CHILD WELFARE MANUAL

Section 4, Chapter 10 (Case Management Activities), Subsection 1 – Permanency and Case Planning

Effective Date:  5-28-20

 

Permanency

Permanency Planning (including concurrent planning) should begin immediately after removal of the child from the home.  The Division’s intent is to work to keep children with their parents if at all possible. A goal and concurrent goal must be established for each child at the 72 hour meeting.  See chapter 8 in this section for detailed information on each possible permanency goal.

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 Family Support Team, agency supervisors, and other individuals and agencies familiar with the parent and child.

Concurrent Permanency Planning

Concurrent planning is a process of working towards reunification while at the same time, establishing and implementing an alternative permanency plan for a child. Concurrent Permanency Planning is intended to reduce the length of stay in care. Concurrent rather than sequential planning efforts are utilized to more quickly move a child from the uncertainty of foster care to the security of a safe and stable permanent family. The concurrent permanency plan should include steps to place the child for adoption, guardianship, or in another approved permanent placement. Reasonable efforts to finalize a concurrent permanency plan should be made at the same time efforts to reunify the child and family.  The concurrent plan shall be documented in FACES.  If the main case goal changes from reunification to another goal, a concurrent goal is no longer required.

If a child has been in placement for more than one year, and the current permanency plan is not working, the family support team should consider changing the permanency plan to the concurrent permanency plan. If it appears the child will be unable to return to their family of origin, the FST, with the involvement of the child and family, shall develop alternate plans for the child using concurrent planning and meeting court and ASFA timeframes. This concurrent plan must include placing with relatives unless contrary to the welfare of the child.

Case Planning

Chapter 211.181, RSMo, provides that within 30 days of the Division receiving custody of a child, a long-range permanency treatment plan shall be developed.

To meet these requirements, the case manager shall complete a CS-1 in FACES after assessing the family. The first CS-1 case plan is due 30 days after the case is opened.  This will be updated and completed again at each PPRT meeting.  This must be done for all children in custody.

To clarify treatment needs for each family and/or child, the following procedures shall be followed:

  • The worker shall ensure the “Next Steps” portion on the “What needs to happen?” column on the family risk assessment map (CD-220) is fully completed within 30 days of the child coming into CD custody.
  • This section shall contain information on what the family, CD, and the FST have agreed upon as actions the family needs to take to ensure the safety of the child. The answers to these questions should be provided in this section:
    • What do we want to achieve?
    • What will we do to get there?
    • How will we know we are on track?
    • How long do we expect it to take?

The CD-220 will be updated at the end of each quarter (see chapter 6, subsection 2 of this section) and therefore this specific plan will be updated at that time and should be documented by uploading the form to Document Imaging.

Example of Case Planning with a goal of Reunification

Within 30 days, the case manager completes the family risk assessment map (CD-220). The worker fills out the “Next Steps” portion and includes the following statement:

Ms. Smith would like to be able to safely care for her daughter. When Ms. Smith has stopped using substances that impair her parenting, we will see that she is engaged with her child and will have built a network of support around her. This process will begin with Ms. Smith having supervised visitation with her daughter. There will be 5 phases she will work toward, based on visitation. She begins in Phase 1 with supervised visitation of her child. Phase 2 will be unsupervised visitation, Phase 3 will be overnight visitation, Phase 4 will be weekend visitation, and Phase 5 will be a trial home placement. After Phase 5, case closure will be considered. Progressing through the phases must be approved by the Family Support Team and Safety Network.

Currently, Ms. Smith is in Phase 1. She will do the following to move to Phase 2:

  • Ms. Smith will complete a substance use assessment by April 15
  • Ms. Smith will attend supervised visits with her daughter at least weekly
  • Ms. Smith will identify at least 3 positive supports by April 15
  • Ms. Smith will provide a safe environment to conduct unsupervised visits by April 30

Tasks to be completed to move to future Phases will be determined as progress is made.

When tasks such as above are completed, they can be removed from the “Next Steps” column and placed in the “Existing Strengths” or Existing Safety” sections in the “What’s working well?” column as appropriate.  NOTE: this method of case planning can be used with older youth or resource parents (such as for adoption) as is appropriate.

Trajectory as Case Planning 

A trajectory can be used in place of the “Next Steps” section should the case manager feel this would be beneficial for the case and family. This document can provide great detail for the family and provide specific guidance for the case. It can be used to plan for any length of time the case manager feels is needed. If this is used as the case plan, it must be updated with each family risk assessment map (quarterly).

Referral to Treatment Services

During the treatment planning process, the FST will identify specific, culturally relevant resources to assist the family in accomplishing certain tasks and achieving stated goals. The FST should carefully consider the family’s capacity to benefit from the resource and the capacity of the resource to meet the needs of the family. Example:  A parent with limited reading and social skills and poor parenting skills would benefit more from Parents as Teachers than formalized parenting classes. Also, the Team should not overlook resources, which can be provided by other agencies, community organizations and natural helpers (family friends and kin).

Housing Services – Coordinated Entry System

When families experience homelessness or are at risk for homelessness the Coordinated Entry System (CES) should be accessed to connect them to housing services. The CES is Missouri’s primary resource to connect families to housing services no matter how or where they present. This resource allows staff to connect youth and families to Missouri’s array of housing services with one referral to an Access Point.   A listing of Coordinated Entry Access Points by region and county can be found HERE. All Access Point agencies will complete a pre-screening tool with clients and connect them with the appropriate level of housing services.

A referral to the CES may be made at any point of involvement with CD when housing stability is a challenge. Population served includes, but is not limited to intact families, birth parents, potential relative placement providers, guardians, and older youth.

Scenarios where CES referral MUST be made include the following:

  • Case goal is reunification and the primary barrier is parents’ housing stability.
  • Children who are on trial home visit and housing stability is preventing case closure.
  • Older Youth preparing to exit care to independence and housing stability is at risk.

All referrals and activities involving the CES shall be documented in a contact note in FACES.

If permanent housing cannot be secured at the time of case closure, the efforts made and reasons housing could not be secured shall be documented in the closing summary.

Related Memo and Practice Alerts:

5-28-20 – CD20-17 – Housing Services and Coordinated Entry System