7.2 Alternative Care Review Board (ACRB)
The Children’s Division shall provide access to a fair and impartial grievance process to address licensure, case management decisions, and delivery of service issues, 210.566 RSMo. The process described in this subsection deals with issues regarding case management decisions. Licensing issues are addressed in Section 6, Chapter 7.1 Children’s Division’s Fair Hearing Process.
The Alternative Care Review Board (ACRB) is to be used when the alternative care (foster/relative adoptive or foster/adoptive care) parent disagrees with any decision made by Children’s Division (CD) regarding a case management issue involving an individual alternative care child who is, or has been, in the claimant’s physical custody.
The Children’s Division (CD) recognizes alternative care parents as colleagues and professional members of the Family Support Team (FST) for children placed in their care. As such, they shall be invited and encouraged to actively participate in case plan development and implementation, FST Meetings, and any other staffings/meetings held to evaluate future placement needs/plans for the child(ren) in their care.
Despite these efforts, alternative care parents (foster, relative, adoptive, or foster/adoptive) may disagree with case management decisions. The process described in this procedure is to be used for resolution of grievances by alternative care parents relating to case management decisions.
To initiate this process, the alternative care parent must notify the County Office, in writing, or verbally, within ten (10) days of the disputed decision and request a meeting to review the matter:
- Receive verbal or written request from alternative care parent for an informal meeting within ten (10) days of the grievable decision. The informal meeting will include the Regional Director/Designee, Circuit Manager/Designee, and the alternative care parent. With the following 2 exceptions, staff shall take no adverse actions that are specifically related to the issues until the matter is resolved through the grievance process:
- Immediate action is required by the Division to protect the child in care from abuse or neglect, or from a dangerous environmental condition; or
- A court order requires a specific action be taken.
In the first instance above, the alternative care parent may grieve such an issue even after the Division has moved the child for the purpose of protection. In the second instance, specific actions taken in response to a court order, such as the court-ordered movement of the child(ren) from the alternative care home, are not subject to the grievance process.
By recognizing alternative care parents as team members and as colleagues for children placed in their care, and including them in case plan development and implementation, this process should be necessary in only a few cases.
2. Advise Regional Director/Designee of alternative care parent’s request within two (2) working days.
3. Hold a meeting with the alternative care parent, appropriate Circuit Manager/designee, and appropriate Regional Office Director/Designee (a supervisor III or above) within ten (10) working days from the date of the request, unless the parent needs more time:
- Review information/material provided by the alternative care parent and Division staff.
- Determine if the child’s case management decision should be upheld or reversed.
- Related Subject located in Section 6, Chapter 7, Subsection 3: Children’s Services Grievance Process Guidelines
The purpose of the informal meeting with the alternative care parent, county, and circuit staff is to review the grievable child management issue and attempt to settle the issue at this level.
4. Notify the alternative care parent of the decision, in writing, within five (5) working days after the meeting.
If the case management action is upheld, advise the parent of his/her right to proceed with a request for an Alternative Care Review Board (ACRB) hearing and that the request must be received by the ACRB Liaison within five (5) working days after receipt of the Regional Director’s letter. Provide the Alternative Care Grievance Review Request, CS-70.
5. Receive, from alternative care parent, the CS-70 or other written request including all pertinent information and records, within five (5) working days of the Regional Director/Designee’s written decision (allowing three days for mailing).
6. Schedule the ACRB within three (3) working days of the receipt of the request.
7. Submit a summary of all pertinent information and a copy of the child’s case record(s) to the Regional ACRB Liaison within five (5) working days of the request for the review. Alternative Care Board Summary Outline located in subsection 6 of this manual section.
8. At least fifteen (15) working days prior to the review, provide to members and alternates of the review board copies of the CS-70, all pertinent material, notice of the review date, and location.
9. Coordinate all other activities regarding the scheduling of the review. The review should be scheduled to occur at the next scheduled AACRB meeting, if board members could be notified within fifteen (15) working days prior to the review.
10. Conduct review and allow presentations as follows:
The review may be recorded by an audio recording device or a court reporter by request of the Alternative Care Parent. He/She must make arrangements for the court reporter and/or audio recording and pay all costs for this service.
- Summary and reasons for the child management decision (citing policy and procedure) from appropriate CD County and Circuit staff and/or legal counsel. CD staff may participate through a telephone conference:
- Presentation by witnesses for the Division.
- Summary of the grievance by the alternative care parent/representative and/or legal counsel:
- Presentation by witnesses for the alternative care parent.
The alternative care parent’s presence is not required for a review to be conducted. He/She may submit a written statement.
c. The Regional ACRB may ask questions and request further clarifying information from all parties.
11. Advise both parties that the ACRB will review the information and present a written recommendation to the CD Deputy Director/Children’s Services within seven (7) days.
12. Review and discuss all relevant materials and testimony.
13. Vote individually on ACRB recommendation.
14. Submit written recommendation per Form CS-70 and relevant materials to the Deputy Director for Children’s Services within seven (7) days.
15. Review Regional Alternative Care Review Board (ACRB) recommendation and discuss with the Division Director.
16. Uphold or reverse child management decisions and provide a written decision per Form CS-70 to all parties within thirty (30) days of receipt of the ACRB recommendation.
17. If the decision is to reverse the Division’s child management decision, revise the child management plan to reflect the reversal.