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In Home/Out of Home Care > In Home Care > Family Maintenance Services

Family Maintenance Services for Court and Voluntary Cases

0080-502.25 | Revision Date: 8/31/16

Overview

This policy guide provides guidance on when it is appropriate to offer Voluntary Family Maintenance services to families and how to provide Family Maintenance services for court and voluntary cases.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Policy

Family Maintenance (FM) Services

Contact Requirements for FM Services

Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM) Services

VFM Services Pursuant to WIC 301(a)

VFM Services Pursuant to WIC 360(b)

VFM with a Minor Parent

VFM Cases Requiring Higher Approval

VFM Criteria

Terminating VFM Services

Procedure

Eligibility for VFM Services

ER CSW Responsibilities

ER SCSW Responsibilities

ARA Responsibilities

Providing FM Services for Court and Voluntary Cases

Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

SCSW Responsibilities

Approvals

Helpful Links

Forms 

Referenced Policy Guides

Statutes

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 07/01/14 version in order to add an ARA approval requirement for opening and closing certain types of VFM cases, to clarify VFM criteria and the guidelines for physical abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence VFM cases, and to add instructions for staff to consult County Counsel in certain case situations.

POLICY

Family Maintenance Services

The provision of Family Maintenance (FM) services should be considered before making the decision to remove a child from their family.  FM services are available for court cases and voluntary cases.  In a FM case, the children remain in their own home with all child welfare services being made available to their families without regard to income. 

 

FM services may include, but are not limited to:

 

Per State regulation, voluntary FM services are limited to six months, and may be extended for two three-month periods if it can be demonstrated that the case plan objectives can be achieved within the extended time period.

Contact Requirements for Family Maintenance Cases

Contact With

Time Frame

Contact Requirement

Child

First 3 Months

At least two (2) face-to-face contacts every 30 days

Child

After first 3 months

At least one (1) face-to-face contact a month

Parent/ Guardian

First 3 Months

At least two (2) face-to-face contacts a month

Parent/ Guardian

After first 3 months

At least one (1) face-to-face contact each month

Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM)

Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM)The provision of non-court, time-limited protective services to families whose children are in potential danger of abuse, neglect, or exploitation when the children can safely remain in the home with DCFS services. In order to receive VFM services, the family must be willing to accept them and participate in corrective efforts to ensure that the child's protective needs are met. There is a six-month time limit for this service. is the provision of non-court supervised, time-limited protective services to families whose children are in potential danger of abuse, neglect or exploitation when the child can safely remain in the home and the family is willing to accept services and engage in corrective action.  The agreement for voluntary services may be initiated by the CSW or by the court, per WIC 301(a) or 360(b). The parent/guardian must not be coerced into agreeing to VFM services by threats of removing the child (ren) from the home.

VFM Services Pursuant to WIC 301(a)

WIC 301(a) allows:

VFM Services Pursuant to WIC 360(b)

WIC 360(b) allows the Juvenile Court to do the following:

 

If the family is unsuccessful in complying with the VFM pursuant to WIC 360(b), the CSW may file a petition with the juvenile court pursuant to Section 332 alleging that a previous petition has been sustained and that disposition pursuant to subdivision (b) has been ineffective in ameliorating the situation requiring the child welfare services.  Upon hearing the petition, the court will order that the petition be dismissed or that a new disposition hearing must be held pursuant to subdivision (c)

VFM with a Minor Parent

A CSW cannot enter into a voluntary case plan until that minor parent has consulted with his or her attorney.  If necessary, provide the minor parent with the telephone number to their attorney or to the Children’s Law Center’s main number (323) 980-7700.

 

Prior to considering entering into a VFM case plan with a minor parent who is a dependent of the court, the case-carrying CSW, with the voluntary agreement of the parenting youth, should schedule and complete a Pregnant and Parenting Teen (PPT) Conference.

 

VFM Cases Requiring Higher Approval

 

Prior to providing VFM services to families that fall within the categories below, CSWs should obtain ARA approval:

 

 

  1. The child or a sibling of the child had been previously adjudicated a dependent pursuant to any subdivision of Section 300 as a result of physical or sexual abuse, and following that adjudication the child had been removed again from the custody of his or her parent or guardian, due to additional physical or sexual abuse. The subsequent removal need not be from the same parent as the initial removal.

 

  1. The court ordered termination of reunification services or parental rights for any siblings or half siblings of the child and the parent or guardian has not subsequently made a reasonable effort to treat the problems that led to removal of the sibling or half sibling of that child from that parent or guardian.

 

  1. The parent or guardian of the child has a history of extensive, abusive, and chronic use of drugs or alcohol and has resisted prior court-ordered treatment for this problem during a three-year period immediately prior to the current allegations.

 

  1. Family Maintenance services have been provided to the parent(s) or guardian(s) on either a voluntary basis or under court supervision in the preceding five (5) years for the same or similar allegations.

 

If a referral falls within any of the above categories, then ARA approval is needed to pursue a VFM case. The ARA must sign the case plan, and the CSW must document both the ARA approval and the rationale for the VFM in the case Contact Notebook.

 

VFM Criteria

 

VFM services may be provided to a family only when the following criteria are met:

 

Referral Allegation

Conditions Required

Sexual AbuseThe victimization of a child by sexual activities, including, but not limited to, those activities defined in Penal Code Section 11165.1(a)(b)(c). See "sexual assault" and "sexual exploitation."

 

  • The perpetrator must be out of the home.
  • The victim must indicate (s)he feels safe remaining in the home.
  • The non-offending parent must believe the victim, be willing to obtain counseling for the child(ren) and be willing to attend counseling for him or herself.
  • ARA approval must be obtained in all sexual abuse cases.

Physical AbuseNon-accidental bodily injury that has been or is being willfully inflicted on a child. It includes willful harming or injuring of a child or endangering of the person or health of a child defined as a situation where any person willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon, unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the child to be placed in a situation such that his or her person or health is endangered.

  • The physical abuse must be non-severe in nature and comprised of no more than minor injuries.
  • The victim must:
  • Have regular contact with an outside entity that is a mandated reporter.
  • Indicate (s)he feels safe remaining in the home.
  • There must be no previous substantiated reports for the same allegations.
  • Unless a Child and Family Team (CFT) meeting has been conducted and it was determined that the child can safely remain in the home and a Safety Plan has been developed and incorporated into the VFM case plan.

Domestic ViolenceWelfare and Institutions Code Section 18291 (a) states that 'Domestic violence' means abuse committed against an adult or minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship. Penal Code Section 13700 (b) states that "Domestic violence" means abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship. For purposes of this subdivision, "cohabitant" means two unrelated adult persons living together for a substantial period of time, resulting in some permanency of relationship. Factors that may determine whether persons are cohabiting include, but are not limited to, (1) sexual relations between the parties while sharing the same living quarters, (2) sharing of income or expenses, (3) joint use or ownership of property, (4) whether the parties hold themselves out as husband and wife, (5) the continuity of the relationship, and (6) the length of the relationship.

  • The perpetrator must be out of the home.
  • The perpetrator and victim must agree to comply with any existing or subsequent restraining order.
  • The victim must indicate (s)he feels safe remaining in the home or in a domestic violence shelter.

Infant has a Positive Toxicology for Drugs/ Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

  • All siblings in the home must be well cared for.
  • There must be an outside support system (e.g., Family Preservation, a drug program) willing to assist and agree to contact the Department in case of noncompliance with conditions of the VFM.
  • The offending parent must be willing to participate in drug/alcohol testing and rehabilitation. The non-offending parent must be willing to participate in supportive services/counseling to address substance abuse issues.
  • There must be no previous substantiated reports for the same allegations.
  • Unless a Child and Family Team (CFT)meeting has been conducted and it was determined that the child can safely remain in the home and a Safety plan has been developed and incorporated into the VFM case plan.
ALL
  • The parent or guardian is not suffering from a mental disability that, even with supportive services, renders him or her incapable of utilizing VFM services.
  • The parent or guardian of the child has not caused the death of another child through abuse or neglect.
  • The parent or guardian of the child has not been convicted of a violent felony

  • The parent or guardian of the child is not required by a court to register on a sex offender registry.
  • The parent or guardian has not willfully abducted the child or child's sibling or half sibling from his or her placement on one or more occasions.

Terminating VFM Services When the Case is Closing

VFM services must be terminated when one of the following occurs:

Back to Policy

PROCEDURE

Eligibility for VFM Services

ER CSW Responsibilities

  1. Confirm the family meets the VFM criteria.

 

  1. Ask the parent/guardian if (s)he is willing to participate in a voluntary services program.

 

  1. Provide the parent/guardian with referrals to begin identified needed services with a time frame upon which to report back.

 

  1. Confer with the SCSW, giving details of the potential Initial Case Plan discussed with the parent/guardian.

 

  1. If VFM services are not approved by SCSW, inform the parent/guardian and pursue other options, including:
  1. Submit a non-detained petition request to Intake and Detention Control (IDC).
  1. File a detained petition.

 

  1. If VFM services are approved by SCSW and ARA (when necessary), complete the initial case plan -- which should outline in detail all services/programs the parent(s) are to participate in.

 

  1. Conduct a face-to-face contact with the parent/guardian and all children who will receive VFM services.
  1. Review the Initial Case Plan and explain to the parent/guardian what (s)he is expected to do.
  1. Inform the parent/guardian that if the risk to the child(ren) is not reduced or eliminated, the Department will:
  1. Conduct a reassessment of child(ren) safety and continue to have the child(ren) remain in the home.
  1. File a petition with the juvenile court to open a case (if necessary).
  1. Try to obtain an order to remove the child (ren) from the family home (if necessary).
  1. Obtain the signatures of the parent/guardian on the Initial Case Plan.
  1. For a minor parent or nonminor dependent parent, confirm that he/she consulted with his/her attorney prior to having the minor parent sign the Initial Case Plan.
  1. If necessary, provide the minor parent with the telephone number to their attorney or to the Children’s Law Center’s main number (323) 980-7700.
  1. Obtain the parent’s/guardian’s signature on ABCDM 228.

 

  1. Request any available documents (i.e., medical, dental, school records, etc.).

     

  1. Confirm the parent’s/guardian’s intention to comply with the Initial Case Plan.
  1. Obtain the date of the first appointment for counseling, etc.
  1. Verify attendance by contacting the resource directly.
  1. If the family is unable to obtain an appointment within a reasonable time frame or is on a waiting list, contact the provider to verify:
  1. Attempts made by the parent/guardian to enroll in services, and
  1. The expected wait time for an appointment.
  1. Provide additional resources if appropriate.
  1. If the parent/guardian fails to respond within the allotted time frame, contact him or her to verify their intention to comply with the case plan.
  1. If the parent/guardian fails to follow through with the first task required, reassess the options as in number 5.
  1. Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook.

 

  1. Submit case to SCSW for transfer to the FM/R/G CSW.

ER SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the case for content and completeness, including the online SDM Assessment tools.
  1. If approved, sign Initial Case Plan and approve on CWS/CMS.  If not approved, return to CSW for corrective action.
  1. If necessary, obtain ARA approval and signature on the Initial Case Plan.
  1. Change the program to FM on CWS/CMS with the effective date being the date the Initial Case Plan was signed by the client.

ARA Responsibilities

  1. Review the VFM Case Plan or Case Plan Update and each supporting document for compliance with VFM Criteria, DCFS policies, mandatory and/or regulatory issues, appropriate selection of the Case Plan goals, and for the services necessary to meet the goals.

 

  1. If not approved, return them to the SCSW for corrective action.

 

  1. If approved, sign and date the Case Plan return it and all supporting reports to the SCSW, and approve it on CWS/CMS.

 

Back to Procedure

Providing Family Maintenance Services for Court and Voluntary Cases

Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

  1. Upon receipt of the case, review the case, specifically:
  1. SDM Assessment Tools completed
  1. SDM Safety Plan
  1. Initial Case Plan
  1. If necessary, contact the CSW that completed the Initial Case Plan.

 

Type of Case

Action Steps

Voluntary WIC 301(a) and 360(b) cases

Complete the following on CWS/CMS

  • On the ID Page under Status, select "Voluntary" with the effective date being the date the court made its order.
  • On the Special Projects Page, select either:
  • "WIC 301 FM Supervision"
  • "WIC 360(b)FM Supervision"

Court cases

  • Document in CWS/CMS the effective date of FM services. 
  • The effective date is the date of the hearing at which FM services were ordered.

2PENA non-specific file number generated by the Emergency Response Command Post (ERCP) identifying a placement case that is transferred from ERCP directly to a regional Family Maintenance and Reunification (FM&R) or generic (G) file. cases

  • Contact and confer with IDC for additional information if necessary.
  • Complete the SDM Family Strengths and Needs Assessment.

 

  1. Contact the parent/guardian within five (5) calendar days from the date of receipt of the case to identify yourself as the new CSW.

 

  1. Conduct regular first face-to-face contact with the family as required for FM cases. 
  1. Conduct the first face-to-face contact within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the electronic assignment of the case.
  1. Assess the child(ren)'s continued safety in the home.
  1. Interview each child separately and in private.
  1. Review the case plan objectives and progress being made toward reaching the goals.
  1. Reassess the continued appropriateness of the case plan and update the case plan if there are significant changes in the family's situation.
  1. Identify potential barriers to the achievement of the objectives and provide solutions. 
  1. Set tasks to be accomplished prior to the next visit.

 

  1. Contact service providers providing services to the family.
  1. Obtain updated information as to the parent/guardian's progress.
  1. Request regular phone contact and written progress reports every three months or as needed.

 

  1. Complete a case plan update as frequently as the service needs of the child and family dictate, but not less than once every six (6) months. 

 

  1. Consult with SCSW regarding the plan for the next service period based on the following:
  1. Progress reports from service providers
  1. Progress toward case plan objectives
  1. Present level of risk to the child(ren)
  1. Results of SDM Risk Reassessment tool and the Family Strengths and Needs Reassessment tool.

 

Possible plans include:

 

Type of FM Case

Time Frame

Possible Plans

Voluntary

Five months from the date the Initial Case Plan for VFM services was approved by SCSW

  • Extend voluntary family maintenance services beyond the initial six months (requires higher approval)
  • File a non-detained petition (must consult with County Counsel)
  • Terminate services

 

Court Supervised

Two months prior to the scheduled status review

hearing

  • Terminate court jurisdiction and services
  • Continue Family Maintenance Services for an additional three months (requires higher approval)
  • File a supplemental petition and request detention of the child(ren)

 

 

  1. Confer with the parent/guardian and children over 10 years old, regarding the proposed plan.
  1. If applicable, complete a case plan update and/or court report and obtain the required signatures.
  1. If the case is being terminated, a face-to-face contact is required to inform the family.

 

  1. Consult with County Counsel and ARA when parent(s) is/are non-compliant with the VFM case plan to determine how to proceed with the case.

 

  1. If the case will be terminated, initiate an End Case request on CWS/CMS for each child and provide a brief explanation on the reasons for closing the case in the designated field and request SCSW on-line approval.

 

  1. If the case is a VFM and will be terminated due to parental non-compliance, obtain ARA approval and document this approval in the Closure Statement field of the Closure Summary Page in CWS/CMS.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review and approve the following, if applicable:
  1. Updated case plan
  1. Court report

 

  1. Obtain higher approval when required to extend FM services, or when closing a VFM case for non-compliance.

 

  1. When terminating a case, conduct a full review of case records for the previous six (6) months.
  1. Document in the Closure Statement field of the Closure Summary Page that the review was conducted along with a brief summary of the results of the review. For VFM cases that are being closed for non-compliance, ensure ARA approval was obtained and is documented in the Closure Summary.
  1. If appropriate, approve End Case request on CWS/CMS. If not, return to CSW for corrective action.

Back to Procedure

APPROVALS

SCSW Approval

ARA Approval

RA/Division Chief Approval

Deputy Director Approval

HELPFUL LINKS

Forms

LA Kids

ABCDM 228, Applicant's Authorization for Release of Information

ABCDM 228 (SP), Applicant's Authorization for Release of Information

Referenced Policy Guides

0070-548.01, Child and Family Teams

0070-559.10, Clearances

0070-570.10, Obtaining Warrants and/or Removal Orders

0080-502.10, Case Plans

0100-510.40, Services for Teen Parents

0100-510.21, Voluntary Placement

0300-301.05, Petitions

0300-318.05, Obtaining Restraining Orders

0300-503.75, Reporting Child Death, Serious Injury or Illness

0300-506.05, Communication with Attorneys, County Counsel, and Non-DCFS Staff

0400-503.10, Contact Requirements and Exceptions

Statutes

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 [42 U.S.C. Sec. 16913(a) contains the registry requirements for sex offenders.

 

California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) Division 31-086, sets forth the term and conditions for the provision of family maintenance services to families.

 

Family Code (FAM) 7826 and 7827 -- “Mentally disabled” as used in this section means that a parent or parents suffer a mental incapacity or disorder that renders the parent or parents unable to care for and control the child adequately.

 

Welfare and Institutions Code Section (WIC) 301(a) – states in part that, in any case in which a social worker, after investigation of an application for petition or other investigation he or she is authorized to make, determines that a child is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court or will probably soon be within that jurisdiction, the social worker may, in lieu of filing a petition or subsequent to dismissal of a petition already filed, and with consent of the child's parent or guardian, undertake a program of supervision of the child.  If a program of supervision is undertaken, the social worker shall attempt to ameliorate the situation which brings the child within, or creates the probability that the child will be within, the jurisdiction of Section 300 by providing or arranging to contract for all appropriate child welfare services pursuant to Sections 16506 and 16507.3, within the time periods specified in those sections.  In addition, the Court also has the ability to dismiss a petition and order WIC 301 supervision.

 

WIC Section 301(c) – If the parent is a dependent of the juvenile court at the time that a social worker seeks to undertake a program of supervision pursuant to subdivision (a), including a voluntary family reunification program or a voluntary family maintenance program, and if counsel has been appointed for the parent pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 317, the program of supervision shall not be undertaken until the parent has consulted with his or her counsel.

 

WIC Section 360(b) – states in part that, if the court finds that the child is a person described by Section 300, it may, without adjudicating the child a dependent child of the court, order that services be provided to keep the family together and place the child and the child's parent or guardian under the supervision of the social worker for a time period consistent with Section 301.

 

WIC Section 360(c) – If the family subsequently is unable or unwilling to cooperate with the services being provided, the social worker may file a petition with the juvenile court pursuant to Section 332 alleging that a previous petition has been sustained and that disposition pursuant to subdivision (b) has been ineffective in ameliorating the situation requiring the child welfare services. Upon hearing the petition, the court shall order either that the petition shall be dismissed or that a new disposition hearing shall be held pursuant to subdivision (d).

 

WIC Section 360(d) – If the court finds that the child is a person described by Section 300, it may order and adjudge the child to be a dependent child of the court.

 

WIC Section 364 (a) – Every hearing in which an order is made placing a child under the supervision of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300 and in which the child is not removed from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian shall be continued to a specific future date not to exceed six months after the date of the original dispositional hearing.  The continued hearing shall be placed on the appearance calendar.  The court shall advise all persons present of the date of the future hearings, of their rights to be present, and to be represented by counsel.

 

WIC Section 364 (c) – After hearing any evidence presented by the social worker, the parent, the guardian, or the child, the court shall determine whether continued supervision is necessary.  The court shall terminate its jurisdiction unless the social worker or his or her department establishes by a preponderance of evidence that the conditions still exist which would justify initial assumption of jurisdiction under Section 300, or that those conditions are likely to exist if supervision is withdrawn.  Failure of the parent or guardian to participate regularly in any court ordered treatment program shall constitute prima facie evidence that the conditions, which justified initial assumption of jurisdiction still exist and that continued supervision is necessary.

 

WIC Section 364 (d) – If the court retains jurisdiction it shall continue the matter to a specified date, not more than six months from the time of the hearing, at which point the court shall again follow the procedure specified in subdivision (c).

 

WIC Section 16506 – Family maintenance services shall be provided or arranged for by county welfare department staff in order to maintain the child in his or her own home.  These services shall be limited to six months, and may be extended in periods of six-month increments if it can be shown that the objectives of the service plan can be achieved within the extended time periods, and provided within the county's allocation.

 

 

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