DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 12: Case Assignment, Transfer and Closure
12-4  Dependent Intake: Referral Assignment
Case Assignment, Transfer and Closure
12-4  Dependent Intake: Referral Assignment
Reference Points
Overview
Steps in the Assignment Process
Morning Staffings
Out-of-Custody Referral Assignments
Assignment Guidelines
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: TBA
Last Updated: 10/03/07


Overview  

When a non-dependent child is assessed as having been the victim of or being at risk of abuse or neglect, the child may be placed into temporary custody by a DFCS social worker and/or a law enforcement officer. A referral for the child is created in the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System (CWS/CMS). The Assessment Center social worker completes an Intake Packet to which the printed CWS/CMS referral is attached. An Early Intervention social worker reviews the Intake Packet and provides diversion services when appropriate. All referrals in which the child remains in temporary custody are assigned to a Dependent Intake (DI) social worker for ongoing assessment.

It is the policy of the Department to assign every case referred to DI as quickly as possible so that the DI social worker will have ample time to make a comprehensive assessment of the child's situation and either release the child to his/her parent/guardian or file a petition with the Juvenile Court within the legally mandated time lines.

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Steps in the Assignment Process  

When an Intake Packet is received at Dependent Intake (DI), it is commonly referred to as an Intake or a case, though, at this point, it remains a referral in CWS/CMS. The steps by which an Intake is assigned to a (DI) social worker are:

  1. The Assessment Center staff faxes the Intake Packet to the DI petitioning legal clerks within an hour of the time the child arrives at the Assessment Center.

    The Intake Packet includes:

    • Children's Shelter Intake Sheet
    • Screener Narrative
    • Investigative Narrative
    • CWS/CMS History
    • MEDS Screen
    • Juvenile Contact Report (JCR), if there was law enforcement involvement.
     
  2. Upon receiving the Intake, the DI clerical staff legal clerk:
    • Enters the child's name on the daily Dependent Intake Log.
    • ID's for previous child welfare history and MEDS.
      • Intakes that are faxed during after-hours, 5 pm– 8 am are prepared by the DI legal clerk for assignment by DI supervisors at morning staffings.
      • Intakes that are received during regular working hours, 8 am- 5 pm , are entered into CWS/CMS by the DI legal clerk and hand delivered to one of the DI supervisors for assignment.
  3. The DI social work supervisors assign cases based on the assignment list.
     
  4. A pre-dispositional assignment is made to a service bureau social worker, if the DI worker files a petition on behalf of the child.
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Morning Staffings  

Monday through Friday morning staffings are held during which Intakes are assigned. The participants in the morning staffings are:

  • Five DI Supervisors
  • Supervisor of the Early Intervention Unit
  • Supervisor of the Relative Home Unit
  • Representative from County Mental Health stationed at the Children's Shelter
  • County Counsel

The participants:

  • Review the Dependent Intake Log for that day.
  • Review the completed and updated Intake Log from the previous day.
  • Read the Intake Packets.
  • Write the time and date the petition is due on all Intakes.
  • Assign cases to the DI workers based on the assignment list prepared by the DI legal clerk and taking into consideration assignment guidelines.
  • Write assignments on current Dependent Intake Log and distribute to:
    • DI Clerical legal clerks.
    • Any DI supervisor not present at the morning assignment meeting.
    • Victim Witness representative.
  • Update the assignment list to reflect what DI social workers are available to take cases later in the day and highlight those names.
    • Write on the assignment list who received cases on the current date.
  • Distribute cases to assigned DI social worker between 8:30 and 9:00 am.
    • If a social worker who is assigned a case is in court, the referral is faxed to that worker at court (Fax: 491-4896).
  • Post the updated assignment list for staff to review.
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Out-of-Custody Referral Assignments  

Out-of-custody referrals are those referrals in which the child remains at home, but the Emergency Response (ER) or Continuing social worker has concerns about the child's safety and well-being. The ER or Continuing social worker requests that an out-of-custody petition be filed to give the Department the authority to investigate the matter further. A DI social work supervisor must approve the forwarding of out-of-custody referrals to DI, either at a Joint Case Staffing or after an individual consultation. The parents must be willing to cooperate in the investigation and to participate in services.

Out-of-custody referrals are assigned on a rotation basis, using the assignment list. The exception to this is when there is a DI social worker who has been taken out of rotation due to an upcoming vacation or long-cause trial.   Out-of-custody petitions must be filed within 48 business hours after the referral assignment, if the family had been receiving Informal Supervision or Voluntary Family Maintenance services.

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Assignment Guidelines  

The number of cases that workers are assigned in a month will depend on the number of available workers and the number of Intakes. The goal is to distribute the number of cases equally. Cases are assigned on a rotation basis. The DI social worker at the top of the assignment list is assigned a case unless that worker:

  • Has 4-6 active cases and/or 10-12 children and has talked to his/her supervisor about being given a temporary reprieve from case assignment.
  • Is starting a long-cause trial and will be given up to five days trial prep time, based on a decision made between the DI supervisor and County Counsel.
  • Is scheduled for a ½ day trial and/or 1-3 day trial and will be given up to 2 days of trial prep time, based on a decision made between the DI supervisor and County Counsel.
  • Is going on vacation for one week or more and will not receive a case one week prior to vacation.   The worker may have to start a case for another social worker.
  • Will be on flex day that day or the next day.
  • Is Working Out of Class (WOOC).

Any DI social worker having an expedited Juris/Dispo report will need to consult with his/her supervisor regarding case assignment.

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Other References  
bullet2 Joint Case Staffings
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