DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 6: Out of Home Placement and Services
6-9 Transitioning Children from Placement to Placement
Out of Home Placement and Services
6-9 Transitioning Children from Placement to Placement
Reference Points
Team Decision Making (TDM)
Transfer Information
Transfer of Child(ren's) Property and Important Information
Preparation of Child for Transfer
Other References

Reference Points
Effective Date: 3/01/06
Last Updated: 5/21/09
 Legal Basis:
Pdf California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policy and Procedures (MPP) Division 31-405
Pdf CDSS MPP Division 31, §206.351-352
Popup Window Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) 16010 a) b) and c)
Popup Window WIC §361(a) §366.27
Popup Window WIC §726
Popup Window Education Code, §48852, §48853, §48853.5 b) c) d)
Popup Window Education Code, §49069.5 c) e)
Popup Window Education Code §56055
Popup Window Government Code §7579.1(c)
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Consent for Mental Health Treatment (SCZ 243)
MS Word Authorization for use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information  (SCZ244)
MS Word Family Social and Medical History Information (SCZ 222)
MS Word Application and Order for Authorization to Administer Psychotropic Medication (JV 220)
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet Client Management Section: Health and Education Notebooks
bullet Services Management Section: Contact Notebook

Overview   This protocol was developed by a work group comprised of the Continuum of Care Committee, Group Home providers, Department of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) representatives, and community agencies.  The purpose of this protocol is to reduce trauma for all foster care children in transition from one placement to another.  It is imperative that all parties involved in providing services to foster care children work as a team to serve the needs of each individual child.  The following guidelines serve to assist social workers, caregivers, and placement agencies in the transition of foster care children from placement to placement. 
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Team Decision Making (TDM)  

It is DFCS policy that a Team Decision Making  Meeting (TDM) occurs whenever a child is removed from the parents or legal guardians and or there is a placement change.    Prior to transitioning a child from one placement to another, a social worker must schedule a TDM.  TDM is used as a process by which DFCS staff, family members, providers of services and neighborhood representatives collaboratively address safety and placement needs for children.  Through this inclusive process, more informed decision can be made that are owned by the team and community

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Transfer Information  

The social worker must ensure that the following information accompanies a child(ren) when a transfer to a new placement occurs:

  • Most recent Court Report
    • Court Reports are distributed to group home and Foster Family Agencies, only. 
    • Confidentiality laws preclude FFA foster parents, county licensed foster parents, relatives, and NREFMs from receiving these reports.
  • Medical Information


  • Last medical and dental exam dates
  • Scheduled Appointments
  • Medi-Cal card and number
  • Immunization record card
  • Medication Consents (current)
  • Medication list
  • Supply of medication
  • Allergies
  • Psychological Reports/ Psychiatric

    • Psychological reports are distributed to group home and Foster Family Agencies, only. 
    • Confidentiality laws preclude FFA foster parents, county licensed foster parents, relatives, and NREFMs from receiving these reports.

Obtain a copy of the Health and Education Passport from the placing agency (required within thirty (30) days of initial placement, and two (2) days for transfer of placement (Welfare and Institutions Code, WIC Section 16010 (a) (b) and (c). 

Significant Relationships to the Child


  • Relatives/Siblings
  • Friends
  • Teachers
  • Social Workers
  • Previous foster parent and their family members
  • CASA
  • Strength of connection
  • How to reach persons with whom the child has a relationship
  • Current contact with significant relationships
    • Location; day of week; time of day; whether the contacts must be supervised


Case Plan Services Objectives and Client Responsibilities

The social worker must provide a summary of the case plan for  the caretaker, within 30 days for first placements and within 48 hours for each subsequent placement.  The social worker may obtain a summary of the case plan by printing out the Case Plan Services Objectives and Client Responsibilities.

The case plan summary must contain the following: 

    • Proximity to School
      • Assurance that the child's foster placement takes into account proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.
    • Health and Education
      • Include a summary of the health and education information or records.
      • Provide the new caretaker with the Health and Education Passport (HEP)
    • Education 
      • Include specified educational information about the child such as: 
        • Names and addresses of the child's education providers
        • Grade level performance
        • School records
        • Any other relevant educational information. 

If any required information is not included in the The Case Plan Service Objective and Client Responsibilities or Health and Education Passport, the social worker must ensure that the care provider receives the information. Welfare and Institutions Code, WIC Section 16010 (a)(b)(c); CDSS Manual of Policies and Procedures Division 31, Section 206.351(a)(c)(d). 

  • School Placement:
    • Alternatives

    A student placed in a group home or foster home shall attend programs operated by the local educational agency, unless:

    • The student has an IEP requiring another educational placement, or
    • The person holding right to make educational decisions determines that it is in the best interest of the student to be placed in another program, or that the student continues in his or her school or origin.  Education Code, §48853
    • Immediate Enrollment

    Foster children are entitled to immediate enrollment following any change in schools. Even if a foster youth owes fees to the previous school, and even if he or she is unable to produce the records or clothing normally required for enrollment (such as academic or medical records, immunizations, proof of residency, other documentation or school uniforms) the school must enroll the foster student immediately.

    Education Code § 48853.5

    • Local Educational Agency Liaison

    Every Local Educational Agency (LEA) liaison must designate an appropriate staff person as a local educational agency liaison for foster children. Liaison shall ensure and facilitate proper school placement, enrollment and checkout from school; assist foster children when transferring schools including and ensuring proper transfer of credits, records, and grades; and shall, within two (2) business days of the foster child’s request for enrollment, contact the school last attended to obtain all academic and other records. School liaison for school last attended shall provide all records to new school within two (2) business days of receiving the request. Education Code §48853.5 (b)(c)(d)

    • Continuation in School of Origin

    At initial detention or placement, or any subsequent change in placement of a foster child, the LEA serving the foster child shall allow the child to continue in the school of origin for the duration of the academic school year. Education Code §48853.5 d), (1)

    • Transferring Schools and Notifying the LEA

    As soon as it becomes aware of the need to transfer a student, the placement Social Worker must notify the LEA of the student’s expected last day of attendance, request the LEA to compile the student’s complete educational record, and request that the student be transferred out. Education Code §49069.5 c), e)

    The placing Social Worker must notify the LEA when the student is placed in a Licensed Children’s Institution (LCI), and provide information to facilitate transfer of records and appropriate placement. Education Code §48852

    • The Foster Parent and Education Rights

    If the juvenile court limits the educational rights of the parent/guardian, it may appoint the foster parent as the “responsible person” to assume those educational rights. Foster parents may exercise parental authority and consent to special education and related services without the need for a court order only if the juvenile court has limited the right of the parent/guardian to make educational decisions on behalf of the child, and the child has been placed in a planned permanent living arrangement as a dependent/ward of the court.

    A foster parent includes relative caretaker or non-relative extended family member with whom the child is placed through the juvenile court. Education Code §56055; WIC 366.27; 726, 361(a)

    • Special Education Requirements

    At least 10 days prior to discharge, the placing agency must notify, in writing, the current LEA & receiving SELPA of the impending discharge; give receiving SELPA a copy of IEP; identify the person representing the child’s educational interests; and provide other relevant information that will be useful in implementing the child’s IEP. Government Code §7579.1 (c)
    Inform of psychological/diagnosis behavioral, i.e. risk factors, family history.

  • Mental Health Information
    • Therapy

      The former caretaker must provide the new caretaker with the child’s therapist’s name and address (if any), next appointment (if any) and frequency of appointments

      Note, the therapist can be a resource to the child during the transition. For the new caretakers, the therapist can be a resource to understand the child’s behavior and the child’s projected emotional responses to certain triggers or situations.

    • Medication

      The former caretaker must provide the new caretaker with current medications (in their original labeled containers), previous medication history, and name of prescribing psychiatrist, next appointment and frequency of appointments.

  • Information About Child


    • Daily Routine, schedule
    • Preferences for foods, hobbies, toys.
    • Time of day child is at his or her best
    • Community involvement and extra curricular activities
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Transfer of Children's Property and Important Information  
  • The transfer of a child's property and important information relevant to the child's immediate well-being and care is to occur at the time of transition or no more that twenty-four (24) hours later.
  • Important information should include: 
    • Scheduled medical, dental, educational or other appointments (any scheduled appointments to occur within 24 hours of transfer must be provided at the time of transfer)
    • Medicine with instructions
    • Necessary school information
    • Bus passes
    • Medical/Medi-Cal card(s)
    • Student ID
    • Prescription paperwork

  • The sending caretaker is responsible for packing and making the child's property available.
  • The child's social worker coordinates the transfer of property.
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Preparation of Child for Transfer  

The social worker and caregivers' must cooperate and work together to prepare and transfer a child(ren) to a new placement.  The following guidelines must be adhered to in order to ensure a successful transition for the child(ren).

  • Pre- Verbal Children
    • Written Transition Plan

      A transition plan should be written and agreed to by all parties in light of point (see attached example of a transition plan). 

    • Location of First Visits

      Initial visits between future and former caretakers are to occur at the child's former placement.  Consider time of day, when the child is at his/her best (i.e., child's scheduled nap time and scheduled visits). 

    • Gradual Transfer
      • The transfer is to occur gradually at the child's pace.
      • Generally, several daytime visits should occur over a short period of time and gradually progressing to overnight visits to minimize the confusion of a non-verbal child.
      • The transition period is dependent on the child's length of stay with former caretaker and degree of attachment. 
    • Activities of Visits
      • Include nurturing activities during the visits such as feeding, bathing, diaper changing, and play.
      • Former caretaker should start an activity (such as feeding), and transfer the activity to new caretaker. 
      • The former caretaker should accompany the child to the new caretaker's residence and repeat activities as previously outlined.
    • Day of Transfer
      • The day of transition should include the child seeing his former caretaker packing his or her belongings and then physically handing him or her over to his or her new family who takes the child to their home.
    • Post-Transition Plan
      • A plan should be established as to what future contact a child should have with his or her former caretakers, if any. Establishing attachment with the new family should be paramount in this plan. The degree of intimacy of the contact should be considered. Types of contact could include meeting away from the home or meeting at the new caretaker’s home.

  • Verbal Children
    • Written Transition Plan
      • A transition plan should be written and agreed to by all parties ( see attached example of transition plan). 
    • Communication with the Child
      • Explain the Transfer

      If a TDM has not transpired, then the most supportive person in the child’s life will assist the child in understanding the reason for the move, and helping the child work through thoughts and feelings about the move.

      • School Placement

        As per AB490, the child’s school preferences is considered and school placement is identified prior to change of placement. The social worker notifies the school district(s) when the new placement is identified (10-day requirement for Special Education students).

      • Prepare for Transition

      The former caretaker or support person will verbally prepare the child for the transfer before any pre-placement visits. Discussions between the former caretaker and the child will include:

      • Assisting the child with questions he or she may have
      • What the daily routines in the new facility/home will be like
      • What the neighborhood environment will be like
      • Who will be in the family/facility
      • Regular activities that the family/facility will participate in
      • Family/facility rules
      • Prepare for pre-placement Visits
        • Ask the child where he or she would like the first visit to occur (at former or new placement).
          • If the child has no preference, the initial meeting between the child and the new caretaker will take place at the child’s former placement.
        • Consider the child’s preferences and comfort level ahead of time as to what activities will take place during the visit, as well as how long the visit will be.
        • After each pre-placement visit, have the current caretaker discuss the experience with the child.
      • Initial Visits
        • The current caretaker accompanies the child to the initial visit.
        • Activities could include dinner with the family, time at a park, etc.
        • One  more overnight visits for older children are generally advisable, and should occur after one or more shorter visits. 
    • Communication About Pre-Placement Visits Between Adults

      Any important/relevant information from the visits is communicated among all concerned parties.

      • Making the Move

      The former caretaker or support person transports and participates in establishing the child in his or her new environment.  Both the best day of the week and time of day are taken into consideration when deciding upon the timing of the transfer.

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Other References  
bullet2 Team Decision-Making (TDM)
bullet2 Transition Plan (Example)
MS Word How to Print Out Case Plan Service Objectives and Client Responsibility Sheet
MS Word How to Print Out Case Plan Transitional Independent Living Plan
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