Court Report Requirements for Children/Youth in Group Homes
0080-504.11 | Revision Date: 7/1/2014

Overview

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

Version Summary

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".

POLICY

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 jurisdictional/dispositional, status review, and/or WIC 366.26 hearing court report for any child/youth residing in a group home.

PROCEDURE

Writing a Case Plan/Court Report for a Child/Youth in a Group Home

Case-Carrying CSW or Dependency Investigator (DI) Responsibilities

  1. 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 Foster Youth's Bill of Rights.
  2. 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 transition to independent living.
    • 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

The Case Plan for a child/youth in foster care, by law, must include an original and a copy of a summary of his/her health and education information.

  1. Submit the child/youth’s Health and Education Passport (HEP) to the court under the following headings: medical, dental, education, development, and mental health status.
    1. The HEP will replace the court report narratives for these headings.
    2. Instead of the HEP, a full narrative with these headings may be submitted to the court.
  2. 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
      1. If he/she is performing below average, state if tutoring is necessary.
      2. If it is not, state the reason why.
      3. If it is, state what efforts are being made to provide the child/youth with appropriate tutoring.
      4. State if the child/youth requires an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
    • 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 psychotropic medication:
      • 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
HELPFUL LINKS

Forms

CWS/CMS

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

LA Kids

DCFS 5557, TILP Transmittal & Supplement

Foster Youth's Bill of Rights

REFERENCED POLICY GUIDES

0080-505.10, Youth Development: Transitional Independent Living Planning

0080-505.20, Health and Education Passport (HEP)

0100-570.05, Quality of Life in Out-of-Home Care

0300-503.10, Writing the Jurisdiction/Disposition Report

0300-503.15, Writing a Status Review Hearing Report for a WIC Section 364, 366.21(e) or (f), 366.22, or 366.25 Hearing

0300-503.16, Writing the WIC 366.3 Status Review Hearing Report for Minor Dependents

0300-503.20, Writing the WIC 366.26 Hearing Report

0600-514.10, Psychotropic Medication: Authorization, Review, and Monitoring for DCFS Supervised Children

0700-504.20, Referring Children for Special Education or Early Intervention Services

0900-506.10, Clothing Allowances

STATUTES AND OTHER MANDATES

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.

WIC Section 366(a) – States, in part, that the status of every dependent child in foster care will be reviewed no less than one (1) time every six (6) months, until the 366.26 hearing is completed.

WIC Section 366.1 – 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.

WIC Section 16010 – States, in part, that a summary of the health and education information for a child placed in foster care must be included in the Case Plan for each child.

WIC Section 16501.1 – Sets forth, in part, the placement considerations for nonminor dependents (NMDs), including requirements for a group home placement.