DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 11: Concurrent Planning and Adoption
11-6 The Matching Process
Concurrent Planning and Adoption
11-6  The Matching Process
Reference Points
Overview
Child Cards
The Matching Process
The Matching Meeting
Matching Meeting Outcomes
Ranking Families
Matching with Identified Families
Post Matching Meeting
BASA
Safely Surrendered Baby Procedures
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: TBA
Last Updated: 11/2/07
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Child Referral Information for Adoptive Family Search (SCZ 1030c) (Child Card)


Overview   The Matching Process refers to the identification of a prospective concurrent home for a child in the juvenile dependency system who has been removed from his/her home and is receiving services under the Family Reunification program.  The goal of the Matching Process is to find a concurrent family that can meet the needs of the child and serve as a permanent placement, in the event that the child is unable to return home. 
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Child Cards   See OPP Chapter 11-1: Child Cards
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Matching Coordinator  

The role of the Matching Coordinator is to

  • Schedule Matching Meetings.

  • Facilitate the Matching Meeting.

  • Present out-of-county home studies at Matching Meetings.

  • Facilitate Post Matching Meetings.
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The Matching Process  

The Matching Process begins with a Child Card, which is an informational form completed by social workers for each child who receives Family Reunification services. 

  • The Child Card is circulated among the DFCS Home Study social workers by the Child Card-BASA Coordinator.
  • If there are families identified by the Home Study social workers who may be a suitable match for the child and/or if there is already an identified concurrent family which has completed an adoption home study, a Matching Meeting is scheduled by the Matching Coordinator.
  • If there are no families identified by the DFCS Home Study social workers, the Child Card is forwarded to the Child Card Coordinator to be included in the BASA Book (Bay Area Supervisors of Adoption) for circulation among home study social workers outside the Department who may have concurrent families that match the child's needs.
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The Matching Meeting  

The Matching Meeting participants include the:

    • Matching Coordinator
    • Home Study social worker for each of the prospective families
    • Social worker for the child
    • Child's social worker's supervisor
    • Service Bureau supervisor from a Bureau other than that of the child's social worker (rotates)
    • Foster parents or relatives
      • The child's social worker contacts the child's substitute care provider and invites the care provider to provide information about the child at the Matching Meeting or via teleconferencing.
      • The foster parent or relative leaves the meeting after talking about the child and prior to the presentation of the prospective families and ranking of the families.
  • The Matching Coordinator reminds the committee that decisions cannot be based on prejudice or discrimination (i.e. age, religion, sexual orientation).
  • The child's social worker presents the child.
    • The presentation of the child should give the committee members a complete but brief (10 minutes at most) description of the child.  Include the child's legal status, current visitation orders, placement history, health status, developmental status, academic standing and results of medical, educational or psychological testing.  Family background should include the reason for the child's coming into custody and any information about physical or mental illness regarding the birth family.

  • Home Study social workers present their prospective concurrent families.
    • See the section below on Ranking Families for factors that are considered when assessing the suitability of a family for matching with a child.
  • The suitability of the presented families is discussed by the committee members.
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Matching Meeting Outcomes  

The possible outcomes of the Matching Meeting are that:

  • Prospective concurrent families are ranked.

  • An identified family (one with which the child has been residing) is "officially" matched.

  • There is no ranking of the presented families as none are assessed to meet the child's needs.

  • The Child Card is forwarded for inputting into the BASA Book for circulation among other agencies outside the Department.
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Ranking Families  

After all the Home Study families have been presented, the families are ranked by consensus of the Matching Committee.  The first ranked family is the family contacted to inquire if the family wants to proceed with the concurrent placement process.

The Matching Committee is made up of the:

  • Home Study social workers
  • Social worker for the child
  • Child's social worker's supervisor
  • Service Bureau supervisor (rotates)

In the event of a tie, the Matching Coordinator has the deciding vote.



There are many factors taken into consideration when ranking families.  These factors mainly revolve around the needs of the child.  They include:

  • The child's language needs
  • The child's special educational or developmental needs
  • The family's child rearing experience
  • The family's willingness to accept special needs children and the specific special needs the family is willing to accept
  • The family's willingness to accept the risk that the child will return to the parents' care
  • The family's willingness to accommodate visits between the child and birth parents during Family Reunification services
    • This is sometimes contingent upon the family's geographical location.
  • The other children in the prospective concurrent home
  • Whether the prospective concurrent family is willing to maintain contact with the child's siblings or relatives, if it is determined to be in the child's best interest

The families presented at the Matching Meeting do not have to be ranked.  Those that do not match with the child's needs are left unranked and presented at another Matching Meeting.

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Matching with Identified Families  

In the matching process, an "identified family" refers to a relative or foster family, with whom a child is already residing, which has stated that it wishes to be a concurrent family for the child.  A Child Card is completed for the child, and the family undergoes an adoption home study.  A Matching Meeting is scheduled.  Matching Committee members for a child in an identified family include the:

  • Matching Coordinator
  • Home Study social worker for the family
  • Social worker for the child
  • Child's social worker's supervisor


During the meeting, Matching Committee members:

  • Are presented with information gathered in the home study about the prospective concurrent family. 
  • Are presented with information about the child by the child's social worker.
  • Assess whether the family is an appropriate match for the child.


After the determination is made that the family is able to meet the child's needs, a post matching meeting is scheduled.  If it is determined that the family is not able to meet the needs of the child, the social worker may:

  • Assist the family in getting resources to meet the child's needs.
  • Change the permanent plan for the child.
  • Remove the child from the identified home and place the child in a concurrent home that can meet the child's needs.

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Post Matching Meeting  

The Home Study social worker for first ranked family:

  • Contacts the family.

  • Tells the family about the child.
  • Answers questions that that family may have about the child.
    • The concurrent home parents may be given a few days to consider whether they want to proceed with the match.
If.. Then the Matching Coordinator..
The family states that it wishes to proceed

Schedules a post-matching meeting with the:

  • Family (excluding children)
  • Home Study social worker
  • Child's social worker
  • Supervisor of child's social worker
  • Matching Coordinator
The family states that it does not wish to proceed

Contacts the home study social worker for the second ranked family.

  • The subsequent ranked families are contacted in order, starting with the second family, until one of the families states that it wishes to proceed.
  • If all the ranked families decline the match or decide against proceeding at some point in the transition, the Child Card is again circulated among the Home Study social workers for newly approved homes.



At the post matching meeting the matching coordinator:

  • Tells the family all information that the Department has about the child.

    • Both the family and the child's social worker then have an opportunity to ask each other questions.


  • Tells the family about the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP).

  • Shows the family the child's picture

  • Has the family sign (form) to indicate that he/she(they) has been told information about the child (need the "disclosure" form), including any known special needs of the child.

  • Asks the family if it wants to proceed.
    • The matching coordinator may suggest that the family takes a day or two to make its decision.


If the family wants to proceed, the child's social worker and the family work together to transition the child to the concurrent home.

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BASA  

The Bay Area Supervisors of Adoption (BASA) Exchange is a monthly meeting attended by public agency adoption supervisors and coordinators as well as staff from private and non-profit adoption agencies. At the BASA Exchange meetings participants present children and concurrent families who have had home studies completed by their respective agencies.  The children presented at the meetings are those for which prospective concurrent families have not been identified within the participants' own agencies.

The Child Card-BASA Coordinator:

  • Receives the Child Card back from the Home Study social workers, if no in-house families are identified for the child.
  • Contacts the child's social worker for additional information about the child.
  • Writes a child profile for the BASA Book.
  • Presents the child at the monthly BASA meeting.
  • Makes a list of home studies subsequently received from other agencies within the county or from other counties.
  • Sends the home studies to the Matching Coordinator.



The Matching Coordinator:

  • Reviews all of the out-of-county home studies.
  • Schedules a Matching Meeting with the:
    • Child's social worker
    • Social worker's supervisor
    • Service Bureau supervisor (rotating ) or Relative Finding Unit supervisor
  • Presents the home studies to the Matching Committee.

The homes are ranked and the process then parallels the post matching process described above.

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Safely Surrendered Baby Procedures  

When a newborn is safely surrendered at a hospital, an effort is made to place the child in a concurrent home as a first placement.  For this reason, a Matching Meeting is scheduled within one business day of the referral on the newborn. 

The Matching Process for a child who has been referred to the Department as a Safely Surrendered Baby begins with a Child Card from the Adoption social worker.

  • The Child Card is circulated among the DFCS Home Study social workers by the Child Card-BASA Coordinator.

 

  • The Matching Coordinator:
    • Reviews all of the adoptive home studies of the identified concurrent families.
      • If there is only one famly submitted by the Home Study social workers, the matching coordinator:
        • Checks the database for approved home studies on file.
        • Contacts the BAASA agencies requesting that they submit identified home studies of potential concurrent families within 24 hours.

 

  • The Home Study social workers present the identified concurrent families to a committee which includes the:
    • Matching Coordinator
    • Adoption Social Worker
    • Adoption Social Work Supervisor
    • Relative Finding Unit Supervisor

If the birth mother has left any information, her preferencesregarding prospective adoptive families, including religious preferences, are presented and considered.

 

  • The Matching committee ranks the top three families on their ability to meet the child's needs.

 

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Other References  
bullet2 OPP Chapter 6-9: Transitioning a Child from Placement to Placement
bullet2 OPP Chapter 13-10: Safely Surrendered Baby Protocol
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