Pre-Release Investigation Report
0300-503.35 | Revision Date: 7/29/2015

Overview

This policy guide outlines the required actions following a court order for a Pre-Release Investigation Report (PRI) and steps for completing a PRI.

Table of Contents

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 07/01/14 version to include changes to WIC 361.3, this allows a CSW to place a child in the home of an appropriate relative or nonrelative extended family member pending the consideration of other relatives who have requested preferential consideration. Instructions have been added to place criminal clearances of relative or non-relative caregivers in a sealed envelope when providing results to court.

POLICY

Placement Determinations

Preference must be given to placement in the home of a non-custodial parent or first-degree relative(s); grandparents, uncles, aunts, or adult siblings of the child. However, a child can be placed in the home of an appropriate relative or nonrelative extended family member pending the consideration of other relatives who have requested preferential consideration. The following applies when determining placement:

  • Noncustodial parents are not required to have their homes approved by the ASFA Division.
  • It is the responsibility of the ASFA Division to determine if a relative/ Nonrelative Extended Family Member (NREFM)  can or cannot ultimately be approved.
  • It is the sole responsibility of the ASFA Division to determine if a home can or cannot be ultimately approved. The ASFA Division will work with regional staff to make every effort to approve the home of the relative or NREFM. However, ASFA Division staff does not make or determine child placements.
    • The Placement Resource Division will work with regional staff to make every effort, when possible and appropriate, to approve the home of the relative or NREFM and to allow the child to safely remain in the home.

If there is no available relative caregiver, efforts to locate relatives must be made on an on-going basis until a permanent plan is made for the child. For children that fall under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) provisions, CSWs should use the services of the Indian child's tribe to secure placement within the order of placement preference and in supervision of the placement.

Child and Family Team Meeting must be used when making a decision to place with a relative or nonrelative extended family member. Conversely, the decision not to recommend placement with an available relative must be made in consultation with the Assistant Regional Administrator (ARA) or his/her designee.

If any prospective caregiver has a criminal conviction for any non-exemptible offense or Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) information, the case-carrying CSW may deny the placement request without performing a preliminary assessment of the home and without making a referral to the ASFA Division. If the home of the prospective caregiver is not used and the decision is based due to criminal history, place the CLETS, Live-Scan results, FBI clearance, and/or subsequent arrest notification in a sealed envelope labeled "Fore Hearing Officer Only" when notifying Court of this decision.

Pre-Release Investigation Report

The purpose of a Pre-Release Investigation (PRI) is to assess the suitability of a non-custodial parent, relative, or nonrelative extended family member (who is not a licensed or certified foster parent) to care for a child.  This investigation will be the basis for any recommendation regarding placement with the prospective caregiver.

The Emergency Response (ER) CSW, Dependency Investigator (DI) CSW, Generic CSW and Supervising Children's Social Workers (SCSWs) must work in collaboration to ensure the initiation and completion of the investigation.

PROCEDURE

Court Ordered PRI for a Non-Custodial Parent

CSW/ISW Responsibilities

  1. Conduct a face-to-face contact with the non-custodial parent at their residence.
  2. Assess the condition of his/her home and property; including yard, swimming pool, and other open areas, as well as any other structures such as garages, storage sheds, etc, for child safety issues.
  3. Discuss the parent's ability and willingness to:
    • Provide a safe, secure, and stable environment for the child
    • Exercise proper and effective care and control of the child
    • Protect the child from the parent from whom the child was removed
    • Support and participate in court-ordered reunification efforts with the offending parent
    • Facilitate visitations with the child's other relatives
    • Facilitate implementation of all elements of the case plan
    • Provide legal permanence for the child, if reunification fails
  4. Verify that the addresses and telephones numbers for the noncustodial parent(s) are accurate and documented in CWS/CMS. 
    • Update this information as necessary.
  5. Initiate a request for a criminal record check for all adults in the home.
    1. Request FBI, DOJ, and CACI clearances on all adults living in the home.
    2. Instruct all adults in the home to Live-Scan.
    3. Complete a JAI clearance for all children age 14 and older living in the home, if there is reason to believe that (s)he has a criminal record.

Court Ordered PRI: Relative/NREFM

CSW/ISW Responsibilities

  1. Conduct a face to face contact with the relative(s) or NREFM.
  2. Discuss the prospective caregiver's ability to:
    • Provide a safe, secure, and stable environment for the child
    • Exercise proper and effective care and control of the child
    • Provide a home and the necessities of life for the child
    • Protect the child from his or her parent(s)
    • Facilitate court-ordered reunification efforts with the parent(s)
    • Facilitate visitations with the child's other relatives
    • Facilitate implementation of all elements of the case plan
    • Provide legal permanence for the child, if reunification fails
  3. Initiate a request for a criminal record check on all adults in the home.
    1. Request FBI, DOJ, and CACI clearances on all adults living in the home.
    2. Instruct all adults in the home to Live-Scan.
    3. Complete a JAI clearance for all children age 14 and older living in the home, if there is reason to believe that (s)he has a criminal record.
  4. Place the ASFA Referral form in the ASFA "In Box", located near the Regional Office ASFA Unit.
    • MART, Command Post, and ICPC units must fax the ASFA Assessment Referral form to the ASFA Division at (626) 666-9447.

Completing the PRI Report

DI Responsibilities

  1. In the event the non-custodial parent/prospective caregiver was not assessed, and background checks were not initiated, follow the procedure above in order to ensure timely completion of the PRI report.
  2. Review the following documents, if available:
    • DCFS 724, Placement Assessment
    • SOC 815, Approval of Family Caregiver Home
    • SOC 817, Checklist of Health and Safety Standards for Approval of Family Caregiver Home
    • SOC 818, Relative or Nonrelative Extended Family Member Caregiver Assessment
    • The on-line case record
  3. If the results of the ASFA Division home assessment have not been received, contact the assigned CSW and/or the ASFA Division CSW to obtain the results of the home assessment.
  4. Generate the Ex-Parte Application and Order on CWS/CMS.
  5. Complete all required fields (see attached sample Ex Parte Application and Order).
  6. Submit the report to the SCSW for on-line approval.
  7. Print and submit the Ex Parte Report and all supporting documents to the SCSW for review and approval.
  8. Upon receipt of approval, submit approved Ex Parte Report and all attachments to support staff for final preparation.
  9. Ensure that the court report is delivered to court by 8:00 a.m., one (1) judicial day prior to the hearing.

SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the Ex Parte Reports and all attachments for accuracy, thoroughness, and compliance with Departmental policy and legal requirements.
    • If not approved, return the packet to the CSW for corrective action.
  2. If Assistant Regional Administrator (ARA) approval is required, forward the report to the ARA or designee.
    • Do not approve the report on line prior to the ARA's approval.
  3. If approved, sign and date the report.
    • Approve the report on line and return the packet to the CSW.

ARA Responsibilities

  1. Review the Ex Parte Reports and all attachments for accuracy, thoroughness, and compliance with Departmental policy and legal requirements.
  2. If approved, sign and date the necessary document(s) and return the packet to the SCSW for on-line approval.
    • If not approved, return the packet to the SCSW for corrective action.
APPROVALS

SCSW

  • Ex Parte Application and Order

ARA

  • Ex Parte Application and Order (as applicable)
HELPFUL LINKS

Attachments

PRI Report Sample (Ex Parte Application and Order)

Forms

LA Kids

DCFS 724, Placement Assessment

SOC 815, Approval of Family Caregiver Home

SOC 817, Checklist of Health and Safety Standards for Approval of Family Caregiver Home

SOC 818, Relative or Nonrelative Extended Family Member Caregiver Assessment

CWS/CMS

DCFS 280, Technical Assistant Action Request

Ex Parte Application and Order

SOC 815, Approval of Family Caregiver Home

SOC 817, Checklist of Health and Safety Standards for Approval of Family Caregiver Home

SOC 818, Relative or Nonrelative Extended Family Member Caregiver Assessment

REFERENCED POLICY GUIDES

0070-548.04, Intensive Services

0070-559.10, Clearances

0100-510.10, Placement Capacity

0100-520.10, Evaluating a Prospective Caregiver

0100-520.70, Exemptions for Criminal History Records

0300-308.07, Time Frames for Submission of Court Reports

0300-508.30, Identifying and Notifying the Court of Recurring Efforts to Locate Relatives and Nonrelative Extended Family Members (NREFMs)

1200-500.05, Adopting and Serving Children Under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)

STATUTES AND OTHER MANDATES

Family Code Section 7950, states that with the consideration for the proximity of the natural parent to facilitate visitation, placement shall be made in the home of a relative, unless the placement would not be in the best interest of the child.

Health and Safety Code Section 1522, addresses fingerprint, criminal records, exemption, and criminal record clearance requirements.

Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 361.2, states that the court shall first consider placing the child with a non-offending parent who desires to assume custody of the child.

WIC Section 361.3, states that when a child is removed from the physical custody of his or her parent, preferential consideration shall be given to a relative who requests to have the child placed in their custody.

WIC Section 361.4, states that prior to placing a child in the home of any prospective caregiver or unlicensed or non-certified foster parent, the county social worker must visit the home to assess the appropriateness of the placement.

WIC Section 362.7, states that the home of a nonrelative extended family member must be granted or denied by the same standards set in the regulation for licensing of foster family homes.

WIC Section 16504.5, states that criminal background checks for prospective caregivers are part of the assessment process when considering placement of a child who has been detained or is a dependent of the court.

California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policies andProcedures (MPP) Division 31-445 , states that when considering placement of a child in home of a relative or NREFM, the child welfare agency must complete an in-home evaluation, a home assessment, and background checks on all adults living in the home and juveniles ages 14 and older (as applicable).