DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 7: Relative Home Approvals
7-4  Alternative Plans and Corrective Action Plans
Relative Home Approvals
7-4  Alternative Plans and Corrective Action Plans
Reference Points
Overview
Definitions
Examples of Immediate Impact Deficiencies
Examples of Potential Impact Deficiencies
When a Deficieny Is Identified
Alternative Plan Guidelines
Corrective Action Guidelines
Timeframe for Corrections
Verifying Compliance with a CAP
Documenting the DAP and CAP on SOC Forms
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: TBA
Last Updated: 01/28/05
 Legal Basis:
PDF

California Code of Regulations: Foster Homes

Title 22, Division 6, Chapter 9.5

PDF CDSS All county Letter (ACL) No. 04-02: Periodic Reassessment of Relative and NREFM Providers
PDF CDSS ACL No. 02-78: Assessment of Relatives and NREFMs for Approval as Foster Care Providers: Plans of Correction
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet

Checklist of Health and Safety Standards (SOC 817)

  MS Word SOC 817 / English
  MS Word SOC 817 / Spanish
bullet Alternative Plan (SCZ 200K)
 

MS Word SCZ 200K / English

  MS Word SCZ 200K / Spanish
bullet Corrective Action Plan (SCZ200L)
  MS Word SCZ200L / English
 

MS Word SCZ200L / Spanish



Overview  

During the inspection of the relative's or non-relative extended family member's (NREFM's) home, the social worker may identify a situation that does not meet the health and safety guidelines as specified on the Checklist of Health and Safety Standards (SOC 817).  If the deficiencies are correctable, the two methods to document the process for bringing the home into compliance are an Alternative Plan, also referred to as a Documented Alternative Plan (DAP), and/or a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). The difference between the two is that a DAP is permitted to be used with some situations, while a CAP is required to be used with other situations, when the home is not in compliance.

The social worker has the responsibility to determine the length of time, within 30 days, in which a correction must be made by the caregiver. The worker is also responsible to provide reasonable assistance to the caregiver in meeting the required standard. Failure to comply results in ineligibility for or loss of foster care funding for the caregiver and, if a foster child is in the home, the possibility that the child will be removed from the home.

California Assembly Bill 1695 mandates that the standards used to evaluate and grant or deny approval of a relative or NREFM home shall be the same as the core standards for licensing foster family homes. This includes the use of Documented Alternative Plans and Corrective Action Plans as specified in the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Division 6, Chapter 9.5, Article 3.

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Definitions  

Alternative Plan

An “Alternative Plan”, also referred to as a “Documented Alternative Plan (DAP)”, is a written authorization for a caregiver to use an alternative arrangement, based on a unique need or circumstance specific to a child being considered for placement. The Alternative Plan is used to meet the intent of a specific standard, as permitted in the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Division 6, Chapter 9.5, Article 3.

Corrective Action Plan

A “Corrective Action Plan (CAP)” is a written plan developed with the caregiver to correct a deficiency in a specific standard, as required by the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, Division 6, Chapter 9.5, Article 3.

Immediate Impact Deficiencies

“Immediate impact deficiencies” are deficiencies that, if not corrected, would have a direct and immediate risk to the health, safety or personal rights of the child. Social workers must ensure that caregivers immediately correct the deficiencies, if a child is in placement with the caregiver. If the child has not been placed with the caregiver, the correction must take place prior to placement. If placement is imminent, the correction should be accomplished in twenty-four (24) hours or less.

Potential Impact Deficiencies

“Potential impact deficiencies” are deficiencies that, without correction, could become a risk to the health, safety or personal rights of the child.

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Examples of Immediate Impact Deficiencies  

An immediate impact deficiency must be corrected before the child can be initially placed in the caregiver's home. Examples of immediate impact deficiencies include:

  • Health Related:
    • Unlocked medications
    • Inappropriate storage of medications

  • Food Service:
    • Food contaminated with mold, fungus or bacteria
    • Bloated or ruptured canned foods
    • Infestation of insects or vermin
    • Unsanitary conditions in food preparation areas that present an immediate health hazard
    • Storing of food next to or with toxic substances
     
  • Building and Grounds:
    • No fence or approved cover for bodies of water
    • Broken stair or stair railings
    • Poisons, toxic substances, firearms in areas accessible to children
    • Unlit stairwells used by children
     
  • Fixtures, Furniture, Equipment, and Supplies:
    • Unlocked gun
    • Toilet not in working condition
    • Garbage accessible to children
    • Unsafe fireplace or heaters that are in use
    • Unsafe water temperature
    • Condition of bedding or towels is unsanitary
    • Broken furniture that could cause injury if used
     
  • Criminal Record Clearance and Child Abuse Index Check:
    • Failure to obtain results for individuals who are not household members but who have frequent and routine contact with the child in care.

For reassessment of the caregiver home, examples of deficiencies include all of the above, as well as:

  • Personal Rights:
    • Abuse
    • Neglect
    • Inappropriate use of restraints
    • The use of corporal punishments
    • Similar violations having a direct negative impact on either the physical or emotional well being of the child in care.
     
  • Health Related Services:
    • Storing mislabeled, unlabeled, outdated, or discontinued medications
    • Failure to ensure that needed medical care is provided to those in care.
       
  • Food Service:
    • Failure to maintain enough food to meet the needs of the child for the next 24 hours.
       
  • Care and Supervision:
    • The child requires a level of care that the caregiver cannot meet without the provision of additional supports or services.
     
  • Supplies:
    • Failure to maintain enough basic hygiene items to meet the needs of the child.
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Examples of Potential Impact Deficiencies  

Examples of potential impact deficiencies include:

  • Food Service:
    • Failure to clean dishes and utensils
     
  • Buildings and Grounds:
    • Conditions that may have a negative impact on the child in care if not corrected, such as multiple conditions that indicate an overall deterioration of the home
    • Widespread neglect of maintenance
    • Unsanitary living and food preparation areas
     
  • Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment, and Supplies:
    • Consider furnishings as deficient only when they are clearly damaged to the extent that they are not functional (e.g., a tear in the seat of the chair is acceptable; exposed springs is not)
    • No operable sink or shower
    • Inadequate linens

For reassessment of the caregiver's home, the deficiencies include all of the above, as well as:

  • Reporting Requirements:
    • Failure to notify the DFCS regarding incidents of abuse, neglect, death, injury, etc.
    • Failure to maintain the child's records as required
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When a Deficiency Is Identified  

The social worker uses the Checklist of Health and Safety Standards (SOC 817) when assessing or reassessing a caregiver's home. If the social worker observes a condition in the caregiver home that does not meet the required standards, the social worker:

  • Identifies the Foster Care Home Standard that the condition does not meet.
  • Discusses each deficiency with the caregiver, citing the actual requirement.
  • Develops either an Alternative Plan and/or Corrective Action Plan.
    • The Checklist of Health and Safety Standards (SOC 817) indicates which standards permit or do not permit remedy through an Alternative Plan. Those standards that do not permit remedy through an Alternative Plan must be remedied through a Corrective Action Plan.

A caregiver cannot be approved or re-approved until conditions outlined in the Corrective Action Plan are met.

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Alternative Plan Guidelines  

Alternative Plans are only permitted to resolve deficiencies 1(a) through (i) and 2 on the Checklist of Health and Safety Standards (SOC 817). Deficiencies on items 3 through 16 on the Checklist must be resolved through a Corrective Action Plan.

The social worker develops an Alternative Plan (SCZ 200K) as a written authorization for a foster family home to use as an alternative in limited circumstances. The plan is based upon a unique need or circumstance specific to the child being considered for placement and in order to meet the intent of a specified standard. The Alternative Plan includes:

  • The standard for which the alternative is recommended
  • The written alternative plan
  • Signature of caregiver and social worker
  • Approval by the dated signature of the social work supervisor

The social worker may need to develop an Alternative Plan for an initial assessment.  The worker may also need to develop an Alternative Plan, when conditions in the home change and an Alternative Plan is an appropriate means to satisfy approval standards. If circumstances in the home change between annual reassessments, and an Alternative Plan is the means to satisfy approval standards, the social worker immediately develops the Alternative Plan with the caregiver and documents the plan on form SCZ 200K. The social worker does not wait until the next reassessment to develop the Alternative Plan.

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Corrective Action Guidelines  

Any situation that does not meet standards 3 through 16 on the Checklist of Health and Safety Standards (SOC 817) requires a CAP. When the social worker determines that a deficiency exists in one of these areas, the social worker discusses each deficiency with the caregiver and then develops a Corrective Action Plan (SCZ 200L) with the caregiver.  A CAP must be developed for each deficiency. The CAP describes the actions that the caregiver must take to bring the home into compliance with licensing/approval standards.

If the deficit is not able to be corrected during the visit, then the social worker completes a CAP in writing and provides a copy to the caregiver. The CAP includes:

  • Citation of the regulation section that is violated
  • Description of the deficiency
  • Actions to be taken by the caregiver and the assistance to be provided by the County
  • The date by which each deficiency must be corrected (must be within 30 days, unless the worker determines that the deficiency cannot be corrected within 30 days)
  • The phone number of the social worker responsible for approving the home
  • Signature of caregiver and social worker
  • Approval by the dated signature of the social work supervisor

In determining the date for correcting a deficiency, the social worker considers the following:

  • Whether there are children in the home
  • The potential hazard presented by the deficiency
  • The availability of equipment or personnel necessary to correct the deficiency
  • The estimated time necessary for delivery and installation of any necessary equipment

Once a deficiency is identified and a CAP developed, Title 1V-E (foster care) funding is not available to the caregiver until the month in which the corrections are completed and the caregiver's home fully meets the standards. See Eligibility to Receive Financial Assistance.

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Timeframe for Corrections  

When there is a dependent child in the home:

  • If the deficiency is an immediate impact which poses an immediate threat to the health and safety of the child, the social worker requires that the caregiver immediately correct the deficiency.
    • If immediate correction of a deficiency, which presents imminent danger to a child, is not made and verified by the social worker, the child must be removed from the home.
       
  • If the deficiency cited does not present an immediate danger to the child in care, the social worker:
    • Puts a CAP in place.
    • Verifies that the deficiency is corrected within 30 days, so that the AFDC-FC aid can continue uninterrupted.

When placement of a dependent child in the home is imminent:

  • If the deficiency is an immediate impact which poses an immediate threat to the health and safety of the child, the caregiver must make the correction within 24 hours or less and before a placement is made.
    • The caregiver must correct an immediate impact deficiency before the social worker initially places the child in the home.

When there is no dependent child in the home and no immediate plans to place a child in the home:

  • The date for correcting a deficiency shall not be more than 30 calendar days, after the visit, unless the social worker determines that the deficiency cannot be corrected within 30 days. 
  • The social worker determines an appropriate completion date.
  • The social worker must first verify that the cited deficiencies have been corrected prior to placement of a child in the home.
  • Title 1V-E (foster care) funding is not available to the caregiver until the month in which the corrections are completed and the caregiver's home fully meets the standards.

For more information about a CAP, see pages 3-5 of the Checklist of Health and Safety Standards (SOC 8170.

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Verifying Compliance with a CAP  

The social worker verifies that corrections outlined in the CAP are completed within the required timeframes. Verification of the CAP compliance is made by an in-person visit to the home or by the caregiver providing the Department with acceptable documentation that the deficiencies have been corrected.

The social worker enters the CAP completion date on page 2 of the SOC 815 on the line “Plan of Correction completed on.”

When the social worker initiates a CAP during an assessment or reassessment, foster care payments are available for the entire month if:

  • The correction is made in a timely manner.
  • The home meets approval standards for at least a portion of the month.
  • The child is otherwise eligible and has resided in that home for the entire month.

However, if the caregiver does not correct all CAP deficiencies within 30 days of the reassessment due date, the social worker ensures that all state and federal foster care payments are discontinued, until the home meets all of the relative/NREFM approval requirements. The social worker notifies the foster care eligibility worker to discontinue payments.

Caregiver failure to comply with the CAP results in the loss of foster care funding. The social worker consults with his/her supervisor to discuss further options, which includes the possibility of removing the child from the home.

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Documenting the DAP and CAP on SOC Forms  

Instructions for inputting DAP and CAP documentation can be found in the following sections in Chapter 7-3: Completing the SOC Forms:

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Other References  
PDF Deficiencies and Plan of Correction
bullet2 Eligibility to Receive Financial Assistance
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