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Handbook 8: Juvenile Court Hearings and Reports
8-15.2  Writing the Court Report for Modification of a Guardianship for a Previously Dismissed Dependency
Juvenile Court Hearings and Reports

8-15.2  Writing the Court Report for Modification of a Guardianship for a Previously Dismissed Dependency

Reference Points

Overview

DFCS Policy on Court Reports in CWS/CMS

Creating the 388 Petition Hearing Report in CWS/CMS

 

Court Report Contents

 

Attachments

Possible Recommendations for a 388 Hearing

Sample Court Reports



 

Court Report Contents (cont.)

 



Reference Points
Effective Date: TBA
Last Updated: 7/9/09
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC)§ 366.3(b)
Popup Window WIC § 388
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Custody Order - Final Judgment (JV 200)
MS Word Visitation Order (JV205)
MS Word Educational Representative Appointment (JV535)
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet
Client Management Section:  Client Notebook
bullet Client Management Section:  Collateral Notebook
bullet CAT - Continuing Services Tool
bullet CAT - Placement Tool
bullet Court Management Section: Court Reports
bullet Services Management Section: Health and Education Notebooks
bullet Service Management Section: Contacts


Overview  

This chapter is applicable in cases where legal guardianship has been granted and, subsequently, a Request to Change a Court Order (JV 180) has been filed to modify the guardianship orders by the guardian, the parent, the child, or an interested party in the community.

The assessment report is referred to as the "388 Petition Hearing Report" pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 388 .

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DFCS Policy on Court Reports in CWS/CMS   It is the policy of the Department of Family and Children's Services that, except for the Initial Hearing Report, all court reports must be created in CWS/CMS or copied into CWS/CMS prior to the date of the court hearing.  Every court hearing date in CWS/CMS must have a corresponding report.

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Creating the 388 Petition Report in CWS/CMS  

In creating the 388 Petition Report in CWS/CMS, the social worker:

  • Reviews the CWS/CMS case record to ensure that all identifying information is recorded and current.

  • Updates the case record, if necessary.
    • All client Notebooks and collateral entries should be current as this information auto populates sections of the Court Report.

  • Opens the Court Notebook.

  • Selects Generic Report from the Report Type drop down menu options.

  • Enters the wording "388 Petition Report" in the dialog box that asks to Enter the Appropriate Court Report Title.


  • Adds Headings as needed throughout the report.

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Front Page Demographics   On the front page of the report appears the hearing date and the child's name, date of birth, age, sex and petition (court) number.  This information populates from both the Hearing Notebook and Client Notebook/ID pages.  Therefore, the social worker must ensure that the information in CWS/CMS is correct.  The Hearing Time, Dept./Room. and Hearing Type/Subtype must be entered manually by the social worker.

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Summary Recommendations  

Under this section of the report, the social worker includes a brief summary of the recommendations, which includes recommendations for:

  • A finding regarding the granting or denying of the petition.

  • Reinstatement of dependency if recommending that the guardianship be terminated.

  • The return home of the child with or without dependency or

  • Placement in out-of-home care.

  • If applicable:
    • The voluntary or court-ordered service program under which the family and/or child is to DFCS supervision.
    • Any other specific orders.

Example 1:  It is respectfully recommended that the court grant the 388 petition filed on 9/10/08, by Olivia Y., the mother of Maria Y., to terminate Maria's guardianship with the maternal aunt.  It is further recommended that, upon the termination of the guardianship, the court place the child with the mother, Olivia Y. , and dismiss dependency.

Example 2:  The recommendation is that the court grant the petition filed on 3/3/09, by the child's guardian, Josephina P., to terminate the guardianship.  It is further recommended that dependency be reinstated for the child, Isaiah R., with placement of the child in the home of his maternal aunt, Patricia E., and that the child receive permanency planning services from the Department of Family and Children's services under a plan of planned permanent living arrangement.

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Child(ren)'s Whereabouts  

Under this section, the social worker lists the names and addresses of each child named in the report, along with the caregiver's name and address and exact relationship to the child.  If the caregiver's name and/or address is to remain confidential, the social worker indicates this in the report. 

 
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Parents/Legal Guardian  

This information populates from each parent's Client Notebook in CWS/CMS.  The mother and father, including all alleged fathers, should be listed.  If the information does not populate, the social worker must enter it manually and/or update the Client Notebook with any new or missing information.  Accuracy is important in listing names and addresses. When the listed address is inaccurate, there is a question about whether notice for the hearing was correct.

  • If a parent's or guardian's address is confidential, delete the address on the report and enter "Confidential." 
  • If the current address of the parent is unknown, enter the parent's last known address and add "last known" beside the address. 
  • If the identity of a parent is unknown or the parent's address has never been known, enter "never known" in the spaces provided.


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Interpreter   This section appears only if selected in the Interpreter Dialog Box as the report is being created in CWS/CMS.  If applicable, the social worker must manually enter the information as to the primary language of the clients and whether arrangements have been made to secure an interpreter for the hearing.
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Attorneys   Information in this field is populated from the Client Notebook/Attorney Page, if the attorney's name has been entered into the database. If the information does not self-populate, the social worker must enter the data manually into these fields and/or update the Attorney Staff Person Listing in CWS/CMS.  
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Indian Child Welfare Act Status  

To address the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), the social worker:

  • Chooses from the two possible choices in the ICWA Dialog Box that appears as the report is being created in CWS/CMS:
    • The Indian Child Welfare Act does not apply, or
    • The Indian Child Welfare Act does or may apply
     
  • Enters the information documented in previous reports regarding the child's Indian status.
  • If an ICWA finding was made by the court, indicate the finding and the date that the court made the finding.
  • It is not sufficient to only write, "The Indian Child Welfare Act does not apply."
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Legal History  

This section populates from the Court Management Section of CWS/CMS.   The dates come from the hearing in which the Hearing Results pages have been completed and have specific findings and/or orders entered.  If the information does not appear, the social worker manually enters the dates of the initial removal; initial detention order; jurisdiction; disposition; status review hearings; 366.26 Hearing; the date the guardianship was established, and any other significant hearing dates. 


Additional Legal History

Add any additional legal history such as Family Court Orders.

 

Summarize the Child Welfare History under a separate heading.

 

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Reason for Hearing  

Under this section, the social worker states that the matter appears for a 388 Petition Hearing.  A brief history of how the matter got set should be included with a brief explanation of why to petition was filed.  This information may be based on the information in the petition or what is said to the social worker by the petitioner.

Example:  This matter appears for a 388 Petition Hearing pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code § 388.

On or about 4/8/05, the court ordered a plan of guardianship for Derrick L. with his maternal aunt.  Dependency was dismissed on 10/27/05.   On 3/7/07, the aunt filed a Request to Change Court Order (JV-180) requesting that she be relieved as the guardian of Derrick, because she was finding it difficult to manage his behaviors that included his alleged use of illegal drugs.  The court set a hearing on the matter for 3/17/07.  Counsel was appointed at the 3/17/07 hearing, and the case was continued to 4/30/07 to allow time for the Department of Family and Child's Services to conduct an investigation and prepare a report for the court.

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Paternity/Legal Relationships  

Information regarding paternity may be obtained from information under the same heading in previous court reports.  If paternity has not been previously established and the presumed or the alleged father's whereabouts is now known, paternity needs to be addressed in the court report.

If the whereabouts of the parent(s) is unknown, discuss efforts to locate the parent(s). 


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Child Welfare History  Summary  

Discuss the circumstances of the child's dependency and how guardianship was established as the permanent plan.  Include:

  • The allegations that brought the child into the dependency system.
  • Services that were offered to the parents and the parents' ability and willingness to use services.
  • Why the parents did not reunify with the child.
  • The child's placement history.
  • The reason why guardianship became the permanent plan.

See examples in Sample Court Reports.

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Criminal History  

If the recommendation is to return the child(ren) to a parent(s), the social worker provides the results of all requested criminal records on the parent(s).  Enter "No criminal history," if the individual has no criminal record.

  • List under each name, the information regarding criminal convictions, including the date, type and description of the crime. 
  • If there a lot of facts to present,  such as criminal history, the social worker may consider using a grid.

Example:

John Doe (aka James Doe)
Convictions

1/16/2004 misdemeanor HS 11377(a) - Possess Controlled Substance
1/16/2004 felony HS 11350 - Use, under the influence of controlled substance
4/14/2003 misdemeanor PC1320(a) - Failure to Appear
11/25/2002 misdemeanor  PC 243 - Battery



Document, if applicable,:

  • If the parent is incarcerated:
    • Name and location of jail/prison
    • The person's jail or prison number
    • Anticipated release date
  • If the parent is on probation or parole
    • Date probation/parole status expires
    • Name of current probation/parole officer
    • Terms of probation/parole
    • Compliance with the terms of probation/ parole
    • Any drug or alcohol diversion programs that were ordered and compliance with the program.
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Current Circumstances  

The social worker must add this heading.  Under this heading, the social worker discusses the status of the current guardianship using information gathered from the guardian(s), child(ren), and parent(s) during the assessment interviews. 


Statement of Guardians

The social worker must add this subheading to the court report.  This subsection summarizes statements from the guardian including:

  • The guardian's relationship to the child prior to the guardianship.
  • A brief description of the guardian's home.
  • How long the guardianship has been established.
  • The reasons why the guardians are requesting a termination of the guardianship.
  • The steps the guardians have taken to address the problems that resulted in the request to terminate the guardianship.
  • If the parents have filed the request to have the guardianship terminated, the guardian's position about the request.
  • Whether the guardian has taken action to oppose the request.

See examples in Sample Court Reports.

 

Statement of Child

 This subheading must be added to the court report by the social worker.   This section summarizes statements from the child regarding:

  • How does the child feel about the guardian?

  • If applicable:

    • What is the child's perception of the reasons why the guardians requested a termination of the guardianship?
    • How does the child feel about leaving the home of the guardian?
    • What are his/her wishes about returning to the care of his parent(s) or being placed in another identified home.

See examples in Sample Court Reports.



Statement of Parent(s)

This subheading must be added to the court report by the social worker.  This subsection summarizes statements from the parents including:

  • The parent's opinion about the guardian's request to modify the guardianship orders or

the reasons why the parent(s) filed a request to have the guardianship orders modified at this time.

  • The frequency and length of contact the parents have had with the child since the guardianship was established.
  • The relationship of the parent(s) with the guardians.
  • Indicators that the parent has overcome the problems which led to the removal of the child from the parent's custody.
     

See examples in Sample Court Reports.

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Evaluation of the Child  

This heading must be added to the court report by the social worker. This section includes four headings.  Complete each heading for each child in the case.

  • Regarding

Name of child

    • Medical/Dental

      Under this heading, the social worker provides a detailed description of each child's medical and dental status, including any current or prior health problems, diagnosis, treatment and medication taken.  Whenever possible, indicate the date the child last underwent medical and dental examinations and discuss any recommended follow-up as a result of the exams.

     
    • Developmental

    Under this heading, the social worker discusses the child's personality, developmental history and current functioning.  Try to paint a picture of the child!  Information regarding the child's needs, including any special needs, and services the child may receive should be included.  Provide dates of any diagnosis of developmental delays.  Indicate if the child had been referred to the Regional Center.  If a referral has been made or if the child is already receiving services through the Regional Center, discuss the services, give the name and phone number of the Regional Center case manager and attach a copy of the child's Individual Program Plan.

     

    • Educational

    Under this heading, the social worker discusses the child's academic status at school and relays concerns expressed by school personnel concerning the child and family.  Include the name of the school the child last attended (home school), grade level, any IEP's, special resources needed, SED, credits needed to complete high school (for older youth), current grades, and whether the child has passed either or both parts of the California High School Exit Exam.   A school report may be attached to the report.  Indicate if the child needs an educational assessment.

    Identify the person who holds educational rights for the child. If parental rights to make educational decisions have been limited, indicate the name of the person who has been appointed as the educational surrogate. 

    Include under this heading, any extra curricular activities in which the child is involved.  Discuss the level of involvement and any awards the child may have received.

     

    • Mental and Emotional

    Under this heading, the social worker provides a description of the child's current mental emotional status.  If the child is in counseling, indicate when the counseling started, the child's diagnosis, progress made and the therapist's recommendations.  If counseling appears to be needed and the child is not in counseling, describe the efforts made to get the child into counseling. If the child is taking medications, list the names of the medication and the dosage and whether the doctor thinks the child is responding to the medication.

 
 
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Assessment of the Home of the Parent(s)  

This heading must be added to the report by the social worker.

If the recommendation is made for the child to return to the care of the parent(s), an assessment of the home of the parent(s) is completed by the social worker.  Describe the home composition, existing family composition, and any current supports or challenges faced by the parent(s) that would contribute to or pose a risk to the safety and stability of the child if returned to the care of the parent(s).  Discuss recommendations of the Team Decision Making Meeting (TDM).

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Consideration of Relative Placement  

This heading must be added to the report by the social worker.

If the recommendation is to place the child with another relative or non-relative extended family member (NREFM), discuss the home in which the child would be placed if ordered by the court and the potential caregiver's capacity to provide care and supervision of the child.  Give the date of the full home approval. Discuss recommendations of the Team Decision Making Meeting (TDM).

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Out of Home Placement  

This heading must be added to the report by the social worker.

If the child is going to be placed in a foster home or group home, explain why that setting would best serve the child's needs.  Discuss recommendations of a Team Decision Making Meeting (TDM).

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Visitation  

This heading must be added to the court report by the social worker.

If the recommendation is for dependency to be reinstated, discuss recommendations for visitation between the child and parent(s)to include the recommended level of supervision, venue, and frequency.  Any arrangements for visits between the child and siblings and child and grandparents is also discussed if applicable. 

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Assessment/

Evaluation

 

The Assessment/Evaluation section is the place for the social worker's opinion.  Detailed facts previously included in the body of the report should not be repeated and new facts should not appear in this section.  Rather, this section should succinctly summarize, associate, and analyze facts in the body of the report in way that logically leads to what is being is being recommended. Social workers should not independently offer their own mental health diagnosis of a client or otherwise attribute a mental or psychological condition to a client, regardless of the social worker's professional standing, such as license or experience.  Both client strengths and challenges should be acknowledged in order to place the case in respectful prospective.


The Assessment/Evaluation should be organized into four paragraphs or sections, each with a discussion point.  

  • Paragraph 1 - Summarize the reason why the matter comes before the court.
  • Paragraph 2 - Summarize the strengths of the child, parents, and/or guardians. 
  • Paragraph 3 - In this paragraph, discuss the problems and concerns as they relate to the issues behind the Request to Change the Court Order.  Give recommendations for services which should directly relate to the discussion of problems.
  • Paragraph 4 - Give recommendations and a prognosis based on your assessment.
.
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Case Plan   This heading must be added to the report by the social worker.  Under this heading the social writes, "See attached" if a case plan was developed.  A case plan is developed if dependency is reinstated and the child and/or family will be receiving Family Maintenance, Family Reunification, or Permanency Planning Services. The case plan signed by the social worker, social work supervisor, parents, and, if appropriate, the child(ren)is attached to the court report behind the recommendations.
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Attachments  

If applicable, the social worker must add this heading to the report.

Among the attachments that may apply to 388 Hearings are:

  • Custody Order - Final Judgment (JV 200)
    • If the child is to return home to the parent and the case dismissed, complete and attach the JV-200.

  • Visitation Order (JV205)
    • If the guardianship is to remain intact and the request for modification is for a change in visitation between the parent(s) and the child, complete and attach the JV-205.
  • Educational Representative Appointment (JV535)
    • If the guardianship is to be terminated and the parents are unable to assume educational rights, complete and attach the JV-535, naming a new educational representative.
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Recommendations   Under this heading the social worker writes, "See attached."  The actual recommendations that apply are attached at the end of the report.
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Possible Recommendations for a 388 Hearing  

There are various reasons for requesting a modification to previously dismissed legal guardianship.  For example, a mother may request that a guardianship be dismissed and the child returned to her care.  Or, a guardian may request that the guardianship be dismissed and the child placed with another proposed guardian.  Recommendations that the social worker may offer in his or her 388 Hearing Report must align with the reason for the request.  Possible recommendations include:

  • 950 
    • Deny the request and have all previous orders remain in effect (PORE).

 

  • 951 
    • Grant the request for a change of only the visitation order.  No modification to the placement of the child.  Dependency shall not be reinstated.
                         
  • 952
    •  Grant the request  - Appoint a  Successor Guardian for the minor. Dependency shall not be reinstated.
                   
  •  953
    •  Grant the request and terminate the guardianship. Select a new permanent plan of PPLA/ILA and reinstate dependency.           
  • 954 
    • Child is placed with a Parent and case is dismissed.

             

  • 955     
    • Child is placed with a Parent with Family Maintenance Services.
                 
  • 956     
    • A request to modify a previously dismissed Legal Guardianship with a new permanent plan of Adoption.  Court shall set a new 366.26 hearing.
                 
  • 957     
    • Grant the request and terminate the guardianship. 

      Reinstate dependency and select a new permanent plan.  Reunification Services to a Parent for six months.

             

  • 958     
    • Guardian is deceased.  Court shall set a new 366.26 hearing.
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388 Petition Hearing Sample Court Report  
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Other References  
bullet2 OPP Chapter 8-15.1: Requests for Modification of a Previously Dismissed Legal Guardianship
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