DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 8: Juvenile Court Hearings and Reports
8-3.3  300 Jurisdictional/Dispositonal Report
Juvenile Court Hearings and Reports
8-3.3  300 Jurisdictional/Dispositional Report
Reference Points
Overview
DFCS Policy on Court Reports in CWS/CMS
Evidence

Confidential Information

 

Report Contents

Supervisor's Responsibilities
Report Timelines
Examples of 300 Jurisdictional/Dispositional Reports

Other References 
 

 

 

Report Contents (cont.)



Reference Points
Effective Date: TBA
Last Updated: 7/7/10
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 300
Popup Window WIC § 309, 319
Popup Window WIC § 355 (a),(b)
Popup Window WIC § 361.2, 361.3
Popup Window AB 1987
Popup Window WIC § 16002
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Family Team Meeting (FTM) Case Plan Recommendations (SCZ843)
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Court Management Section: Court Reports


Overview  

After an Initial Petition Hearing or a Detention Hearing, the Department of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) conducts a thorough investigation of the child's and family's circumstances and presents the results of that investigation to the court in a social study called the Jurisdictional/Dispositional report. 

The 300 Jurisdictional/Dispositional Report is written after a 300 Petition is filed and an Initial Petition Hearing is held.  The report must contain admissible and competent evidence on which the court may base a finding of jurisdiction under Welfare and Institutions Code § 300 and make further findings and orders related to the child's well-being.  The report must be based upon an independent investigation by the social worker as a disinterested party, in order to lend reliability and credibility to the report.  At DFCS, Jurisdictional/Dispositional Reports are written by Dependent Intake social workers.

The Jurisdictional Report is formatted in  a Word document in CWS/CMS under the Court Management Section.  Because many of the areas of the report self-populate, it is important that the information in CWS/CMS, including names and addresses, are current.  The social worker is responsible for keeping client information updated in CWS/CMS and should review Client Notebooks to ensure that all identifying information is recorded and current.

See OPP Chapter 8-3.1: Court Report Writing.

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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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Evidence  

Any legally admissible evidence that is relevant to the circumstances or acts that are alleged to bring the minor within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court is admissible and may be received in evidence.  (WIC § 355 (a])

A social study (court report) prepared by the petitioning agency, and hearsay evidence contained in it, is admissible and constitutes competent evidence upon which a finding of jurisdiction pursuant to Section 300 may be based.  (WIC § 355 [b]) [In re Malinda S. (1990)]  

     
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Confidential Information  

The following is included in information that is confidential and should not be included in the court report:

  • Addresses of domestic violence victims.
  • Caretakers' names and addresses, if there is a special need to keep the names and addresses confidential
  • Name of the reporting party
  • Location of the child's school, if there is a flight risk by the parents
  • Attorney/client communication

Additionally, if confidential information is found in any of the report attachments, a copy of the original document should be made and the copy should then be redacted and attached to the report.

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Supervisor Responsibilities  

It is the supervisor's responsibility to:

  • Review the court report.
    • Check that all sited documents are attached.
    • Check for redacting, as necessary.
    • Check for correct recommendations.

  • Sign and date the hard copy of report to indicate that it has been reviewed and approved.
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Report Timelines   A Jurisdictional/Dispositional Report must be submitted to the office of County Counsel for distribution at least three days prior to the hearing.
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Front Page Headings   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 make sure 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 should include a brief summary of his/her recommendations, which includes recommendations for:

  • A finding regarding the petition
  • An order regarding:
    • The child being made a dependent of the Court
    • A program of services for the child and family
    • Placement of the child

Example 1:  The recommendation is for the petition to be sustained and for the child to be made a dependent of the Court.  It is further recommended that the child be placed in the home of his paternal grandparents and that the family receive services under the Family Reunification Program.

Example 2:  The recommendation is for the petition filed on (date), on behalf of (name of child) to be sustained and for the child to be made a dependent of the Court.  It is recommended that the child be returned to the care of the mother, with the mother receiving services under the Family Maintenance Program.  It is further  recommended that services for the father be withheld until the father presents himself to the Court.

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Children'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 exact relationship to the child.

 
  • If the court has issued a confidential order, enter "confidential" after the child's name.
  • Pursuant to WIC § 308, the address of a licensed foster family home must be kept confidential, until the dispositional hearing, at which time the court may disclose the address.
    • The foster parent may authorize the release of the placement address any time during the placement.
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Parents/Legal Guardians  

This information populates from each of the parent's Client Notebook in CWS/CMS.  The mother, 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 and it calls into question the social worker's knowledge of the case.

  • If a parent'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.  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 (ICWA)  

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
     
  • Adds information regarding:
    • The identity of who was questioned on both the maternal and paternal side of the family regarding the child's American Indian/Eskimo heritage.
    • The date of questioning.
    • What was said. 

Example:  The Indian Child Welfare Act does not apply.  On 1/10/05, during a telephone interview with this social worker, the mother stated that there is no Native American decent on her or the father's side of the family.  On 6/21/05, during an interview with this social worker, the father stated that he is not of Native American descent.

It is not sufficient to only say, "The Indian Child Welfare Act does not apply."


If ICWA does or may apply, the social worker must add further information regarding:

  • The name of the tribe.
  • The action taken to verify the heritage.
  • Any contacts made with the tribe and Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • How notice was provided to the tribe.
  • The date the tribe signed the certified return receipt, if the receipt has been received.
  • The status of the verification request.

See OPP Chapter 13-12: Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

 
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Search Results History  

The social worker chooses from the two possible choices in the Search Results/History Dialog Box that appears as the report is being created in CWS/CMS:

  • Due Diligence Report attached, or
  • Not Applicable

It is not necessary to attach a Due Diligence Report, if one or both parents is absent.  It is unlikely that a search that meets due diligence requirements will have been completed by the time of the Jurisdictional Hearing.  However, under this section, the social worker must discuss all efforts made to locate missing parents and the result of those efforts.  This includes alleged and presumed fathers.

Example :  Neither of the parents' whereabouts is known at this time. On 12/1/2005, this social worker contacted the county jail and state prisons, searched CWS/CWS files and looked in local telephone directories in an attempt to locate the parents. A letter was sent to each of their last known addresses advising them that their child has been detained by the juvenile court.  On 12/5/2005, a request for location services was submitted to the district attorney’s office in an attempt to locate the parents. To date the parents have not responded or been located.

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Legal History  

This section populates from the Court Management Section of CWS/CMS.   Information regarding the petition and Initial Removal should appear.  If it does not appear, the social worker manually enters the dates of the initial removal and initial detention order. 

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Reason for Hearing  

Under this section, the social worker only needs to state that the matter appears for a Jurisdictional/Dispositional Hearing. 

If the petition is for an out-of-custody situation, the social worker explains when, why and by whom the referral for the out-of-custody petition was made.

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Paternity/Legal Relationships  

Under this section, the social worker provides all available information regarding the paternity of the child.

  • If paternity has been established, the social worker enters that fact in this section.  The basis under which paternity was established should be made clear. 

    Example1: Mr. H. is the legal father of the child by virtue of his marriage to the mother at the time of the child's birth.  Further, Mr. H. holds himself out as the child's father, having signed a Declaration of Paternity at the hospital when the child was born.  The Declaration was filed with the State on 6/4/04 and was not rescinded within 60 days of filing.

Example 2: Paternity was established, on 4/9/03, by Santa Clara Family Court (Case # 103FL1393540).



  • If legal paternity has not been established, the social worker:
    • Identifies all legal, presumed and alleged fathers.  Include any information regarding:
      • Marital history
      • Paternity findings/orders
        • Date of the paternity order
        • Identity of the court issuing the paternity order
      • Waivers of paternity
        • Statements of the mother regarding paternity.

    • Determines whether paternity must be established. Discuss:
      • Whether the alleged father contacted and advised that he has been named the father of the child.  If not, why not?
      • Whether the named father was advised of the need to establish paternity, if he believes he is the father.  If not, why not?
      • The attitude of the named father toward paternity.
        • Does he express a willingness to assume the rights and responsibilities of parenthood.
      • Whether the mother was married at the time of the child's birth to someone other than the man she named as the father.
      • Was the man she was married to at the time of the child's birth noticed of the hearing?  If not, why not?


Example: Paternity must be established.  The mother and alleged father were not married at the time of the child's birth, though the alleged father is listed on the birth certificate as the father.  The mother was not married to anyone else at the time of the child's birth.  During an interview with the alleged father, on 7/12/05, he stated to this social worker that he is not certain that he is the child's father, though he is willing to support the child if he is actually the father.  He requested to participate in paternity testing.



Under this section heading the social worker also gives any information relating to legal guardianship, if one was established, including:

    • Name of guardian(s)
    • Date of guardianship order
    • Identity of the court issuing the guardianship order

See OPP Chapter 9-2: Paternity Issues in Juvenile Court.

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Family Law Status  

If there is no Family Law Court involvement, write, "There has been no Family Court Involvement with this family."

Under this section, the social worker discusses any prior family law history, including marriages, divorces, separations and custody orders.  In the discussion, the family law file number as well as the name and location of the court that issued the ruling is to be included.

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Prior Child Welfare History  

If there is no prior child welfare history, write, "None."

Under this section, the social worker lists previous child abuse reports involving the parents and/or child.  Include previous dependencies of the child and/or siblings and whether permanent placements were previously established.  The listing is written in chronological order, starting with the most recent date.  Each report should be complete with the date, the allegation, investigation findings, any child welfare services that may have resulted and the disposition of the child abuse referral.

Example: 10/27/04 - General Neglect 

Children: Antonio and Alyssa Y.
Substantiated –

Antonio, age seven, walked home from school alone, did not have a key, and no one was home to let him in.  The police were called and responded to the scene with the Emergency Response social worker.  The family home was observed to be in disarray and dirty.   Antonio reported that he has been locked out at least ten times during the school year.  The mother arrived home while the authorities were still there.  She stated to the social worker that she was overwhelmed.  She was offered Informal Supervision services, and she signed an IS Agreement on 10/28/04.

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Criminal History  

If there is no criminal history, write, "None."

Under this heading, the social worker:

  • Enters the name and the "also known as" (aka) of persons significant to the child.
  • Lists 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,:

  • Name and location of jail/prison, if a parent is incarcerated
    • The person's jail or prison number
    • Anticipated release date
  • Anticipated release dates from incarceration
  • Probation/parole status
    • 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 the client's compliance with the program.
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Jurisdiction  

Under this section, the social worker presents the evidence that supports each of the allegations listed in the petition. After the allegation is stated, the evidence is documented.

  • Allegation

Under this heading, the social worker organizes the information by the allegations, which are listed in the order they appear on the petition, i.e., a-1, a-2, b-1, etc.  The wording of the allegation is written as it appears on the petition. 

  • If any of the allegations contains the exact same language (for example, a-1 and b-1), it is only necessary to enter the allegation once and indicate all of the allegation numbers in front of it.



  • Supporting Evidence

Directly following the allegation, the social worker writes the heading, "Evidence", and documents in the report the evidence that substantiates the allegations made in the petition.  Facts include:

    • What was seen, heard and read, either directly by the social worker.
    • Statements made by another person (a witness) to the social worker regarding what that person has seen, heard or read. 
      • Witnesses may include the child, parent, teacher, doctor, etc. 
 
  • If a document is attached to the report which supports the allegation, the following should appear under Evidence,

"Attached and included as a part of this report is the report from (name of reporter), dated (date of report), which states that (summarize the pertinent information in the report)."

  • Attachments may include medical reports, school reports, psychological evaluations, drug testing results reports, etc.
 


  • Witness Statements

Witness statements should be included within the context of the supporting evidence narrative. The statements by the witnesses regarding each allegation are entered under the headings of the witness's role.  For example, child, mother, father, doctor, teacher, etc.    Attempt face-to-face contact with each primary party to the petition.  Include verbatim statements whenever possible.  Enter the date, time, place of interview and the person's relationship to the case. 

When documenting information obtained during an interview, the social worker lists the title of the person; that person's address and phone number (unless either is confidential); the date of the interview; and the location of the interview for each person.   State whether the interview was held in-person or over the telephone.  Clearly state what the individual said. The information should be consistent with any testimony the individual may be required to make on the witness stand, if that individual is called to testify.


  • Parent's Response to the Allegations or Statement of Witnesses

Whenever possible, the social worker documents each parent's response to the allegations and the parents' rebuttal statements to witness statements. 

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Social Study/Family Assessment  

The Social Study/Family Assessment section includes four headings under which the social worker discusses:

  • Problems Requiring Intervention and Possible Causes

Under this heading, the social worker discusses the problems the family is confronting and the factors that contributed to the problems, including issues such as domestic violence and drug abuse.

Example:  The children have been left without supervision and their day-to-day needs have not been met by the mother.  There appears to be a connection to the mother's drug use, which has distracted her away from her responsibilities as a parent.  Additionally, the mother is rearing three children as a single parent.  The stress of single parenthood may have contributed to the mother's poor judgment in leaving her children unsupervised.  At the time she was arrested for drug use, the children were found at home, alone.



  • Relevant Social, Cultural and Physical Factors

Under this heading, the social worker includes the following basic information on the mother and father: legal name, date and location of birth, ordinal position in the family, developmental information as relevant, Social Security Number, marital status and history, education, occupation, sources of income, number of siblings, parent's situation and any unusual health problems of the parent or any family members, any historic patterns such as job instability, residence instability.  Include family of origin history of child abuse and neglect, domestic violence and substance abuse.

Example: The mother, (full name), is the youngest of four siblings. She was born on (date) in San Jose, CA.  Her parents were married at the time they immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala.  Both are still living and they reside together.  There is an extended family that includes two maternal great aunts and several cousins who have been supportive of the mother and her children.  The mother graduated from San Jose Academy in 2000 and had been employed as a retail cashier.  She is currently unemployed and receiving services under the CalWIN program.   She has three children and has never been married. She rents an apartment in which she has resided for the past seven months. Her criminal record indicates that she has been arrested once, in 2001, for drug possession, and was not convicted of the offense.  She is in good health, except for asthma, for which she occasionally uses a prescribed inhaler. 


(Repeat the social study information for each parent)



  • Family Strengths

Under this heading, the social worker includes any statements that the family has made regarding their strengths and also lists strengths that he/she has observed.

Example: It appears that the family has many strengths, which includes a strong bond between the mother and children.  The children are polite and respectful and exhibit no behavioral problems in the foster home in which they are currently placed.  They are above average students in school.  The mother has stated that she wants to enter counseling to assist her in stopping her drug use.  She has employable skills and desires to continue her education to become a medical technician.




  • Family Perception of Their Needs

Under this heading, the social worker includes any statements made by the parents/guardian regarding dispositional issues, such as:

  • wanting/not wanting dependency or assistance
  • wanting/not wanting services
  • preference for placement of children


Example: The mother states that she needs counseling to help her to overcome her drug use.  In addition, she says that she needs vocational education so that she can get a job above minimum wage.  She wants the children returned to her care and states that she will need child care so that she will be able to participate in services and education. The children state that they need to be home with their mother so that they can go back to their home schools.

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Children  

The Children section includes four headings.  Complete each heading for each child in the case.

  • Regarding

Name of child



  • Medical

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.  Include Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) or equivalent reports from health care providers.  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.

Example:(Name of child) was seen by a doctor on 3/23/06 for a CHDP examination.  The doctor reported that the child's health is good in all areas.  She is current on her immunizations.  The child has no history of any serious illnesses or hospitalizations.  She has never been to the dentist, and the maternal aunt has been advised that the child must see a dentist within the next 30 days.  A list of dentists who accept Medi-cal was provided to the aunt.



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 RC case manager and attach a copy of the child's Individual Program Plan.

Example 1: (Name of child) appears developmentally appropriate for his age, 5 years old.  He can dress himself and gets ready for school in the morning with little prompting from the foster mother.  He is outgoing and likes to play outside, especially soccer. He eagerly told this social worker the story of a recent trip to Happy Hollow park where he got licked by a llama. 

Example 2: Sabrina is an active and inquisitive teenager who may be characterized as "bubbly." She does not display any difficulty in making her needs or desires known. She enjoys independent activities, such as listening to a favorite CD, but also has friends with whom she likes to interact.   She is on the color guard squad at school and is on the girls' soccer team.




  • 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.

If parental rights to make educational decisions have been limited, indicate the name of the person who has been appointed as the educational surrogate.  If the parents' educational rights have no been limited, discuss whether the parent is meeting the educational needs of the child responsibly or whether the court should consider limiting those rights.

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.

 

Example: (Name of child) began third grade in September at (name home school).  His teacher at that school reports that he was an eager learner and earned B's and C's on his report card.  His reading level was grade appropriate. 

After placement in his current foster home, he began attending (name of current school).  The teacher at that school reports no behavior problems in the three weeks he has attended and stated that he is pleasant to have in the classroom. See attached school report, dated 12/6/05.


 

  • 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.

Example 1:  (Name of child) appears happy and well adjusted most of the time, though his sleeping patterns appear somewhat disrupted, as he usually wakes during the night and rouses the foster mother.  He plays well with other children in the foster home and at school.  He is somewhat protective of his younger siblings. At this time, counseling is not indicated for the child.

Example 2: Michael is a friendly and sensitive child. He exhibits intense emotions particularly when he is frustrated, anxious or angry. During an interview, on 08/09/2006, at the Children’s Shelter, the undersigned observed Michael exhibiting behaviors and symptoms consistent with severe anxiety and panic attacks. Michael was highly agitated and alternated between pacing back and forth from one side of the room to the other and yelling to throwing himself down on a couch and uncontrollably crying. He pushed furniture around the room. Additionally, Michael showed signs of hyperventilation, becoming flush and sweating, trembling and shaking and muscle tension. Children’s Shelter staff members and Mental Health Clinician, Robert V., reported observing Michael exhibiting similar behaviors.  The child is participating in counseling at the Shelter and has been referred for a psychological evaluation/medication needs assessment.

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Children's Safety in the Home  

Under this section, the social worker provides a physical description of the family home, addressing all safety issues and a plan of corrective action, if appropriate.  Further discussion should address why the child should or should not be removed from the physical custody of the parent(s) or guardian(s). If removal is recommended, give an explanation that is based on the allegations in the petition.

Example:  The family has been living in two-bedroom apartment, which appears to be adequately furnished with bunk beds for the boys.  The mother has made an effort to clean the residence and the appearance of the place has improved over the past three weeks.  Though the physical residence appears safe for the children, at this time, a return to the home of the mother is not recommended.  The mother has only been drug testing for the past 3 weeks, and her first test was positive for amphetamines.  It will take several months for the mother to establish that she is abstaining from drug use, thus increasing the likelihood that the children will be safe in her care.  The father has no established residence and he stated to this worker, on 6/4/04, that he would not want to be considered for placement of the boys, until he can secure an apartment.

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Consideration of Placement with Non-Custodial Parent  

This is an optional section that the social worker may choose, if it applies, from the Jurisdiction and Disposition dialog box that appears as the report is being created in CWS/CMS.

If applicable, under this section, the social worker states the case for placement or not placement of the child with a non-custodial parent.  The worker discusses whether the non-custodial parent is both willing and suitable to assume custody of the child.  The court must place the child with the non-custodial parent, unless it finds that placement with that parent would be detrimental to the safety, protection or physical or emotional well-being of the child. (WIC § 361.2)

Example:  Placement with the non-custodial parent, James F., is not recommended.  Mr. F. has not had regular contact with the children during the past two years and last saw them four months ago.  Further, his criminal record indicates a history of drug use, and it is not certain if he is currently abstaining from drug and alcohol use.  His last arrest was 6 weeks ago.  He is out on bail, and a court hearing is pending regarding the charges.

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Consideration of Relative Placement  

This is an optional section that the social worker may choose, if it applies, from the Jurisdiction and Disposition dialog box that appears as the report is being created in CWS/CMS.

If it applies, under this section the social worker discusses, in detail, assessments of relatives under consideration for placement or efforts to contact them.  The court is obliged to consider preferential placement with a relative. (WIC § 361.3)

The social worker discusses:

  • The results of the criminal history records, Child Abuse Central Index checks and CMS/CWS search results of all adult member of the household.  (WIC § 309, 319, 361.3)
  • Whether a relative home approval has been completed. 
  • If one has not been completed, states the status of the home approval and what information or documents are needed for completion. 
  • If more than one relative is being considered, lists each relative's place in the order of preferential consideration. 
  • The possibility of sibling placement in the relative home. (WIC § 16002)
  • The relative's ability to provide permanence, if reunification fails.
  • Commitment of the relative to facilitate reunification and visitation.

 

Example: The mother has offered her mother and oldest sister, the children's maternal aunt, as two possible homes for placement considerations for the children.  Both the maternal grandmother and maternal aunt stated that they would be willing to accept the boys into their homes.  A home approval was completed on the maternal grandmother, and the boys were placed there together, on (date).   The grandmother stated that she would consider becoming guardian for the children should reunification be unsuccessful.  She is willing to have the mother visit the boys in her home.

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Out-of-Home Placement  

This is an optional section that the social worker can choose, if it applies, from the Jurisdiction and Disposition dialog box that appears as the report is being created in CWS/CMS. This section includes three headings.

  • Current Placement

Under this heading, the social worker discusses where the child is placed and how long he/she has been in the placement.  Information should be given about the child's adjustment to placement, appropriateness of placement and statement of the substitute caretaker.

Example:  The children were temporarily placed with the maternal grandmother, on 7/12/05.  They have resided there for four weeks.  The grandmother owns a 3 bedroom/2 bath house, and the girls share one of the bedrooms.  There are twin beds and each side of the room reflects each girl's interests and personality.  The girls appear to be making an adequate adjustment.  The grandmother is able to drive the girls to their original home school, so they have been able to maintain their school friendships.  The grandmother has also agreed to allow the parents to visit the children at her home, whenever the social worker assesses that it would be appropriate to do so.


  • Sibling Placement

Report on whether the child and his/her siblings are placed together and/or the appropriateness of placing the siblings together. If the child is not currently placed with his/her siblings, address the following:

  • Whether the siblings were raised together in the same home
  • Whether the siblings have shared significant common experiences or have existing bonds
  • Whether either sibling expresses a desire to visit or live with his or her sibling, as applicable, and
  • Whether ongoing contact is in the child's best emotional interest.

Example:  Two of the siblings, Mark and Robert, are placed together in the home of their paternal aunt and uncle.  The third and oldest sibling, Richard, is placed at a (Community Care Facility) due to aggressive behaviors and seeming lack of ability or willingness to follow house rules.  The three siblings did grow up together, though Richard is seven years older than his next younger brother, Mark.  Mark and Robert have stated that they wish to be able to visit Richard, and bi-weekly visits have been scheduled for the boys to see each other.



  • Independent Living Plan Services

Each child age 16 or older must have an Transitional Independent Living case plan, the particulars of which are to be discussed under this heading.

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Visitation  

Under this section, the social worker discusses:

  • Visitation schedule
  • Location of visits
  • Parents' compliance with visitation schedule
  • Quality of interaction during visits
  • Child's response to visitation
  • Continued appropriateness of visitation with siblings(WIC § 16002)
  • Continued appropriateness of visitation with grandparents and other relatives
  • Recommendation for longer visitation 

 

Example 1: The father is Court ordered to have supervised visitation one time per week for two hours, and he has been maintaining weekly visits in the home of the grandparents, supervised by the grandmother. The father has been able to also participate in one of Rachael's physical therapy sessions. The father was approved to visit with Jacob in the hospital after work for the duration of Jacob's hospital stay. According to the paternal grandmother, the visits have gone well. 

On 9/15/04, the mother had a two-hour visit with all four children, supervised by this Social Worker. The mother was very appropriate with the children and was able to attend to their needs during the visit. The children and the mother played at the park and had a good time together. On 9/25/04, the mother had a supervised visit with Jacob while he was in the hospital, and the visit went very well, according to the grandmother.  Jacob was very excited to see his mother.

Example 2: At the Initial Hearing on 08/11/2006, the Court ordered that there should not be any visitation or contact between the child and the father as it would be detrimental to the child’s well-being. In the limited contacts the undersigned has had with the father, he has not asked how the child is or inquired about visiting him. Further, according to the maternal grandmother, in an interview on 08/29/2006, the father has not called her home to check on the child, to speak to the child or to ask to see the child.

In an interview on 08/29/2006,the child indicated that he does not want to visit with his father even if the visits were supervised by a social worker. The undersigned recommends that the current Court order in regards to visitation between the child and the father remain in effect until the psychological evaluation of the child is completed.

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Reasonable Efforts  

Under this section, the social worker discusses or lists details of services offered/delivered from the time of the child's removal (services provided by Emergency Response social worker) to the present and the parental compliance with any service referrals, to this point.  Include services provided to incarcerated parents.  There should be enough information for the court to make the reasonable efforts finding as a part of the dispositional orders.

Example:

The efforts that have been made in order to make an assessment of and provide services to the family include:

1. In person interview with the father
2. In person interview with the mother
3. In person interview with the maternal grandparents
4. In person interview with the children
5. Telephone interview with the paternal grandmother
6. Collateral contact with Andrew’s school
7. Obtained Police Reports, from Gilroy Police Dept.
8. Arranged supervised visits
9. Arranged substance abuse testing
10. Provided referral for Victim Witness
11. Attended a Case Plan meeting at House On The Hill
12. DFCS Parent orientation referral for both parents
13. Completed bus pass request for the child

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Concurrent Planning  

This is an optional section that the social worker can choose, if it applies, from the Jurisdiction and Disposition dialog box that appears as the report is being created in CWS/CMS.  The section applies on all cases in which the child is placed out-of-home.

Under this section, if it applies, the social worker enters details regarding concurrent case planning (alternative permanent plan if efforts to reunify fail) for a child who is place in out-of-home care. 

The following advisement (with suggested text) must be addressed in this section:

Example 1: On (date) the parents were advised of the option to participate in adoption planning and to voluntarily relinquish the child for adoption, if an adoption agency is willing to accept the relinquishment.  Both parents stated that they are not interested in voluntarily relinquishing their daughter.

 

Example 2: The mother was not advised of the option to participate in adoption planning, as the child is 16 years old and appears to have a relationship with her mother.   The father's whereabouts is currently unknown.

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Non-Reunification Issues (WIC § 351.5)  

This is an optional section that the social worker can choose, if it applies, from the Jurisdiction and Disposition dialog box that appears as the report is being created in CWS/CMS.

Under this section, if applicable, the social worker states the exact code which applies to the recommendation for non-reunification (bypass) under WIC § 361.5 and  discusses facts that will support the recommendation. Talk about the reasons for and impact of not ordering reunification services.

Example:  The recommendation is that no reunification services be offered to the mother as she is a person described in Welfare and Institutions Code

361.5(b)(13) in that she has a history of extensive, abusive, and chronic use of drugs or alcohol abuse and has resisted prior treatment for this problem during a three-year period immediately prior to the filing of the petition that brought the child to the court's attention.   Further, she has refused to comply with a drug or alcohol treatment program as described in the case plan required by WIC § 358.1 on at least two occasions, even though the programs identified were available and accessible.

The mother was offered Informal Supervision (IS) services in 2003 with regards to the child's half-sibling.  The mother has a criminal history of drug convictions dating from 1996.  As a result, as part of the IS case plan, the mother agreed to participate in drug counseling and drug testing.  She did not comply with these services, and the child's sibling was removed from her care.  A second sibling was placed in temporary custody, in 2004, and the mother was offered Family Reunification services, which, again, included provisions for her to drug test and participate in drug counseling.  The mother dropped out of drug counseling after three sessions and did not return.   She tested positive for drugs sporadically throughout the twelve-month Reunification period.   A toxicology screen of the child who is the subject of the current petition was positive for methamphetamines.

The mother has repeatedly demonstrated that she is unable or unwilling to use services in overcoming her illegal drug use.  Having never been in the care of the mother,  her newborn son has not developed a deep attachment to her.  Bypassing reunification services for the mother will accelerate permanency for the child in a stable home.

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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 children's status.  Sometimes parties who receive the report will first turn to the Assessment/Evaluation section for a quick summary. 
  • Paragraph 2 - Summarize the family's strengths; in particular, relate each family member's progress with any services offered during the investigation period.
  • Paragraph 3 - In this paragraph, discuss the problems and concerns as they relate to the allegation in the petition.  Give recommendations for services which should directly relate to the discussion of problems.
  • Paragraph 4 - Give a prognosis based on your assessment.
 

See Assessment/Evaluation:

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Case Plan   Under this section, the social worker may write, "See attached."  The CWS/CMS case plans, signed by the social worker and social work supervisor, and preferably signed by the parent(s), is attached to the report after the recommendations.
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Attachments  

Under this section, list all attachments cited in the report with the document title and date.  Include all attachments at the end of the report, after the recommendations and case plan.   Included under attachments are collateral reports, letters, evaluations, certificates and attendance records.


For all Juris/Dispo Reports for Family Wellness Court cases that include the Initial Case Plan and dispostional recommendations, the Family Team Meeting (FTM) Case Plan Recommendations (SCZ843) is attached and referenced in the court report.

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Recommendations  

Recommendations may be accessed through the G:drive under the RECS folder.  They are cut and pasted to the end of the report.  A page break should be inserted in the report before the recommendations are pasted, so that the recommendations begin on a new page. 

The social worker needs to understand the law in order to know what recommendations are available and/or required.  Recommendations #11-53 apply to Jurisdictional/Dispositional Reports.  The social worker should select the appropriate recommendation(s) that correspond to the case plan and are appropriate to meet the family's needs and that match the situation and the plan which is proposed in the body of the text. 

Some editing to the recommendation template will be required.  There may be additional recommendations that need to be included that are not on the template.  Any additions must be entered manually. 

Note:  County Counsel should be consulted before any changes are made to the recommendations.

 

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Examples of Jurisdictional/

Dispositional Reports

 

Example 1:  Excessive and Inappropriate Discipline

Example 2:  Drug Use - Medical Neglect

Example 3:  Domestic Violence

 

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Other References  
bullet2 OPP Chapter 8-3.1: Court Report Writing
bullet2 OPP Chapter 8-3.3: Jurisdictional/Dispositional Hearing
bullet2 OPP Chapter 13-12: Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
bullet2 OPP Chapter 9-2: Paternity Issues in Juvenile Court
bullet2 Assessing the Development of Children 0-59 Months
bullet2 Reasonable Efforts
bullet2 Non-Reunification (Bypass) Cases
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