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Adoption > Assessments and Preparation > Pre-Placement Process

Pre-Placement Process

0200-509.20 | Revision Date: 07/01/14

Overview

This policy guide provides information on the pre-placement process when a prospective adoptive parent has been identified, including the pre-placement conference, presenting a child's information to a prospective adoptive family, and the development of pre-placement steps.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Policy

Pre-Placement Responsibilities

Pre-Placement Conference

Presentation of Child Information to a Prospective Adoptive Family

Pre-Placement Steps

Procedure

A Prospective Adoptive Family Has Been Identified by the PRU

APRD CSW Responsibilities

Conducting the Pre-Placement Conference

APRD CSW Responsibilities

Family Assessment Worker/Outside Adoption Agency Social Worker Responsibilities

Family Assessment Worker SCSW Responsibilities

Family Assessment Worker and/or APRD SCSW Responsibilities

Family Assessment Worker and/or APRD ARA Responsibilities

Family Assessment Worker and/or APRD Division Chief Responsibilities

Prior to the Presentation of Child Information

APRD CSW Responsibilities

Family Assessment Worker/Outside Adoption Agency Social Worker Responsibilities

Presentation of Child Information to a Prospective Adoptive Family

Family Assessment Worker/Outside Adoption Agency Social Worker Responsibilities

APRD CSW Responsibilities

Prospective Adoptive Family Pursues Placement of a Presented Child

APRD CSW Responsibilities

Family Assessment Worker/Outside Adoption Agency Social Worker Responsibilities

Approvals

Helpful Links

Forms

Referenced Policy Guides

Statutes

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 03/11/11 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan. This policy guide incorporates content from Procedural Guide 0200-509.25, Presentation of Child Information to a Prospective Adoptive Family, and 0200-509.30, Pre-Placement Steps: Fost-Adopt and Adoptive Placements, thereby cancelling those policy guides.  The title has been changed from "Pre-Placement Conference".

POLICY

Pre-Placement Responsibilities

The APRD CSW:

 

The Family Assessment Worker:

 

In addition, the APRD CSW and the Family Assessment Worker/outside adoption agency social worker must:

Pre-Placement Conference

A pre-placement conference is held once an approved prospective adoptive family has been identified as a potential adoptive match by the Placement and Recruitment Unit (PRU) for an unattached child. The pre-placement conference is a telephone or face-to-face meeting involving the APRD CSW, their respective supervisors, the Family Assessment Worker, and his/her supervisor, or the family's outside adoption agency social worker.

 

During the conference, the APRD CSW presents information about the child and his/her family, and the Family Assessment Worker presents information about the prospective adoptive family. The conference should include discussion about:

 

If there is disagreement regarding the match, staff must employ a case conferencing process and follow the chain of command until there is a resolution.

 

At the conclusion of the conference, a decision is made as to whether or not to present information about the child to the prospective adoptive family through a formal presentation. If the information is being presented to the family, a preliminary discussion of how the child and family would best transition through pre-placement steps must be considered.

Presentation of Child Information to a Prospective Adoptive Family

Following the Pre-Placement Conference, a meeting is held to present the prospective adoptive family with all known non-identifying information about the child and his/her birth parents in written or verbal form. All participants in the Pre-Placement Conference also participate in the meeting. The presentation:

Pre-Placement Steps

If, following the presentation, an approved applicant family confirms their desire to pursue fost-adopt/adoptive placement of the child, pre-placement steps must be taken to transition the child into a new home, including a series of scheduled contacts (visits, phone calls, etc.) between the child and the prospective adoptive family designed to facilitate the fost-adopt/adoptive placement. Contacts must:

 

If the child's current caregiver(s) appear willing and able to assist with the transition, the first pre-placement step should occur at the child's placement.

 

In some cases, it may be necessary to discontinue pre-placement steps if they do not appear to be in the best interests of the child. In contrast, if the pre-placement steps seem to be going well, it may appear that some steps can be eliminated if they are in the best interests of the child and family. In either case, CSWs must consult with their respective SCSWs to determine a plan for moving forward.

Back to Policy

PROCEDURE

A Prospective Adoptive Family Has Been Identified by the PRU

APRD CSW Responsibilities

  1. Within ten (10) business days of receipt of the DCFS 5400-1, Concurrent Planning Referral/Adoption Assessment, and the DCFS 5400, Child/Family Matching Form, from the PRU indicating that the child has been matched with an approved prospective adoptive family, schedule a telephone or face-to-face pre-placement conference.

 

  1. Prior to the conference, compile all necessary information to be presented and complete the DCFS/A 395, Assessment of Child for Pre-Placement Conference, Presentation, and/or Adoptive Placement.

Back to Procedure

Conducting the Pre-Placement Conference

APRD CSW Responsibilities

  1. Use the completed DCFS/A 395, Assessment of Child for Pre-Placement Conference, Presentation, and/or Adoptive Placement, and present information about the child and the case. Be sure to include the following information:

 

  1. Assess and determine the appropriateness of the match.

 

  1. If the match is appropriate:
  1. Discuss the possible presentation of the child's information to the prospective adoptive family within five (5) business days.
  1. Discuss the planned preparation of the child for pre-placement steps and placement.
  1. Develop a preliminary plan for pre-placement steps, taking into consideration that you and/or the outside adoption agency social worker will be present during the initial steps.

Family Assessment Worker/Outside Adoption Agency Social Worker Responsibilities

  1. Present the following information about the prospective adoptive family at the pre-placement conference:

 

  1. If the child's case is receiving Family Reunification (FR) service, discuss the family's:

 

  1. Confer and collaborate with the APRD CSW on determining the child's strengths and needs, whether the prospective adoptive family can enhance those strengths and meet those needs, and the appropriateness of the match.

 

  1. If an agreement is reached to move forward with the placement match:
  1. If the match is made by an outside agency, ask the APRD CSW to complete the following steps:
  1. Complete Section I of the DCFS 5400, Child/Family Matching Form.
  1. Obtain SCSW signatures on the DCFS 5400.
  1. Fax the signed DCFS 5400 to the PRU at (626) 397-9170.
  1. Notify the prospective adoptive family that a child is available.
  1. Immediately schedule a joint meeting with the APRD CSW and prospective adoptive family to formally present all pertinent information regarding the child to the prospective adoptive family.
  1. If the match in not made by an outside agency, complete steps 4i–v above.

 

  1. If the decision is made not to proceed with the placement selection, complete Section II of the DCFS 5400.
  1. Obtain SCSW and ARA signatures on the DCFS 5400.
  1. Fax the signed DCFS 5400 to PRU at (626) 397-9170.

Family Assessment Worker SCSW Responsibilities

  1. At the pre-placement conference, facilitate discussion and exchange of information to ensure full disclosure.

 

  1. Document the results of the pre-placement conference on the DCFS 5400-1, Concurrent Planning Referral/Adoption Assessment, including all recommendations made at the conference.

 

  1. Immediately provide a copy of the DCFS 5400-1 to each pre-placement conference participant in person or by fax.

Family Assessment Worker and/or APRD SCSW Responsibilities

  1. If there is a disagreement regarding the possible placement match that cannot be resolved, immediately notify the respective ARAs or their designees of the issues involved.

Family Assessment Worker and/or APRD ARA Responsibilities

  1. Within two (2) business days of notification of the disagreement regarding the possible placement match, convene staff involved and review and discuss the potential match.
  1. If an agreement is reached, immediately notify the respective SCSWs of the decision.
  1. If an agreement is not reached, immediately notify the respective ARAs or Division Chief, or their designees.

Family Assessment Worker and/or APRD Division Chief Responsibilities

  1. Within two (2) business days of notification of the disagreement regarding the possible placement match, discuss the case with the appropriate staff members and determine the disposition of the placement match.
  1. Once a placement decision is made, immediately notify staff of the decision.

Back to Procedure

Prior to Presentation of Child Information

APRD CSW Responsibilities

  1. Compile all available reports about the child (e.g. birth records, medical reports, psychological/developmental reports, school reports, etc.).

 

  1. If necessary, update the DCFS/A 395, Assessment of Child for Pre-Placement Conference, Presentation, and/or Adoptive Placement that was previously initiated for the pre-placement conference.

 

  1. Once the Family Assessment Worker/Outside Adoption Agency Social Worker has scheduled a joint meeting with the APRD CSW and prospective adoptive family, invite the case-carrying CSW to the meeting.

Family Assessment Worker/Outside Adoption Agency Social Worker Responsibilities

  1. Schedule a joint meeting with the APRD CSW and the prospective adoptive family.

Back to Procedure

Presentation of Child Information to a Prospective Adoptive Family

Family Assessment Worker/Outside Adoption Agency Social Worker Responsibilities

  1. Introduce the prospective adoptive family to the APRD CSW and the case-carrying CSW (if present), to initiate the presentation.

 

  1. Advise the family that they will be given both verbal and written information about a specific child.

APRD CSW Responsibilities

  1. Use the completed DCFS/A 395, Assessment of Child for Pre-Placement Conference, Presentation, and/or Adoptive Placement, to present non-identifying information to the prospective adoptive family.

 

  1. Show the prospective adoptive family a picture of the child.

 

  1. In collaboration with the Family Assessment Worker, answer any questions from the prospective adoptive family.

 

  1. Clarify the roles and responsibilities of all parties and staff involved in the case.

 

  1. If the child is receiving concurrent Family Reunification (FR) services, ensure that the prospective adoptive family understands that:
  1. The child's court-ordered case plan is FR, the child's parent(s) meet the requirement for FR, and the court may order return of the child to the parent(s).
  1. There is a possibility of a previously unknown relative surfacing who the court may consider for placement.
  1. The parent(s) will continue to receive concurrent FR services until the court orders termination of FR or another plan.
  1. If the child were to be placed with the prospective adoptive family, as long as FR services are still ongoing, the prospective adoptive family's name and address must be listed in the court report as the child's placement location (unless the court has made a non-disclosure order) and the child's parents will be given a copy of the court report.
  1. The case-carrying CSW will continue to provide case management services to the prospective adoptive parent(s), to the child's caregiver(s), and to the child, and the APRD CSW will provide all adoption services. The Family Assessment Worker or outside adoption agency social worker will also be available to support the prospective adoptive family.
  1. Refer them to Page 9 of the DCFS/A 395 for information that will be provided/explained regarding cases with FR services.

 

  1. If the child is receiving FR services, obtain the signature of each prospective adoptive parent on the first section of Page 9 of the DCFS/A 395.
  1. If FR has been terminated but the child has not been freed, refer to the second section on Page 9 of the DCFS/A 395 for information that needs to be provided to the family regarding non-freed cases with no FR services.
  1. Obtain the signature of each prospective adoptive parent in this section.

 

  1. Obtain the signature of each prospective adoptive parent on Page 8 of the DCFS/A 395 and provide a copy of the signed DCFS/A 395 to the prospective adoptive family.

 

  1. Allow the prospective adoptive family to ask questions and process the information that they have received.
  1. Do not interpret professional reports.
  1. Encourage the family to consult with the appropriate professionals of their choice, such as the family's pediatrician, a child psychologist, etc.

 

  1. Set a reasonable deadline for the prospective adoptive family to decide whether or not to move forward with the placement of the child.

 

  1. If the family decides to proceed with the placement of the child, discuss and develop a contingency pre-placement plan with the prospective adoptive parent(s) and their worker.
  1. Ensure that the potential pre-placement visitation plan includes interim steps of increasing frequency and duration and considers the child's age and needs.

 

  1. Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook.

Back to Procedure

Prospective Adoptive Family Pursues Placement of a Presented Child

APRD CSW Responsibilities

  1. In collaboration with the Family Assessment Worker, plan, schedule, and facilitate the appropriate pre-placement steps.
  1. Involve the prospective adoptive family, current caregiver, and child in this process, as appropriate.
  1. Advise the current caregiver of their importance in the pre-placement step process and acknowledge their feelings of ambivalence or loss.

 

  1. For the first pre-placement step:
  1. Arrange for the first visit to occur at the child's placement (if appropriate).
  1. Attend the first visit and introduce the child and caregivers to the prospective adoptive family and their social worker.

 

  1. Facilitate and ensure that subsequent pre-placement steps increase gradually in frequency and duration until the child is placed into the home.

 

  1. Ensure that subsequent pre-placement steps progress from short day visits to longer day visits away from the child's current placement (e.g. a park, the zoo, the prospective adoptive family's home, etc.).

 

  1. As pre-placement steps proceed, prepare the child and the caregiver before each visit and debrief them after each visit.
  1. Gather information directly from the child, caregiver, and prospective adoptive family to plan future steps.

 

  1. If day visits are going well and the family and child are comfortable moving forward, schedule overnight visits in the prospective adoptive family's home.

 

  1. If there are concerns about the pre-placement steps that cannot be resolved with the CSWs involved or the outside adoption agency social worker, consult with the SCSW.

 

  1. If the prospective adoptive family is from an outside adoption agency, assist the outside adoption agency social worker in performing the responsibilities outlined in Family Assessment Worker/Outside Adoption Agency Social Worker Responsibilities.

 

  1. Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook.

Family Assessment Worker/Outside Adoption Agency Social Worker Responsibilities

  1. In collaboration with the APRD CSW, plan, schedule, and facilitate the appropriate and necessary placement steps.
  1. Involve the prospective adoptive parent(s) in the process.
  1. When appropriate, advise the prospective adoptive parent(s) to bring an inexpensive gift for the child.
  1. Advise the prospective adoptive parent(s) to prepare a photo album that includes pictures of themselves, their other children, pets, and their home to share with the child.
  1. Collaborate with the APRD CSW and the case-carrying CSW, as appropriate.

 

  1. Advise the current caregiver of their importance in the pre-placement step process and acknowledge their feelings of ambivalence or loss.

 

  1. For the first pre-placement step:
  1. Arrange for the first visit to occur at the child's placement (if appropriate).
  1. Attend the first visit and introduce the child and caregivers to the prospective adoptive family and their social worker.

Back to Procedure

APPROVALS

SCSW Approval

ARA Approval

RA/Division Chief Approval

HELPFUL LINKS

Forms

LA Kids

AD 67, Information about the Birth Mother (also available in Spanish)

AD 67A, Information about the Birth Father (also available in Spanish)

DCFS/A 395, Assessment of Child for Pre-Placement Conference, Presentation, and/or Adoptive Placement

DCFS 5400, Child/Family Matching Form

DCFS 5401, Pre-Placement Case Conference Record

Family Background #1

Family Background #1 SiblingA sibling is defined as a child related to another person by blood, adoption, or affinity through a common legal or biological parent. & RelativeFor the purpose of placement and foster care payments: An adult who is related to the child by blood, adoption or affinity within the fifth degree of kinship, including stepparents, stepsiblings, and all relatives whose status is preceded by the words, "great," "great-great" or "grand" or the spouse of any of these persons even if the marriage was terminated by death or dissolution. Addendum

Family Background #2 – DI

Family Background #3 – Medical and Social History Information about the Birth Mother/Father (also available in Spanish)

Family Background #3 Coversheet

Family Background Addendum

Referenced Policy Guides

0080-507.20, Concurrent Planning and the Concurrent Planning AssessmentAn assessment document as prescribed in Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 366.21(I), 366.22(b) and 361.5(g). The CPA is initiated by the case carrying Children's Social Worker and completed by the APRD CSW when adoption home study for attached children or matching/recruitment activities for unattached children are initiated. (CPA)

Statutes

Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997 – Emphasizes child safety and the importance of moving children through the child welfare system quickly to establish a permanent home.

 

Family Code (FAM) Section 8706 – States that an agency cannot place a child for adoption unless a written report on the child's medical background and if available, the medical background of the child's biological parent(s), has been submitted to the prospective adoptive parent(s), and they have acknowledged in writing the receipt of the report.

 

FAM 8708 – States the conditions under which neither the department nor the licensed adoption agency can deny or delay adoption of a child who has been freed by relinquishment or termination of parental rights.

This section does not affect the application of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

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