This policy guide details how to support and provide services to dependent youth, twelve (12) years of age or older, who currently live in Los Angeles County and who may have substance abuse issues. It outlines how to screen, assess, and ensure appropriate treatment for youth in this program.
Table of Contents
- Making a Referral for Substance Abuse Screening and/or Assessment
- Documenting Confidential Substance Abuse Information to be Submitted to the Court
- Documenting Contacts in the Contact Notebook
- Completing SDM Documentation
- Responding to Terminated Substance Abuse Treatment Services
This policy guide was updated from the 10/05/09 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan. The title of this policy guide has been changed from “Foster Youth Substance Abuse Services.”
Foster Youth Substance Abuse Treatment Protocol and Program
If a dependent youth age twelve (12) or older is exhibiting behaviors indicative of substance use, a CSW must follow the protocols set forth in the to get treatment for the youth in the Dependency Court Youth Substance Abuse Treatment Program. Participation in this program is strictly voluntary and dependent youth must consent to participate. The Court, attorney(s), CSWs, caregiver(s), and providers must work together to encourage a dependent youth with suspected substance abuse issues to participate.
Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Screening
When a youth exhibits , the information should be brought to the Dependency Court’s attention as soon as possible, including at regularly scheduled hearings or in a . During a hearing, the Dependency Court Judicial Officer may identify a youth as needing an Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) screening. The Officer will order DCFS to refer the youth for the screening within seventy-two (72) hours. DCFS must contact the that is closest to the youth’s residence to arrange screening.
The AITRP agency will initiate the screening and/or assessment within five (5) working days of the DCFS referral’s receipt by contacting the youth and/or the caregiver or the youth’s DCFS social worker. If the youth does not attend the initial appointment, the AITRP agency must continue to make attempts to engage the youth in services.
If an AOD screening suggests a need for intervention services and/or treatment, the youth should be engaged in services before the next court appearance, if space is available.
If the youth has participated in services long enough for an assessment of his/her treatment progress, the AITRP agency will submit the Youth Progress Report form with the Screening and Assessment Report and Recommendation form to the case-carrying CSW. The form must be submitted a minimum of five (5) days prior to the follow-up Court hearing date and no later than forty-eight (48) hours prior to the hearing.
Follow-Up Court Hearings and Appearances
Dependency Court requires that a youth appear for an initial follow-up appearance within forty (40) days of the AOD screening order.
- DCFS will coordinate the follow-up appearance.
- The will submit the Screening and Assessment Report and Recommendation form to DCFS.
- DCFS will submit the Screening and Assessment Report and Recommendation form to the Court forty-eight (48) hours prior to the hearing.
At the initial follow-up Court hearing, the Court will review the Screening and Assessment Report and Recommendation form.
- If the youth has not begun treatment or initiated services, the Court will determine what supports are necessary.
- If the youth has begun treatment, the Court will review the Youth Progress Report and, if necessary, explore reasons for lack of participation.
- The Court should encourage the youth, whether or not there is positive progress.
If needed, the Court will set another court date for the youth in thirty (30) days or less. If a youth is not present for a follow-up hearing, the case-carrying CSW must report a reason to the Court for the youth’s absence.
During follow-up Court appearances, the Court will review the Youth Progress Report form to assess any progress that has been made to date. It may order status reports on the progress of the youth from other agencies.
The Court will set follow-up Court appearances as necessary until the youth has completed the program or until the Court determines that future appearances are no longer needed.
Drug testing is not required by the Dependency Court but may be requested by the AITRP agency. The AITRP agency will only provide drug test results to the Court if the youth and the AITRP agency agree that it will be in the youth’s best interest.
Drug test results provided to the Court will never be used as evidence of a new crime, a violation of probation, or in a manner inconsistent with the goals of the Foster Youth Substance Abuse Treatment Program.
The youth’s participation in the Foster Youth Substance Abuse Treatment Program is confidential. A parent/guardian’s involvement in AOD screening, assessment, and/or treatment will be determined in consultation with the youth.
If a request to view documents related to a youth’s participation in the Foster Youth Substance Abuse Treatment program comes from anyone other than the Court or the youth’s attorney, County Counsel must be consulted.
Making a Referral for Substance Abuse Screening and/or Assessment
Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities
- Review your caseload for any youth who may have substance abuse issues.
- Refer to and complete the .
- Consult with the Department of Mental Health (DMH) Liaison and/or the PHN to thoroughly assess if a youth has substance abuse issues.
- If a youth appears to have a substance abuse issue, notify the Dependency Court as soon as possible by submitting a walk-on report with a copy of the AOD Indicators Tool or by incorporating the information into the next scheduled hearing report and attaching a copy of the AOD Indicators Tool.
- Determine with the youth whether or not their parent/legal guardian will be involved in the court process.
- Inform the youth of the scheduled hearing date.
- Ensure that the youth is present at the hearing.
- If a youth is not at the hearing, report the reason for their absence to the Court.
- Encourage the youth to participate during the hearing.
- Explain the youth’s right to refuse to participate in the hearing.
- Complete and submit the Dependent form to the AITRP agency.
- Ensure that the youth and caregiver know where/when to go and that they have the means to get to the AITRP agency.
- Find out if the youth attended the appointment with the designated treatment agency from the youth and/or the youth’s caregiver.
- Coordinate, as necessary, with the AITRP agency to schedule appointments and to provide information needed to complete the assessment.
- Notify the AITRP agency of the hearing results within two (2) days following each hearing.
- Submit the Screening and Assessment Report and Recommendations form.
- If the Screening and Assessment Report and Recommendations and/or the Youth Progress Report has not been received from the AITRP agency in the two (2) weeks prior to the court hearing, call the agency to request the information.
- Upon receipt of the court order and referral to the AITRP provider:
- Select “Youth Substance Abuse Services” on the Special Projects page of the youth’s Client Notebook.
- Enter the start date that the court ordered the youth to participate in the program.
- Ensure that the youth is present at the initial follow-up court appearance hearing that occurs forty (40) days after the first hearing.
- At least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the hearing, provide the AITRP Screening and Assessment Report and Recommendation and/or the Youth Progress Report if the youth has begun treatment to the Court.
Documenting Confidential Substance Abuse Information to be Submitted to the Court
- Mark all documents to be sent to the Court that related to the youth’s involvement in the Foster Youth Substance Abuse Treatment Program in a sealed envelope marked “Confidential.”
- Do not make any reference to the youth’s involvement in screening, assessment, and/or treatment in court reports or case plans, including the .
- File all documents related to the youth’s participation in the program in a 9x12 manila envelope, labeled “Privileged/Confidential Information.”
- File the envelope in the Psychological/Medical/Dental/School Report folder.
Documenting Contacts in the Contact Notebook
Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities
- Upon receipt of the AITRP Screening and Assessment Report and Recommendation, create a new “Service Provider” in the CWS/CMS Contact Notebook under the ID Service Provider Category “Substance Abuse (Counselor/Testing).”
- Add the agency’s name, address, and phone number.
- Document Associated Services under the Service Category “Substance Abuse Services.”
- Document the Services Type as recommended by the AITRP provider (e.g., counseling, substance abuse inpatient, substance abuse outpatient).
- Document the start date in Associated Services.
Completing SDM Documentation
- When completing the Family Strengths and Needs Assessment SDM tool for the , complete CSN8 in the Family Strengths and Needs Assessment.
Responding to Terminated Substance Abuse Treatment Services
Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities
- Enter the date when substance abuse services were terminated in the “End Date” field of the CWS/CMS Special Projects Page.
- Document the end date in Associated Services.
- Document the reason substance abuse services were terminated in the Narrative.
JSC Court Officer CSW Responsibilities
- When an AOD Screening is ordered by the court and the has been completed by DCFS, immediately call the appropriate AITRP agency no later than the end of the business day.
- Call the case-carrying CSW to notify their of the Court’s order and that the referral to the Foster Youth Substance Abuse Treatment Program has been completed.
- Mail a copy of the referral to the case-carrying CSW.
DCFS 174, Family Centered Referral and Services Form
Referenced Policy Guides
0300-306.80, Transportation Requests to Bring Children/Youth to Court
0300-503.94, Set-On/Walk-On Procedures
Family Code (FAM) Section 6929(b) – States, in part, that a minor who is twelve (12) years of age or older may consent to medical care and counseling relating to the diagnosis and treatment of a drug or alcohol-related problem.