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  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 9: Court Related Issues
9-3.1.2  Noticing Relatives of a Child's Removal from the Parents' Care

 

Court Related Issues
9-3.1.2  Noticing Relatives of a Child's Removal from the Parents' Care
Reference Points
Overview
Relative Noticing Worksheet (SCZ21)
Relative Notification Letter (SCZ16)
Relative Relationship Confirmation Letter (SCZ16A)
Emergency Response (ER)Social Workers' Responsibilities
Dependent Intake Social Workers' Responsibilities
Dependent Intake Clerical Responsibilities
Ongoing Social Workers' Responsibilities
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: 5/1/10
Last Updated: 8/29/13
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) & 309(e)(1)
Popup Window WIC § 319 (f)(2)
pdf California Assembly Bill (AB)938
Popup Window Federal Public Law 110-351 § 103
Popup Window California Department of Social Services (CDSS) All County Letter (ACL) 09-86: Notification of Relatives
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Relative Noticing Worksheet (SCZ21)
MS Word Relative Relationship Confirmation Letter (SCZ16A)
MS Word

Relative Notification of Child Removal (SCZ16)

   
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet

Case Management Section: Documents -

Relative Noticing Worksheet (SCZ21)

bullet Client Management Section: Collaterals
bullet Services Management Section: Contacts


Overview  

California Assembly Bill (AB) 938 became effective on January 1, 2010, requiring child welfare departments to apply diligence in identifying relatives of a child who has been removed from the parents' care and to notify the relatives of the child's removal.  This requirement is encoded in Welfare and Institutions Code § 309.  Once a relative is located, the requirement is for the adult relatives to be given both oral and written notice that the child has been removed from his or her family home in an effort to provide the relatives with an opportunity to offer support for or contact with the child and, possibly, a placement for the child. Notification is required unless there is a history of family or domestic violence that makes notification inappropriate.

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Relative Noticing Worksheet (SCZ21)  

The Relative Noticing Worksheet (SCZ21) is a form for gathering names and addresses of relatives.  The form includes fields for the:

  • The names and addresses of a child's confirmed relatives
  • The date the Relative Notification Letter (SCZ16) was sent to the relative, notifying the relative that the child was removed from his or her parents and how the relative may be of assistance to the child and the child's family
  • The date the relatives' names are forwarded to Family Finding for further efforts to locate.

The SCZ21 is a form stored in CWS/CMS.  When creating a new SCZ21, the social worker goes to the (green) Case Management Section of either the referral or case and clicks the County (Santa Clara) button under the Document Category.  To access an existing SCZ21, the social worker goes to the (green) Case Management Section of either the referral or case and clicks the Document icon.

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Relative Notification Letter (SCZ16)  

A Relative Notification Letter (SCZ16) is sent to each person confirmed by the primary assigned social worker to be a relative.  People who might be but have not been confirmed to be relatives of the child should not be listed on the SCZ21.  The SCZ16 is prepared and sent by Dependent Intake clerical staff based on information provided on the SCZ21 in CWS/CMS.

In addition to notifying relatives that the child(ren) has been taken into temporary custody, the SCZ16 has an “Important Information for Relatives” attachment that explains various options for the relative to participate in the care and placement of the child and for support for the child's family, including options that may be lost by the relative failing to respond.

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Relative Relationship Confirmation Letter (SCZ16A)   The Relative Relationship Confirmation Letter (SCZ16A) is used by the social worker when a telephone number for a potential relative is unavailable to call the relative to confirm the person’s status as a relative.  Confirmation that an individual is a relative of the child is needed to proceed with required notification procedures.  The SCZ16A is sent individually to each person for whom an address is available and who is believed to be but not confirmed to be a relative of the child.  The child’s and parents’ last names are not disclosed on the SCZ16A.  Only the first letter of their last name is used, e.g., John A.
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ER Social Workers' Responsibilities  

At the time a child is removed from the parents, the ER social worker:

  • Inquires of the parent, child, and anyone with familial knowledge as to the names and addresses of all adult relatives of the child.
    •   Also request any further information that might help locate the relative.
    • Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § § 309 and 628 require the parents to disclose to the social worker the names, addresses, and any known identifying information of all maternal or paternal relatives of the child.

  • Within one business day, enters the names and contact information given by the parents and/or child:
  • If circumstances before, during, and/or after the child's removal make it impossible to gather any relative information, writes "No information available at removal" on the SCZ21 on the "Name" text field.

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DI Social Workers' Responsibilities  

As the dependency investigation proceeds and throughout the 30 days following removal of the child, the Dependent Intake (DI) social worker:

  • Inquires of the parent, child, and anyone with familial knowledge as to the names, addresses, and any known identifying information of adult relatives of the child.
    • WIC § § 309 and 628 require the parents to disclose to the social worker the names, addresses, and any known identifying information of any maternal or paternal relatives of the child.

  • Updates location information on the relative's collateral page as information becomes available.
    • When the location of a relative is found, change the "Lifelong Connection Status" to "Potential."

  • Sends a Relative Relationship Confirmation Letter (SCZ16A) to possible relatives for whom no telephone number is known, requesting confirmation of whether they are relatives.
    • If a telephone number is available, the possible relative may be contacted by telephone.
  • As early as possible but always within 15 days of the child's removal:
    • Prints out a hard copy of the SCZ21.
    • If no relatives have been named, write "No information available following removal" in the "Name" text field of the SCZ21.
  • Submits a print-out of the SCZ21 to DI clerical staff.
  • May contact identified relatives in-person or by telephone to give a verbal notification to the relatives, unless there is a history of family or domestic violence that makes notification inappropriate. Verbal notification includes:
    • That the child has been removed from the custody of his or her parent(s) or guardian(s);
    • Information about providing care for the child while the family receives reunification services with the goal of returning the child to the parent or guardian;
    • How to become a foster family home or approved relative or non relative extended family member;
    • Additional services and supports that are available in out-of-home placements; information regarding the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment program, the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program for approved relatives, and Adoption Assistance Program.
    • Options for contact with the child, including, but not limited to, visitation; and
    • Any options that may be lost by failing to respond.
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DI Clerical Responsibilities  
  • Relative Noticing Worksheet (SCZ21) Responsibilities

    At the time of the predispositional assignment to the Continuing social worker, the designated clerical staff:

    • Checks the referral to determine if a Relative Noticing Worksheet (SCZ21) has been created and filled out in the CWS/CMS referral.
    • If a filled-out SCZ21 exists, copies the contents of SCZ21
    • Creates a new SCZ21 in the CWS/CMS case.
    • Pastes a copy of the contents of the SCZ21 from the referral in the SCZ21 in the case.
  • Relative Notification of Child Removal (SCZ16) Responsibilities

    Upon being informed by the social worker that there is an existing SCZ21, the designated clerical staff:

    • Sends a Relative Notification of Child Removal (SCZ16) letter to each relative named on the Relative Noticing Worksheet (SZC21) for whom there is contact information.
    • Updates the SCZ21 with the date the SCZ16 was sent and the name of the clerical staff who sent the letter.
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Ongoing Social Workers' Responsibilities  

Throughout the life of the open case, the assigned social worker from DI on through Continuing Services is responsible for:

  • Creating collateral pages for every relative identified.
  • Updating the Relative Noticing Worksheet (SCZ21) in CWS/CMS with the names and locations of relatives identified.
    • For any relative identified within 30 days of the child’s removal, the social worker submits an updated hard copy of the SCZ21 with updated information highlighted to DI clerical staff.
  • Updating the “Lifelong Connections Status” in the Family Finding Efforts data box for each relative collateral associated with the child.
    • The status choices and their definitions are as follows:
      • Searching – a person is identified being a relative, the person’s whereabouts are unknown, and diligent efforts are underway to locate the relative.
      • Not Located – following diligent efforts, a named relative could not be located.
      • Potential – the person has been confirmed as a relative and the person’s whereabouts are known, but the person and/or the child indicate they have not established that their relationship is meaningful and is anticipated to be a lifelong connection
      • Established – the person and the child indicate that their relationship is meaningful and is anticipated to be a lifelong connection.
      • Denied/Declined – the child or the person denies having a relationship or declines wanting to establish a lifelong connection.

                       Click here to view collateral page screen shot.

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Other References  
doc2 Table of Consanguinity
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