The Policy Portal is a web page where staff can request services from the Policy Institute (new or revised policy, posting of FYIs/ITAs or changes to DCFS forms), download templates/cheat-sheets, sign up for policy updates, send questions, and view highlights of important policy changes.

 

Updated 11/17/2023

Table of Contents

Requests for New/Revised Policy (updated 7/01/21)

Requests for New For Your Information (FYI) or Information Technology Alert (ITA)

Requests for New/Revised DCFS Forms

Requests to Place or Replace an Existing Form on CWS/CMS

Requests for a New Management Directive (MD) or Changes to an Existing MD (updated 7/27/23)

The Top 20: Policy & FYI highlights (updated 11/17/23)

Helpful Links (updated 11/17/23)

How-To Guides and Other Resources for Staff (Templates, Tutorials, and more) (updated 4/01/22)

Critical Incident/Child Fatality Policy Info

About Case Transfers

If you want to get automatic updates of revised policies, click this button below to sign up:

Have a policy question? Send it to EDL-DCFS_Policy (Outlook) Policy@dcfs.lacounty.gov.

Requests for New Policy/Policy Changes, for New/Revised Forms, or to Post an FYI (For Your Information) or ITA (Information Technology Alert):

Requests for New Policy or Policy Changes -- Instructions:

  1. For any change in policy (or new policy) that will result in a workload impact, the sponsor of this request (or a team member sponsor from the impacted program) must inform the Union of the requested change. Please contact Labor Relations countt@dcfs.lacounty.gov (Tiffany Countryman) to make these arrangements.

    • If, at the time of the request, workload impact has not been determined, but it is determined during the revision/development process, the Policy Institute will advise the policy sponsor and/or designee of their need to contact Labor Relations.
    • The revised policy will not be advanced through the review and approval process before the proposed change or draft is shared by the policy sponsor /manager with the Union.

  2. Complete the “Request for New Policy or Changes to Existing Policy” form including the appropriate Division Chief or Regional Administrator approval signatures.

  3. Email the request with any attachments to: DCFS Policy Revision Requests.

  4. Your request will be reviewed, a Policy Analyst will be assigned, and you will be contacted regarding any follow-up. If a Subject Matter Expert (SME) workgroup is needed for the revision or development of a policy, the Policy Analyst will request that you form and lead the SME workgroup (in which the assigned Policy Analyst will participate). The requesting manager should solicit represented staff to participate in the SME workgroup by going through Labor Relations.
    • The policy sponsor (or a team member sponsor from the impacted program) must be present at the specified Policy Review Committee (PRC) meeting during which that policy is scheduled for review. (PRC meetings occur on the 2nd Wednesday of every other month.)

OR

Posting of an FYI or Information Technology Alert (ITA) -- General Instructions:

  1. Write the FYI (or ITA) using the FYI template or ITA template, unless other arrangements have been made with the Policy section.(Note: ITAs are used for announcements about databases such as CWS/CMS, CWS-CARES, FCSS, SNAP, CACI TRAC, FCS, Automated CLETS, eForms, etc.).
  2. Complete the “Request to Post a For Your Information (FYI) or Information Technology Alert (ITA)” form including the appropriate Division Chief or Regional Administrator approval of the request.
    • Submit a request to the Policy Section to review your DRAFT FYI/ITA for policy compliance and workload impact prior to seeking Legacy 721/535 or 721/660 (Union) approvals. Email the approved “Request to Post an FYI/ITA” form with any attachments to: DCFS Policy Revision Requests.
    • Your request will be reviewed and you will be contacted regarding any follow-up and information as to when your request will be completed.
  3. If instructed by the Policy section, present the draft FYI to Legacy 721/535 or 721/660 (Union) for review and comment.
  4. Following the Legacy 721/535 or 721/660 presentation and any agreed to revisions of the draft FYI, email the draft FYI to the Office of the Senior Deputy Director (SDD) for final approval: leecs@dcfs.lacounty.gov and FORNIM@dcfs.lacounty.gov.
  5. Following the SDD approval of the draft FYI, forward the finalized and approved FYI to the Policy Section.
    • Email the approved final version of the FYI, any attachments and the “Request to Post an FYI” form with Senior Deputy Director signature to: DCFS Policy Revision Requests.
  6. The FYI/ITA number & release date will be assigned upon receipt of all of the above and the FYI/ITA will be posted as quickly as possible.
  7. On the Monday following the posting of the FYI or ITA, it will be sent via email blast to all DCFS staff.

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Note: the Policy Section cannot edit most state or federal forms (e.g., SOC, JV, etc.).

Requests for a New Form or Changes to an Existing Form (including translation) -- General Instructions:

  1. Write the new form or insert changes to an existing form using Word. (Forms written in Adobe may cause a delay in processing).
  2. Complete the “Request for a New Form or Changes to an Existing Form” form including the appropriate Division Chief or Regional Administrator approval of the request.
    • Submit a request to the Policy Section to review your new or revised form draft for policy compliance, workload impact and formatting consistency prior to seeking Legacy 721/535 or 721/660 (Union) approval. Email the approved “Request for a New Form or Changes to An Existing Form” with any attachments to: DCFS Policy Revision Requests.
    • Your request will be reviewed and you will be contacted regarding any follow-up and information as to when your request will be completed.
  3. If instructed by the Policy Section, present the new or revised form draft to Legacy 721/535 or 721/660 (Union) for review and comment.
    • Email the new or revised form draft and request to be placed on the agenda to Labor Relations: countt@dcfs.lacounty.gov
  4. Following the Legacy 721/535 or 721/660 presentation and any agreed to revisions of the new or revised form draft, present the new or revised form draft to the Office of the Senior Deputy Director (SDD) for final approval: leecs@dcfs.lacounty.gov and FORNIM@dcfs.lacounty.gov.
  5. Following the approval and any agreed to revision of the new or revised form draft, forward the finalized and approved form to the Policy Section.
    • Email the approved final version of the form, any attachments and the “Request for a New Form or Changes to an Existing Form” form with Senior Deputy Director signature to: DCFS Policy Revision Requests.
  6. The new form number (when applicable) and release date will be assigned upon receipt of all of the above and the form will be posted as quickly as possible.

Requests to Place or Replace an Existing Form on CWS/CMS -- General Instructions:

  1. Complete the "Request to Place or Replace an Existing Form on CWS/CMS" form, including the appropriate Division Chief or Regional Administrator approval of the request.
  2. Email the approved "Request to Place or Replace an Existing Form on CWS/CMS," with the form attached, to: DCFS Policy Revision Requests.
  3. You will be contacted by a Policy Analyst to review and confirm your request. This Policy Analyst will be your primary contact for the progress of your request.

NOTE: The form must be submitted in Word 97-2003 (.doc or .dot) format – CWS/CMS does not accept .pdf (Adobe) documents. Additionally, templates and documents created in Word 2016 for use in CWS/CMS must be in Compatibility Mode. Only DCFS officially approved forms or changes to existing forms may be placed on CWS/CMS. If your form or changes to an existing form has not been officially approved, please review the requirements in “Request for a New Form or Changes to an Existing Form” .

Requests for a New Management Directive (MD) or Changes to an Existing MD 

Management Directives (MDs) are published documents drafted by members of the Executive Team, Human Resources, Senior Management, and Program Managers that guide the conduct of business and provide standards and expectations for the DCFS Workforce. The Policy Institute serves a consultation and quality assurance role in the MD process, but does not author MDs.

General Instructions:

  1. Complete the "Request for a New MD or Changes to an Existing MD" including signatures from the appropriate Executive or Senior Management (i.e. Deputy Director, Administrative Deputy, Division Chief/ Regional Administrator, etc.).

  2. Email the request with any attachments to: DCFS Policy Revision Requests.

  3. Your request will be reviewed and you will be contacted regarding any follow-up and information as to when your request will be completed.

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The Top 20: Policy and FYI Highlights 

For the latest New/Revised policies, policy release summaries, and FYIs, check out the New/Revised Policy page here.

  1. Did you know that Structured Decision Making (SDM) 3.5 is launching in WebSDM on 1/02/2024, and it includes revisions to 2 tools, plus a new tool and updated definitions/policy and procedures? See FYI 23-18 for details and links to the specific revisions.

  2. Have you seen the new responsibilities of the Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (MAT) + Services Linkage Specialist (SLS) Children Services Administrator (CSA)? See Screening and Assessing Children for Mental Health Services and Referring to the Coordinated Services Action Team (CSAT) revised 9/6/2023 for more information.
     
  3. Did you know that per WIC 781, if the Juvenile Court orders a person’s juvenile offense record to be sealed, then all records (including records of arrest, juvenile court records, minute book entries, entries on dockets and any other records relating to the case) shall be sealed, the proceedings in the case shall be deemed never to have occurred, and such offenses and all records related to the case should not be included in DCFS court reports? See Sealing/Releasing Records (revised 8/17/2023) for more information.

  4. Are you aware there is a new type of Voluntary Placement Agreement (and new form) for parents to reside with their child(ren) in a residential substance abuse treatment program? See the revised Voluntary Placement policy for more information. 

  5. Did you see that Assessment of Drug & Alcohol Abuse was revised 7/27/23 to provide additional guidance on assessing an individual's use/abuse of drugs and/or alcohol and add language related to Assembly Bill (AB) 2595 which states that, when investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect, a social worker must treat possession or use of marijuana by a parent or guardian in the same manner as possession or use of alcohol and legally prescribed medication.

  6. Did you know that Youth Development: The 6-Month Transition Plan, the 90-Day Transition Planning Conference, and Transitioning to Independence was revised 7/20/2023?

  7. Have you reviewed the revised Placement Prior to Resource Family Approval policy? It was updated from the 11/9/21 version to incorporate the provisions of SB 354, which requires counties to assist relatives and NREFM’s with obtaining necessary provisions for an emergency placement of a relative child (WIC section 309), expands eligibility for the Approved Relative Caregiver (ARC) funding (WIC section 11461.3) and authorizes the Juvenile Court to order placement of a child with a relative, regardless of the status of any criminal exemptions or RFA (WIC section 319).

  8. Have you seen the new Bringing Families Home policy about housing support and services to families receiving child welfare services who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness?

  9. Do you know what to do when the court makes an order that may adversely affect children and/or the Department? Refer to Adverse Court Orders (revised 6/07/23) for guidance.

  10. Have you seen the new Eligibility policy on Clothing Allowances (published 5/30/23)?

  11. Did you know youth have the right to remain in school for a fifth (5th) year to complete either the statewide or school district graduation requirements if their ERH determines it is in their best interest? Refer to Education of DCFS-Supervised Children (revised 4/04/23) for details.

  12. Did you know that the physical capacity of a home is now prohibited by law from being the sole reason to deny placement of a sibling group if each child in the home has an age-appropriate place to sleep and there are no other safety risks? See Placement Capacity (revised 04/14/23) for more information.

  13. Do you know what documents are required for Dual Agency Rates?

  14. Did you know that eligibility for criminal record exemption requests for child specific Resource Family Approvals (RFA) were recently expanded? Refer to Exemptions for Criminal History Records (revised 4/05/23) for details.

  15. Do you know the three (3) types of Supervised Independent Living (SIL) Settings? Were you aware that a A SILP no longer needs to be re-assessed annually in certain circumstances? Review Supervised Independent Living Placement 0100-560.40 (revised 10/27/22) for more information.

  16. Did you know that a payment to be made directly to an expectant minor or NMD, approximately three (3) months prior to the minor/NMD’s due date? See Youth Reproductive Health and Pregnancy 0600-507.10 (revised 8/26/22) for more information.

  17. Do you know when to refer a child to a Medical Hub for consultation or for a forensic evaluation? See Assessing Allegations of Physical Abuse 0070-529.10 (revised 10/24/22) for more information.

  18. Did you know that certain court reports can now be electronically signed? Refer to Writing the Jurisdiction/Disposition Report 0300-503.10 (revised 7/01/22) and Writing a Status Review Hearing Report for a WIC Section 364, 366.21(e) or (f), 366.22, or 366.25 Hearing 0300-503.15 (revised 9/06/22) for more information.

  19. Were you aware that the Detention Report is now called the Initial Hearing Report? See Writing the Initial Hearing Report 0300-303.15 for details.

  20. Did you know that HSAs can assist in taking photographs of children? See Photographic Identification of Children 1200-500.50 (revised 9/12/22) for more information.

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Helpful Links

Management Directives, Clerical, Eligibility, and Other Policy:

Resource Websites:

Training Websites and Other Resources:

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How-To Guides, Templates, Tutorials, & "Cheat Sheets"

  1. Court Report Samples and Questionnaires

  2. Creating a Contact in CWS/CMS

  3. Individualized Investigation Narrative Template

  4. Accessing Out-of-County Case/Referral Records on CWS/CMS

  5. CWS/CMS Search Tips

  6. Creating an Initial Case Plan

  7. Creating a Case Plan Update

  8. Sample Case Plan Family Assessment

  9. Sample Out of Home Care Information Document

  10. Microsoft Word 2016 Quick Reference Guide

  11. Microsoft Excel 2016 Quick Reference Guide

If you have any helpful resources that you would like to see included here, please email them to us for consideration. Thank you!

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Policies Referenced in Critical Incident/Child Fatality Section (CI/CF) Reviews:

Since the Policy Section often receives inquiries about what policies are most often cited during critical incident case reviews, we developed the following list after consultation with Risk Management (for informational and/or training purposes only).

  1. Investigation, Disposition and Closure of Emergency Response Referrals (0070-548.10)
  2. Contact Requirements and Exceptions (0400-503.10)
  3. Assessment of specific abuse/neglect types:
  4. Court Family Maintenance and Voluntary Family Maintenance (0080-502.25)
  5. Case Plans (0080-502.10)

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A Quick Word About Case Transfers . . .

One of the most common inquiries the Policy section receives involves the transferring of cases (Case Transfer Criteria and Procedures,1000-504.10). Regional staff often ask the Policy Institute to resolve their specific transfer disputes for them -- rather than resolving them through their existing chain of command. Since this topic is such a common concern, we thought it important to remind regional staff of the following:

As a resource for DCFS staff, the Policy Institute is available to answer policy-related questions and provide staff with general information. However, the Policy Institute cannot make case-related decisions for staff, override the chain of command -- nor give staff specific practice advice regarding individual cases. It is not the responsibility of the Policy Institute to serve as arbitrators for staff/inter-office case disputes (e.g., case transfers). Staff must consult with their respective office management for practice guidance, specific directives or when higher level approval is required.

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