DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 13: Cross Program Protocols
13-1  Joint Case Staffings
Cross Program Protocols
13-1  Joint Case Staffings
Reference Points
Who Can Request a Staffing
How to Schedule a Staffing
When and Where Are Staffings Held
When Is a Joint Case Staffing Required
Social Worker's and Supervisor's Responsibilities
Who Is Included in a Staffing
What Happens at a Staffing
Outcomes of Staffings
Transferring a Referral/Case Accepted for an Out-of-Custody Petition
Other References

Reference Points
Effective Date: 4/1/06
Last Updated: 2/10/12
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Legal Basis Text
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Out of Custody Referral (SCZ999)
MS Word Dependent Intake-Case Assignment Control Sheet (Purple Sheet)
 CWS/CMS Forms:
PDF Forms Text

Overview   Joint Case Staffings give social workers an opportunity to present referrals/cases for the purpose of discussing with other professionals how to proceed with the referral or case. Often, social workers find themselves having to make assessments on cases that are very complex and with many compelling aspects. Staffings are intended to support social workers and reduce time spent on independent and multiple consultations.
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Who Can Request a Staffing  

Social workers from any bureau in the Department can request a staffing.

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How to Schedule a Staffing  

To request a Joint Case Staffing, social workers contact the joint case staffing scheduler, Therese Caudill at (408) 758-3325 or by email at caudit@ssa.sccgov.org.

  • Give the case name, JD number if applicable, and the names of any social workers on connected cases.
  • If the staffing is scheduled regarding a sibling protocol case or a case with a prior dependency, give the scheduler that information as well as the current or previously assigned social worker.

The scheduler contacts the social within a few days with the staffing date and time.  If the scheduler does not respond within one (1) week, the social worker may contact Tricia Sullivan, 501-6519.

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When and Where Are Staffings Held?  

Joint Case Staffings regarding the filing of a 300 or 387 Petition are held every Tues. and Thurs. morning.

Staffings are by appointment only. Each staffing generally takes about a half-an-hour.

Staffings are held at the 373 W. Julian St. Office (DFCS).

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When Is a Joint Case Staffing Required  

It is DFCS policy that social workers are required to schedule a Joint Case Staffings for:

  • Informal Supervision cases when the parents:
    • Do not comply with the service plan within the first 30 days.
    • Cease to comply with services at any time during the service period.
    • Do not complete the agreed upon services within the six months of IS services.

  • Sibling Protocol referrals when:
    • A mother is pregnant and due to give birth within 30 days.
    • There is no current dependency case (previous dependency case is closed).
    • An ER/DI social worker determines that the referred sibling can safely remain in the parents' care.
  • Referrals or cases where there is physical injury to a child under 6-years-old, and the doctor determines that the explanation for the injury is inconsistent with the nature of the injury.
    • A staffing is required even if:
      • The doctor does not state that the injury was intentionally inflicted.
      • The police do not press criminal charges against the parent(s).
      • It is not certain if the child was injured while in the care of the parent(s).

  • Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM) cases are not required to be staffed, but may be staffed:
    • For any reasons listed above under Informal Supervision cases.
    • When the social worker assesses the need for continued services for the family beyond the 90 day limit for VFM services.


  • Voluntary placements at Bill Wilson when it is anticipated that those placements will extend beyond 30 days.
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Social Worker's and Supervisor's Responsibility  

In preparing for the staffing, the social worker:

  • Consults with his or her supervisor for approval to schedule a staffing. 

  • Completes out an Out-of-Custody Referral (SCZ999).

  • Makes 10 copies of the Out-of-Custody referral for distribution at the staffing.
    • Keep the narrative on the SCZ999 to one page.
    • It is not necessary to make copies of any other attachments.

  • Obtains current criminal histories on adults involved in the case.
    • Do not copy criminal records sheets.

  • Obtains any information deemed relevant from collateral service providers in writing such as police reports, medical records.
    • If the social worker believes that it is necessary for the service provider to appear in-person at the staffing, the social worker informs the services provider that the provider is at the staffing to provide brief input and must leave before the case is discussed.

  • Prepares for questions by the staffing committee by reviewing the case history and by having an opinion of what the outcome of the staffing should be.

  • Brings the case file to the staffing.


It is the supervisor's responsibility to:

  • Review the case with the social worker to decide whether a joint case staff should be scheduled.
  • Sign the SCZ999 if an out-of-custody staffing is agreed upon.

It is recommended that supervisors attend joint case staffings.

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Who is Included in a Staffing  

The following personnel are present at the out-of-custody staffing:

  • The social worker whose case is being presented.

  • Any social worker assigned to a connected case.

  • Supervisors of the social workers (or the supervisor is asked to be on telephone stand-by during the staffing).

  • A supervisor and/or social worker from each of the following programs:
    • Dependent Intake
    • Informal Supervision
    • Continuing services
    • Emergency Response

  • A Petition clerk.

  • DFCS Petition Specialist

  • County Counsel
    • County Counsel attends and participates throughout each staffing to provide legal guidance, rendering the staffing confidential under the attorney-client privilege. County Counsel does not make clinical recommendations.
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What Happens at a Staffing  

The format of the staffing is that:

  • The social worker verbally summarize his/her case to the panel.
    • Be prepared to discuss:
      • Child welfare services history
      • Criminal background records of relevant parties
      • Current school and medical information of the children
      • Information regarding current dependency cases on related children
      • An opinion of what the outcome should be

  • A general discussion is held with all participants contributing.

  • Recommendations are given to the social worker on the Confidential Attorney/Client blue sheet.
    • The blue sheet includes timelines for filing a protective custody order if applicable.
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Outcomes of Joint Case Staffings  

A decision regarding the case is reached by consensus or by vote, if consensus cannot be reached, of the staffing committee.  The decision is written on a Confiential - Attorney/Client blue sheet with dates by which the social worker is expected to complete the recommended actions, e.g., filing a protective custody warrant.  The decision reached by the staffing committee cannot be changed before a restaffing is held to discuss an alternative course of action.


Possible outcomes of the staffing are recommendations to:

  • Have the social worker continue with the assessment of the family, gathering additional information, and restaff the case.
    • If the social worker is directed to gather more information and restaff the case, the restaffing is not optional.  The restaffing is scheduled at the time the restaffing recommendation is made.
  • Have the social worker provide more services.
  • Refer the family for voluntary services.
  • Schedule a Family Conference.
  • Schedule a Team Decision Making Meeting (TDM).
  • Close the case.
  • File a protective custody warrant for removal of the child from the home.
  • File an out-of custody petition.
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Transferring a Referral/Case Accepted for an Out-of- Custody Petition  

If the outcome of a staffing is the recommendation that an out-of-custody petition be filed, the social worker who brought the case to the staffing:

  • Completes any necessary work identified during the staffing.

  • Completes the DI Intake-Case Assignment Control Sheet (Purple Sheet).

  • Phones the Dependent Intake Clerical Staff (501-6419) and gives the case name and number.
    • The ER clerk will do this and the following functions, if the referral is going from ER to DI.

  • Delivers the case file to the Dependent Intake Clerical Staff at 373  W. Julian St., 2nd. floor.

  • Indicates clearly in “remarks” area on the Purple Sheet that it is an “Out-of-Custody” case.
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Other References  
bullet2 OPP Chapter 6-1: Bill Wilson: Voluntary Short-term Placements
bullet2 OPP Chapter 13-5: Protective Custody Warrants
bullet2 Opp Chapter 13-8: Team Decision Making (TDM)
bullet2 OPP Chapter 8-1: 300 Petition
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Dept of Family & Children's Services Santa Clara County SSA