullet

Out-of-State Disclosure & Criminal Record Statement (LIC 508 D)

•   LIC 508 D (Spanish)

•   LIC 508 D (Vietnamese)

bullet Denial of Caregiver Home Approval Letter (SCZ200Q)
bullet

Important Information for Caregivers (SCZ200J)

•   SCZ200J / Spanish

•   SCZ200J / Vietnamese

bullet SOC-815-817-818 Combined
 

•  SOC-815-817-817 Combined /Spanish - 817-818

•  SOC-815-817-818 Combined / Vietnamese - Caregiver 

    Acknowledgement and Agreement

    • Caregiver Declaration and Agreement - Vietnamese (SOC 818)

bullet Verification of Non-Relative Extended Family Member (SCZ200B)
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Approval of Caregiver Home (SOC 815)
bullet Checklist of Health and Safety Standards (SOC 817)
bullet Caregiver Assessment - Declaration and Agreement (SOC 818)


Overview  

Before placing a child with a relative or non-relative extended family member (NREFM), social workers assess the placement in order to approve the home. Procedures for completing a Relative Home Approval include criminal and child abuse referral background checks, a home inspection, and an assessment of the relative's or extended family member's ability to provide care for a child. DFCS and State forms have been developed to assist social workers with the process and to ensure standardization of procedures. Relative and NREFM homes must meet the same standards for approval that foster homes must meet to be licensed.

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Relative Home Approval Process Checklist   The Caregiver Approval Process Summary/Checklist (SCZ200) is an optional form that social workers may use to track the relative home approval process.  The form lists 16 items that lead to the completion of the approval of the relative or NREFM home.
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Mandated State Forms  

To complete a full relative or NREFM home approval, the social worker prints out a copy of the SOC-815-817-818 Combined, a packet which includes the mandated State forms S0C 815, 817 and 818. Once completed, the social worker submits copies of the SOC forms to the DFCS Placement Tracking Team (PTT) who inputs the information gathered on the forms into CWS/CMS.

For detailed information regarding forms, see OPP Chapter 7-3: Completing the SOC Forms.

For completion of a temporary, emergency relative or NREFM home approval, see OPP Chapter 7-2.1: Temporary, Emergency  Approval Procedures for Relative/NREFM Homes.

 

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Collecting Initial Information  

Upon learning of a relative or NREFM who is interested in having a child placed in his/her home, the social worker has the relative or NREFM complete the following forms:

  • Caregiver Information Sheet (SCZ200A)
    • This form provides demographic information about the prospective caregiver and the household composition.
  • Verification of Non-Relative Extended Family Member (SCZ200B)
    • If the prospective caregiver is not related to the child but has a familial or mentoring relationship, the prospective caregiver completes this form, after the social worker has verified that a relationship exists.
     
  • Out-of-State Disclosure & Criminal Record Statement (LIC 508 D)
  •  

    • Before approving a relative or NREFM home, an Out-of-State Disclosure & Criminal Record Statement (LIC 508D) must be signed by:
      • Relatives and NREFMs requesting approval and placement of a child.
      • All other persons age 18 years or older who reside in the home.
    • Before placing a child in an approved relative or NREFM home, a LIC 508D must be signed and criminal and child abuse background checks must be obtained on the following persons: 
      • Other persons age 18 years or older (other than professionals providing services to the child) known to the social worker to have routine/significant contact with the child, including any person who has a familial or intimate relationship with any person living in the home.
      • Any persons 14 years old or older living in the home who the social worker believes may have a criminal record
        • Criminal and child abuse record check information concerning the above two categories of individuals is recorded in CWS/CMS Contacts in the child's case.  The information does not need to be entered on the SOC 815 form.
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Criminal Background Checks  

All persons needing clearance for the home approval and placement of a child must undergo a criminal background check to verify that they do not have a criminal history. The social worker completes this process by requesting a California Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) Criminal Background Check for each individual followed by having the individual submit to Live Scan Fingerprinting within ten (10) days after the CLETS is requested.

If a person is found to have:

  • Arrest(s)-only with no disposition, an investigation may be necessary. 
    • Depending upon findings of the investigation, a Director's Exemption or, if the person meets the criteria, a Simplified Exemption is necessary to approve the home. 
      • Convictions for state non-exemptible crimes, federal non-exemptible crimes, and federal five-year ban crimes are not exemptible.
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Child Abuse Record Checks  

All persons needing clearance for a home approval and placement of a child must undergo a child abuse record check to verify that they do not have a history of perpetrating child abuse or neglect.  Child abuse and neglect records must be checked within the state of California and, if any adult in the household resided outside of California within the 5 years previous to the initiation of the home approval, the social worker must check the child abuse and neglect registry of each state in which the adult resided, if the state(s) maintains a registry.  For individuals with a record of child abuse or neglect referrals, a Child Abuse and Neglect Record Review is required.

See:

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Conducting a Home Inspection  

The social worker conducts a home inspection to assess the safety of the home, using the Checklist of Health and Safety Standards for Approval of Family Caregiver Home (SOC817). If the social worker identifies conditions that do not meet the Foster Family Home Standards, the deficiencies are discussed with the prospective caregiver. The social worker develops an Alternative or Corrective Action Plan, if the deficiencies can be corrected through either of those means. A child may not be placed in the home until all immediate impact deficiencies are corrected.  A home cannot be approved or reapproved, until any developed Corrective Action Plan has been completed, correcting all identified deficiencies.

The social worker documents, in contacts in CWS/CMS, the home visit, topics discussed, information given, and actions taken.

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Caregiver and Child Orientation  

As part of the home approval process, the social worker initiates caregiver orientation and training by providing copies of and discussing with the caregiver materials and information included in the Orientation/Training Packet for Relatives and Non-Relative Family Members.  Packets are prepared by clerical staff and may be found on each floor of the Department.  Each packet includes documents and information, among which are:

  • Important Information for Caregivers (SCZ 200J)
    • This pamphlet includes the reasonable and prudent parent standard, child's rights, and expectations of the caregiver that correspond to foster care licensing regulations.

  • You Have Rights Too (brochure) and the Foster Youth Rights (poster)

  • A Caregiver Information Sheet (SCZ 200A)
    • This sheet provides information regarding extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities and the reasonable and prudent parent standard.
      • In allowing for caregiver discretion in allowing the child to participate in activities outside the home, the law (WIC § 362.05) uses the "reasonable and prudent parent standard" characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the child's health, safety, and best interest.
    • See Agency Memorandum #12:10: Discussing "Leaving Children Unsupervised" during Caregiver Orientation.


  • Information about financial assistance.
  • Information about working with the juvenile court and community resources.

  • The Child Abuse pamphlet issued by the California Attorney General concerning child abuse reporting responsibilities.

  • Emergency Plan for Foster Family Homes (LIC610B)
    • Review the requirement that the emergency procedures be practiced every six months.
  • Kinship - Tradition of Caring training
    • Social workers encourage caregivers to attend the Kinship-Tradition of Caring training which provides useful information to help caregivers navigate through the juvenile court dependency process, to understand the experience of the child who has been removed from his/her parents, and to find supportive resources for themselves and the child(ren) in their care.
    • Newly approved relative and NREFM caregivers with a child placed in the home are automatically enrolled in this training.  The caregiver may call 299-KIDS to reschedule or decline the training opportunity.

  • EMQ Child and Adolescent Mobile Crisis pamphlet
    • This pamphlet informs the caregiver about services for crisis counseling and suicide prevention.




At the time a child is placed in the home, the social worker:

  • Provides the caregiver with a copy of the Individual Client Responsibilities and the Visitation Schedule from the child's case plan or, if applicable, a copy of the child's Transitional Independent Living Plan.

  • Provides the child with copies of the You Have Rights Too brochure and the Foster Youth Rights poster and reviews the contents of the material with the child.

  • Advises the relative caregiver to apply immediately for CalWORKs financial assistance , pending a determination as to whether the child qualifies for federal foster care funding.
    • NREFMs cannot receive CalWORKs assistance and always receive federal foster care or county funding.

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Assessing the Relative  

After completing the Caregiver Orientation and Training and ensuring that the caregiver understands the reasonable and prudent parent standard and expectation of the caregiver, the social worker moves to the last part of the home assessment. Using the Relative or Non-Relative Extended Family Member Caregiver Assessment (SOC 818), the social worker reviews nineteen questions with the relative or NREFM to determine the prospective caregiver's understanding of the requirements for having a child placed in the caregiver's home. These questions cover topics that include a review of the State home approval regulations and the level of care and supervision that must be provided the child.  The caregiver signs the form to indicate that he/she agrees to all requirements.

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Placing a Child in an Approved Home  

Before actually placing a child in an approved relative home, Out-of-State Disclosure and Criminal Record Statements (LIC508d) must be signed by the following persons and criminal and child abuse background checks must be obtained on them. 

  • Persons age 18 years or older (other than professionals providing services to the child) known to the social worker to have significant contact with the child, including any person who has a familial or intimate relationship with any person living in the home.
  • Any persons 14 years old or older living in the home who the social worker believes may have a criminal record.
    • Criminal and child abuse record check information concerning these persons is recorded in CWS/CMS Contacts in the child's case.  The information does not need to be entered on the SOC 815 form. 

Upon placement of a child in the home, the social worker completes and signs with the caregiver, the Agency-Relative/Non-Relative Extended Family Member Placement Agreement (SOC156R). The caregiver is given a copy of the Agreement.
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Home Approved But Not Recommended for Placement  

If the home is approved but not recommended for placement, the social worker completes the Approval of Family Caregiver Home (SOC 815) and submits it to the supervisor for the supervisor's approval. The SOC 815, 817 and 818 are filed in the case file under the Placement section. The social worker notifies the caregiver of the approval and discusses the reason for not recommending placement of the child in the home.

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Home Not Assessed or Approved   If the home is not approved, the caregiver is notified of the denial of approval through a Notice of Action-Denial of Home Assessment/Approval (NA1271). The caregiver has a right to a State Hearing, if the approval is denied. Please refer to OPP Chapter 7-9 Denial of Relative/NREFM Assessment or Approval Procedures for State Hearings.
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Changes in the Relative/NREFM Home After the Initial Approval  

Any time there is a change in the home environment or circumstance of the relative or NREFM, an approval update must be completed.  This includes:

  • A change in residence.
    • Any change in the caregiver’s residence or mailing address is to be reported within 48 hours following the change.
  • A new adult moving into the home.
    • Any new people moving into the home requires immediate notification to and background clearance by the social worker.
  • A new child moving into the home.
  • A new adult not living in the home, other than a professional providing therapeutic counseling, begins to have significant contact with the child.

See OPP Chapter 7-6: Annual Reassessments and Updating Changes.

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Other References  
bullet2 OPP Chapter 7-3: Completing the SOC Forms
bullet2 OPP Chapter 7-2.1: Temporary, Emergency  Approval Procedures for Relative/NREFM Homes
bullet2 OPP Chapter 7-6: Annual Reassessments and Updating Changes
bullet2 OPP Chapter 7-12: Child Abuse Record Check
PDF OPP Chapter 7-9: Denial of Relative/NREFM Assessment or Approval Procedures for State Hearing
bullet2 OPP Chapter 7-14: Child Abuse and Neglect Record Review.
Popup Window2 You Have Rights Too (brochure) and the Foster Youth Rights (poster)
Popup Window2 Child Abuse pamphlet
MS Word Caregiver Information Sheet-Prudent Parent
doc2 Agency Memorandum #12:10: Discussing "Leaving Children Unsupervised" during Caregiver Orientation
MS Word Search Child Abuse Records on the Child Welfare/Case Management System (CWS/CMS)
MS Word Printing - Client Responsibility Sheet
MS Word Printing - Transitional ILP Documents
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