Back to Top ^

Assessments & In-Person Responses > E.R. Referrals and Clearances > Taking Children into Temporary Custody

Taking Children into Temporary Custody

0070-548.20 | Revision Date: 8/25/2021

Overview

This policy guide provides guidelines for taking children into Temporary CustodyThe removal of a child from the home of a parent or legal guardian and placement or facilitation of placement of the child in the home of a non-offending parent, relative, foster caregiver; group home or institutional setting.Temporary custody also includes: placing hospital holds on children; situations in which the CSW interrupts an established Family Law Court custody or visitation orders when the CSW believes that if the order is carried out, the child would be placed in immediate risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation and the child is allowed to remain in the home of the non-offending parent; situations in which DCFS requests that law enforcement remove a child from the home of his or her parent/legal guardian and the CSW places the child with a relative or unrelated caregiver; and situations in which the child is living with a relative or an unrelated caregiver and all of the following conditions exist: child’s parent is asking for the child to be returned home, CSW believes that the return of the child to his or her parent would place the child at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation, CSW does not allow the child to be returned to his or her parent; and, the child remains in the home of the relative or is placed in out-of-home care. and determining when a child can safely remain in the home prior to a detention hearing.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Policy

Temporary Custody by DCFS

Temporary Custody by Law Enforcement

Procedure

Taking a Child into Temporary Custody

CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

ARA Responsibilities

Approvals

Helpful Links

Attachments

Forms

Referenced Policy Guides

Statutes

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 1/17/17 version to add an ARA consultation framework for non-exigent referrals when detention is being considered.

POLICY

Temporary Custody by DCFS

Temporary custody is the removal of a child at risk of abuse and neglect from the home of a parent or legal guardian. Temporary custody is subject to the warrant requirement of the US Constitution.  This includes placing a child on hospital hold

 

To detain a child at risk of abuse or neglect, a CSW must have one of the following:

 

The Child and Family Team (CFT) process is still applicable and necessary even with the warrant requirement, but the delay in detaining potentially impacts a finding of exigent circumstances.  CFT Meetings (CFTMs) should only be used prior to detention if the child can remain safely in the home in the interim.  If during the CFTM new circumstances and information arise, re-evaluate to determine whether exigent circumstances exist to detain. 

 

When a CFTM is scheduled to discuss whether the children can remain safely in the custody of one or both parents, the CSW must make contact with the warrant desk to determine whether to begin proceedings to request a removal order or other court order.

 

If a child has been taken into temporary custody and it is determined that the child should be released back to the custody of one or both parents before the Detention Hearing, ARA approval is required.

Temporary Custody by Law Enforcement

Law enforcement has the authority to take children into temporary custody under WIC 300. When law enforcement detains or delivers (not detained) a child to DCFS, per WIC 306 and/or 309, a separate, independent safety assessment must be conducted by the CSW to determine if the child should be taken into temporary custody. To take a child into temporary custody, a CSW must have one of the following:

 

When law enforcement has taken a child into temporary custody and it is determined by DCFS that the child(ren) can return home permanently or pending a removal order, ARA approval and notification to law enforcement is required.

PROCEDURE

Taking a Child into Temporary Custody

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Based upon the results of your investigation and Structured Decision Making (SDM) safety assessment, if the assessment indicates that the child can remain safely in the home, consult with the SCSW, and obtain the SCSW’s approval to have the child remain in the home with no further services or with the assistance of on-going services.
  1. If there is no immediate risk of harm to the child, utilize the CFTM process prior to removing the child.
  1. Evaluate whether the family and community’s strengths can be used to form action plans that will enable children to remain safely or immediately return home with appropriate services.
  1. Identify the risks to the child and the family’s strengths.
  1. If during the investigation, it is determined that the family can benefit from community-based services to prevent removal and allow the child to safely remain in the home, refer the family to the appropriate level of services.
  1. When law enforcement has taken a child into temporary custody and it is determined by DCFS that the child(ren) can return home safely, ARA approval and notification to law enforcement is required.

 

  1. If one or more safety threats are present, and placement in out-of-home care is the only protecting intervention possible.
  1. Contact your SCSW, and
  2. Consult with ARA to discuss possible detention (including detentions on open Family Maintenance cases), unless there are exigent circumstances.
  1. Determine legal grounds for detention. This requires at least one of the following:
  1. Parental consent
  1. Exigent circumstances
  1. Court order for detention
  1. If you don’t have parental consent or exigent circumstances contact your SCSW and start gathering information for a warrantRefer to Obtaining Warrants and/or Removal Orders for more information.

 

  1. If the child is being removed from the home:
  1. Provide and review with the family the Full Disclosure Information When a Child is Taken in to Temporary Custody form.
  1. Ask the parents(s) if they would like to involve their faith-based practitioner or other community support person to find a suitable placement for the child.

 

  1. Provide the parent or legal guardian (and the child 10 years or older) a copy of the DCFS 153, Dependency Court Information.
  1. Document this action in the Detention Report.
  1. If the parent is not available to receive the DCFS 153 in person, inform the parent/legal guardian by phone in their primary language that the DCFS 153, Dependency Court Information is available and can be picked up at the office or mailed to them.

 

  1. After detention, initiate the ER Family Background 1 form. 
  1. If the child’s parents are available, leave the Family Background Information 3, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and ask the parent(s) to complete the form and use the return envelope to mail it back. 
  1. Also, make inquiries of any known adult relatives or nonrelative extended family members that may be able to care for the child (regardless of the relative’s immigration status). 
  1. If found, notify the relatives of the situation.

 

  1. If the parent or legal guardian was not home when the child was taken into temporary custody, leave a DCFS 134 at their residence.
  1. The DCFS 134 can be left under the door.
  1. The DCFS 134 should be translated and completed in the primary language of the family or legal guardian, whenever possible, by a bilingual CSW.

 

  1. If the detention involves a drug exposed infant, request that the hospital fax a copy of the Newborn Risk Assessment and the child’s birth record.

 

  1. Request that the parent, legal guardian, relative, nonrelative extended family member, or Indian custodian complete the DCFS 5649 This graphic links to a form tutorial video., Indian Ancestry Questionnaire.

 

  1. Complete the ICWA-010(A) for each child taken into temporary custody.  If there is any indication that the child or their parents or relatives are or may be of American Indian Heritage, the CSW is required to make further inquiry regarding the possible Indian status of the child by asking the parent/legal guardian, the child  (if appropriate) and if available, any relative, nonrelative extended family member, or Indian custodian. 
  1. Indicate the name and relationship of the person providing the information and include this information in the Contact Notebook and in the Detention Report.
  1. If a parent has claimed possible American Indian heritage, further investigate this possibility with any relative of that parent who might have more information regarding this issue, such as the full names and dates of birth of the American Indian Ancestor. 
  1. Indicate which parent or relative is affiliated with which tribe(s), if known, and notify all the tribes of which the child may be a member or eligible for membership, and the Secretary of the Interior’s designated agent, the Sacramento Area Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, that the child has been taken into temporary custody. 
  1. Make efforts to place the child with a relative or extended family member and, if not possible, to locate an Indian home for the child.
  1. Document justification for not placing the child(ren) with a relative or an Indian caregiver and include dates of the actions taken.

 

  1. Ask the parent, legal guardian, relative or nonrelative extended family member whether the child has any physical or medical condition that requires prescribed medication. 
  1. If the child is taking any prescribed medications, (including psychotropic medications), note the name of the medication, dosage, and the name, address and telephone number of the doctor prescribing the medication.
  1. Ask how long the child has been on the medication and whether the medication is successfully treating the child’s targeted symptoms.
  1. If the child has been hospitalized, note the dates and the reason for the hospitalization. Take all of the child’s medication and information about doctor’s appointments with the child to their placement so there is no lapse in the child’s medication.
  1. Document your findings in the Contact Notebook and Health Notebook.
  1. Take only medication(s) contained in a container, issued by a pharmacy, and containing a label with the name of the medication, dosage, and the name and telephone number of the doctor and/or pharmacy.

 

  1. Ask the parent to sign the DCFS 179, DCFS 179-MH, and DCFS 179-PHI forms. 
  1. If the parent refuses to sign the DCFS 179 forms or if parents cannot be located, after giving notice to the parents, request in the Detention Report for the court to grant DCFS the ability to authorize medical, surgical, dental or other remedial care for the dependent child, by licensed practitioners as needed.
  1. Provide a copy of the DCFS 179-MH and the DCFS 179-PHI to the parent. 

 

  1. Within one (1) hour after the detention, advise each child ten (10) years or older that they have the right to make at least two (2) phone calls:
  1. One completed call to the parent, legal guardian or responsible relative.
  1. One completed call to an attorney.
  1. If a child does not have an attorney of record and wishes to speak to any attorney, an attorney will be appointed at the detention hearing.

 

  1. Complete the SDM Safety Assessment tool in WebSDM within two (2) business days of initial contact for all referrals and the SDM Risk Assessment prior to closing the referral or promoting the referral to a case.

 

  1. Within two (2) business hours of the detention, complete the petition referral request in the IDC Petition Tracking System located on LAKids.
  1. In situations where an ER CSW must detain a child after-hours and the case-carrying CSW or duty worker are unavailable to assist in the placement, the ER CSW shall contact Emergency Shelter Care (ESC) and the Accelerated Placement Team (APT)The team is made up of former RUM (Resource Utilization Management) staff who have experience in finding placement for high risk/needs children. APT Specialist CSWs can assist Regional CSWs expedite the process in finding placement/replacement after hours and/or when all other efforts have been unsuccessful.. They will assist the CSW in locating a placement for the child and whenever possible assist in the placement and transportation of the child to the placement.
  2. In cases where a child was detained from a nonminor dependent (NMD), inform IDC of this and provide the NMD’s court number.
  3. The IDC Petition Tracking System will generate the paperwork due date and hearing date.
  4. In situations where the CSW is unable to enter the correct detention dates or did not receive an email confirming receipt of the petition request, immediately call Intake and Detention Control M-F before 5:00pm or Emergency Response Command Post (ERCP) after-hours.
  5. Do not wait to complete the Detention Hearing Report before submitting the petition request to the Petition Tracking System.

 

  1. Initiate a placement search via the DCFS 280 and request a Placement Packet when a placement is secured.
  1. At the time of the initial placement, inform the caregiver of the requirement to utilize Medical Hubs.
  2. If the Juvenile Court has issued a non-disclosure order, advise the child and the caregiver of this court order not to divulge the child's whereabouts.
  1. Within five (5) hours after the child had been taken into custody, provide the parent/guardian with the telephone number where the child can be contacted.
  1. Complete the Detention Report. Documents can be uploaded into the Petition Tracking System after successful submission of your request for petition, or scanned and emailed to all four (4) IDC supervisors with the signature page, attachments, ICWA 010(A) for each child and any supporting documents by 5:00 p.m. on the due date given by IDC. The paperwork due date will be on the email confirmation generated by the IDC Petition Tracking System.
  1. Update the Child and Adolescent Strengths and Needs (CANS) Assessment as needed.
  2. Determine if the child is eligible for a Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (MAT) referral. 

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Consult with CSW as needed to discuss:

  1. Identification of households and caregivers, SDM Safety Assessment findings, including any identified safety threats, and options for SDM safety planning.
  2. Whether there are any reasonable services available to the family that would eliminate the need to remove the child from the custody of their parent, guardian, or caregiver.
  3. Whether a non-offending caregiver can provide for and protect the child from abuse and/or neglect.
  4. Whether parental consent can be obtained for removal, exigent circumstances exist, or if there is time to schedule a warrant consult.
  5. The investigative work plan for the referral (refer to Investigation, Disposition and Closure of Emergency Response Referrals for further information).

  1. Consult with your ARA prior to requesting a warrant.

ARA Responsibilities

  1. Consult with CSW and/or SCSW to discuss possible detention.
  2. Use the “Three (3) Questions” format as part of the case consultation process to determine if the assessment is accurate and the definitions of the SDM tools have been met:
  1. What is working well?
  2. What are we worried about?
  3. What needs to happen next?

  1. In collaboration with CSW and SCSW, decide as a team whether a safety planning CFTM is needed to mitigate any short-term safety threat(s) until a subsequent CFTM can be facilitated.

  2. In the CWS/CMS Contact Notebook, enter a new contact summarizing the results of the consultation, including the answers to the “Three (3) Questions” format.

APPROVALS

SCSW

ARA

HELPFUL LINKS

Attachments

Timeframes for Submission of Detention Reports to IDC

Forms

CWS/CMS

DCFS 179, Parental Consent and Authorization for Medical Care

DCFS 179-MH, Parental Consent for Child’s Mental Health Assessment and for Child’s Participation in Mental Health Treatment

DCFS 179-PHI, Authorization for Disclosure of Child’s Protected Health Information (PHI)As defined by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), is health (including mental health) information created or maintained by a health care provider that identifies or can be used to identify a specific individual. PHI relates to an individual’s health, health care or payment for care – in the past, present or future.

DCFS 561(a), Medical Examination

DCFS 5210, Placement Address Disclosure

ICWA-010(A), Indian Child Inquiry Attachment (Hearing Notebook and LA County specific templates)

Individualized Investigation Narrative

Medical Hub Referral

Response to Mandated Reporter

LA Kids

DCFS 153 (SP), Dependency Court Information

DCFS 179, Parental Consent and Authorization for Medical Care

DCFS 179-MH (SP), Parental Consent for Child’s Mental Health Assessment and for Child’s Participation in Mental Health Treatment

DCFS 179-PHI (SP), Authorization for Disclosure of Child’s Protected Health Information (PHI)

DCFS 5649 This graphic links to a form tutorial video., (SP) Indian Ancestry Questionnaire

ER Family Background 1

Family Background 3 (SP)

Full Disclosure Information When a Child is Taken into Temporary Custody brochure (SP)

ICWA-010(A), Indian Child Inquiry Attachment (Hearing Notebook and LA County specific templates)

ICWA-030, Notice of Child Custody Proceedings for Indian Child

JV-285 (SP), 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. Information

Relative Notification Letter

Simple Notice Application (SNAP)

ICWA-010(A), Indian Child Inquiry Attachment

ICWA-030, Notice of Child Custody Proceedings for Indian Child

Hard Copy

DCFS 134, Notice of Detention

Referenced Policy Guides

0070-548.00, Community-Based Resources

0070-548.01, Child and Family Teams (CFT)

0070-548.10, Investigation, Disposition and Closure of Emergency Response Referrals

0070-570.10, Obtaining Warrants and/or Removal Orders

0070-548.24, Structured Decision Making (SDM)

0070-548.25, Completing the Structured Decision Making (SDM) Safety Plan

0100-510.61, Placement Responsibilities

0300-303.06, Hospital Holds

0300-303.15, Writing the Detention Report

0300-306.05, Noticing Process for Juvenile Court Proceedings

0300-508.30, Identifying and Notifying the Court of Recurring Efforts to Locate Relatives and Nonrelative Extended Family Members (NREFMs)

0600-500.00, Medical Hubs

0600-500.05, Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (MAT) Assessments and Meetings

0600-514.10, Psychotropic MedicationMedications used as tools for producing certain chemical and physiological effects in the central nervous system. They are usually classified according to the types of disorders they are primarily used to treat.: Authorization, Review, and Monitoring for DCFS Supervised Children

1200-500.05, Adopting and Serving Children Under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)

Statutes

Greene v. Camreta, (9th Cir.) (2009) 588 F.3d 1011

 

Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 224.2 – Explains a social worker's affirmative and continuing duty to inquire whether a child may be an Indian child, duty to further inquire when there is reason to believe the child may be an Indian child, and duty to provide notice when there is reason to know the child may be an Indian child.

 

WIC Section 300 – Describes types of child abuse in which a child may become a dependent child of the court.

 

WIC Section 306 – States the conditions under which any social worker in a county welfare department, or an Indian tribe that has entered into an agreement pursuant to Section 10553.1 while acting within the scope of the social worker’s regular duties under the direction of the juvenile court and pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 272, may take a child into temporary custody.

 

WIC Section 308(a) – When a peace officer or social worker takes a minor into custody, they must immediately notify the minor’s parent, guardian, or a responsible relative that the minor is in custody and that the child has been placed in a facility authorized by law to care for the child, and shall provide a telephone number at which the minor may be contacted.  The confidentiality of the address of any licensed foster family home in which the child has been placed shall be maintained until the dispositional hearing, at which time the judge may authorize, upon a finding of good cause.

 

WIC Section 309(a) – States that upon delivery to the social worker of a child who has been taken into temporary custody, the social worker must immediately investigate the circumstances of the child and the facts surrounding the child’s being taken into custody and attempt to maintain the child with the child’s family through the provision of services.  The social worker shall immediately release the child to the custody of the child’s parent, guardian or responsible relative if appropriate

 

WIC Section 309(e) – States, in pertinent part, that a social worker must immediately investigate the circumstances of a child taken into temporary custody and must attempt to maintain the child with their family through the provision of services. It also states that the social worker must initiate efforts in identifying and locating relatives of the child within thirty (30) days of the child's removal from the home to give written and oral notification of the proceedings, if appropriate.

 

WIC Section 361.3(a) – States that in any case in which a child is removed from the physical custody of the child’s parents, preferential consideration shall be given to a request by a relative of the child for placement of the child with the relative.

 

California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) Division 31-130 – States the conditions under which the social worker must request law enforcement assistance.

 

CDSS Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) Division 31-135 – States that when a social worker determines that the child cannot be safely maintained in the child’s own home, the social worker must ensure that authority to remove the child exists prior to removal.

Back to Helpful Links