9.3 Decision Making for Permanency

At the time of a child’s entry into out-of-home care, the child’s case plan shall be developed which specifies the services to be provided by the agency and others toward the goal of permanency.  Each case plan should include the primary permanency goal and an appropriate, concurrent plan in the event that the primary case goal is not able to be realized.  The case plan should be developed in conjunction with a thorough assessment of the family using the NCFAS G+R and attachments.  If custody of the child has been taken from the parents due to neglect or abuse, reports to the court and the subsequent hearing should clearly establish the conditions in the home that need to change in order for the child to be returned including discussion of caregiver protective capacities and child vulnerabilities.

The case plan developed by the Family Support Team (FST) will delineate what each member of the team must do to reduce the problems which necessitated the child’s placement in out-of-home care. Using the standard of an acceptable minimal level of social functioning as a baseline, the FST will develop a case plan that addresses the identified conditions in the home.

The Children’s Service Worker and members of the Family Support Team, including parents, should early on define “minimal level of social functioning.”

If the Permanency Planning Goal is:

  • Reunification – the Written Service Agreement shall be developed with the child’s parents/caretakers, and, when feasible, the child.
  • Adoption -the Written Service Agreement shall be developed with the adoptive resource, when identified, and, if feasible, with the child’s parents/caretakers and the child.
  • Guardianship – the Written Service Agreement shall be developed with the potential guardian, if identified, and, if feasible, the child’s parents/caretakers and the child.
  • Placement with a Fit and Willing Relative – the Written Service Agreement shall be developed with the child’s parents/caretakers, the relative resource, and the child.
  • Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement – the Written Service Agreement shall be developed with the child’s parents/caretakers, the placement resource, and the child.

Decision making regarding family reunification or other permanency plans is not done solely by the Children’s Service Worker. The worker is to be supported by the FST/PPRT, and other individuals and agencies familiar with the parent and child. Also, the worker needs encouragement and support from supervisors to make difficult decisions.

Related Subject:  Section 4 Chapter 7.2.4 Lack of Consensus at Family Support Team (FST)/Permanency Planning Review Team (PPRT) Meetings

All information provided at meetings or administrative hearings regarding removal of a child is confidential except:

  • A parent or a party may waive confidentiality for himself or herself
  • Any parent has the absolute right to audio or videotape such meeting to the extent allowed by the law
  • No parent or party shall be required to sign a confidentiality agreement before testifying or providing information at such meeting or hearing and
  • Any person, other than a parent or party, who doesn’t agree to maintain confidentiality may be excluded from any portion of the meeting during which he/she is not testifying or providing information.

The Children’s Service Worker is responsible for completing the Child Assessment and Service Plan, CS-1, to be used at the initial 30 day FST and every 30 days thereafter until court adjudication. The CS-1 should then be updated every six (6) months and when there is a major change in the case such as a change in the permanency plan or placement change.

Professional consultants, with expertise in such areas as substance abuse, sexual offenders, domestic violence, etc., may also be utilized to aid the Children’s Service Worker in decision making.

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

Memoranda History: