DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 12: Case Assignment, Transfer and Closure
12-6  Pre-Dispositional Hearing (Pre-Dispo) Assignments
Case Assignment, Transfer and Closure
12-6 Pre-Dispositional Hearing (Pre-Dispo) Case Assignments
Reference Points
Communication Is the Key
Overview
Pre-dispo Case Assignment Process
Criteria for Assigning Cases to Specialized Units
Steps for Resolving Concerns Regarding Pre-dispo Assignment
Roles and Responsibilities of the DI Social Worker
Roles and Responsibilities of the Service Bureau Social Worker


Reference Points
Effective Date: 5/1/06
Last Updated: 4/4/08
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 328)
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Pre-Dispo Assignment Sheet
MS Word Family Social and Medical History Form (SCZ 222)


Overview  

It is the policy of the Department to assign all cases for which a petition has been filed with the Juvenile Court to a social worker in a service bureau, prior to the dispositional hearing (pre-dispo) on the case. Following the filing of a petition and the completion of a Dependency Initial Hearing (Detention) report by the Dependent Intake (DI) social worker, the case is assigned to a Service Bureau (Continuing) social worker based on language, caseload statistics and any other identified special needs. The Continuing social worker is assigned as secondary in CWS/CMS but receives full credit for the case.

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Communication Is The Key  

The DFCS principles behind pre-dispo case assignment are:

  • Joint decision making
  • Seamless services to clients
  • Respectful communication and mutual support among staff

Success of the pre-dispositional assignment depends largely on prompt, respectful communication and mutual support between social workers.  If concerns are unable to be resolved worker-to-worker, the matter is to be addressed up through the sequential line of authority.

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Pre-Dispo Case Assignment Process  

Whenever a DI social worker determines that it is necessary to file a petition with the Juvenile Court in order to protect a child from abuse or neglect, the case is assigned simultaneously to a social worker in a service bureau.  Pre-dispositional assignment packets containing the case documents are made within 24 hours after the Initial Hearing for forwarding to the Continuing social worker.

                 

DI Social Worker

  • Contacts the supervisor of the specialized unit to consult with that supervisor about the appropriateness of the assignment prior to the Initial Petition Hearing, if the DI social worker believes that a case should be assigned to a specialized unit (Domestic Violence, Drug Court, Sexual Abuse or CCF).

 

  • Prepares the pre-dispositional assignment packet, within 48 hours of the conclusion of the Initial Petition Hearing. 
    • The packet includes:
      • A copy of the petition
      • A copy of the Dependency Initial Hearing Report Packet
      • A completed Case Information Sheet
      • Completed goldenrod Pre-Dispo Assignment Sheet
  • Returns phone call within 24 hours from the assigned Continuing social worker, when the Continuing social worker calls to advise that he/she has received the pre-dispo packet.
  • Works together with the Continuing social worker to coordinate visitation and services to the child and the family.
 
  • Prepares the physical case for transfer to the Continuing social worker, after the Dispositional Hearing by:
    • Entering all contacts in CWS/CMS Contact Notebook.
    • Completing all other necessary CWS/CMS input.
    • Submitting the case for transfer within 3 working days of the Dispositional Hearing.



DI Supervisor

  • Reviews the pre-dispositional packet for completeness.
  • Signs the goldenrod Pre-Dispo Assignment Sheet.
  • Gives the packet to the DI control clerk (DICC).
  • Reviews the case transfer for completeness.
  • Completes case transfer input in CWS/CMS.
  • Gives case to DICC.
  • Works with the Continuing supervisor to attempt to resolve any concerns.  


 

DI Control Clerk (DICC)

  • Receives the pre-dispo packet from the DI social worker, after the Initial Petition Hearing.
    • Clerical staff will track Initial Hearings and remind DI social workers to prepare the pre-dispo packet, after the Hearing takes place.
       
  • Assigns the case to the appropriate Continuing social worker.
    • Assignment is based on:
      • Language needs.
      • Current case weights.
      • Current child count.
      • The child/family's need for assignment to a specialized unit.
      • For specialized units, the case is assigned to the unit supervisor rather than directly to the social worker.
      • If there is a teen-aged mother and a child who each have petitions filed on their behalf, the two cases will be assigned to social workers in two separate service bureaus
      • If there is a sibling already receiving services from a social worker in one of the service bureaus, the child who is new to the system will be assigned to that same social worker.


  • Assigns a secondary status to the Continuing social worker on CWS/CMS.
  • E-mails the case assignment to the Continuing supervisor and the DI supervisor with a cc to the service bureau program manager (SSPM).
  • Prepares the case for transfer, after the Dispositional Hearing.
  • Sends physical case to the Continuing unit via pony.


Home Supervision Program Social Worker

  • The Home Supervision Program social worker continues support activities and transportation for two weeks following assignment of the case to a Continuing social worker.


 

Continuing Supervisor

  • Notifies the Continuing social worker of the case assignment.
  • Works with the DI supervisor to attempt to resolve any concerns.  


 

Continuing Social Worker

  • Contacts the DI social worker within 24 hours of receiving the pre-dispo assignment.
    • If unable to talk to the DI worker, the Continuing social worker leaves a message.  
  • Works together with the DI social worker to coordinate visitation and services to the child and the family.
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Criteria for Assigning Cases to Specialized Units  

The criteria for assigning cases to a specialized unit is as follows:

  • Domestic Violence Unit:
    • Domestic violence is alleged on the petition or
    • Domestic violence services are ordered by the Court or
    • The case involves at least one adult/parent/victim and at least one   adult/parent/dominant aggressor who is involved in the case or an adult/parent/dominant aggressor is known to still be connected but is either not getting services or is unwilling to accept services, and
    • The domestic violence dynamics continue to place the adult victim and children at risk.

  • Drug Court Unit:
    • Level of care assessment regarding drug issues indicates a need for intensive outpatient or residential services or
    • There are substantial drug issues alleged in the petition or
    • The parent is willing to participate in drug court.
     
  • Community Care Facility Units:
    • A child who is out of adult control and involved in high risk behaviors such as drug use, sexually acting out (including prostitution), running away, stealing, violence towards others, gang affiliation or truancy or
    • A child who has a serious mental health diagnosis and related behavioral problems.   These behaviors may include suicidal thoughts, threats, and/or gestures; self mutilating behavior; angry outbursts; assaultive behavior; lack of impulse control; inability to focus; oppositional behavior; unwillingness to follow adult direction; inability to relate to peers; problems in school; sexual acting out; encopresis; enuresis or psychotic symptoms such as auditory or visual hallucinations.
             
  • Sexual Abuse Unit:
    • Sexual abuse is alleged on the petition.
     
  • Adoption Finalization Unit:
    • Full non-reunification (by-pass) cases in which neither parents receives reunification services.
    • Safely Surrendered Baby
    • Voluntary Relinquishments
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Steps for Resolving Concerns Regarding Pre-dispo Assignment  

Resolution of any concerns is expected to occur within 30 days after the Continuing social worker receives the case.

  • Concerns should first be communicated between social workers via an email that is cc'd to both workers' supervisors.
  • If the workers are unable to resolve the concern, the DI and Service Bureau supervisors are immediately informed and the concern is addressed between the supervisors. 
  • If an impasse is reached between supervisors, the concern should be immediately brought to the attention of the bureau SSPM's. 
  • If resolution among the SSPM's is not accomplished within 1 week, the matter goes to the Deputy Director or Director for resolution.
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Roles and Responsibilities of the DI Social Worker  

When a DI social worker receives a new case assignment, the DI worker:

  • Investigates the allegations of abuse/neglect.
  • Interviews the parent(s) and all children 4-years-old or older as a step in the investigation.
  • Completes the:
    • EA-1 application with parent's signature.
    • Child Support Good Claim Form (CW51)
    • CAT - ER Referral Disposition
    • ICWA -010
  • Determines whether or not court involvement is indicated in order to protect the child.
  • If court involvement is indicated, prepares a petition and a Dependency Initial Hearing packet.
  • Makes the initial referrals for services for the parent(s).
  • Makes initial referrals for the child that are immediately needed.
  • Begins filling out the Family Social and Medical History Form, gathering as much information as possible.
  • Initiates ICWA inquiries and completes the ICWA eligibility determination process.
  • Initiates a Victim Witness application, if applicable.
  • Prepares the pre-dispo packet.
  • Determines the appropriate concurrent plan and identifies the concurrent placement resource for the child.
  • Completes a Child Card for each child for which family reunification services is recommended.
  • Completes the CAT - Placement Assessment Tool.
  • Completes all home approvals for placement of the child in the home of an identified relative or non-relative extended family member (NREFM).
    • DI social workers complete all relative and NREFM home approvals that they begin.  Pending relative home approvals do not preclude assignment of pre-dispositional cases or case transfers from DI. The DI social worker continues completion of the home approval even after the case is pre-dispositionally assigned or transferred. 
    • If a relative or NREFM home was not identified by the DI social worker, and the Continuing worker identifies a relative/NREFM home, the Continuing worker completes the home approval.
  • Develops and carries out transition plans for pre-dispo placement changes, except for CCF placements.
    • DI social workers do not complete placement activities for children to be placed in a Community Care Facility.  The pre-dispositional Continuing social worker completes all activities and plans for placement of a child in a Community Care Facility.
  •  
  • Initiates Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) requests for identified caregivers out-of-state, if applicable.
    • Most states will accept an ICPC application for a home assessment prior to the child's being made a dependent.  Check with the ICPC coordinator before beginning the application.
  • Makes at minimum the first two visits to the child.
  • Makes a joint visit with the child and pre-dispo social worker, preferably on the third visit and prior to the Juris/Dispo Hearing.

    • The DI social worker is required to meet required contacts with the child, until the contact is transitioned to the pre-dispo social worker.


  • Initiates the parent/child visitation schedule.


  • Completes the CAT Continuing Services Tool.
  • Confers with the pre-dispo social worker regarding the appropriate case plan.


  • Develops the case plan with the family and obtains all necessary approval signatures.
  • Enters into CWS/CMS:
    • All contacts.
    • Updated information in client notebooks.
    • Initial Health and Education information.
  • Writes the Jurisdictional/Dispositional court report.
    • Identify in the report the name, worker number and phone number of the pre-dispo assigned Continuing social worker.


  • Participates in TDMs, Family Conferences, Mediations, and other staffings as appropriate.


  • Communicates and works closely with the assigned Continuing social worker.

 

If the Court does not make dispositional findings and orders at the initial dispositional hearing, the DI social worker:

  • Continues to be responsible for all required contacts with the parents.
  • Continues working with and providing services to parents as identified in the case plan.
  • Completes all DI functions and tasks as related to the court process.
  • Prepares addenda and any required court reports.
  • Functions as the primary social worker in the trial process.
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Roles and Responsibilities of the Service Bureau Social Worker  

When the Continuing social worker receives a case from Dependent Intake as a pre-dispositional case assignment, the Continuing social worker:

  • Thoroughly reviews the pre-dispo packet and any case information on CWS/CMS.
  • Begins developing a relationship with the child and family.
  • Makes a joint visit with the DI social worker and the child.  
    • Preferably this will be at the time the DI social worker makes his/her 3rd visit.

  • Begins coordinating parent/child visitation as initiated by the DI social worker.
  • Arranges for services for the child.
  • Gives input to the DI social worker regarding the case plan.
  • Makes a joint visit with the DI social worker and the parents prior to the first scheduled Jurisdictional/Dispositional hearing.
  • Participates in TDMs, Family Conferences, Mediations, and other staffings as appropriate.
  • Completes all required CWS/CMS input.
  • Adds information to the Family Social and Medical History Form, begun by the DI social worker, as further information is learned from the parents.

  • Completes out-of-state ICPC placements initiated by the DI social worker ,if the receiving state approves the placement after disposition.
  • If the child requires Community Care Facility placement, completes all plans and activities for placement.
  • Communicates and works closely with the assigned DI social worker.

 


If the Court does not make dispositional orders at the initially scheduled dispositional hearing, the Continuing social worker:

  • Is responsible for all required contacts with the child and out-of-home caregiver.
  • Continues working with and providing services to the child as identified in the case plan.
  • Monitors the child's placement and provides information about concurrent planning to the child's caregiver(s), as appropriate.
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