This policy guide instructs DCFS staff on how to complete the Jurisdiction/Disposition report.
Table of Contents
This policy guide was updated from the 01/13/17 version to reflect the implementation of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment, instructions on addressing Family Time, instructions regarding ICWA inquiries, as well as the option to utilize e-signatures.
The Jurisdiction/Disposition report is a social study that contains evidence to either support or disprove an initial allegation of abuse or neglect contained in the WIC Section 300 petition. After the Detention Hearing (arraignment), DCFS must conduct a thorough investigation by presenting all available evidence to either support or disprove these allegations to the court. The investigation and the Jurisdictional/Dispositional report will help inform the court of all evidence to ensure that proper disposition is made regarding the child.
The Jurisdiction/Disposition report must contain all evidence that is admissible, evidence that is both favorable to the Department and exculpatory to the parent. To recommend sustaining of a count, evidence must be competent enough for the court to find, by a preponderance of evidence, or that it is more likely than not, that the evidence contained in the report supports the sustaining of a count pled under
The report must be based upon an independent investigation by the social worker (a disinterested party), who will contribute reliability and trustworthiness to the report.
The Dependency Investigator (DI) is responsible for preparing the Jurisdictional/Dispositional reports in the following circumstances:
- New 300 filings;
- 342 Petitions alleging new allegations;
- 387 petitions removing children on open cases;
- Responses to 388 filings on open cases requesting a change in order, with some exceptions;
Further, DIs are to prepare:
- First Amended Petitions;
- 385 Petitions requesting a change;
- Disposition Reports on incoming county transfer cases that are post adjudication.
WIC 301 Hearings
The DI who prepared the Jurisdictional/Dispositional report is responsible for creating a Case Plan Update for a hearing where a WIC 301 agreement is entered into, regardless of whether or not DCFS made the recommendation. This Case Plan Update will document the terms and conditions of the WIC 301 agreement.
Addressing Family Time in Jurisdiction/Disposition Hearing Reports
When writing the Jurisdiction/Disposition hearing report, include the following information:
- For recommended monitored/supervised family time, clearly indicate the safety factors that could not be mitigated during family time that led to the recommendation of monitored/supervised family time, and whom shall be the monitor.
- Description of family time that has already taken place:
- Quality and quantity of interactions between child and parent(s)
- Any impediments/barriers to parent(s) participating in family time, and what DCFS has done to address these barriers
- Quality and quantity of sibling family time
- Any impediments/barriers to sibling time and what DCFS has done to address these barriers
- Quality and quantity of visits with other relatives
- If someone other than the CSW has observed the family time, that individual’s name and relationship to the parties.
- Description of the current family time plan:
- Whether the family visitation was discussed and documented at the CFT meetings.
- Dates of the visit and how often they will occur.
- Location of the family time.
- Transportation arrangement for the child to the family time location.
- Individuals included in the family time plan (e.g. parents, siblings, and grandparents). Include any caregivers or parents who do not reside with the child(ren).
- Other significant relationships that the child has described who should be included in the family time plan.
- Describe the plan for sibling family time, for siblings and/or half-siblings who are not placed together.
- Who will supervise the family time (if applicable).
- If the caregiver supervises family time, the caregiver’s willingness to supervise and have visits occur in the placement is explored.
- For a dependent child of a teen parent is not residing with her/his parent, the family time arrangements that have been made.
- List the family time objectives and state:
- How the family time objectives are linked to safety threats or risks identified in the safety assessment discussed with the parent(s) (e.g. continued bonding, increasing parent’s protective capacity, etc.)
- Whether the previously court-ordered family time plan has been implemented
- If there is no family time plan:
- The reasons why – identify the safety threat that cannot be mitigated during monitored family time
- Any circumstances that prevent regular or frequent family time (e.g. incarceration, in-patient drug treatment, etc.)
- Other arrangements that have been made to facilitate contact and arrange family time between the parent and child (e.g., telephone, e-mail, text-messages, etc.)
Preparing the Jurisdictional/Dispositional Report
The report must be completed within five (5) judicial days prior to the Jurisdictional/Dispositional Hearing - OR by the date of the Receipt of Report, if the court has set one.
- Review the online case record.
- Ensure that all identifying information (e.g. names, addresses, and phone numbers) is recorded and current.
- Update the case record, if necessary.
- Use and record information from the , , and , as applicable, in the Jurisdictional/Dispositional Report.
- Obtain any missing information from Family Background #1.
- Have family members complete and return the Family Background #3.
- Review the SDM Safety Assessment, Risk Assessment, and the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment.
- Incorporate the information gathered from these documents into the Jurisdictional/Dispositional report.
- Use the SDM Online Help System for completing the tools and definition of terms.
- Do not reference the tools or attach any SDM or CANS tools when submitting documents to court, unless ordered by the court.
- Conduct individual face-to-face interviews with all the verbal children named on the WIC 300 petition and all parent(s) whose whereabouts are known.
- Contact with custodial parents should take place in the home of the parent, rather than outside of it, and the condition of the parent’s home should be assessed.
- Contact with non-custodial parents/parents whose children have been removed may take place at CSW’s office when appropriate.
- Interviews with the children should take place in the home where they are currently residing, rather than in another location. For pre-verbal children, DIs may make contact by phone with the caregivers when appropriate.
- If a child resides outside of California, or a noncontiguous county in California, the child may be interviewed by telephone, per DI & SCSW discretion.
- If a parent resides outside of California, in a noncontiguous county in California, or is incarcerated outside LA County and/or a federal facility, they may be interviewed by telephone, if appropriate.
- Conduct and document interviews with any known relatives.
- Inquire of all parents whether a child who is placed into the temporary custody of DCFS is or may be of any Native American heritage.
- Inquire of every relative identified and interested parties whether a child who is placed into the temporary custody of DCFS is or may be of any Native American heritage. This duty to inquire applies even if the parents deny any American Indian connection or ancestry.
- Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook.
- Create for the parties who are entitled to notice.
- Initiate searches, if necessary.
- Generate the Jurisdiction/Disposition report in CWS/CMS.
- Select whether:
- Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) does or does not apply
- Interpreter will or will not be needed
- Due diligence report is attached or not applicable
- Select options, as applicable from the following, needed sections:
- Consideration of Placement with Non-Custodial Parent
- Consideration of Relative Placement
- Concurrent Planning
- Out of Home Placement and Non-Reunification Issues
- Guardianship Stability Study
- Complete all appropriate fields in the Jurisdiction/Disposition report that are not populated by the database.
- Document any nonverbal communication during interviews; including demeanor. When documenting nonverbal communication and/or demeanor, be certain to describe with the facts what the person did that led to the conclusion regarding their demeanor or nonverbal cues. DO NOT simply state the conclusion without including the facts that led to the conclusion.
- If an is necessary, create an additional signature line for the ARA.
- Include in the body of the report and attach all documentary evidence that is part of the assessment and investigation of the petition.
- Select whether:
- Complete the Jurisdiction/Disposition report no later than five (5) judicial days prior to the Jurisdictional/Dispositional hearing – OR by the Receipt of Report date, if set by the court, whichever is earlier.
- Deliver the report to court at least two (2) judicial days prior to the hearing or by the date set by the court for receipt of report, whichever is earlier.
- Request online approval for the report and the initial Case Plan
- Once obtained, print the approval.
- Sign/e-sign and date the report.
- Submit the report and all supporting documents to the SCSW for approval.
- If the report is not approved, take necessary corrective action.
- When the report is approved, route the report and all attachments to DCFS support staff for final preparation and delivery to court.
DI SCSW Responsibilities
- Review the Contact Notebook online.
- Review the Jurisdiction/Disposition packet.
- If not approved, request corrective action and return the packet to the CSW.
- If approved and if , sign/e-sign and date the Jurisdiction/Disposition report and send the packet to the ARA without approving it online.
- If approved by the ARA, approve the report online and return the packet to the CSW.
- If the ARA does not approve the report, take necessary corrective action, or, if necessary, return the packet to the CSW for corrective action.
- If approved and if ARA approval is not required
- Sign/e-sign and date the hearing report.
- Approve the report online and return the packet to the CSW.
- Review the Jurisdiction/Disposition report and any supporting documents, including all SDM tools used.
- If approved, sign/e-sign and date the report and return to the SCSW for online approval.
- If not approved, return the packet to the SCSW for corrective action.
- Jurisdiction/Disposition Hearing report
Referenced Policy Guides
0300-306.75, Due Diligence
0400-504.00, Family Time
1000-501.30, Dependency Investigation (DI) Assignment Criteria
– 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.
– States in part that if the minor is ten (10) years of age or older and he/she is not present at the hearing, the court shall determine whether the minor was properly notified of his or her right to attend the hearing and inquire whether the minor was given an opportunity to attend.
- At the jurisdictional hearing, the court shall first consider only the question whether the minor is a person described by Section 300. Any legally admissible evidence that is relevant to the circumstances or acts that are alleged to bring the minor within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court is admissible and may be received in evidence. Proof by a preponderance of evidence must be adduced to support a finding that the minor is a person described by Section 300.
- A "social study" (any written report furnished to the juvenile court and to all parties or their counsel by the county probation or welfare department in any matter involving the custody, status, or welfare of a minor in a dependency proceeding) prepared by the petitioning agency, and hearsay evidence contained in it, is admissible and constitutes competent evidence upon which a finding of jurisdiction pursuant to Section 300 may be based.
– Sets forth detailed requirements on the issue of sibling relationship which must be addressed in the social worker's social study or evaluation and must be received in evidence and considered before the court can render a disposition decision, and it must be updated and reviewed at subsequent review hearings.
– States that regardless of his or her age, a child shall be deemed to have entered foster care on the earlier of the date of the jurisdictional hearing held pursuant to Section 356 or the date that is 60 days after the date on which the child was initially removed from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian.
and (,. and ) – Contain provisions that the court may consider information regarding the criminal history of the parent/legal guardian subsequent to the child's removal only to the extent that the criminal record is substantially related to the welfare of the child or the parent/legal guardian's ability to exercise custody/control over the child.
– States, in part, that if a non-custodial parent is seeking placement or custody of a child, the social worker shall inform the caretaker that he/she has the right to provide the court with input regarding the placement of the child.
– States, in pertinent part, that the strengths of families and communities to serve the needs of children who are alleged to be abused or neglected, as described in WIC Section 300, will be used to encourage approaches to child protection, such as allowing children to remain in their own schools and/or in close proximity to their families.