This policy guide provides guidance on when it is appropriate to offer Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM) services to families and how to provide Family Maintenance (FM) services for court and voluntary cases.
Table of Contents
- Family Maintenance Services
- Court Family Maintenance
- Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM)
- Contact Requirements for Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM) Cases
- Terminating VFM Services
- Case Closure Summary Documentation
- Eligibility for VFM Services
- Providing Family Maintenance Services for Court and Voluntary Cases
This policy guide was updated from the 8/03/20 version to incorporate hyperlinks to Writing a Status Review Hearing Report for a WIC Section 364, 366.21(e) or (f), 366.22, or 366.25 Hearing and an attachment that lists ARA approval requirements for FM court reports. Minor clarification about court FM cases was added and references to the Structured Decision Making (SDM) Family Strengths and Needs Assessment were removed.
Family Maintenance Services
Family Maintenance services reflect the family-centered principle that the best place for children to grow up is in a family and the most effective way to ensure children's safety, permanency, and well-being is to provide services that engage, involve, strengthen, and support families.
The provision of Family Maintenance (FM) services should be considered before making the decision to remove the child(ren) 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 child welfare services being made available to their families to strengthen protective factors without regard to income.
FM services may include, but are not limited to:
- Family Preservation
- Case management
- Emergency shelter care for the family
- Emergency in-home caretakers
- Respite care
- Therapeutic day services
- Teaching and demonstrating homemakers
- Parent training
- Substance abuse testing
Court Family Maintenance
Court FM services are provided to families whose child(ren) have been adjudicated a dependent of the court under Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 300, where the court has ordered the county welfare department to supervise the family while the child remains in the child’s home. In such cases, the Court has made a determination that the child(ren) can remain safely in the home with the provision of services. Such services are appropriate when it is determined that the child does not need to be removed from the custody of any parent or legal guardian. Court FM services may also be provided to families in which the child is in the care of a previously noncustodial parent, under the supervision of the juvenile court (which may be the result of a non-detained petition), or when a child previously placed in out-of-home care is reunified with a parent or guardian and continued supervision is deemed necessary.
Every dependent child placed by the court in foster care or home of a parent, must, by law, have their current circumstances reviewed periodically by the court no less frequently than once every six (6) months from the date of the original dispositional hearing. For children who are residing home of parent, the court will conduct the WIC Section 364 Status Review Hearing. Please refer to Writing a Status Review Hearing Report for a WIC Section 364, 366.21(e) or (f), 366.22, or 366.25 Hearing for more information on this report, and to Situations Requiring ARA Approval on the WIC 364, 366.21(e) or (f), 366.22 or 366.25 Status Review Hearing Report for ARA signature requirements for court FM cases.
Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM)
Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM) is the provision of DCFS-supervised, time-limited protective services to families whose children are in potential danger of abuse, neglect or exploitation when the child(ren) 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 or . The parent/guardian must not be coerced into agreeing to VFM services by threats of removing the child (ren) from the home.
Voluntary FM services are limited to six (6) 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 by the provision of appropriate services.
Although it is technically possible to promote a referral to a case within CWS/CMS without a substantiated allegation, Department policy requires a substantiated allegation in order to promote a referral to a case for intervention.
A referral with a Low or Moderate SDM Risk Assessment risk level and an SDM Safety Assessment result of “Safe” should only be promoted to a VFM case in rare circumstances and upon consultation with SCSW and ARA (ARA Approval is required).
VFM services may be provided to a family only when the following criteria are met:
- The child (ren) must be able to safely remain in their own home, as supported by:
- An SDM Safety Assessment finding of "Safe," or
- An SDM Safety Assessment finding of "Safe with a Plan" and approved SDM Safety Plan.
- The presenting problems must be amenable to resolution within the initial six-month time frame available for FM services.
- The parent(s)/guardian(s) who reside in the home, and/or are part of the case plan, must:
- Be willing to accept the Case Plan for FM services
- Acknowledge the identified problem and agree to take corrective action
- Be willing to maintain contact with the Department
- Be available for unannounced and/or scheduled home calls
- Sign releases of information for all relevant collateral contacts
- CLETS and CACI obtained for all adult members of the household contain no convictions or allegations of a serious enough nature to compromise the child(ren)’s safety in the home.
- Request that all adult members of the household submit to . While a parent’s or other adult’s refusal to submit to LiveScan must not necessarily prevent provision of VFM services to the family, it should be a consideration in deciding whether to offer those services, in consultation with County Counsel and ARA.
To provide a VFM, the following conditions must also apply:
|ALL||The parent or guardian is not suffering from a mental incapacity or disorder that renders him or her unable to care for and control the child adequately.
Prior to opening a Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM) plan, referrals must go through a collaborative interdisciplinary case review process to determine:
- Whether the child(ren) can safely remain in the home with appropriate services
- Whether the family meets the VFM criteria
- What types of services would best serve the family
- Whether the family would benefit from six (6) months of VFM Services
At a minimum, the VFM Collaborative Team must consist of a consultation with or between:
- The VFM or Continuing Services (CS) SCSW,
- The ER CSW and ER SCSW
Additional team members may include:
- County Counsel
- Department of Mental Health (DMH),
- The Community-Based Liaison (CBL), and
- A Public Health Nurse (PHN), if applicable (i.e., when a medically fragile child is involved)
Use of the VFM Collaborative Team Guide is strongly recommended to standardize practices across regional offices.
VFM Cases Requiring Higher Approval
Prior to providing VFM services to families that fall within the categories below, CSWs must obtain ARA approval:
- A Low or Moderate Risk referral (according to the initial SDM Risk Assessment) is being promoted to a VFM case when the SDM Safety Assessment tool resulted in a determination of "Safe."
- Any referral being promoted to a VFM case when the SDM Safety Assessment tool resulted in a determination of "Unsafe."
- Any referral with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse or physical abuse.
- The child or a sibling of the child had been previously adjudicated a dependent and removed pursuant to any subdivision of Section 300 as a result of physical or sexual abuse.
- 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.
- The parent or guardian of the child(ren) 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.
- Family Maintenance services have been provided to the parent(s) or guardian(s) either on a voluntary basis or under court supervision in the preceding five (5) years for the same or similar allegations.
- The child is under the age of five (5) and the allegations are physical or sexual abuse, failure-to-thrive, or parental substance abuse.
- The parent(s)/guardian(s) is/are receiving Family Reunification or Permanent Plan services for one (1) or more other child(ren).
- Domestic violence situations in which the perpetrator(s) will remain in the home.
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.
For court report ARA signature requirements, refer to Situations Requiring ARA Approval on the WIC 364, 366.21(e) or (f), 366.22 or 366.25 Status Review Hearing Report.
VFMs with Minor or NMD Parents
A CSW cannot enter into a voluntary case plan until that ward, minor or NMD parent has consulted with his or her . If necessary, the CSW should provide the minor or NMD parent with the telephone number to their attorney or to the Children’s Law Center’s main number (323) 980-1700.
Prior to considering entering into a VFM case plan with an NMD parent or a who is a dependent of the court, the case-carrying CSW, with the voluntary agreement of the parenting youth, should schedule and complete an Expectant and Parenting Youth (EPY) conference.
VFM Services Pursuant to WIC 301(a)
WIC 301(a) allows:
- The Department to recommend VFM services and to dismiss the petition at, or prior to, the Disposition hearing, and
- The Juvenile Court to dismiss a petition and order VFM services.
VFM Services Pursuant to WIC 360
Read in conjunction, WIC 360 and California Rules of Court rule 5.695 (a) allow the court to do the following:
- Sustain the petition and declare the child(ren) dependents of the Court (meaning the Court will take jurisdiction, order services, and monitor compliance), or;
- Sustain the petition but, instead of declaring the child(ren) dependent(s) of the Court, order that voluntary services be provided by the Department and place the family under the Department's supervision for up to six (6) months;
If the family does not comply or, the VFM services are otherwise unsuccessful at resolving the allegations in the petition, the CSW may file a new with the juvenile court in which the CSW refers back to the previously sustained petition and alleges to the Court that the prior disposition pursuant to WIC 360(b) has been ineffective in ameliorating the situation requiring the child welfare services. WIC 360(c) requires that the court order either that the petition be dismissed or that a new disposition hearing be held pursuant to WIC subdivision (d). In a WIC 360(d) proceeding, the court may adjudge the child to be a dependent if the court finds that the child is a person described by Section 300.
Contact Requirements for Voluntary Family Maintenance (VFM) Cases
SDM Risk Level *
|Child (age 0-5)||Duration of VFM case||
|At least two (2) face-to-face contacts per month|
Child (age 6 and up)
|First 3 months||
At least two (2) face-to-face contacts per month
|Child (age 6 and up)||After first 3 months||Low / Moderate||At least one (1) face-to-face contact each month|
|Child (age 6 and up)||After first 3 months||
High / Very High
At least two (2) face-to-face contacts per month
First 3 Months
At least two (2) face-to-face contacts per month
After first 3 months
|Low / Moderate||At least one (1) face-to-face contact each month|
|Parent/Guardian**||Duration of VFM case||High / Very High||At least two (2) face-to-face contacts per month|
* As determined by the initial SDM Risk Assessment
** Applies to parents/guardians who are Case Plan participants
The Structured Decision Making (SDM) Risk Assessment helps child welfare agencies to determine whether a family is more or less likely to have another contact with child welfare if no intervention is provided. Families classified as High/Very High Risk have significantly higher rates of subsequent referral and substantiation than families classified as Low/Moderate Risk, and they are more often involved in serious abuse or neglect incidents. For this reason, families with High or Very High Risk findings on the SDM Risk Assessment should be connected with intensive in-home services whenever possible, to help mitigate the risk (e.g., Intensive Family Preservation, Family Preservation, Partnerships for Families, Wraparound, etc.).
Terminating VFM Services
VFM services should be terminated when one of the following occurs:
- The case plan objectives have been achieved and the child is/are no longer at risk; the household risk classification is Low or Moderate as determined by the SDM Risk Reassessment, and there are no unresolved safety threats as determined by the SDM Safety Assessment/Reassessment.
- The parent(s)/guardian(s) refuse continued services and there are no present safety threats as determined by the SDM Safety Assessment/Reassessment, and no risk factors present as determined by the SDM Risk Reassessment.
- The child reaches age eighteen (18).
- The whereabouts of the child(ren) and/or family become unknown and all efforts to locate have been unsuccessful.
- All viable leads must be followed-up on and all reasonable efforts must be documented in accordance with Contact Requirements and Exceptions.
- The of causes not related to child abuse and there are no additional siblings in the home.
- The maximum time allowed by State regulation has been reached.
- Child safety threats necessitate a removal order and/or petition being filed in the court.
Case Closure Summary Documentation
Whenever terminating a VFM case without subsequent court intervention, the CSW must document the specific rationale for closing the case as part of a comprehensive case closure summary in CWS/CMS (on the “Closure Summary” tab). Consider including the following examples in the summary:
- The reasons for DCFS intervention (i.e., the initial allegations, the findings of the initial SDM Safety Assessment and SDM Risk Assessment)
- The family’s compliance with the VFM case plan, with a consideration of behavioral or structural changes to the family as a result of VFM services, and the effectiveness of the case plan in ameliorating the original SDM safety threats and SDM risk factors
- A summary of any consultations with other collaterals or professionals [e.g., FCS, Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment, MAT, Hub], or of any relevant assessments conducted during the period of supervision
- The results of the SDM Risk Reassessment and “case closing” Safety Assessment
- Any services that may be put in place after case closure, or any referrals for post-supervision services provided to the family
- Any ARA, RA (or higher) approval that was required during the period of supervision
Use of the VFM Case Closure Summary Guide is strongly recommended to standardize practices across regional offices.
Eligibility for VFM Services
ER CSW Responsibilities
- Using the Core Practice Model behaviors of Engagement and Teaming, assess if the household would benefit from voluntary (versus court-ordered) FM services.
- Confirm the family meets the VFM Criteria.
- Ask the parent/guardian if they are willing to participate in a voluntary services program.
- Discuss a potential Initial Case Plan, based on the CANS Assessment.
- Provide the parent/guardian with referrals to begin identified needed services with a time frame upon which to report back.
- Confer with the SCSW, giving details of the potential Initial Case Plan discussed with the parent/guardian.
- If VFM services are not approved by the SCSW, inform the parent/guardian and pursue other options, including:
- If VFM services are approved by the SCSW and ARA (when necessary), complete the initial -- which should outline in detail all services/programs the parent(s)/guardian(s) are to participate in.
- Conduct a face-to-face contact with the parent/guardian who will receive VFM services and all children privately and individually.
- Review the Initial Case Plan and explain to the parent/guardian what they are expected to do.
- Inform the parent/guardian that if the risk to the child(ren) is not reduced or eliminated, the Department will:
- Obtain the signatures of the parent/guardian on the Initial Case Plan.
- For a minor parent or NMD parent, confirm that he/she consulted with his/her attorney prior to having the minor parent sign the Initial Case Plan.
- 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.
- Obtain the parent’s/guardian’s signature on .
- Request any available documents (i.e., medical, dental, school records, etc.).
- Confirm the parent’s/guardian’s intention to comply with the Initial Case Plan.
- Obtain the date of the first appointment for counseling, etc.
- Verify attendance by contacting the resource directly.
- 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:
- Attempts made by the parent/guardian to enroll in services, and
- The expected wait time for an appointment.
- Provide additional resources and explore options for direct service linkage with a different agency, if appropriate.
- 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.
- If the parent/guardian fails to follow through with the first task required, reassess the options as in number 5.
- Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook.
- Obtain the date of the first appointment for counseling, etc.
- Submit case to SCSW for transfer to the FM/R/G CSW.
ER SCSW Responsibilities
- Review the case for content and completeness, including the online SDM Safety Assessment and Risk Assessment tools.
- If approved, sign Initial Case Plan and approve on CWS/CMS. If not approved, return to CSW for corrective action.
- If necessary, obtain ARA approval and signature on the Initial Case Plan.
- Change the program to FM on CWS/CMS with the effective date being the date of SCSW signature.
- 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.
- These documents may include the SDM Safety Assessment and SDM Risk Assessment or Risk Reassessment.
- If not approved, return them to the SCSW for corrective action.
- If approved, sign and date the Case Plan return it and all supporting reports to the SCSW, and approve it on CWS/CMS.
Providing Family Maintenance Services for Court and Voluntary Cases
Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities
- Upon receipt of the case, review the case, specifically:
- SDM Assessment Tools completed
- SDM Safety Plan, if applicable
- Initial Case Plan
- If necessary, contact the CSW that completed the Initial Case Plan.
Type of Case
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"
- 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.
- If necessary, contact the CSW that completed the Initial Case Plan.
- Contact the parent/guardian within five (5) calendar days from the date of receipt of the case to identify yourself as the new CSW.
- Conduct regular face-to-face contact with the family as required for FM cases.
- Conduct the first face-to-face contact within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the electronic assignment of the case.
- Assess the child(ren)'s continued safety in the home during each home visit.
- Interview each child separately and in private.
- If new child safety concerns arise, assess for exigency, the need for a warrant or other intervention, and consult with SCSW.
- Any new allegations must be reported to the Child Protection Hotline (CPH). Refer to Emergency Response Referrals Alleging Abuse of Children Who Are Under DCFS Supervision and Residing in the Home of a Parent.
- Make unannounced visits as needed.
- Conduct and document an updated SDM Safety Assessment any time household safety conditions change.
- Review the case plan objectives and progress being made toward reaching the goals.
- Reassess the continued appropriateness of the case plan and update the case plan if there are significant changes in the family's situation.
- Identify potential barriers to the achievement of the objectives and provide solutions.
- Set tasks to be accomplished prior to the next visit.
- Contact service providers providing services to the family.
- Obtain updated information as to the parent/guardian's progress.
- Request regular phone contact and written progress reports every three months or as needed.
- Complete a case plan update as frequently as the service needs of the child(ren) and family dictate, but not less than once every six (6) months.
- Consult with SCSW regarding the plan for the next service period based on the following:
- Progress reports from service providers
- Progress toward case plan objectives
- Recommendations from the Child and Family Team, if applicable
- Present household risk classification; provide details of household characteristics that account for the risk level
- Results of SDM Risk Reassessment tool
Possible plans include:
Type of FM Case
Five months from the date the Initial Case Plan for VFM services was approved by SCSW
Two months prior to the scheduled status review
- Terminate court jurisdiction and services
- Continue Family Maintenance Services for an additional three months (requires higher approval)
- File a supplemental petition (if allowed by the courtroom; check with the trial County Counsel) and request detention of the child(ren)
- Complete a warrant consult to seek a removal order or file a detained petition if appropriate
- Confer with the parent/guardian and child(ren) regarding the proposed plan.
- If applicable, complete a case plan update and/or court report and obtain the required signatures.
- If the case is being terminated, a face-to-face contact is required to inform the family.
- 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.
- If the case will be terminated:
- For court FM cases, refer to Situations Requiring ARA Approval on the WIC 364, 366.21(e) or (f), 366.22 or 366.25 Status Review Hearing Report for ARA signature requirements.
- Complete an SDM Risk Reassessment tool, a "case closing" Safety Assessment tool, and submit both for SCSW Approval in WebSDM (AKA SDM Live).
- Initiate an End Case request on CWS/CMS for each child:
- Select an appropriate Closure Reason from the drop-down menu in CWS/CMS.
- Write a comprehensive Closure Summary on the reasons for closing the case in the Closure Statement field in CWS/CMS.
- Request SCSW on-line approval.
- If the case is a VFM and will be terminated due to parental non-compliance, obtain ARA approval and document this approval in either the Closure Statement field of the Closure Summary Page in CWS/CMS, or in the Rationale field of the Approval Detail/Case Closure Request dialog box.
- Review and approve the following, if applicable:
- Updated case plan
- Court report
- SDM Risk Reassessment
- "Case closing" Safety Assessment
- Obtain higher approval when required to:
- Extend FM services
- Refer to Situations Requiring ARA Approval on the WIC 364, 366.21(e) or (f), 366.22 or 366.25 Status Review Hearing Report for ARA signature requirements for FM court reports.
- Close a VFM case for non-compliance.
- Extend FM services
- When terminating a case, conduct a full review of case records since the date of the initial referral for the present open.
- Document in the Closure Statement field of the Closure Summary Page that the review was conducted along with a comprehensive 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.
- If appropriate, approve End Case request on CWS/CMS. If not, return to CSW for corrective action.
- Initial Case Plan
- Case Plan Update
- Court Report
- SDM Risk Reassessment
- Case Closing SDM Safety Assessment
- Providing an additional three (3) months of FM services for court and voluntary cases beyond the initial six (6) months (including 9, 12, and 12+ months)
For WIC 364 FM court reports:
- Situations Requiring ARA Approval on the WIC 364, 366.21(e) or (f), 366.22 or 366.25 Status Review Hearing Report
VFM cases when:
- The SDM Safety Assessment tool resulted in "Unsafe."
- The SDM Safety Assessment tool resulted in "Safe" and the SDM Risk Assessment resulted in a Low or Moderate risk level.
- A referral with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse or physical abuse is being promoted to a VFM case.
- A child or sibling of the child was a prior dependent and removed as a result of physical or sexual abuse.
- The court ordered termination of reunification (FR) services or parental rights (TPR) 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 from that parent or guardian.
- 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.
- Family Maintenance services have been provided to the parent(s) or guardian(s) either on a voluntary basis or under court supervision in the preceding five (5) years for the same or similar type of allegations.
- A child is under the age of five (5) and the allegations are physical or sexual abuse, failure-to-thrive, or parental substance abuse.
- One (1) or more other child(ren) in the home is/are receiving Family Reunification or Permanent Plan services.
- Closing VFM cases for non-compliance issues
- There are domestic violence situations in which the perpetrator(s) will remain in the home
RA/Division Chief Approval
- Provide an additional three (3) months of FM services for court and voluntary cases beyond (9) months (including 12 and 12+ months)
Deputy Director Approval
- Extending VFM services beyond twelve (12) months
ABCDM 228, Applicant's Authorization for Release of Information
ABCDM 228 (SP), Applicant's Authorization for Release of Information
Referenced Policy Guides
0050-501.10, Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA)
0070-521.10, Assessment of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
0070-526.10, Assessment of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
0070-529.10, Assessing Allegations of Physical Abuse
0070-548.00, Community-Based Resources
0070-548.01, Child and Family Teams
0070-548.06, Emergency Response Referrals Alleging Abuse of Children Who Are Under DCFS Supervision and Residing in the Home of a Parent
0070-548.10, Investigation, Disposition and Closure of Emergency Response Referrals
0070-548.24, Structured Decision Making (SDM)
0070-570.10, Obtaining Warrants and/or Removal Orders
0080-502.10, Case Plans
0100-510.40, Services for Minor and Nonminor Dependent (NMD) Parents
0100-510.21, Voluntary Placement
0300-301.05, Filing Petitions0300-318.05, Obtaining Restraining Orders
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
0300-503.75, 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
All County Letter (ACL) 17-92 – Describes the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act of 2016 Amendments to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, including plans of safe care for infants born and identified as being affected by substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms, or a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, including both illegal and legal drugs.
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.
CDSS MPP 31-320, sets forth CSW contact requirements with the child.
CDSS MPP 31-430, sets forth additional requirements for voluntary placements.
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.
Penal Code (PEN) 667.5 (c) – Lists those crimes that constitute violent felonies under California law.
– 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.
– 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).
– 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.