Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Alaska

Date: April 2018

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: CPS Policy Manual §§ 2.9.1; 2.9.4

Case planning will occur for all families who have an open case (in home or out of home).

Case plans will be created and distributed to all appropriate parties within 60 days of assuming custody. For Family Services cases without custody, case plans will be created and distributed to all appropriate parties within 30 days of opening the case for services or no later than 30 days from the case transfer date.

The agency will develop a case plan for each child who is subject to a family services case, regardless of custody or placement. Case plan development will begin when the case has been transferred from an initial assessment worker to a family services worker, or when the assigned protective services (PS) specialist remains the same but the focus of the work changes from the initial assessment phase to the case planning and service provision phase.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: CPS Policy Manual §§ 2.9.3; 2.9.4

The agency will develop a case plan using the Family Services Assessment (FSA) process for each parent, legal guardian, or Indian custodian who is subject to an open Office of Child Services (OCS) case, with or without custody, in home or out of home.

The agency will work with each parent/guardian/custodian individually in developing his or her own case plan. Each case plan will be written using language that the parent/guardian/custodian can understand and include services they request to meet their identified needs.

In order to develop the case plan for a child, the PS specialist must meet with the child at least one time face to face, or more frequently as the child needs. The PS specialist also must collect information about the child from various other sources to learn enough about the child to form the child's case plan. The child's guardian ad litem and/or court-appointed special advocate and the child's Tribe should be invited to participate in the development of the child's case plan, if appropriate.

The agency will gather information to help create the child€„¢s case plan from each child, using developmentally appropriate strategies; from each parent; from alternate caregivers, when applicable; and from the child's Tribe, when appropriate.

The PS specialist will develop the case plan document after meeting with the child and parents, collecting collateral information, reviewing documents, and completing the trauma screening of the child and parents.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: CPS Policy Manual §§ 2.9.1; 2.9.4

Case planning will encompass the issues of child safety, well-being, permanency, cultural continuity, and Indian Child Welfare Act compliance. Each case plan will have the following components:

  • A primary and secondary permanency goal
  • A description of efforts to prevent out-of-home placement for the child and efforts to involve parents, children, and the Tribe in the case-planning process
  • A description of the safety threats and/or high-risk factors that required OCS to open a case with the family
  • The parent/caregiver's perception regarding the safety and risk factors and his or her understanding of why OCS is involved
  • A description of the parent's strengths related to the way he or she feels, thinks, or acts protectively toward his or her child
  • A description of the behaviorally specific goals established between the parent and PS specialist
  • The activities, tasks, and services that will help the parent achieve his or her case plan goals to enhance protective capacities
  • How OCS will help the parent achieve the goals, who is responsible for what, and reasonable timelines by which to participate in the required services

The child's portion of the case plan will include services to ensure safety, permanency, and well-being and to facilitate the child's permanency goal. This may include mental health services, medical services, early periodic screening, developmental services, educational services, family contact with each parent and with siblings, and cultural continuity. The plan also will include strategies for ensuring the educational stability of the child while in foster care, including:

  • Assurances that the child can remain enrolled in the same school, if possible
  • If remaining in such school is not in the child's best interests, assurances by the agency and the local school district to provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school, with all of the educational records of the child provided to the school