Identifying and Documenting a Client’s Disability and Need for Special Services
0600-505.12 | Revision Date: 7/1/2014


This policy guide details procedures to ensure that staff identify and document a client’s disability and needs for services. For the purpose of this policy guide, a client may include a child, birth parent, caregiver, or other individual who has a significant role in the child’s case.

Table of Contents

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 06/28/10 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan.


Identification and Documentation of a Client’s Disability and the Need for Special Services

DCFS is required by law to ensure:

  • Effective services are provided to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities
  • Administrative practices do not deny individuals with disabilities equal access to and participation in available programs and activities
  • Auxiliary aids and services are provided to individuals who are deaf or hearing, speech, visually, or physically impaired

DCFS must also provide an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to request the auxiliary aids and services of their choice. The exception is when either another effective means of communication or assistance exists or the requested communication means is not required under existing regulations.

Once information is obtained that identifies a client as disabled, DCFS is required to ensure that this disability is documented in the case record. Requests for auxiliary aids and/or services must also be documented.


Receiving Information Indicating a Client has a Disability

ER/Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

  1. Gather information and documentation on the client/client, including:
    • Medical status
    • Disability
    • Needs for service
  2. Complete and/or update the required Family Background forms (FB #1, #2, Addendum, #3, #3 - Coversheet).
  3. Refer to Concurrent Planning and the Concurrent Planning Assessment (CPA) and the Health and Education Questionnaire to ensure that full information regarding a client’s disability is obtained.
  4. Ask the client and, in the case of a young child, the parent/caregiver or the adult with knowledge of the child’s disability, if there are any special auxiliary aids to further assist the client with communicating or accessing appropriate services.
    • Auxiliary aids may include a telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD), Braille material, taped text, qualified interpreters, or large print materials.
  5. Document the client’s health status, disability, and request(s) for auxiliary aids and services of their choice in the Health and Education Notebook and the Contact Notebook.
  6. Evaluate the client’s eligibility for the following:
  7. Consult with the PHN about the case. If appropriate, inquire about obtaining the auxiliary aids and services specified by the client.
  8. Provide the necessary referrals to meet the client’s needs and/or assist with effective communication and access to services.
    1. For deaf or hearing-impaired clients, consider services through the DCFS Deaf Services Unit.
  9. Use a telecommunication device (TDD) or other equally effective telecommunications systems to communicate with individuals with impaired hearing or speech during any future contacts.

0070-501.10, Communication Needs of Non-English Speaking Clients

0080-507.20, Concurrent Planning and the Concurrent Planning Assessment (CPA)

0300-503.12, Health and Education Questionnaire

0600-505.10, Placing Children with Special Health Care Needs

0070-516.10, Assessing a Child's Development & Referring to a Regional Center

0900-522.10, Specialized Care Increment (SCI) – D-Rate

0900-522.11, Specialized Care Increment (SCI) – F-Rate

0900-523.10, Social Security(SS)/Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits for Children in Care

1000-504.10, Case Transfer Criteria and Procedures

FYI 12-34, Referral to the Deaf Services Units, 08/20/12


California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) Division 21-115 – Contains, in part, the provisions for services to applicants and recipients who are non-English speaking or who have disabilities.

CDSS MPP Division 31-201 – States, in part, that when it has been determined that child welfare services are to be provided, the social worker is required to complete an assessment for each child for whom child welfare services are to be provided, and also gather and evaluate information relevant to the case situation and needs.