Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Colorado

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When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-209; Code of Regs. 12 CCR 2509-4 (7.301.21)

An individual case plan, developed with the input or participation of the family, is required to be in place for all abused and neglected children and the families of such children in each case that is opened for the provision of services beyond the investigation of the report of child abuse or neglect, regardless of whether the child or children involved are placed out of the home or under court supervision.

In regulation: The Family Service Plan document must be completed:

  • Within 60 calendar days of opening an assessment in the automated case management system for children in their own homes, including Core Services program cases in which the children are not in out-of-home placement. There may be one Family Services Plan for the family in these cases.
  • Within 60 calendar days of opening an assessment in the automated case management system for children in out-of-home placement, including those cases in which the children are receiving Core Services. There may be one Family Services Plan for the family; however, discrete sections in the treatment plan and in the placement information are required for each child in placement.
  • For children age 14 and older in out-of-home placement, the plan for transition to independent living/emancipation shall be completed within 60 calendar days of the child's 14th birthday or of case opening.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-3-209; Code of Regs. 12 CCR 2509-4 (7.301.22)

The family may participate in the development of the individual case plan.

In regulation: The county shall ensure that the following parties participate in the development of the Family Services Plan and engagement activities:

  • The caseworker
  • The parents or legal guardians
  • The child
  • Immediate and extended family members, as appropriate to the family and child's service needs
  • Service providers, including kin caregivers, out-of-home caregivers, and in-home providers

In addition to all parties being encouraged to sign the plan, all parties shall be engaged in activities that indicate involvement in service planning, including, but not limited to, any of the following:

  • Family engagement meetings
  • Ongoing contacts, which could include, but are not limited to, face-to-face contact, visits, email, texts, technology with face-to-face capacity, emerging technology, or through signature on the Family Services Plan

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Code of Regs. 12 CCR 2509-4 (7.301.23; 7.301.24; 7.301.241)

The Family Services Plan shall document that the services provided:

  • Are directed at the areas of need identified in the assessment
  • Are designed to ensure that the child receives safe and proper care
  • Are culturally and ethnically appropriate, including, but not limited to, consideration of the child's family, community, neighborhood, faith or religious beliefs, school activities, friends, and primary language

For children in out-of-home placement, the plan shall document:

  • That the child meets out-of-home placement criteria
  • That when the child is part of a sibling group and the sibling group is being placed out of the home, it shall be presumed that placing the siblings together is in the best interests of the children
  • The problems to be resolved in order to facilitate reunification of the child and family
  • A description of the type of facility in which the child is placed and why the placement is appropriate and safe for the child
  • For children placed a substantial distance from the home of the parents or an out-of-State placement, how the placement meets the best interests of the child
  • A description of how the home is in reasonable proximity to the home of the parents or relatives and to the school the child has attended, including requirements regarding planning for educational stability
  • That the placement is the least restrictive, safe, and most appropriate setting available, consistent with the best interests and specific needs of the child
  • Documentation of initial and ongoing efforts to place the child with kin
  • Health and educational information
  • Specific plans for how the county will carry out any court orders concerning the child
  • A description of the services and resources needed by the foster parents or kinship providers to meet the needs of the child and how those services and resources will be provided
  • A description of the services provided to reunite the family, including the plan for visits, or to accomplish another permanency goal
  • For youth under age 14, a description of services and a plan for accomplishing tasks to prepare youth to be age-appropriately self-sufficient, when independent living services are provided
  • For youth age 14 and older, a description of services and a plan for accomplishing tasks to assist the youth in preparation for self-sufficiency and independent living, as early in placement as possible but no later than 60 days after the youth's 14th birthday
  • That reasonable efforts have been made to maintain the child in the home, prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from home, or make it possible for the child to return home
  • The specified permanency goal for the child, based on the individual needs and best interests of the child, including one of the following:
    • Remain home
    • Return home
    • Permanent placement with a relative through adoption
    • Permanent placement with a relative through legal guardianship or permanent custody
    • Adoption by a nonrelative
    • Legal guardianship/permanent custody with a nonrelative
    • Return home through reinstatement of parental rights
    • Other planned permanent living arrangement through emancipation, relative long term-foster care, or nonrelative long-term foster care

County departments shall coordinate with local school districts to ensure there is a plan for educational stability. The family services plan shall document the following:

  • Efforts to maintain the child in the same school attended prior to the out-of-home placement
  • If remaining in the same school is not in the child's best interests, efforts to enroll the child in a new school, including timely transfer of the educational records