Active participation by family members is desired, needed and valued in all aspects of an out of home care case. To the extent possible the SSW engages both maternal and paternal family members equally in the assessment and case planning process from the first point of intervention.
It is important to demonstrate sensitivity and empathy to the crisis that family members may be experiencing, especially if they are separated from their child(ren).
The involvement of all parents in the lives of their children, even when there is domestic violence present, is important for attachment and bonding. All parents have a right and responsibility to be involved in their children’s lives, always considering the safety of the child(ren) and the non-offending parent.
- Contacts the biological father/mother or conducts an absent parent and relative search on all identified fathers and relatives within thirty (30) calendar days;1
- Documents efforts in TWIST (to generate an Absent Parent Form) and utilizes the Absent Parent and Relative Search Handbook to assist in completing searches;
- Identifies and explores placement of the child with available relatives, if known (both maternal and paternal); otherwise follows the same procedures outlined in the absent parent search in locating family members;
- Engages the father/mother and/or family members to solicit involvement in permanency planning for the child;
- Conducts case planning and provide needed/requested services;
- Includes the father/mother in a regular visitation schedule that promotes and maintains attachment unless the following exists:
- Parental rights have been terminated; or
- Participation would be contrary to the best interest of the child.
- The Cabinet is required to offer needed services to both parents. Failure to provide services to the absent parent may significantly impact timely permanency.
- Recognize that family members may be new participants in the child welfare and court system. Take the time to explain how these systems work and answer any questions asked by the family. Ensure the family understands that events can occur at certain timelines during the life of the case, (i.e., filing of termination petition at fifteen (15) months of child being in foster care).
- Respect the pace at which the family moves. Intervention is traumatic and the family may need time to process what is happening. Don't rush discussion and be sure to convey the importance of each contact.
- Recognize the value of the family members and value their expertise on the family history.
The SSW promotes:
- Parent and child attachment through frequent visitation and other forms of regular contact; and
- Efforts to maintain attachment of the child to other significant family members that are involved in the life of the child, to include biological father or paternal family members.