4.5 Matching the Child’s Needs to the Placement

To comply with Section Section 210.565, RSMo., and to avoid unnecessary disruption for the child, the Children’s Service Worker shall complete the non-custodial parent, relative, and kinship selection, and placement process prior to considering other placements. Documentation of reasons a non-custodial parent, relative, or kinship placement cannot occur must be documented in the case narrative. These laws and statutes are outlined in Section 4 Chapter 4.2.

In the event there is no non-custodial parent, relative or kinship placement available, or if that resource is found unacceptable, the Children’s Service Worker shall document such in the case narrative and use the information obtained from the family regarding the child’s placement needs to make an appropriate placement match:

  1. The initial placement should ideally be carefully selected based on the child’s needs and the resource provider’s capacity to meet those needs that are in the best interest of the child. Mismatched placements may result in multiple placements, loss of cultural identity, or inadequate care and lead to unnecessary trauma to the child. The initial placement should ideally be the child’s only placement until he can safely return home or otherwise achieve permanency. In determining an appropriate placement match for the child, the Children’s Service Worker shall consider the following information regarding the child and the resource provider’s capacity for meeting the child’s needs:
    1. Age, health – nutritional status, sex;
    2. Religious and cultural needs;
    3. Developmental stage, level of school achievement, school behavior;
    4. General behavior;
    5. Relationship to parents, siblings, other adults and peers;
    6. Effect of abuse or neglect experience(s);
    7. Response to separation from parent or other caretaker;
    8. Talents, vocational desires and interests;
    9. Legal status of each parent and their potential involvement in the placement;
    10. Impact and response to school setting; and
    11. Other indicators, which will assist in determining the most appropriate placement.
  2. Secure any special evaluations if increased knowledge is needed to complete a comprehensive assessment of the child’s needs.
  3. Decide appropriate placement resource setting using child’s assessed needs and criteria outlined in Section 4 Chapter 4.2.
    1. Placement should be made with a family that has the capacity to meet all of the needs of the child including the child’s cultural identity on a long-term basis;
    2. Maintain child in current placement facility if child’s condition requires other corrective treatment and begin plan for child’s move;
    3. Conduct a resource search, if resource family is needed; or, if family is located in another county. The Children’s Service Worker should review the Resource Family Profiles of potential resource providers in their process of selecting a resource provider that could meet the needs of the child.

      The Division prefers that minor mothers and their children be placed with the same resource family if either or both are in CD custody.

    4. Complete CS-9 and refer to Residential Care Screening Team (RCST) if needs assessment indicates residential treatment services at Levels II, III, IV or therapeutic foster care are needed;
  4. Assess and review the Resource Family Profiles of selected resource for capacity to meet the child’s needs:
    1. Assess other selected resource if the first choice does not have the capacity to meet the child’s needs; or
    2. Assess, in cooperation with RCST, if referral is made to RCST.
  5. Contact the prospective resource to determine if they are available as a resource for the particular child:
    1. Continue search if the resource is not available or does not wish to accept the child.
    2. Begin recruitment activities for a foster or adoptive family if no appropriate resource is available according to the case plan and goal established for the child.
  6. Make an entry on the Child Assessment and Service Plan, CS-1, in FACES which describes the reason why a particular resource family was selected.
  7. Repeat steps 1 through 6 if replacement becomes necessary.
  8. If an appropriate match does not exist within the county, a resource search shall be conducted. The Children’s Service Worker may also send an e-mail request to selected counties and/or statewide, describing the child’s placement needs.

    If the resource search identifies a possible placement match in another county, the worker shall proceed by making contact with the county office to determine the appropriateness of the placement. The worker should give consideration to the need for visitation between parent and child and that CD will facilitate transportation. This may include reimbursement to placement providers, parents or others for transportation per policy guidelines.

  9. If emergency residential care is needed, obtain approval from designated Regional personnel and, if necessary, initiate procedure for extended residential treatment.
  10. If it appears that psychiatric hospitalization may be necessary, staff should follow local procedures for referral for psychiatric hospitalizations.
  11. When an appropriate match is identified, the Children’s Service Worker should contact the resource provider and discusses the following issues and information (For cross-county placements, the worker and local worker should determine who would provide information to the provider. Consideration should be given to conference calls to ensure all issues are communicated and to ensure coordination of placement activities).

    Related Subject: Section 1 Chapter 3 Attachment A: Foster Parent Bill Of Rights And Responsibilities.

    1. The Children’s Service Worker shall provide to resource parents and potential adoptive parents accurately describe all pertinent information including but not limited to full disclosure of all medical, psychological, and psychiatric conditions of the child, as well as information from previous placements that would indicate that the child(ren) may have a propensity to cause violence to any member of the resource family home. The resource parents shall be provided with any information regarding the child or child’s family, including but not limited to the case plan, any family history of mental or physical illness, sexual abuse of the child or sexual abuse perpetrated by the child, criminal background of the child or the child’s family, fire-setting or other destructive behavior by the child, substance abuse by the child or child’s family, or any other information which is pertinent to the care and needs of the child and to protect the foster or adoptive family, per Section 210.566, RSMo. The description of the child should also include the child’s strengths and his/her endearing qualities, not simply problem identification. It is extremely important for the worker to be totally honest with the potential resource provider about both positive and negative qualities and needs of the child:
      1. To ensure that the provider makes an informed decision about whether he/she has the time, commitment, and resources to meet the child’s needs;
      2. To ensure placement stability and avoid potential placement disruptions; and
      3. To prevent potential issues of mobility for the agency and resource provider:
        1. Age, sex, cultural identity;
        2. Siblings and the need to secure placement together, if possible;
        3. Personality/unique characteristics;
        4. Probable length of placement;
        5. Health of child, special medical needs;
        6. Disabilities, special equipment, facilities or help needed;
        7. Educational needs;
        8. Behavior, both positive and negative, that can be expected from the child. Behavior should be described in terms of patterns and not isolated incidents and normalized if typical to children at certain developmental stages. Prior destructive/violent/anti-social behaviors that have occurred shall be mentioned. However, they should be discussed in terms of events that precipitated the behavior and treatment used to manage/modify the behavior.
        9. Child’s relationship with the biological family and other persons significant to the child’s life;
        10. Major reason the child is in out-of-home care;
        11. A general indication of the case plan, including the plan for visitation and a preliminary estimate of how long the placement is likely to last; and
        12. Interests/hobbies/talents of the child.
    2. The Children’s Service Worker should explain to the resource provider(s) that the child is going through a series of adjustments (i.e., separation from parent(s), loss and grief issues, and anxiety at having to cope with other team members, a new family and new surroundings). If known, the worker should describe the child’s emotional response to the changes he is experiencing. Also, the worker should suggest methods to help the child through these adjustments. The worker should stress to the resource provider(s) that there will be periods of difficulty during the placement and that the difficult times are no reflection on their parenting ability.
    3. The Children’s Service Worker should acknowledge the need for continuity of placement and the potential harm to the child if moved several times.
    4. The Children’s Service Worker should reaffirm availability to help the resource provider through difficulties. The worker should explain the Family Support Team (FST)’s role and that the team will assist the resource provider in assessing the child and family’s treatment needs and obtaining resources to address the needs.
    5. The Children’s Service Worker should answer any questions/concerns the resource provider may have about the child and placement and identify any special resources needed.
    6. After the resource provider has discussed the placement with all household members, the Children’s Service Worker shall obtain a commitment from the resource provider to accept the child for placement.
    7. If the resource provider cannot accept the child for placement, the Children’s Service Worker shall repeat the process until a placement resource is located.
    8. If the resource provider can only provide a short-term placement for the child and this is the only resource available, the Children’s Service Worker shall continue the process of seeking a placement, which better meets the needs of the child and family.

Chapter Memoranda History: (prior to 1/31/07)

Memoranda History: