DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

   
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Handbook 5: In Home Care
5-6 Informal Supervision Services

 

In Home Care
5-6 Informal Supervision Services
Reference Points
Overview
Services Offered Under Informal Supervision
Supervisor Review of Cases Transferred to Informal Supervision
IS Agreement and Case Plan
Draft Petition
Length of Services
IS Social Worker Responsibilities
Contact Requirements for IS Case
When a Parent Fails to Comply with the Case Plan
Six Month Assessment of IS Cases
Extending IS Services
Terminating IS Services
Closing an IS Case
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: 10/1/07
Last Updated: 1/21/2015
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 300
Popup Window WIC § 332(f)
pdf California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) Division 31-320
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Informal Supervision Agreement (SCZ1649c)
MS Word Informal Supervision Agreement (SCZ1649c Spanish)
MS Word Authorization for Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information (SCZ 244)
MS Word DI-Case Assignment Control Sheet
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Case Management Section:  Case Plan
bullet Service Management Section:  Contact Notebook
bullet CAT - Continuing Services Tool
bullet CAT - Case Closure Assessment Tool


Overview  

Informal Supervision (IS) is a voluntary program under which the Department of Family and Children's Services offers the provision of non-court, time-limited protective services to families whose children are in potential danger of abuse, neglect or exploitation, when the child can safely remain in the home and the family is willing to accept services and engage in corrective action. The agreement for Informal Supervision services may be initiated by a social worker or by the court.  IS services may be offered if a child comes within or may soon come within the purview of the Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) § 300.

Though there is an Informal Supervision Unit whose social workers specifically carry IS cases,  IS cases are also carried throughout the Department by social workers in Continuing Service Bureaus, in the South County Bureau, and at the Family Resource Centers.

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Making a Referral for Informal Supervision Services  

See OPP Chapter 5-5: Informal Supervision:  Referral Procedures.

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Services Offered Under Informal Supervision  

The case management services a family may receive under the Information Supervision program include:

  • Monthly face-to-face contact between the social worker and the family.
  • Monitoring of the child's safety in the home.
  • Monitoring the parents' compliance with the case plan.
  • Referrals to:
    • Parenting classes
    • Parent Orientation
    • Mental health counseling
    • Domestic violence counseling
    • Drug testing
    • Substance abuse counseling
     
  • Family Preservation and other funds for e.g.:
    • Furniture.
    • Child Care.
    • Counseling (short-term).
    • Transportation.
    • Utility bills.
    • Rent.
     
  • Crisis intervention.
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Transfer of a Referral to an IS Case  

Assignment of IS cases is done through the DI Control Clerk and is based upon case load and language.

A new case is transferred to the IS unit with the following documents:

  • Transfer Case Summary Form (SC 409).
  • Informal Supervision Agreement (SCZ1649c).
  • Draft petition.
    • The draft petition requires (WIC § 332[f]) a concise statement of facts, separately stated, to support the conclusion that the child is a person within the definition of each of the sections and subdivisions under which the proceedings are being instituted. 
  • CWS/CMS Case Plan, if not transferred in a timely manner.
  • DI-Case Assignment Control Sheet (blue sheet).

Documentation by the referring social worker should be current in CWS/CMS. The information in CWS/CMS must match the information on the Transfer Summary Sheet.

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IS Agreement and Case Plan  

Cases that are transferred for Informal Supervision services from Emergency Response or Dependent Intake social workers are required to include a signed Informal Supervision Agreement (SCZ1649c).   The IS case must be assigned in CWS/CMS to the receiving social worker within 15 days of the initial face-to-face contact with the child by any DFCS social worker.  If the case is not transferred to the receiving social worker within the 15 day period, the referring worker completes the:

  • CAT - Continuing Services Tool and
  • CWS/CMS case plan

If a case comes to the IS or Continuing social worker with the IS Agreement and/or Case Plan, the social worker providing IS services may, after meeting with the family and assessing the family's situation, make changes to the Agreement or Case Plan. Any changes to the IS Agreement requires that the social worker providing IS services writes up a new Agreement with the parents and has them sign it. Any changes to the Case Plan requires that the social worker providing IS services updates the case plan in CWS/CMS.  An updated Case Plan must have signatures of the social worker, the parents and the social work supervisor.

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Draft Petition  

For every Informal Supervision (IS) Agreement a draft of a petition is prepared that identifies the WIC § 300 and the allegations under which the petition could be filed with the Juvenile Court.   Welfare and Institutions Code Section 332(f) requires that the petition include a concise statement of facts, separately stated, to support the conclusion that the child is a person within the definition of each of the sections and subdivisions under which the proceedings are being instituted.  The social worker who prepares the draft petition also must review the petition with the family.

The purpose of writing and reviewing the petition with the family is to clarify the basis of the IS services for the parents.  It may serve as a tool for engaging the family in services.  Best practice is that the draft petition be reviewed with the family during a warm hand-off meeting with the sending social worker and the receiving social worker.  If a warm hand-off meeting cannot be arranged, the receiving social worker should, again, review the draft petition with the parents.

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Length of Services  

Informal Supervision services are offered for up to an initial period of six (6) months. The social worker may request an extension of up to three (3) months beyond the initial six months. To request the extension, the social worker must submit a memo with the request to his/her supervisor. The extension must be approved by both the supervisor and bureau Social Services Program Manager. Any recommendation to offer services requested beyond the additional three month period (nine months in total) must be presented for a joint staffing and approved by the DFCS Director.   If the case is extended beyond the initial six (6) month period, the social worker is required to update the Case Plan at the six month period.

The social worker requesting extended services must remember that services are voluntary and required the parent's agreement to be provided the services.   If the parent does not agree to extended services, the case must be staffed.

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IS Social Worker Responsibilities  

Upon receiving the Informal Supervision case, the social worker:

  • Reviews the case, including the Safety Assessment, Informal Supervision Agreement and, if completed, the CWS/CMS case plan.
  • Makes an appointment for a face-to-face contact in the home with all parties present within five business days of the date of transfer.
    • Ideally, the initial meeting will include the sending social worker to facilitate a warm hand-off of the case.  The receiving social worker makes arrangements with the sending social worker to be present at the initial meeting.
    • During the first contact, the IS social worker:
    • Reviews with the family the:
      1. Informal Supervision Agreement   (SCZ1649c)
      2. Draft petition
      3. CWS/CMS case plan, if one has been developed.
      4. Potential barriers to the achievement of the objectives and provides solutions.
      5. Tasks to be accomplished prior to the next visit.

  • Completes the CAT - Continuing Services Tool.

  • Completes the Case Plan with the family, if the CWS/CMS case plan has not been developed.

  • Assesses the child(ren)'s continued safety in the home.
    • Each child should be interviewed separately and in private.

  • Requests that the parents sign a Authorization for Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information (SCZ 244) for each collateral service provider the IS social worker may need to contact.

  • Documents the visit in the CWS/CMS Contact Notebook.
  •  
  • Contacts collateral service providers to obtain updates and reports on the parents' progress with services, throughout the IS service period.
  • Prepares a Case Plan update as frequently as the service needs of the child and family dictate, but no less than every six months.
    • A CAT-Continuing Services Assessment Tool is completed with every Case Plan update.
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Contact Requirements for IS Cases  

It is DFCS policy that social workers providing Informal Supervision (IS) services are required to:

  • Make an initial face-to-face contact with the family within five business days of being assigned the case. 
  • Make weekly in-person contacts with the family for the first three weeks, after the case is assigned to the IS social worker.
  • Have in-person contacts with each child and parents a minimum of once a month, after the first three weekly in-person contacts.
    • The family may require more frequent visits, and it is left to the social worker to assess the need for additional contacts to assure that the family is meeting the service plan goals and that the child remains safe in the family home.  

The standards are set in the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Division 31 - 320, for contact requirement between a social worker and a child who resides in the family home. The specific Division 31 contact requirements state that the social worker shall:

  • Visit the child at least three times in the first 30 calendar days, including the initial in-person response.
    • If the case plan is completed in the first 21 calendar days after the initial removal of the child or in-person response, the social worker shall be permitted to have less frequent visits, up to a minimum of twice in the first 21 calendar days.
     
  • Visit each child with an approved case plan who remains in the home at least once each calendar month.
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When a Parent Fails to Comply with the Case Plan  

If there are any concerns about the safety of the child and/or stability of the family during the service period, social workers carrying Informal Supervision cases are required to schedule a Joint Case Staffing or staff the case with there Social Services Program Manager (SSPM) when the parent(s):

  • Does not begin complying with the service plan within the first 30 days.
  • Ceases to comply with services at any time during the service period.
  • Does not complete the agreed upon services within the six months of IS services.

If there is ongoing concern regarding the child's safety but exigent circumstances do not exist, the social worker may be advised to submit a petition for a protective custody warrant to remove the child from the home.

If, at any point in the service period, the parents' failure to comply with services results in a heightened risk to the child, and the child is assessed to be in immediate danger (exigent circumstances), the social worker has the option of:

  • Removing the child from the home, if the child falls under WIC § 300 (b) or (g);
  • Requesting law enforcement assistance to remove the child from the home, if the child falls within any section of the WIC § 300.
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Six Month Assessment of IS Cases  

Five months from the date the case was transferred to the social worker, the worker confers with all collateral contacts and the family to reassess the progress towards the Case Plan objectives and the current level of risk to the child(ren). At that time, the plan for the next service period is delineated.   The possible actions include:

  • Terminating services and closing the case.
  • Extending IS services for an additional 3 months.
  • Removing the child(ren) from the care of the parents/guardians.
  • Scheduling a Staffing with the first level SSPM
  • Referral for Path 2 Services
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Extended IS Services   If, by the end of the fifth month of services, the social worker assesses that the case plan goals could be achieved with a few more months of services beyond the six months, the social worker writes a memo to the SSPM requesting a 30, 60 or 90 day extension of IS services.  Any request for longer than 90 days requires a written request to the DFCS Deputy Director for approval.
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Terminating IS Services  

Informal Supervision services are terminated when one of the following occurs:

  • The case plan objectives have been achieved and the child is no longer endangered.
  • The parent/guardian refuses continued services, and there is no present endangerment to the child.

  • The maximum time allowed by State regulations is completed.
    • If the situation has not been ameliorated after nine months of services, schedule a Joint Case Staffing for consultation and recommendations.
     
  • The family moves out of county.
    • If the family moves out of county and there continues to be concern regarding the welfare of the child, the social worker makes a referral to the child welfare agency in the families' new county of residence or state.
  • The child reaches the age of 18.
  • The whereabouts of the child and/or family become unknown, and all efforts to locate have been unsuccessful.
    • If, at the point the family's whereabouts becomes unknown, the IS social worker had raised concerns about the child's safety, the IS social worker consults with the unit supervisor to discuss the possible filing of a protective custody warrant.
     
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Closing an IS Case  

The social worker and the social work supervisor follow the steps for closing cases as outlined in OPP Chapter 12-7 Closing Continuing Cases .

 

The effective date of closure is the date that the supervisor closes the case in CWS/CMS. This is also the date the supervisor signs the CAT-Case Closure Assessment Tool, which may be signed online.  The supervisor forwards the case to clerical for processing and ponying to the Retention Center.

 

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Other References  
OPP Chapter 5-5: Informal Supervision: Referral Procedures
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