Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

3.10 SSW's Ongoing Contact with the Birth Family and Child

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter:
Chapter 3-In Home Child Protective Services (CPS) Case
Effective:
3/30/2018
Section:
3.10 SSW's Ongoing Contact with the Birth Family and Child
Version:
6

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Forms and Resources

Legal Authority/Introduction

LEGAL AUTHORITY: 

KY Acts Chapter 188

CAPTA 106(b)(2)(B)

 922 KAR 1:430 Child protective services in-home case planning and service delivery

 

 

From the moment of the initial contact with the family, the SSW and the department are obligated under federal and state law to make reasonable efforts to keep families intact whenever possible; and in removal situations, to make reasonable efforts to reunify children with their families.  As part of this obligation, the SSW is required to maintain personal contact with families and children.  Ongoing contact with the family provides information that contributes to a thorough assessment of whether or not the family has reduced the risks that initially lead to the involvement of DCBS. 

Features of an acceptable pattern of visits include: 

  • Unannounced, if necessary to ensure the child's safety, face to face contact frequently enough to sufficiently evaluate the family’s progress;
  • Sufficient meaningful discussion of case planning tasks and objectives; and
  • Sufficient opportunity to observe the residence(s) of the parent(s) and child(ren), or other family members significant to the case.

Through the life of the case, the burden is on the SSW to locate and maintain contact with family members based on individual needs of each case. 

Procedure

 

Ongoing Contact with the Family

The SSW: 

  1. Has individual, face to face contact with parents;
  2. Has a private, face to face visit with the child(ren) at least once every calendar month in the home;
  3. Discusses the following with the family during each contact:
    1. Assesses for new immediate safety issues, high risk behaviors,  or unaddressed risk factors;
    2. Evaluates the family’s progress toward reducing the immediate safety issues and/or reducing the risks that necessitated case action;
    3. Reviews the family’s progress toward accomplishment of their case planning tasks;
    4. Reviews the tasks of other service providers and progress toward accomplishment of these;
    5. Identifies and resolves barriers to completing case objectives;
    6. Prepares for the next ongoing assessment, case planning conference/periodic review and court hearing; and
    7. When appropriate, prepares an aftercare plan
  4. Thoroughly documents:
    1. Observations regarding the family and the home setting;
    2. Progress toward each task on the family case plan;
    3. The family’s response to services they receive from other providers;
    4. Additional assessment and planning information provided by the family; and
    5. That the family has been provided information about the child’s:
      1. Physical and mental health;
      2. Education; and
      3. Activities.
  5. Documents in their ongoing assessments, any barriers to their ability to maintain contact with the family including, but not limited to:

A. The parent’s whereabouts are unknown;
B. Written determination by the FSOS that family members are or may be violent; or
C. Family members refuse to participate in ongoing visits.

Contingencies and Clarifications

The SSW is expected to consider and document reasonable efforts for ongoing contact with non-custodial parents during an in home, ongoing case.

The SSW:   

  1. Respects the decision-making authority of the custodial parent with regards to approaching the non-custodial parent, case planning and information sharing about the case; 
  2. Assesses the custodian’s willingness to work on deficits in the parent/child attachment or cooperative parenting with the non-custodial parent; 
  3. Obtains a description of the custody/visitation arrangements between the non-custodial parent and the child, prior to case planning; 
  4. Conducts an assessment of the non-custodian’s relationship with the child, and an assessment of how well the custodian and non-custodian cooperate to parent/meet the children’s needs; 
  5. Develops case plan objectives and tasks that support or improve the non-custodial parent’s relationship with the child, when the custodial parent is in agreement;
  6. Includes case plan objectives and tasks that improves the ability of the custodial and non-custodial parents to work collaboratively for the child’s benefit; 
  7. Documents whether or not the custodial parent sets limits or rejects proposed changes in the non-custodial parent’s role, or their involvement in the case; 
  8. Documents safety issues that affect the SSW’s ability to engage the non-custodial parent. 

 

Practice Guidance

Ongoing Contact with the Child

  • The SSW may utilize the Caseworker Visit Template during the face to face contact with the child. 

Ongoing Contact with the Family

  • Ideally, the SSW makes face to face contact with parents, in their residences, at a minimum of once per calendar month.  However, the appropriate frequency of visit is guided by the case specific circumstances.  When the overall pattern of face to face visits is not monthly (once per calendar month), the SSW enters an explanation for the pattern of contact into the next case plan evaluation/ongoing assessment.
  • In addition to face to face contact, the SSW may utilize telephone, mail or email; however, the case specific circumstances should guide the overall pattern of contact within the case.
  • The burden is on the SSW to document a pattern of visits with the children and parents that will appropriately demonstrate reasonable efforts to keep children in their own homes, reunify children who have been removed from their homes, or finalize an appropriate permanency plan for children.
  • Workers are not required to execute visits to parents if there is a no contact order prohibiting contact, or if a judge has granted a waiver of efforts in the case.  Workers will document the issuance of such orders in their ongoing assessment until the no contact order is lifted, or until case closure.
  • A worker is prohibited from documenting that a face to face contact occurred, unless an actual face to face visit was completed by department personnel or personnel contracted to make a visit.  An entry reflecting a face to face contact when none actually occurred is considered falsification of records, and is an ethical violation (refer to chapter 2.1 Employee Conduct in the Personnel Procedures Handbook).

 

 

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