DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 8: Juvenile Court Hearings and Reports
8-15.1 Requests for Modification of a Previously Dismissed Legal Guardianship
Juvenile Court Hearings and Reports
8-15.1 Requests for Modification of a Previously Dismissed Legal Guardianship
Reference Points
Overview
Who May Request to Modify a Guardianship of a Former Dependent Child
Possible Outcomes of a Request to Modify a Guardianship of a Former Dependent Child
Procedures for Filing and Investigating a Request to Modify a Guardianship of a Former Dependent Child
Policies and Procedures Related to the Assessment in Response to a Request to Modify a Guardianship
Review of the Previous Circumstances that Led to the Guardianship
Assessing the Current Guardianship
Assessing the Current Circumstances of the Parents
Non-petitioning Parent
Assessment of a Relative or Non-Relative Extended Family Member for Placement of the Child
When the Child Remains with the Guardian and Dependency is Reinstated with Permanency Planning Services
Case Plans for Cases in which Dependency is Reinstated on a Previously Dismissed Guardianship
Preparing the Case for Closing or Transfer to a Continuing Services Bureau
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: TBA
Last Updated: 5/5/09
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC)§ 366.3(b)
Popup Window WIC § 388
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word

Health and Education Questionnaire (JV225)

MS Word Placement/ Address Change Form (SCZ 17)
MS Word

SOC-815-817-818 Combined for California Relative/NREFM Approvals and Updates

MS Word English

MS Word Spanish

MS Word English with Vietnamese - Caregiver Acknowledgement

      and Agreement

    PDF Caregiver Declaration and Agreement - Vietnamese (SOC 818)

MS Word Transfer Case Summary Form (SCZ 409)
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Client Management Section:  Client Notebook
bullet Client Management Section:  Collateral Notebook
bullet Case Management Section: Case Plan
bullet CAT - Continuing Services Tool
bullet CAT - Placement Tool
bullet Services Management Section: Health and Education Notebooks
bullet Service Management Section: Contacts


Overview  

A guardianship that was established in juvenile dependency court may be modified when requested by the legal guardians, the parents, the child, or an interested party in the community if there are substantial changed circumstances and the modification would be in the best interest of the child. The request for a guardianship modification begins with the filing of a Request to Change a Court Order (JV 180) with the juvenile dependency court clerk, pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 388. 

For procedures on modifying a guardianship to change the plan for the child from guardianship to adoption, see OPP Chapter 11-10: Guardianship to Adoption.

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Who May Request Modification of a Legal Guardianship of a Former Dependent Child  

Because the child is no longer in the dependency system, a Request to Change Court Order (JV-180) to modify a guardianship of a former dependent child is usually filed by the parent, guardian, or child.  However, anyone in the community with an interest in the child may file a request to modify a guardianship.

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Possible Modifications to a Guardianship that May Be Requested  

When a Request to Change Court Order (JV-180) is filed to modify a guardianship of a former dependent child, it may include:

  • A request to set aside a guardianship by the guardian and to remove the child from the guardian's home.
  • A request by the parent to have the guardianship set aside and have the child to return to the care of the parent.

  • A request by the guardian or parent to modify visitation orders between the child and parent .
  • A request by the guardian to reinstate dependency so that the child may receive services under supervision of the Department of Family and Children's Services while remaining with the guardians.
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Procedures for Filing and Investigating a Request to Modify a Previously Dismissed Legal Guardianship  

Procedures for modification of a guardianship of a former dependent child are as follows:

  • The Request to Change a Court Order (JV-180) is filed at the juvenile court clerk’s office, usually by the parent, guardian, or child.


  • The clerk forwards the JV-180 to the judge for review.

  • The Judge decides whether to set the matter for a Hearing, based on the merits of the information in the JV-180.
    • The court orders the DFCS to prepare a report for the courts' consideration that includes an evaluation of whether the child could safely remain in or be returned to the legal guardians' home without terminating the legal guardianship.

  • If a 388 Petition Hearing is set by the court, the county clerk notices all parties.
    • If the court declines to hear the matter, nothing is forwarded to DFCS.

  • County Counsel receives the file from the juvenile court clerk’s office.


  • County Counsel appears at the first scheduled hearing, usually scheduled 10 days after the court's review of the petition.
    • Counsel is appointed at this hearing and the matter is continued, usually for 45 days to allow for a social worker assessment.
    • Relevant temporary orders may be made at this hearing, e.g., ordering the child to remain with the guardians; ordering the parents to have no contact, etc.
    • If there has been or there is a risk of serious risk of abuse/neglect, a referral is made to the Child Abuse and Neglect Center (CANC)and the matter is diverted to the Dependent Intake unit.

  • County Counsel forwards the file to the Court Services supervisor who reviews the file and gives it to DI clerical.

  • DI clerical opens a case in CWS/CMS.
    • A referral is not created for these cases.
    • An SCZ17 is not initially submitted to the Placement Tracking Team for these cases since the child remains with the guardian(s).



    If. . then..
    there is no open connected case or the dependency case was not closed within the past six (6) months the matter is put on the DI case assignment sheet for assignment in the regular DI rotation.
    there is an open case on a sibling or if the dependency case was closed within the past 6 months the file is given to the Court Services supervisor who forwards the file to the social work supervisor of the social worker of the sibling(s) or worker who closed the case within the past 6 months.  That supervisor assigns the case to his or her worker.
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Policies and Procedures Involved in Reopened Cases of Previously Dismissed Guardianships  
  • If the Court sets a 388 Hearing on the Request to Change a Court Order (JV-180), the Department of Family and Children's Services prepares a 388 Hearing Report with recommendations in response to the JV-180.

  • After the case is opened in CWS/CMS, the assigned social worker must complete monthly contacts.
  • If recommending an out-of-home placement, the social worker:
    • Schedules a Team Decision Making Meeting (TDM) to address placement issues prior to the 388 Hearing at which placement is recommended.
    • See OPP Chapter 13-8: Team Decision Making Meetings.

    • Completes a CAT Placement Tool to assess the suitability of the out-of-home placement.
      • The social worker must determine if there are any relatives/NREFMs for possible placement of the child.


    • Completes a a Relative/Non-relative Extended Family Member (NREFM) Home Approval prior to the 388 Hearing if:

      • The child is expected to remain in the home of the guardian or
      • The child is expected to move from the guardian home to placement with a relative or NREFM.
        • A home approval is not necessary if the relative or NREFM has a current county foster care license.
     
    • Addresses educational rights in the 388 Hearing Report.

  • If the recommendation is to reinstate dependency and offer services to the child or family, the social worker preparing the 388 Hearing Report also develops the case plan, which is attached to the court report.

 

  • After a dispositional hearing in which dependency is reinstated and the child is placed in out-of-home care, the social worker:
    • Submits a Placement/Address Change Form (SCZ17) to the Placement Tracking Team.
    • Prepares and gives the Health and Education Passport (HEP) Binder to the substitute care provider.
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Review of the Previous Circumstances that Led to the Guardianship  

The social worker begins the assessment of the situation by reviewing the circumstances that led to the guardianship.  This is accomplished by reviewing the case file and interviewing the parties to the petition.  The assessment includes the facts about how and why the child became a dependent child of the court before the guardianship was established.

  • What was the history of the family's circumstances that caused the court to order the guardianship?
    • What is the legal history?
    • What were the allegations in the sustained 300 petition?
    • When was the dependency established?
    • What were the dates of the reunification plans and the positive and negative results of each plan?
    • What were the prior significant court orders and the dates of the orders?
    • What was the child's placement history?
    • Why did the parent not successfully reunify with the child?
    • Why was guardianship selected as the permanent plan?
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Assessing the Current Guardianship  

After determining the reasons for the request of modification of the guardianship, the social worker must address any allegations made against the child, guardian, or parent included in the JV-180.  Besides a response to any allegations, the assessment also addresses:

  • How long the child has lived with the guardians?
  • What is the child's adjustment in the guardians' home?
    • How does the child feel about the guardians?
    • What are the indicators of attachment?

  • How does the child feel about leaving the home of the guardian?
    • If the request is for modification of visitation orders, how does the child feel about the requested change in visitation arrangements.
  • What is the status of the child's health, education, development, and mental health.
    • Gather enough information to complete the Health and Education Passport and to present the information in the court report.  
    • Who holds educational rights?
      • Can the parents assume educational rights?
      • Can a new educational representative be identified if the child is placed out-of-home and the parents cannot assume educational rights?



If the JV-180 was filed by the guardians to set aside the guardianship:

  • What steps have been taken or services used by the guardians to ameliorate problems that may have led to the request for the guardianship to be set aside?

 


If the JV-180 was filed by the parent(s) to set aside the guardianship and have the child returned to the parent(s):

  • What is the legal guardian's position about the request?

  • Have the guardians taken any legal action to oppose the set aside of their guardianship?

  • How does the child feel about the parent(s)?

  • If applicable, how does the child feel about returning to the home of the parent(s)?

  • What is the guardians' relationship with the parents and why is it the way that it is?
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Assessing the Current Circumstances of the Parents  

As part of the assessment of a request to modify a guardianship, the social worker gathers information regarding the current circumstances of the parents.  An assessment must be made of possibility of the child's return to the parent(s), if the guardianship is to be set aside.  If either of the parent's whereabouts is unknown, the social worker must begin a search to locate the parent(s), and a Due Diligence Search must be submitted for a 366.26 Hearing, if a 366.26 Hearing will be scheduled.

If the JV-180 was filed by the parent requesting that the child to be returned to the parent or if it appears that it will be recommended that the guardianship be set aside and the child returned to the parent(s), a more detailed assessment of the circumstances of the parent(s) is necessary.  That assessment includes information regarding:

  • The relationship that exists between the parent and the child.
    • What contact has the parent had with the child since the guardianship was established.
     
  • Whether the parent(s) have overcome the problems which led to the removal of the child from the parents.
    • The parent must show that he or she has overcome all of the previous difficulties and has led a stable, productive life for a period of time prior to the petition to set aside the legal guardianship and have the child returned to the care of the parent(s).


  • Whether the residence of the parent(s) a safe and suitable environment.
    • The social worker may use the SOC 817 to guide an assessment of the home.
    • What would be the sleeping arrangements for the child if returned?

  •  
  • The current household composition of the parent(s).
    • Are there siblings and where do they live?
      • What is the child's relationship with his/her siblings?
    • Do the siblings have a child welfare history?
    • Do the siblings have any special needs or behavioral challenges that could affect the success of the minor's return to the parent(s)?


  • The ability of the parent(s) to care for any children presently living in the household and to care for the child if returned to the petitioner, including the parent's:
    • Employment history
    • Criminal record history
      • A criminal history check must also be requested for all persons living in the home 18 or over.
        • Get permission from each person to run a criminal background check on the individual.
    • Child abuse record check.

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Non-petitioning Parent  

If only one parent is petitioning to modify the guardianship, to the extent possible, the social worker must complete an assessment of the other parent.  That assessment includes:  

  • The whereabouts of the non-petitioning parent.
  • The parent's involvement with the child.
  • Whether that parent has overcome the problems which led to the guardianship being established by the court.

If the non-petitioning parent lives in separate housing from the petitioner, and if said child is expected to spend any time in the non-petitioning parent's home:

  • List the non-petitioning parent's employment, marital, and non/marital relationships.
  • Secure criminal background checks and child abuse index reports for the parent and all others in the household 18 years or over.
  • Identify any problems of the others in the home which might impinge upon the safety or well-being of the child in the home.
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Assessment of a Relative or Non-Relative Extended Family Member for Placement of the Child  

The social worker inquires as to possible relative/NREFM placements for a child who cannot be returned to the care of the parent(s). If it appears that a recommendation will be made for the guardianship to be set aside and the child placed in the home of a relative or non-relative extended family member (NREFM), a Relative/NREFM Home Approval is completed during the assessment period and before the child is placed in the home.

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When the Child Remains with the Guardian and Dependency is Reinstated with Permanency Planning Services   When a request by the guardians for a guardianship set-aside is denied and dependency is reinstated or if a guardian requests that the child remain in the guardian home but that dependency be reinstated, in order for financial assistance to the guardian to continue, there must be a current relative/NREFM approval or the guardians must be county licensed foster parents.  Consult with the Placement Unit Supervisor for procedures for completing the Placement/Address Change Form (SCZ 17) in these cases.
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Case Plans for Cases in which Dependency is Reinstated on a Previously Dismissed Guardianship   Case plans must be completed within 30 days after the opening of a guardianship modification case if the recommendation is for dependency to be reinstated for the child and for the child or family to receive child welfare services under supervision of the Department of Family and Children's Services.   The social worker completing the 388 Hearing Report develops the case plan, has it signed by the child, and parents if applicable, has it approved by the supervisor, and attaches it to the court report. The CAT Continuing Services Tool is completed in conjunction with the case plan.
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Preparing the Case for Closing or Transfer to Continuing Service Bureau  

Upon receipt of the final court orders of the 388 Hearing:

If.. then the social worker..
  • the guardianship modification is denied and
  • the child remains with the guardians without further services
  • Completes a CAT - Closing Summary.
  • Submits the case to the social work supervisor for closing in CWS/CMS.
  • the guardianship is set aside and
  • the child is returned to the parent(s) with no services
  • Completes a CAT - Closing Summary.
  • Submits the case to the social work supervisor for closing in CWS/CMS.
  • the guardianship is set aside and the child is returned to the parent with Family Maintenance services or
  • the guardianship is set aside and the child is placed in out-of-home care

For DI and Continuing social workers:

  • Complete an SCZ 17
  • Change the Services Component in CWS/CMS to Family Maintenance or Permanency Planning, whichever applies.
  • Assure that the substitute caregiver has been given the HEP Binder.



For DI only:

  • Completes a Purple Transfer Sheet.
  • Transfer Case Summary Form (SCZ 409)
  • Submits the case to the social work supervisor for transfer to a Continuing unit.
  • a change in visitation has been ordered or
  • a request for a change in visitation has been denied

 

  • Completes a CAT - Closing Summary.
  • Submits the case to the social work supervisor for closing in CWS/CMS.

 

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Other References  
bullet2 OPP Chapter 4-1: Initial Case Plan
bullet2 OPP Chapter 11-10: Guardianship to Adoption
bullet2 OPP Chapter 13-8: Team Decision Making Meetings
bullet2 OPP Chapter 15-1: Health and Education Passport
bullet2 OPP Chapter 8-15.2: Writing the Court Report for Requests for Set-Asides of Guardianships of Former Dependent Children
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