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  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 10: Contacts and Visitation
10-2  Contact Waivers
Contacts and Visitation
10-2  Contact Waivers
Reference Points
Overview
Voluntary Permanency Planning
Requesting a Contact Waiver
Social Work Supervisor Approval of Contact Waiver
CWS/CMS Documentation
Documenting Contact for Youth on Runaway Status and Placed through ICPC
Placement Change
Attempted Contacts
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: 5/1/06
Last Updated: 11/17/14
 Legal Basis:
PDF California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) Division 31-320, 31-325.3, 31-33.1-.2
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 16516.5 and 16516.6
PDF All County Information Letter (ACIN 1-34-07: Recording Social Worker Contacts in CWS/CMS
Popup Window

All County Letter (ACL) 13-13: Monthly Caseworker Contacts

 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Permanent Placement Child Contact Waiver (SCZ 1334)
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Case Plan Management Section: Case Plan
bullet Service Management Section: Contact Notebook


Overview  

Exceptions to contact requirements can be requested when certain conditions in the child's placement are met, primarily those conditions are based upon the stability of the child in his/her current foster care setting and the effectiveness of the services provided to meet the child's needs. 

Waivers must have signed supervisory approval to be in effect and are valid for a maximum of 6 (six) months.  The waiver information must also be documented in the CWS/CMS Case Plan.

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Voluntary Permanency Planning  

In cases in which a non-relative guardianship has been ordered and court dependency is dismissed, services to the child must continue, if the guardian chooses to receive state AFDC-FC funds for the child. 

In CWS/CMS, the case status changes from Court Involvement to Voluntary and the Service Component changes to Permanency Planning, if it is not already in that mode. The visitation waiver, if applicable, must be reflected in the case plan. 


Social Worker and... Frequency and Exception Criteria

Child
  • Contacts may be reduced to once every six (6)calendar months, if the placement is stable and the child is not experiencing any medical, behavioral, or emotional difficulties, and

  • Written supervisory approval has been obtained, using the Permanent Placement Child Contact Waiver (SCZ 1334).
 
Guardian

Contacts may be reduced to once every six (6)calendar months, if the placement is stable and the child is not experiencing any medical, behavioral, or emotional difficulties.

 

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Requesting a Contact Waiver  

If the case meets state regulations and social work criteria for modifying contact requirements, the social worker:

  1. Conducts a pre-waiver request contact that will include a face-to-face contact with the child and the caregiver.  
     
  2. Compiles a quality-of-life assessment:
    • Determine that:
      • The child's personal rights are being respected.
      • Any behavior restrictions are appropriate to the child's age, level of maturity and emotional development.
    • Ensure that the child is provided with:
      • Clothing appropriate to his/her age and what is required for special events.
      • The resources necessary to support appropriate peer relations and sports activities.
      • An environment supportive of his/her educational needs and conducive to optimal learning.
     
  3. Obtains verbal statements from the child regarding all items in #2 above and document the statement in the CWS/CMS Contact Notebook.  

  4. Explains the waiver process to the caregiver and and child.  
     
  5. Reviews the case records, including all relevant collateral contacts and documentation.  
     
  6. Completes the appropriate Contact Waiver form.  
     
  7. Obtains copies of the Judicial Approval for Psychotropic Medication, if applicable, and a copy of the criminal history information for relative and non-relative extended family member caregivers.  
     
  8. Obtains, from CWS/CMS, hard-copy documentation of the past 6 (six) months of face-to-face contacts with the child.  
     
  9. Obtains the last judicial review or permanency planning report and the last minute order.  
     
  10. Submits the packet with the Contact Waiver form and other required documents, to the social work supervisor for approval.
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Social Work Supervisor Approval of Contact Waiver  

To approve a request for a contact waiver, the social work supervisor:

  1. Reviews the packet and evaluates the appropriateness of modified face-to-face contacts, using the CWS/CMS Case Contacts and Case Plan fields to determine case suitability.  
     
  2. Verifies that the case is in compliance with state contact exception eligibility requirements and Department-wide standardized use of the waiver criteria.  
     
  3. Authorizes or denies the waiver and signs the Contact Waiver form. 

  4. Provides an explanation, if the waiver is denied.  
     
  5. Returns the packet to the social worker with the Contact Waiver form.

NOTE: Each approved waiver shall expire on the last day of the 6th (sixth) month following the date the waiver was authorized. 

           Applications for renewals shall be treated as new requests.

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CMS/CWS Documentation of Contact Waivers  

Contact waivers must be documented in the CWS/CMS Case Plan, requiring a case plan update when the waivers are entered.  The effective dates on the hardcopy contact waiver must match the dates in CWS/CMS for the contact waivers.  The date of the social work supervisor's approval signature on the hardcopy must match the supervisor's approval date of the case plan.

The Contact Waiver Type list is located in the CWS/CMS Case Plan Notebook on the Case Management Services page (last page, bottom right corner)

The state audits contacts as a performance measurement, determining if social workers are seeing children in accordance with state regulation requirements.  To determine if the child should be evaluated for a frequency other than one month, the audit measure checks the frequencies from the Schedule for Services field from the CWS/CMS case plan notebook under SW Planned Contacts.   If that field is blank, it will default to monthly as the required frequency.

 

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Documenting Contact for Youth on Runaway Status and Placed through ICPC  

Because social workers are unable to make monthly contacts directly with youth on runaway status, specific documentation must be entered into CWS/CMS to indicate that the youth is unavailable for contact.

DFCS policy regarding youth on runaway status is for social workers to make monthly efforts to contact individuals significant to the youth in order to make inquiries that may  possibly lead to information regarding the whereabouts of the youth.   The monthly contacts with these individuals and/or other efforts to locate the youth is documented in a CWS/CMS Contact.

Instructions for documenting are avaialble in the DFCS intranet CWS/CMS Training Guide Library (CWS/CMS Contact Quick Guide for Documenting Runaway or Abducted Children in Contacts)

 

Similarly, specific entries must be entered in the case plan for children placed out-of-state through ICPC so that the primary assigned social worker is not expected to make monthly face-to-face contacts. (CWS/CMS Contact Quick Guide for Documenting Children Placed Out-of-State)


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Placement Change  

A visit exception is granted if the conditions set forth in Division 31 are met and is only applicable to the placement home in which the child is placed at the time the exception is approved.  Therefore, if a child's placement changes, the exception is no longer valid and the requirement for social worker visits with the child becomes monthly until a new visit exception is approved.  There is no basis under state regulations for allowing an automatic extension of a visit exception when a child moves.  The social worker must visit the child in the new home and a new contact exception must be reviewed and approved by the supervisor.

 

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Attempted Contacts  

Attempted contacts do not satisfy the requirements for a contact measure.  For a contact to be considered completed it must be recorded in CWS as "in-person" with the status of "completed."

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Other References  
bullet2 Contact Requirements
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