DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 14: Resource Homes: Foster Care Licensing and Relative Finding
14-4 Placing and Lifting Placement Holds on Foster Homes
Resource Homes: Foster Care Licensing and Relative Finding
14-4 Placing and Lifting Placement Holds on Foster Homes
Reference Points
Overview
Definitions
Criteria for Applying a Hold
Social Workers Making Direct Foster Home Placements
Placing a Hold on a County Licensed Foster Home under Level I Criteria
Placing a Hold on a County Licensed Foster Home under Level II or III Criteria
Placing a Hold on a Foster Family Agency (FFA) Home
Placing a Hold on a Group Home
The Licensing Investigation
Lifting a Hold
Review Meeting
Foster Homes on Hold That Are Possible Relative/NREFM Placements
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: TBA
Last Updated: 2/17/07
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Request for Administrative Review of a Foster Family Home Placement Hold (SCZ 192)
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Placement Management Section


Overview  

When a referral is received at the DFCS Child Abuse and Neglect Center (CANC) regarding suspected child abuse or neglect in a foster or FFA home, an Emergency Response (ER) investigation is initiated to determine if it is safe for dependent children placed in the home to remain there or whether they must be removed from the home.  A concurrent but separate investigation is conducted on county licensed foster homes by the Department of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) Licensing Investigator to determine if there has been a violation of foster care regulations.  The Licensing Investigator and ER social worker coordinate their investigations, whenever possible, to avoid the need for multiple interviews.  A determination is made as to whether to place the foster/FFA home on a placement Hold, based on the allegations in the referral and the results of the investigations.  If a Hold is placed on a foster/FFA home, no child under DFCS supervision may be placed in the home until approval is given by the DFCS Director to lift the Hold.

The decision to place or lift placement Holds is done after staff consultation.  Foster parents and/or FFA staff have several opportunities during the process to agree or disagree with the decisions and plans for resolution.  A Review Meeting brings together DFCS staff and the foster parents  and/or FFA staff for a review of the issues.

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Definitions  
  • Complaint

    A complaint is an allegation that any State Department of Social Service licensing regulation or law is being violated. The source of the information may be anyone, including a child, client, parent, guardian, conservator, authorized representative, relative, representative of a client, facility employee, neighbor, an agency using the facility and/or others in the community. The information may be given by a person who may not indicate that it is a complaint, but believes there is a problem. As long as the information raises reasonable questions about the care of the clients or the condition of the facility that could possibly be a violation of one or more licensing regulations, the Licensing social worker and/or Licensing Investigator records the information as a complaint and follows procedures to investigate the complaint. (CCL Evaluator Manual 3-2010)

  • Referral

A referral is a report regarding child abuse and neglect that comes into the DFCS Child Abuse and Neglect Center (CANC).  A referral is made when there is complaint regarding a foster home involving child abuse or neglect.

  • Placement Hold
    A placement Hold is an action taken on a foster/FFA home by the Department of Family and Children's Services which precludes further placement of children under DFCS supervision in the foster/FFA home, until the Hold is lifted.  A Hold is placed on a foster/FFA home when a complaint against the foster/FFA home is received at the DFCS Child Abuse and Neglect Center and the allegations in the complaint are determined to be of a serious nature.  Holds are placed on foster homes by the DFCS Placement Unit.
  • Licensing Hold
  •  A Licensing Hold is a temporary suspension of a license imposed by the California Community Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services.  A licensing hold precludes the placement or continued placement of a foster child in the home.

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Criteria for Applying a Hold  

Referrals are categorized by levels of seriousness to ensure that immediate action is taken for the most serious allegations (Level I) and to give more flexibility in the Hold decision regarding referrals of a less serious nature (Level II and III). 

See


If the allegations in the referral meet the criteria under.. Then..
Level 1
  • The foster home (FH) or foster family agency (FFA) home is immediately placed on Hold.
 
  • The group home (GH) administrator is contacted for a scheduled staffing.
Level 2
  • The Placement Unit supervisor consults with the Placement Social Services Program Manager to determine if an immediate Hold should be placed on the home, based upon the allegations in the referral.
  • If an immediate Hold is not placed on the home, the Hold determination is reevaluated when the Emergency Response investigation results are received and, again, when the results of the Licensing investigation are received by the Placement Unit supervisor.
Level 3
  • The foster home is not immediately placed on hold.
  • If an immediate Hold is not placed on the home, the Hold determination is reevaluated when the Emergency Response investigation results are received and, again, when the results of the Licensing investigation are received by the Placement Unit supervisor.


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Social Workers Making Direct Foster Home Placements  

Social workers who make their own placements in county licensed foster homes without going through the Placement Unit or Assessment Intake Center should review the Vacancy List on the SSA S:drive before considering the foster home placement.  If a foster home is not on the Vacancy List, it may be that the home has been placed on a Hold.  If the social worker does not see a particular foster home on the Vacancy List, the social worker may call the Placement Unit to verify whether a child may be placed in the home.

Social workers should not directly place children in FFA homes and should always work through the FFA to place a child in an Agency home. 

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Placing a Hold on a County Licensed Foster Home under Level I Criteria  

Child abuse and neglect referrals involving complaints about foster homes are forwarded to the Placement Unit Supervisor.  That supervisor gives a copy of the complaint to the Resource Home Unit supervisor who assigns the referral to the Licensing Investigator. 

The Placement Unit supervisor:

  • Telephones the Foster Home to notify the foster parent(s) that the Hold is being placed on the home for placement purposes.
    • Notification is to occur within 24 hours of the Hold.
    • In the case of referrals that fall under Level I criteria, Holds are automatic, as the allegations are of a serious nature.

  • Sends a standardized letter as a follow-up to the telephone notification.

  • Emails notification of the hold to the:
    • Placement Unit  Social Workers
    • Assessment Intake Center Supervisor
    • Placement Bureau Clerical
    • Licensing Investigator
    • Licensing Supervisor
    • Foster Parent Advocate
    • Resource Family Support Team (RFST)
    • Respite Care Coordinator


  • In CWS/CMS under Existing Placement Home in the Placement Management Section:
    • Checks the Hold box on the ID page.
    • Completes the Hold Status.

Hold Levels Flow Chart for Foster Homes and Foster Family Agency (FFA) Homes

FFH Placement Hold - Emergency Response Procedures Flow Chart

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Placing a Hold on a County Licensed Foster Home under Level II or III Criteria  

The difference between the Hold process for Level I and Level II/III is that the placement Hold is not automatic.  Instead, the Placement Unit supervisor makes the initial decision to make the placement Hold in consultation with the Placement Bureau SSPM. If the initial decision is made not to place the home on Hold, that decision is reevaluated when the results of the Emergency Response (ER) investigation and Licensing Investigation are received.  If the home is placed on a Hold, the same procedures as those for Level I are followed.

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Placing a Hold on an FFA Home  

The procedures for placing and lifting a Hold on a Foster Family Agency (FFA) home are the same as those followed for county licensed foster homes, with the exception that the Placement Unit Supervisor communicates and works with the Foster Family Agency (under which the FFA home is certified) and the FFA home case manager, rather than working directly with the FFA foster parents.   Further, though DFCS social workers may not place children in an FFA home that is on Hold, social workers from other agencies are not prohibited from continuing use of the home for placement of children under their supervision.

The Placement supervisor:

  • Telephones the Foster Family Agency (FFA) to notify the FFA that the Hold is being placed on the home for placement purposes.
    • Notification is to occur within 24 hours of the Hold.
    • In the case of referrals that fall under Level I criteria, Holds are automatic, as the allegations are of a serious nature.

  • Sends a standardized letter to the FFA as a follow-up to the telephone notification.

  • Emails notification of the Hold:
    • Placement Unit  Social Workers
    • Assessment Intake Center Supervisor
    • Placement Bureau Clerical
    • Community Care Licensing (CCL)
      • At this time, CCL is also notified of the referral allegation as a backup to notification by the Screening social worker.
    • Foster Family Agency (FFA)
  • In CWS/CMS under Existing Placement Home in the Placement Management Section:
    • Checks the Hold box on the ID page.
    • Completes the Hold Status.


Hold Levels Flow Chart for Foster Homes and Foster Family Agency (FFA) Homes


FFA Placement Hold - Emergency Response Procedures Flow Chart

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Placing a Hold on a Group Home  

The procedures for placing and lifting a Hold on Group Homes are similar to those followed for county licensed foster homes.  There are two exceptions:

  • The Placement Unit Supervisor communicates and works with the Group Home Administrator, rather than working with the foster parents.  
  • At any point a determination is made to place a Hold, a staffing is arranged, which includes the Group Home Administrator.  Efforts are made at the staffing to find a resolution to the problem, eliminating the need for the Hold.

Though DFCS social workers may not place children in a group home that is on a Placement Hold, social workers from other agencies are not prohibited from continuing use of the facility for placement of children under their supervision.

Hold Level Flow Chart for Group Homes

 

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The Licensing Investigation  

As part of the referral process, the DFCS Licensing Investigator (for county licensed homes) or the State Community Care Licensing worker (for FFA homes) initiates an investigation.  After the initial investigation, the foster parents may be required to complete a Plan of Correction to correct any deficiencies in the home or to supplement foster care training.  Once all requirements are satisfied, the licensing investigation report is submitted to the Licensing Unit supervisor for review and approval.  After approval of the packet by the supervisor, a copy of the approved licensing investigation report is submitted to the Placement Unit supervisor who proceeds with the process of lifting the Hold.

See OPP Chapter 14-3.2: Conducting a Licensing Investigation.

Licensing Investigation Flow Chart

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Lifting a Hold  

While the Emergency Response and Licensing/CCL Investigations continue, the Placement Unit managers and supervisor maintain communication with the ER social worker and the Licensing/CCL Investigator and, if applicable, the FFA or group home staff to assure that all concerns are addressed in the Plan of Correction.  After all licensing issues have been satisfied, the Emergency Response investigation is completed and there are no serious concerns, the Placement Unit supervisor begins the process of lifting the Hold.

County Licensed Foster Family _ Lift Placement Hold Flow Chart

FFA Home  - Lift Placement Hold Flow Chart

Group Home - Lift Placement Hold Flow Chart

The Placement Unit Supervisor submits the recommendation and all applicable documentation to lift the Hold via email to the:

  • Continuing Service Bureau Program Manager (SSPM)
  • Continuing Social Work Supervisor
  • Continuing Social Worker
    • Preferred response time is within 48 hours.

If..

then the Placement Unit Supervisor..

All parties are in agreement with lifting the Hold

Sends an email to all parties to notified them that a recommendation to lift the Hold will be submitted to the DFCS Director.

All parties are not in agreement with lifting the Hold

Completes the Request for Administrative Review of a Foster Family Home Placement Hold (SCZ 192).

Submits the SC 192 to the Placement Bureau SSPM to notify the SSPM of the need for a staffing.

  • The SSPM:

    • Schedules a staffing with all involved DFCS staff.
If during the staffing.. Then..
Consensus can be reached to lift the Hold

No further plans to resolve the issue are developed.

Consensus cannot be reach to lift the Hold

The staffing participants reconvene until consensus is reached upon a plan to resolve the issues and lift the Hold.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

When consensus is reached to lift the Hold, the Placement Bureau SSPM:

  • Submits a recommendation to the DFCS Director via email to lift the Hold.

 

If..

Then

The DFCS Director approves the lift of the Hold on the foster home, without further restrictions

The Placement Unit Supervisor:

  • Telephones the foster home or FFA to notify the foster parent(s) or FFA staff that the Hold is lifted.
  • Sends a follow-up letter to the foster home or FFA confirming the lift of the Hold.
  • Removes the Hold from the Home Information for the foster home in CWS/CMS.
  • Emails staff who were initially notified of the Hold to inform them that the Hold has been lifted.

The DFCS Director approves the lift of the Hold on the foster home, with further restrictions

The Placement Unit Supervisor :

  • Discusses the restrictions with the foster parent(s) or FFA staff.
  • Sends a follow-up letter to the foster home or FFA outlining the restrictions with instructions for filing a grievance.
Does not approve the Hold be lifted under any circumstances Same as above.

 

 

 

 

 

 











 

 



 

 



If..

then ..

The foster parents are in agreement with the restrictions

The Licensing social worker:

  • Notifies the Placement Unit Supervisor and the Resource Family Support Team that the foster parents are in agreement with the restrictions.


The Placement Unit supervisor:

  • Telephones the foster home or FFA to notify the foster parent(s) or FFA staff that the Hold is lifted.
  • Sends a follow-up letter to the foster home or FFA confirming the lift of the Hold.
  • Removes the Hold from the Home Information for the foster home in CWS/CMS.
  • Updates the information under Existing Placement Home in CWS/CMS for county foster homes, to add restrictions if they are applied to the county foster home.
 
  • Emails staff who were initially notified of the Hold to inform them that the Hold has been lifted.

The foster parents are not in agreement with the restrictions

The Placement Unit supervisor:

  • Completes the SC 192
  • Forwards the SC 192 to the Placement Bureau SSPM for scheduling of a Review Meeting.

 

 

 

 

 


















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Review Procedures  

If the foster parents or FFA are not in agreement with restrictions for placement of children in their home, the foster family or FFA may request a Review Meeting by contacting the Placement Unit Supervisor in writing.

Upon receiving notice from the Placement Unit supervisor that the foster parent(s) or FFA request a Review Meeting, the Placement Bureau SSPM I schedules a Review Meeting.

The foster parent(s) or FFA is notified of the results of the Review Meeting .

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Foster Homes on Hold That Are Possible Relative/NREFM Placements   The policy of DFCS is that no additional children may be placed in a foster home that is on a placement Hold.  The exception to this may be a foster home that in on a placement Hold, and a relative child of the foster parents comes into temporary custody and is need out-of-home placement.  If the foster parents who are related to the child offer their home as a placement for the child and the social worker is in agreement with the placement, the social worker writes a memo requesting placement of the child in the foster/relative home.  The memo is submitted to the DFCS Director or Deputy Director for approval.  If approval is given for placement of the child in the foster/relative home, it is not necessary for the social worker to complete a relative home approval, because the home is already approved under state licensing regulations.
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Other References  
MS Word2 Placement Hold Level Guide for Foster Family Homes and Foster Family Agency (FFA) Homes
MS Word2 Hold Levels Flow Chart for Foster Family Homes and Foster Family (FFA) Homes
bullet2 OPP Chapter 14-3.2: Conducting a Licensing Investigation
MS Word2 FFH Placement Hold - Emergency Response Procedures Flow Chart
MS Word2 FFA Placement Hold - Emergency Response Procedures Flow Chart
MS Word2 County Licensed Foster Family _ Lift Placement Hold Flow Chart
MS Word2 FFA Home  - Lift Placement Hold Flow Chart
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