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Adoption > Specialized Situations & Cases > Grievance Procedures for Applicant Adoption Assessments

Grievance Procedures for Denial of Adoption Requests or Withdrawal of Approved Applicant Assessments

0200-506.20 | Revision Date: 07/01/14

Overview

This policy guide provides information on what to do when an applicant's request to adopt has been denied or their approval for adoption has been rescinded or withdrawn, including information on grievance review hearings.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Policy

Denial of Adoption Requests/Withdrawal of Approved Applicant Assessments

Removal after an Adoption Petition has been Filed

Procedure

Applicant's Request to Adopt a Child has been Denied

APRD CSW/Family Assessment Worker Responsibilities

APRD SCSW/Family Assessment Worker SCSW Responsibilities

APRD ARA Responsibilities

APRD Division Chief Responsibilities

APRD Grievance Review Agent Responsibilities

Deputy Director Responsibilities

Director Responsibilities

APRD CSW/Family Assessment Worker Responsibilities

Department No Longer Supports Adoption

APRD CSW Responsibilities

Approvals

Helpful Links

Forms

Referenced Policy Guides

Statutes

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 12/07/12 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan. The title has been changed from Denial or Withdrawal of Approval of Applicant Adoption Assessments and Grievance ProceduresFor the purpose of the adoption home study, procedures initiated on behalf of the applicant, at the applicant's request, to appeal the Department's decision when the adoption home study has been denied by DCFS. The Grievance Review Process pamphlet outlines the specific action taken by the Department when the applicant requests a grievance review hearing. In addition, grievance procedures are in place for foster parents who want to challenge the Department's decision in regards to their care and supervision of a child(ren). Foster parents who want to challenge decisions regarding their license must follow grievance procedures from the State Department of Social Services..

POLICY

Denial of Adoption Requests/Withdrawal of Approved Applicant Assessments

An applicant's request for an adoption can be denied, or the approval of the Family Assessment (Home Study) can be denied or rescinded, when a petition for adoption has not yet been filed and there are concerns regarding the applicant(s) that are serious enough to deny the request.

 

If the action taken by DCFS is regarding placement or removal of a child from a foster placement in a foster home, a relative home or a nonrelative extended family member (NREFM) home, notice and the request for a grievance review must be conducted according to procedures in Seven Day Prior Written Notice to Foster Parents of Intent to Remove a Child and Grievance Review Regarding Placement/Removal of a Child From a Foster Home.

 

Unless the caretaker requests the removal, the court orders it, or there is an emergency situation that places the child at risk of harm, a child can only be removed with prior notice to the caregiver.  This applies to children who:

Removal after an Adoption Petition has been Filed

After an adoption petition has been filed, the department or licensed adoption agency may remove the child from the prospective adoptive parents only with the approval of the court, upon motion by the department or licensed adoption agency after notice to the prospective adoptive parents, supported by an affidavit(s) stating the grounds on which removal is sought. If the department or licensed adoption agency refuses to consent to the adoption of a child by the person with whom the department or licensed adoption agency placed the child for adoption, the court may nevertheless order the adoption if it finds that the refusal to consent is not in the child's best interest. Refer to

Removal of a child from a home after a petition to adopt has been filed requires notice and a court hearing. Refer to Prospective Adoptive Parent(s) for more information.

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PROCEDURE

Applicant's Request to Adopt a Child has been Denied

APRD CSW/Family Assessment Worker Responsibilities

  1. Prior to meeting with the applicant(s), formulate a draft  of a denial letter that states the specific reason(s) for denial, including all areas of concern, from the most to least serious.

 

  1. Schedule a face-to-face meeting with the applicant(s) to discuss the denial. If the applicant(s) refuses to meet in person, attempt to conduct the discussion over the phone. During the discussion:
  1. Share the specific reason(s) for the denial with the applicant(s).
  2. Reflect all areas of concern, starting with the most serious.
  3. Give the applicant(s) the opportunity to refute, clarify, provide additional information, and explain any mitigating circumstances, as well as steps taken to rectify the areas of concern.
  4. Provide services/referral as needed.
  5. Document the conversation scheduling the face-to-face meeting, and the details of the actual discussion in the Applicant Case File.

 

  1. After the discussion with the applicant(s), consult with the SCSW, ARA, and County Counsel assigned to the APRD to review any new information provided by the applicant.

 

  1. If denial of the applicant's assessment continues to be warranted, and the applicant agrees with the reasons for the denial and decides to withdraw his/her application, send a letter to the applicant acknowledging his/her withdrawal.

 

  1. If denial of the applicant's assessment continues to be warranted, and the applicant disagrees with the decision, attempt to resolve the matter with the APRD chain-of-command.

 

  1. Complete the draft of the denial letter to the applicant, including:

 

  1. Attach a copy of the DCFS/A 410, The Grievance Review Process for Applicants to Adopt to the letter.

 

  1. Submit the letter to the SCSW for review and approval.
  1. If corrective actions were directed during review by the SCSW or ARA, make the corrections and ensure that the date on the letter is revised to be within one (1) business day of mailing.
  1. Mail the letter and DCFS/A 410 to the applicant.
  1. Retain one (1) copy for the Applicant Case Folder.

 

  1. Attend the Grievance Review Hearing if advised to do so by SCSW.

 

  1. After receipt of the Grievance Review Hearing's findings and orders, follow SCSW's and/or ARA's instructions regarding implementation of the Director's decision.

APRD SCSW/Family Assessment Worker SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the denial letter.
  1. If approved, forward to the ARA for review and approval.
  1. If not approved, return to CSW for corrective action.

 

  1. After receipt of the Grievance Review Hearing's findings and orders, instruct the CSW regarding implementation of the Director's decision.

APRD ARA Responsibilities

  1. Review the denial letter.
  1. If approved, forward to the Division Chief for review and approval.
  1. If not approved, return to SCSW/CSW for corrective action.
  2. Upon receipt of Denial Letter from Division:
  1. If approved, return to SCSW/CSW for mailing.
  1. If not approved, return to SCSW/CSW for corrective action

 

  1. After receipt of the Grievance Review Hearing's findings and orders, instruct the SCSW regarding implementation of the Director's decision.

APRD Division Chief Responsibilities

  1. Review the denial letter.
  1. If approved, forward a copy to the Assistant Division Chief and return to ARA.
  2. If not approved, return to ARA for corrective action.

 

  1. Upon receipt of a request for a grievance review hearing, immediately instruct the designated support staff person to assign the next available Grievance Review AgentThe Review Agent conducts the Grievance Review Hearing. In accordance with CDSS Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) 31-020.511-.513, the Review Agent is a staff or other person not involved in the complaint; neither a co-worker nor a person directly in the chain of supervision of any of the persons involved in the complaint unless the Agent is the Director or Chief Deputy of the county; knowledgeable of the field and capable of objectively reviewing the complaint. The Review Agent for Los Angeles County, DCFS is the Manager, Appeals Section. and, within ten (10) days of receipt of the grievance review hearing request, work with the Agent to coordinate and schedule a hearing date and location.

APRD Grievance Review Agent Responsibilities

  1. Request a fact sheet and a copy of the applicant's family assessment.

 

  1. Assist the Division Chief's support staff in scheduling the grievance review hearing, and ensure that the hearing date is scheduled within ten (10) business days from the date the request was received.

 

  1. Ensure that written notice is sent to all parties to the hearing of the scheduled date, time, and place at least five (5) business days in advance of the hearing.

 

  1. Read all materials presented in the family assessment and denial letter prior to conducting the hearing.

 

  1. Consult with the assigned County Counsel on how to conduct the review hearing, as needed.

 

  1. Conduct the hearing in a non-adversarial atmosphere, if possible.

 

  1. Record the hearing using audio or video tape ensuring that all parties, including witnesses, state and spell their names for the recording.

 

  1. Allow the parties to the grievance and their authorized representatives (if applicable) to attend the hearing.

 

  1. If additional evidence or witnesses are necessary to make a recommendation to the Director, continue the hearing for a period not to exceed ten (10) business days.

 

  1. Using the formatted outline given by County Counsel, prepare a recommendation for the Director regarding the resolution of the grievance within five (5) business days of the hearing's completion.

 

  1. Forward the recommendation to the Deputy Director for review.

Deputy Director Responsibilities

  1. Review the recommendation from the Grievance Review Agent.

 

  1. Forward the recommendation to the DCFS Director.

Director Responsibilities

  1. Within five (5) days of receiving the recommendations from the Grievance Review Agent that summarize the facts and issues involved, make a written decision based on the recommendations.

 

  1. Mail a copy of the decision to:

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Rescission of Approved Applicant Assessment

The following procedures apply in cases where a petition for adoption has not been filed.

APRD CSW/Family Assessment Worker Responsibilities

  1. If the foster/adoptive child resides in the applicant's home, consult and collaborate with the case-carrying CSW and his/her SCSW, and the APRD SCSW regarding the appropriate plan of action, including placement options.

 

  1. Schedule a face-to-face meeting with the applicant(s) to discuss the rescission or withdrawal of approval.  If the applicant(s) refuses to meet in person, attempt to conduct the discussion over the phone.
  1. Share the specific reason(s) for the decision to rescind/withdraw approval with the applicant(s).
  1. Outline all areas of concern, starting with the most serious.
  2. Give the applicant(s) the opportunity to refute, clarify, provide additional information, and explain any mitigating circumstances, as well as steps taken to rectify the areas of concern.
  3. Provide services/referral as needed.
  4. Document the conversation scheduling the face-to-face meeting, and the details of the actual discussion in the Applicant Case File.

 

  1. Follow APRD CSW procedures in Applicant's Request to Adopt a Child has been Denied.

Department No Longer Supports Adoption

The following procedures apply after the petition for adoption has been filed and when the Department no longer supports the adoption.

APRD CSW Responsibilities

  1. Consult with the SCSW and County Counsel as to possible course of action and next steps.

 

  1. Proceed as instructed by the SCSW and County Counsel.

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APPROVALS

SCSW Approval

ARA Approval

Division Chief Approval

Deputy Director Approval

Director Approval

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HELPFUL LINKS

Forms

LA Kids

DCFS/A 410, The Grievance Review Process for Applicants to Adopt

Hard Copy

Applicant Case File

Referenced Policy Guides

0100-502.52, Seven Day Prior Written Notice to Foster Parents of Intent to Remove a Child and Grievance Review Regarding Placement/Removal of a Child From a Foster Home

0300-503.25, Removing a Child from the Home of Prospective Adoptive Parent(s)

Statutes

California Department of Social Services (CDSS), Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) Title 22, Section 35125 – States that the agency shall provide for a grievance review hearing upon written receipt of a request from an applicant or prospective adoptive parent. The agency shall advise applicants or prospective adoptive parents that the request for a grievance review hearing shall:

 

In addition, no request for a grievance review hearing shall be granted if the request for the hearing is based solely on any of the following:

 

CDSS, MPP, Title 22, Section 35177 (Adoption Users Manual) (e), (g), and (h) – States that the agency has the authority to determine that an applicant is not approved for the adoptive placement of a child at any point in the assessment process. The agency shall provide the applicant with written notification of its decision regarding the adoptive placement of a child with the applicant. Written notification of the agency's decision to deny the request to adopt shall include identification of the factors that led to the decision. The agency shall inform the applicant in writing of the agency's grievance review procedures and the applicant's right to file a grievance within thirty (30) days of receipt of the decision.

 

CDSS, MPP, Title 22, Section 35217 – States that the agency shall schedule the grievance review hearing to be held within ten (10) working days from the date the written request was received. The agency must give notice to all parties regarding the grievance review hearing's time, date, and place. The agency must send this notice not less than five (5) working days prior to the scheduled grievance review hearing.

 

CDSS, MPP, Title 22, Section 35219 – States that the grievance review hearing shall be conducted by a grievance review agent in a non-adversarial atmosphere, if possible. The agency shall provide for the recording of the hearing, and the parties, their authorized representatives, and witness shall be the only persons authorized to be present during the grievance review hearing unless all parties and the grievance review agent agree to the presence of other persons. If the grievance review agent determines that additional evidence or witnesses are necessary in order to make a recommendation to the agency director, the grievance review agent must continue the grievance review hearing for a period not to exceed ten (10) working days.

 

CDSS, MPP, Title 22, Section 35221 – States that the grievance review agent shall make a written recommendation to the agency director regarding resolution of the grievance within five (5) working days after the completion of the grievance review hearing. The agency director shall make a written decision within five (5) working days of the receipt of the recommendation of the grievance review agent based on the evidence presented at the grievance review hearing. The written decision shall summarize the facts and issues involved, make specific findings regarding the issues, and be sent to each party to the grievance; each authorized representative of the parties, and the California Department of Social Services, Adoption Branch.

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