Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - District of Columbia

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When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Ann. Code § 4-1301.09

If there is a substantiated report, the agency responsible for the social investigation shall, as soon as possible, prepare a plan for each child and family for whom services are required on more than an emergency basis and shall take steps to ensure the protection of the child and the preservation, rehabilitation, and, when safe and appropriate, reunification of the family.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Ann. Code § 4-1301.02

The Child and Family Services Agency is responsible for preparing the case plan.

With respect to a child who has reached age 14, the plan, and any revision or addition to the plan, shall be developed in consultation with the child and, at the option of the child, with up to two members of the case-planning team who are chosen by the child and who are not the child's foster parent or caseworker. The agency may reject an individual selected by a child to be a member of the case-planning team at any time if the agency has good cause to believe that the individual would not act in the best interests of the child. One individual selected by a child to be a member of the child's case-planning team may be designated to be the child's advisor and, as necessary, advocate, with respect to the application of the reasonable and prudent parent standard to the child.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Ann. Code § 4-1301.02

The case plan is a written document that includes at least the following:

  • A description of the type of home or institution in which the child is to be placed, including a discussion of the safety and appropriateness of the placement and how the agency that is responsible for the child plans to carry out the voluntary placement agreement or judicial determination made with respect to the child
  • A plan for ensuring that the child receives safe and proper care and that services are available to the parents, child, and foster parents in order to improve conditions in the parents' home, facilitate return of the child to his or her own safe home or to the child's permanent placement, and address the child's needs while a committed child, including the appropriateness of services provided to the child under the plan
  • To the extent available and accessible, the child's health and education records
  • Where appropriate, for a child age 14 or older, a written description of the programs and services that will help the child prepare for the transition from being a committed child to independent living
  • If the child's permanent plan is adoption or placement in another permanent home, documentation of the steps (including child-specific recruitment efforts) taken to accomplish the following:
    • Find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangement, such as with a legal custodian, with a kinship caregiver, or in independent living
    • Place the child with an adoptive family, a kinship caregiver, a legal custodian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement
    • Finalize the adoption or legal custody or guardianship
  • In the case of a child for whom the permanency plan is placement with a relative and receipt of kinship guardianship assistance payments under § 16-2399, a description of:
    • The steps taken to determine that it is not appropriate for the child to be returned home or adopted
    • The reasons for any separation of siblings during placement
    • The reasons a permanent placement with a fit and willing relative through a kinship guardianship assistance arrangement is in the child's best interests
    • The ways in which the child meets the eligibility requirements for a kinship guardianship assistance payment
    • The efforts made to discuss adoption by the child's relative foster parent as a more permanent alternative to legal guardianship and, in the case of a relative foster parent who has chosen not to pursue adoption, documentation of the reasons for that decision
    • The efforts made to discuss with the child's parent the kinship guardianship assistance arrangement, or the reasons the efforts were not made
  • A plan for ensuring the educational stability of the child while in foster care, including the following:
    • Assurances that the placement of the child in foster care takes into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement
    • An assurance that the agency has coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement or, if remaining in the same school is not in the child's best interests, assurances by the agency and the local educational agencies to provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school, with all of the educational records of the child provided to the new school
    • If remaining in the school the child is enrolled in at the time of placement is not in the best interests of the child, assurances by the agency and the local educational agencies to provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school, with all of the educational records of the child provided to the new school