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Court Related Issues > Writing Court Reports > Writing the Detention Report

Writing the Initial Hearing Report

0300-303.15 | Revision Date: 07/15/22

Overview

This policy guide provides instructions and guidelines on writing the Initial Hearing Report for children taken into temporary custody, as well as for Non-Detained Petition filings.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Policy

Initial Hearing Reports

Detained and Non-Detained Petitions

Contents of the Initial Hearing Report for the Detained and Non-Detained Petitions

Initial Hearings

American Indian Children

Transportation to Court

Procedure

Writing the Initial Hearing Report

ER CSW Responsibilities

ER SCSW Responsibilities

ER ARA Responsibilities

Approvals

Helpful Links

Attachments

Forms

Referenced Policy Guides

Statutes

Version Summary

This policy guide (formerly entitled: “Writing the Detention Report”) was updated from the 01/17/17 version to reflect changes based on the submission of reports through the Intake and Detention Control (IDC) Petition Tracking System, the changes of Detained versus Non Detained hearing time frames, changes to DCFS’ duty to inquire about Native American heritage, and changes due to WIC 309 (efforts to identify, locate and give notice to relatives of a detention).

POLICY

Detained and Non-Detained Petitions

A Detained petition is when a child has been taken into temporary custody/detained from BOTH parents. For detained petitions, DCFS will provide notice of the Detention Hearing. A Non-Detained petition will be filed on any child left in the home of at least one parent – even if the child was detained from the other parent. For non-detained petitions, the Court will provide written notice to all parties advising of the date/time/location for the Detention Hearing. If there is a sibling set and one of the siblings has been detained from both parents, the Initial Hearing for all siblings will be set using the Detained petition timeframe.

 

Initial Hearing Reports

The Initial Hearing Report is the primary evidentiary document submitted by DCFS and is written by the CSW to support the WIC Section 300/342/387 petition allegations. Detention reports are required when the child has been taken into temporary custody/detained from one or both parents/guardians as well as when the child is left in the home of one or both parents/guardians and DCFS is requesting court involvement via a WIC Section 300, 342 or 387 Petition. The Initial Hearing Report, whether it is a detained or non-detained petition, must be routed to Intake and Detention Control (IDC) no later than 10:00 A.M. on the judicial day prior to the arraignment/initial hearing. After reviewing the Report, IDC prepares the detained and/or non-detained petitions, as well as the Court Addendum report.

 

A detained petition and Court Addendum report will be submitted with the Initial Hearing Report and considered by the Court within seventy-two (72) judicial hours of a child's detention or of a Non-Detained Petition being called into IDC. Non-detained petitions will be scheduled for the Initial hearing 10 judicial days after IDC files the non-detained petition with Court. Weekends, court holidays, furlough days, and legal holidays are excluded in calculating these deadlines.

 

Detained Petitions: Filing and Hearing Timeframes

 

Day of Detention

Initial Hearing Report Due to IDC

Petition To Be Filed with the Court

Arraignment/

Detention Hearing

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Monday

Thursday

Friday

Monday

Tuesday

Friday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Saturday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

 

 

Contents of the Initial Hearing Report for the Detained Petition

The CSW must include in the Initial Hearing Report the following information:

 

Information that must also be addressed in the Initial Hearing Report, whether detained or non-detained, include the following:

 

Approvals

For Initial Hearing Reports where the CSW has decided to take one or more children (related or unrelated) into temporary custody/detain while leaving one or more children (related or unrelated) in the home, the CSW must address in detail, in addition to the information contained above, the reasons why the child(ren) was/were not detained. The facts must also detail why the child(ren) is/are not at risk of abuse, and/or neglect if allowed to remain in the home. Additionally, the signature of the Assistant Regional Administrator (ARA) is required on the Detention Report to leave children in the home when siblings are detained. When a child(ren) is/are left in the care of a non-offending parent who resides in a different home, the signature of the Assistant Regional Administrator (ARA) is not required.

 

Initial Hearing

At the Initial hearing, DCFS bears the burden of establishing the need for detention and tThe Court must release the child to their parent/guardian if that burden has not been met. DCFS is required to provide prima facie evidence supporting the detention. Typically, a prima facie case will be established solely by the introduction of police reports, DCFS Initial Hearing Report, and/or other documents.:

 

The court may not order the child to remain detained or detain the child at the Initial Hearing unless it finds the following:

  1. A prima facie showing the child is described by WIC Section 300;

 

  1. ContinuanceWhen a party to a lawsuit needs to postpone a matter that has been calendared for a hearing or trial, the proper procedure is to apply to the court for a continuance (postponement to a later date). in the home of the parent/guardian is contrary to the child’s welfare; and

 

  1. Any of the following circumstances exist:

 

 

The court determines whether reasonable efforts were made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from their home and whether there are available services, which would prevent the need for further detention. For American Indian children, the court determines whether active efforts were made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal.

 

American Indian Children

DCFS has an ongoing and continuing duty to inquire about Native American heritage. This means that the duty to inquiry begins with the initial contact and continues throughout the case. The duty to inquire includes, but is not limited to, DCFS asking the child, the parents/legal guardian, Indian Custodian, extended family members, others having an interest in the child and the reporting party whether the child is or may be an Indian child and where the child, parents or Indian custodian resides. This duty to inquire must take place even when the parents deny Native American heritage.

 

If the inquiry reveals that there is “reason to know” the child is an Indian child, DCFS must abide by additional legal mandates throughout the dependency court case. Circumstances that provide reason to know the child is an Indian child include:

 

 

When it is known or there is reason to know that an Indian child is involved, the detention report must include the following information:

 

 

When there is reason to know that the child is an American Indian child, DCFS must provide active efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal. Both federal and California law detail 11 examples of active efforts which include:

 

  1. Conducting a comprehensive assessment of the circumstances of the Indian child’s family, with a focus on safe reunification as the most desirable goal;

 

  1. Identifying appropriate services and helping the parents overcome barriers, including actively assisting the parents in obtaining those services;

 

  1. Identifying, notifying, and inviting representatives of the Indian child’s tribe to participate in providing support and services to the Indian child’s family and in family team meetings, permanency planning, and resolution of placement issues;

 

  1. Conducting or causing to be conducted a diligent search for the Indian child’s extended family members, and contacting and consulting with extended family members to provide family structure and support for the Indian child and the Indian child’s parents;

 

  1. Offering and employing all available and culturally appropriate family preservation strategies and facilitating the use of remedial and rehabilitative services provided by the child’s tribe;

 

  1. Taking steps to keep siblings together whenever possible;

 

  1. Supporting regular visits with parents or Indian custodians in the most natural setting possible, as well as trial home visits of the Indian child during any period of removal, consistent with the need to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the child;

 

  1. Identifying community resources, including housing, financial assistance, transportation, mental health and substance abuse services, and peer support services, and actively assisting the Indian child’s parents or, when appropriate, the child’s family, in utilizing and accessing those resources;

 

  1. Monitoring progress and participation in services;

 

  1. Considering alternative ways to address the needs of the Indian child’s parents and, where appropriate, the family, if the optimal services do not exist or are not available;

 

  1. Providing post-reunification services and monitoring.

 

Transportation to Court

Initial Hearing (Arraignment/Detention Hearings)

All children who are 5 years of age or older need to be present in the court at 8:30 a.m. on the Initial or Detention Hearing date unless the child’s attorney indicates that the child does not need to be present.

 

 

 

Appearance

Who provides transportation

DCFS Court Transportation Requests

RFA-community family (resource parent who is not a relative or NREFM or

TSFC

All children who are 5 years of age or older need to appear in person unless the child’s attorney indicates that the child does not need

to be present.

DCFS Court Transportation will transport youth to court unless excused by CLC.

TThe request for transportation will be submitted by IDC staff.

Please refer to DCFS policy 0300-306.80: Transportation Requests to Bring Children Youth to Court (lacounty.gov)

RFA-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. and NREFM

All children who are 5 years and older need to appear in person unless the child’s attorney indicates that the child does not need to be

present.

The caregivers MUST transport youth to court for the initial hearing unless excused by CLC.

 

Parent/legal guardian

All children who are 5 years and older need to appear in person unless the child’s attorney indicates that the

child does not need to be present.

Parents and legal guardians MUST bring the youth to court for the initial hearing unless excused by CLC.

 

       
       
       
       

 

PROCEDURE

Writing the Initial Hearing Report

ER CSW Responsibilities

  1. Ask the parent(s) to sign the DCFS 179, Parental Consent and Authorization for Medical Care and Release of Education Records, DCFS 179-MH, Parental Consent for Child's Assessment & Participation in Mental Health and/or Regional Center Developmental ServicesServices provided by the Regional Centers, which include diagnostic evaluation, coordination or resources such as education, health, welfare, rehabilitation and recreation for persons with developmental disabilities. Additional services include program planning, admission to and discharge from state hospitals, court-ordered evaluations and consultation to other agencies., and 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. .
  1. Obtain information regarding the child(ren)'s medical, mental, emotional and school history and potential needs.

 

  1. Ask the parent(s) if their child may be an American Indian from a federally or non-federally recognized tribe and complete the ICWA-010(A).

 

  1. Within two (2) hours of detaining a child, or when reasonably safe to do so, create the Petition Request Referral in the IDC Petition Tracking System..

 

  1. The process for creating a Petition Request Referral for children detained afterhours by Regional/ERCP/MART staff is the same. Create the Petition Request Referral in the IDC Petition Tracking System within two (2) hours of detaining a child, or when reasonably safe to do so.

 

  1. If detaining the child of a Nonminor dependent, indicate this on the Initial Hearing report and include the NMD's case number. The case will be assigned to Department 418. Provide the case number in the Petition Tracking System when documenting the detention.
  1. ensure that notice has been provided to the NMD's attorney.

 

  1. If appropriate, submit a Medical HUB referral to the Hub located closest to the caregiver's home, for every child taken into temporary custody and include a Medical Hub Services Recommendation in the Initial Hearing Report. Include a Medical Hub Services Recommendation for those children who remain home and there is a recommendation to detain pursuant to WIC 319.

 

  1. Receive from IDC Petition Tracking System, the date and time of the detention/arraignment hearing and/or the Non-Detained Petition Hearing; as well as when the Detention Report must be submitted to IDC.

 

  1. Provide either oral or written notice to all the parties, including tribes, of the detention/arraignment hearing.

 

  1. Prior to creating the Initial Hearing Report complete the following:

 

  1. Complete all appropriate fields on the Initial Hearing Report populated by the database.

 

  1. Complete the Initial Hearing Report by 5:00 p.m. on the due date given by the IDC Petition Tracking System to ensure timely filing of petitions with the court.

 

  1. Obtain ARA approval if one or more of the following conditions exist:
  1. The recommendation is to allow one or more of the child(ren), regardless of their age, to remain in the home when one or more children in the same case or an associated case are taken into temporary custody.
  1. When placing a child age six (6) or younger in congregate care.
  1. A child under the age of five (5) is left in the home (59 months or younger).
  1. When parents reside in the same home, the child(ren) is detained from one parent, and the child remains with the non-offending parent because either the offending parent or non-offending parent has left the home.
  1. If the recommendation is for a child(ren) to remain in the home and it is a sexual abuse case.

 

  1. Request on-line approval for the Initial Hearing Report and print it. Sign and date the hard copy.

 

  1. Submit the hard copy/e-version of the Initial Hearing Report with any supporting documents and any attachments to the SCSW for approval.

 

  1. When the report is approved/e-signed, route the Initial Hearing Report with any attachments, including the ICWA-010(A) for each child through the IDC Petition Tracking System to IDC by 5:00 p.m. on the due date given by the IDC Petition Tracking System..

ER SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the packet, Initial Hearing Report, and any supporting documents, including all SDM tools used:
  1. If approved, sign/e-sign and date the Initial Hearing Report. Approve the Initial Hearing Report on-line and return the packet to the CSW if ARA approval is not required.
  1. If ARA approval is required, sign/e-sign the Initial Hearing report and send the packet to the ARA without approving the Initial Hearing report on-line.

ER ARA Responsibilities

  1. Review the Initial Hearing Report and any supporting documents and attachments, including all SDM tools.
  1. If approved, sign/e-sign and date the report and return the packet to the SCSW for on-line approval.
  1. If not approved, return the packet to the SCSW for corrective action.

Back to Procedure

APPROVALS

Supervisor Approval

ARA Approval

HELPFUL LINKS

Attachments

Timeframes for submitting Detention Reports to Intake and Detention Control (IDC)

Detention Report Sample

Medical Hub Services Recommendation

IDC Petition Tracking System

ITA 21-03, Adobe e-Sign for Court Report

 

 

Forms

CWS/CMS

Detention Report

ICWA-010(A), Indian Child Inquiry

LA Kids

DCFS 179, Parental Consent and Authorization for Medical Care and Release of Education Records (also available in Spanish)

DCFS 179-MH, Parental Consent for Child: Mental Health/Developmental Assessment and Participation in Mental Health/Developmental Services (also available in Spanish)

DCFS 179-PHI, Authorization for Disclosure of Child's Protected Health Information (also available in Spanish)

DCFS 4216, Last Minute Information for the Court

ICWA-010(A), Indian Child Inquiry Attachment

JV-501, Paternity Finding and Judgment

Medical HUB Referral Form

Relative Notification Letter (also available in Spanish)

JV 285, Relative Information

 

Referenced Policy Guides

0070-548.01, Child and Family Teams

0070-548.20, 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.

0070-570.10, Obtaining Warrants and/or Removal Orders

0080-502.25, Family Maintenance Services for Court and Voluntary Cases

0080-505.20, Health & Education Passport (HEP)

0100-510.21, Voluntary Placement

0100-510.60, Placement Considerations for Children

0100-510.61, Placement Responsibilities

0100-520.10, Evaluating a Prospective Caregiver

0100-520.11, Home Approvals Not Meeting Title 22 Approval Standards

0100-520.70, Exemptions for Criminal History Records

Family Members and Prospective Guardians with Criminal History Records

0300-301.05, Filing Petitions

0300-303.07, Non-Disclosure Orders

0300-303.08, Resolving Detention Disagreements between Field Operations and IDC

0300-306.05, Noticing Process for Juvenile Court Proceedings

0300-306.20, Notice Requirements for Alleged Fathers

0300-306.80, Transportation Requests to Bring Children/Youth to Court

0300-306.45, Removal Orders

0300-306.75, Due Diligence

0300-318.05, Obtaining Restraining Orders

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

0400-504.00, Family Time

0600-500.00, Medical Hubs

0600-500.20, Health and Medical InformationAs defined by Civil Code (CIV) Section 56.05(g), is any individually identifiable information, in electronic or physical form, in possession of or derived from a provider of health care, health care service plan, pharmaceutical company, or contractor regarding a patient’s medical history, mental or physical condition, or treatment. This does not include psychotherapy notes (notes made by the therapist about a private therapy session that are kept separate from the rest of the patient’s medical record). These notes are subject to additional privacy protections and cannot be disclosed by therapists even in situations where other PHI may be disclosed.

0600-501.09, Consent for Mental Health and/or Developmental Assessments and Services

0700-500.10, Education of DCFS-Supervised Children

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

FYI 10-52, New Petition Filing Timeframes

Statutes

Welfare and Institutions Code Section 224.2(a)(b) – States, in part, that (a) The court, county welfare department, and the probation department have an affirmative and continuing duty to inquire whether a child for whom a petition under Section 300, 601, or 602 may be or has been filed, is or may be an Indian child.

 

Welfare and Institutions Code Section 224.2(d) – States in part that no proceeding shall be held until at least ten (10) days after receipt of notice by the parent, Indian custodian, the tribe, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs, except for the detention hearing, provided that notice of the detention hearing is given as soon as possible after the filing of the petition initiating the proceeding, and proof of the notice is filed with the court within ten (10) days of the filing of the petition.

 

WIC Section 290.1 and 291 – Addresses who is required to be noticed upon filing an initial petition with the juvenile court.

 

WIC Section 300 – Describes the criteria for a child becoming a dependent of the court.

 

WIC Section 306 – Describes the duties of the social worker and Indian Tribes entreated to them while working within the scope of their regular duties under the directions of the Juvenile court.

 

WIC Section 306.5 – Describes the placement of minor in custody with any siblings or half siblings.

 

WIC Section 308 – Explains the notification requirements and rights to the parents and the child when a child is taken into temporary custody.

 

WIC Section 309 – States in part that the social worker shall use due diligence in investigating the names and locations of the relatives pursuant to paragraph (1), including, but not limited to, asking the child in an age-appropriate manner about relatives important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interest, and obtaining information regarding the location of the child’s adult relatives. Each county welfare department shall create and make public a procedure by which relatives of a child who has been removed from their parents or guardians may identify themselves to the county welfare department and be provided with the notices required by paragraphs (1) and (2).

 

WIC Section 319 – Explains the process of the arraignment/detention hearing (also known as the Initial Petition hearing).

 

WIC Section 342 – Describes the procedures when a subsequent petition is filed based on new allegations or circumstances other than those under the original sustained petition.

 

WIC Section 349(d) – States that children are entitled to attend court hearings. Every child four years or older must be advised of his or her right to attend court hearings by the children's services worker and/or his or her attorney of record. A child must attend court hearings unless his or her appearance is waived by his or her attorney of record. The reasons for non-appearance shall be recorded in the minute order. The children's services worker is responsible for arranging transportation of the child to the court. In all cases, the attorney for the child shall consult with the child and explain the outcome of the proceedings.

 

WIC Section 361.7 – States that active efforts must be unsuccessful before taking an Indian child into temporary custody (except when child is in imminent danger) and prior to termination of parental rights.

 

WIC Section 385 – States that any order made by the court in the case of any person subject to its jurisdiction may at any time be changed, modified, or set aside, as the judge deems met and proper, subject to such procedural requirements as are imposed by this article.

 

WIC Section 387 – States that an order changing or modifying a previous order by removing a child from the physical custody of a parent, guardian, relative, or friend and directing placement in a foster home, or commitment to a private or county institution, shall be made only after noticed hearing upon a supplemental petition.

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