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In Home/Out of Home Care > Placement Disruption/Replacement > Placing a Child in Out-of-Home Care

Placing a Child in Out-of-Home Care

0100-510.17 | Revision Date: 07/01/14

Overview

This policy provides staff with an overview of how to prepare for the transition of a child into or out of an out-of-home placement.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Policy

Placing a Child in Out-of-Home Care 

Pre-Placement Planning

Child and Family Team Meeting

The Child’s Possessions

Procedure

Before a Child is Placed in Out-of-Home Care

CSW Responsibilities

Moving a Child’s Possessions

CSW Responsibilities

When a Child is Placed in Out-of-Home Care

CSW Responsibilities

Approvals

Helpful Links

Forms 

Referenced Policy Guides

Statutes

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 09/27/10 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan. This policy guide incorporates content from Procedural Guide 0100-525.20, Moving a Child’s Possessions, thereby cancelling that policy guide. The title has been changed from Counseling/Transitioning a Child Regarding Out-of-Home Placement/Replacement.

POLICY

Placing a Child in Out-of-Home Care

After a decision has been made to place a child in out-of-home care or move a child from one placement to another, providing the child with a smooth transition to a new placement is a key component of maintaining placement stability.

 

Child safety is always the primary concern when moving a child.

Pre-Placement Planning

Child and Family Team Meeting

A key pre-placement step when a child is to be detained is conducting a Child and Family Team Meeting prior to the placement in order to share information with all involved parties, including the prospective caregiver, so that the placement decision can become the responsibility of a larger group within the agency and the community at large. Actual case situations may demand different strategies based on the family’s unique strengths and needs.

The Child’s Possessions

A child's rights to retain property in placement must only be restricted after considering the underlying facts of the case and under the following circumstances:

 

CSWs must be mindful of the importance of attachment objects (e.g. favorite blanket, stuffed animal, etc.) for detained children and for those who are removed from their current placements. When a child is detained or replaced, the psychological benefit of access to an attachment object cannot be overstated.

 

When available, a DCFS-issued carryall bag is to be used to move the personal possessions of any child who is to be placed in out-of-home care.

 

DCFS is responsible for ensuring that the child has sufficient clothing and for providing funds to caregivers for the daily care and maintenance of children placed in out-of-home care by the Department, whether or not the CSW is able to obtain a child’s possessions from the child’s home.

 

If the child is receiving medical treatment, it is the CSW’s responsibility to ensure the transfer of the following from one placement (including the child’s home) to another, and to document these actions in the Contact Notebook and Health Notebook:

Back to Policy  

PROCEDURE

Before a Child is Placed in Out-of-Home Care

CSW Responsibilities

  1. If this is an initial placement, request a Child and Family Team Meeting :
  1. Explain to the child(ren) that people (such as doctors, teachers, social workers and police) often work together to provide safety for children.
  1. Include the parent(s) in interviews with the child, if appropriate.

 

  1. Explain to the child the reason for placement or replacement in terms appropriate to his or her age and level of understanding.

 

  1. Obtain as much information as possible on the history and current functioning of the child to be placed.

 

  1. Prepare the child for placement by:
  1. Explaining to the child that a safe place will be found for him/her to stay.
  1. Exploring with the child his/her placement preferences.
  1. Interview any child who is verbal, regardless of age, regarding placement preferences.
  1. Telling the child that his or her parent(s) will be told where (s)he is staying, if appropriate and safe to do so.
  1. If a sibling group is being separated, inform each child that (s)he will know where their siblings are placed as soon as possible, if appropriate and safe to do so.

 

  1. Make arrangements to transport the child’s luggage or possessions with the child or as soon as it is safe and/or possible to do so.

Back to Procedure  

Moving a Child’s Possessions

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Determine if it is safe and/or possible to obtain a child’s possessions, including attachment objects, if any.

 

  1. Follow the procedure established in your office to request a carryall bag for the child, if necessary. Request additional carryall bags if necessary.

 

  1. Assist the child in packing his or her possessions and ensure safety in his/her new living arrangement as follows:

 

Safety concern

Appropriate action

The child is attempting to take items which the CSW believes may pose a risk to the child and/or to others.

  • Instruct/request that the child leave that item in the home.
  • Contact law enforcement to secure contraband, such as drugs, weapons, etc.

A parent or other adult may have placed contraband (e.g., drugs, weapons, etc.) on a child’s person.

  • Ask the child to empty his/her pockets.
  • When an older child who is being taken into temporary custody refuses to comply with this request:
  • If law enforcement is present, request that law enforcement assist in having the child comply with the request.
  • If law enforcement is not present, contact local law enforcement and request direction on how to proceed.

Contraband (e.g., drugs, weapons) is found.

  • Turn it over to any law enforcement personnel who are present.
  • If law enforcement is not present, contact local law enforcement and request direction on how to proceed.

A newly detained child is a flight risk and refuses to leave his/her cell phone in the home.

  • Do not attempt to take the phone from the child.
  • Advise the caregiver of the situation and request the caregiver to monitor the child’s use of the cell phone to the best of his/her ability.
  • Document in the Detention Report the fact the child refused to leave his/her cell phone and request that the court order the child to give the cell phone over to the caregiver until it is appropriate to return the cell phone to the child.

Back to Procedure  

When a Child is Placed in Out-of-Home Care

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Share with the prospective caregiver appropriate information about why the child is being placed and what the child has been told about being placed.

 

  1. At the time of placement, tour the placement with the child and see his or her sleeping area. Introduce the child to all residents of the home, if possible.

 

  1. Tell the child that s(he) may call the CSW with any questions or problems.

 

  1. Establish an appropriate plan for phone contact with parents (i.e., as many phone contacts as necessary to determine the child’s adjustment level) and regular contacts with the parent(s) during the first few weeks of the placement.

 

  1. Establish and maintain an appropriate schedule for the CSW’s face-to-face contacts:

 

  1. Document all contacts and actions taken in the Contact Notebook.

Back to Procedure  

APPROVALS

No Approvals

HELPFUL LINKS

Forms

CWS/CMS

DCFS 280, Technical Assistant Action Request

LA Kids

DCFS 250, Procurement Request

DCFS 280, Technical Assistant Action Request

DCFS 2281, Clothing Standard

Referenced Policy Guides

0070-531.10, Visual Inspection of Children

0070-548.01, Child and Family Teams

0100-510.21, Voluntary Placement

0100-510.60, Placement Considerations for Children

0100-570.05, Qualify of Life in Out-of-Home Care

0100-570.11, Runaways and Returning Runaway Youth from Other Jurisdictions

0300-303.15, Writing the Detention Report

0400-503.10, Contact Requirements and Exceptions

0400-504.00, Family Visitation

0500-501.20, Release of Confidential DCFS Case Record Information

0900-506.10, Clothing Allowances

0900-521.10, Service-Funded Activities (SFA)

Statutes

Family Code Section 7950 – Prioritizes the proximity of the natural parents to the placement so as to facilitate visitation and family reunification, when a placement in foster care is being made. States that relative placement options must be evaluated prior to placement in long-term foster care. Prohibits use of race, color, or national origin of the foster parent or child in making placement decisions.

 

Welfare and Institutions Code Section 306.5 – In any case in which a social worker takes a minor into custody pursuant to Section 306, the social worker shall, to the extent that it is practical and appropriate, place the minor together with any siblings or half-siblings who are also detained or include in the report prepared pursuant to Section 319 a statement of his or her continuing efforts to place the siblings together or why those efforts are not appropriate.

 

Welfare and Institutions Code Section 308(b) – Immediately after being taken to a place of confinement pursuant to this article and, except where physically impossible, no later than one hour after he or she has been taken into custody, a minor 10 years of age or older shall be advised that he or she has the right to make at least two telephone calls from the place where he or she is being held, one call completed to his or her parent, guardian, or a responsible relative, and another call completed to an attorney.

 

Welfare and Institutions Code Section 16516.5 – States the frequency, conditions and content of visits by county social workers or probation officers with children placed in group home. States the conditions under which the content of visits can be disclosed to group home staff.

 

Welfare and Institutions Code Section 16516.6 – States the frequency, conditions and content of visits by county social workers or probation officers with children placed in licensed, certified, or approved foster homes. States the conditions under which the content of visits can be disclosed to the foster parent or caregiver.

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