Effective Date: 7-2-2021
Meetings organized and held by the Division serve specific purposes, as detailed below:
72-Hour Family Support Team Meeting – The Family Support Team will determine if the child(ren) can be reunited immediately with his/her parents or if continued out-of-home care is warranted and begin assessment of the child(ren) and family, using the Initial Family Assessment (CD-301), and if necessary, the Initial Family Assessment Attachment (CD-301a). The Initial Family Assessment of the family shall be utilized to develop a Social Service Plan, including the permanency and concurrent goals, with the family and team within 30 days of case opening. The worker shall also begin gathering information from the family, natural supports and placement provider(s) to determine the initial needs of the child(ren). These needs shall be documented in the Social Service Plan Child Section and continually updated throughout the case. If the recommendation is for the child(ren) to remain in custody, the Children’s Service Worker will involve the Family Support Team in identifying those extended family members (as well as unrelated persons) who may have had an ongoing, significant relationship with the child to determine potential placement resources for the child(ren). A preliminary visitation plan should be developed at this time to assure visitation between the child, their parents, and/or siblings. Any documents provided to the family should be recorded on Verification of Receipt of Documents & Information (CD-301b) by an initial and date of the family.
For youth age 14 and older, the Adolescent FST Guide (CD94) and Individualized Action Plan Goals (CD94) must also be completed. See Chapter 5 for more information on Older Youth.
When possible, with the best interest of the child in mind, arranging for the child to continue to attend the same school should be discussed during the 72-hour Family Support Team meeting.
30-Day Family Support Team Meeting – The Family Support Team (FST) meets within 30 days to solidify the Social Service Plan , finalize the Initial Family Assessment, and assess progress on resolving issues that led to removal. By the 30 day FST, the Children’s Service Worker should have engaged all members of the team and any additional sources of information to more fully assess and document the reason(s) for Children’s Division’s involvement, the harm and impact to the child(ren), everyone’s worries, the threats of harm, safety goals, the parent/caregiver/guardians protective capacities, the child(ren)’s vulnerabilities, the family’s strengths/needs, the child(ren)’s strengths/needs, next steps, along with formal and natural supports to reach the safety goals. All information gathered should be contained in the Social Service Plan and reviewed at every FST meeting. The completed Social Service Plan should be shared with the members of the team, keeping in mind that appropriate releases need to be obtained and/or the information on the Social Service Plan may need to be redacted dependent on who is receiving and entitled to the information. Continual reassessment of progress towards safety goals by the Family Support Team will then determine whether the child can be returned home safely and/or what additional services are needed toward resolution of issues.
60-Day Family Support Team Meeting – The Family Support Team (FST) should review and assess progress on the Social Service plan. The Progress Assessment portion of the Social Service Plan should be utilized during every FST to gather each participants (all parents, children, natural supports, resource providers, professional supports and service providers) current response to ‘What good things are you seeing this Parent/Caregiver/Guardian doing and what progress have you observed toward the safety goal? ?’, their response to ‘What concerns do you still have regarding the progress or behaviors of the Parent/Caregiver/Guardian? ?’, their response to ‘What more needs to happen in relation to the Parent/Caregiver/Guardian behavioral changes to bring them closer to the safety goal? ?’ and any next step suggestions to help the family reach their safety goal(s). When gathering this information, be specific about documenting observed behavioral changes within the family. These individual responses, including those of the family, all natural supports, other members of the FST and Children’s Division shall be documented thoroughly in the Social Service Plan Progress Assessment section. Progress documented at the meeting will help the Family Support Team formulate a recommendation about any changes to the child’s permanency plan and placement, including reunification.
90-Day Family Support Team Meeting – Repeat from 60 day FST.
Subsequent Team Meetings – Repeat from 60 and 90 day FST.
6, 12, and 18-month Family Support Team meetings – These meetings must be held prior to six months from the date the child entered care, and then every six months thereafter for as long as the CD maintains custody. The purpose of these meetings is to determine:
- The safety, health and well-being of the child and their adjustment to placement
- The continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the placement
- The extent of compliance with the case plan
- The extent and progress which has been made in alleviating or mitigating the causes necessitating placement in foster care
- The quality and compliance of the visitation plan
- To project a likely date by which the child may be returned to and safely maintained in the home or placed for adoption or legal guardianship
- Review of educational stability of the child
- Discussion of normalcy and age-appropriate activities the child has been involved in
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 record 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.
- Any person, other than a parent or party, who does not 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 should ensure that accommodations are made for any special needs of Family Support Team members (i.e., English as second language/sign language interpreters, accessibility for physical disability or handicap).
Placement Stability FST Meetings
A team meeting shall be held prior to taking any action relating to a change in placement of a child in the Division’s custody. The FST should review the Foster Family Profiles of potential resource providers in determining and selecting the most appropriate placement for the child. When the welfare of a child in the custody of the Division requires an immediate or emergency change of placement, CD may make a temporary placement and shall schedule a FST meeting within 72 hours of the temporary placement.
The purpose of the placement stability FST is to:
- Help stabilize the child in the current placement by considering the factors contributing to the request for change of placement and addressing those specific factors with the placement provider;
- Assess the child’s placement needs, the needs of the placement provider, and identify additional supports or services to maintain the placement;
- Discuss the need for a different placement only if the current placement cannot be maintained, and evaluate service and treatment needs prior to selecting the next placement provider;
- Determine the most appropriate placement for the child and ensure that the receiving placement provider has all the information about the child and child’s family (per Section 210.566 RSMo) as well as the services identified by the Placement Stability FST prior to the transition;
- Discuss the child’s educational needs and work with local school districts to ensure the child remains in the current school district when possible. Educational stability should be a priority when assessing the child’s placement needs and making placement decisions; and
- Reduce the amount of placements for the child and increase child stability.
Separation of Siblings FST meetings
An FST meeting is to be held prior to the separation of a sibling group. The Children’s Service Worker should document that reasonable efforts were made to place the sibling group with the same placement provider, and why such placement was not possible.