This policy guide outlines the information for children/youth in group homes that must be included in all jurisdiction/disposition, status review, and WIC 366.26 hearing reports. This information is in addition to all other information that must be recorded in court reports.
Table of Contents
This policy guide was updated from the 12/11/12 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan. The title of this policy guide has been changed from "Case Plan/Court Report: Court Report Requirements for Children Residing in Group Homes".
Court Report Requirements for Children/Youth in Group Homes
Specific information must be included in court reports that involve DCFS-supervised children/youth who reside in group homes. All jurisdictional/dispositional, status review, and WIC 366.26 hearing court reports must contain the most current and comprehensive information available about the child/youth residing in a group home.
A child/youth who resides in a group home is entitled to the following:
- A nurturing environment and appropriate physical surroundings
- Participation in age-appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities
- Preparation for transitioning to independence
- Assurance that a caregiver will ensure his/her best interest and care
To ensure these rights, the following information outlined in the procedure section must be included, in addition to all other required information, in a , , and/or court report for any child/youth residing in a group home.
Writing a Case Plan/Court Report for a Child/Youth in a Group Home
Case-Carrying CSW or Dependency Investigator (DI) Responsibilities
- For any child/youth residing in a group home, include the following information in every Case Plan and jurisdictional/dispositional, status review, and WIC 366.26 hearing court report:
- The reason(s) the child/youth continues to need a group home placement
- For a child/youth, aged ten (10) or older, the efforts made to maintain his/her relationship with individuals who are important to him/her
- Whether the child/youth is receiving a monthly clothing allowance
- If so, how much is received monthly
- Whether the child/youth is receiving an age-appropriate, adequate monetary allowance on a regular basis
- If not, what efforts are being made to ensure that this need is being met
- Whether the child/youth feels that he/she is being fed adequately and has regular opportunities for physical activity
- A summary of all disciplinary incidents involving the child/youth, the disciplinary measures that were instituted, and all relevant special incident reports
- A statement that child/youth has received the .
- If a nonminor dependent (NMD) is being considered for admission to, or continuation in, a group home, include the following information in every Case Plan and jurisdictional/dispositional, status review, and WIC 366.26 hearing court report:
- The reason(s) why admission to, or continuation in, a group home is the best alternative available to meet the NMD’s special needs or ensure his/her well-being.
- How the group home placement will contribute to the NMD’s .
- Treatment strategies that will be used to prepare the NMD for a less restrictive, more family-like setting
- Target date for discharge from the group home placement
- Review of the placement to ensure that it remains the best option for the NMD
- Periodically review of the NMD’s progress towards achieving his/her goal of independent living
Recording Health and Education Information
Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities
- Submit the child/youth’s to the court under the following headings: medical, dental, education, development, and mental health status.
- The HEP will replace the court report narratives for these headings.
- Instead of the HEP, a full narrative with these headings may be submitted to the court.
- Include the following information in the court report if it cannot be included in the medical, dental, education, development, and mental health status headings or in the Comments Section of the HEP:
- The child/youth’s school status, including a report from his/her school
- The child/youth’s academic performance
- Regional Center status and progress, if applicable
- The child/youth’s age-appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, after-school, and/or social activities that he/she participates in
- How they are doing in these activities
- Any attempts to provide a mentoring program to the child/youth
- Communication between the group home provider and the school, including whether the group home is recording relevant education information
- The dates of the child/youth’s most recent medical and dental checkups and follow-up appointment(s)
- Date(s) and reason(s) for any hospitalizations of the child/youth
- If the child/youth is prescribed any :
- Name and dosage of the medication
- Name and contact number of the child/youth’s psychiatrist
- Date of the court’s authorization of the medication for the child/youth
- Effects, if any, of the medication on the child/youth
- Report if the child/youth is taking the prescribed medication.
- Describe how the caregiver feels the child/youth is doing on the medication, how the medication makes the child/youth feel, and whether the medication is successfully treating the child’s targeted symptoms.
- Describe any concerns the caregiver or any complaints the child/youth has about the medication.
- If there are concerns or complaints about the medication, report what follow-up action(s), if any, were recommended or taken.
- Indicate how the psychiatrist thinks the child/youth is responding to the medication and how the medication is treating the targeted symptoms.
- Whether any psychological services are necessary
- If so, what type of services are being provided
- If necessary, attach a report from the service provider to all court reports that state what, if any, psychological services are necessary for the child/youth.
- Follow the information that is required for court reports (listed above) with a brief description of the physical condition of the group home and its amenities/service.
- This includes a description of any access to a health office, library, kitchen, or laundry room.
Case Plan Update
Initial Case Plan
Jurisdictional/Dispositional Hearing Report
Status Review Hearing Report
Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP)
WIC 366.26 Hearing Report
WIC 366.3 Status Review Hearing Report
DCFS 5557, TILP Transmittal & Supplement
Referenced Policy Guides
0300-503.20, Writing the WIC 366.26 Hearing Report
Welfare and Institutions Code Section 362.05 – States, in part, that all dependent minors are entitled to participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. Also states that the Case Plan should state that caregivers should exercise the "reasonable and prudent standard", which is characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the child’s health, safety, and best interest.
– States, in part, that the social worker shall ask every child who is ten (10) years of age or older and, as appropriate, any child younger than ten (10) years of age, who is placed in a group home to identify any individuals other than the child’s siblings who are important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interest, and what actions have been taken by the social worker to help the child maintain those relationships.