Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Georgia

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When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Ann. Code § 15-11-201; Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.07

A case plan shall be designed to achieve placement in the most appropriate, least restrictive, and most familylike setting available and in close proximity to the child's parent's home, consistent with the best interests and special needs of the child, and shall consider the placement's proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.

In regulation: A plan of care, or case plan, for the foster child and the foster family shall be developed within 30 days from the date of placement. The case plan shall be reevaluated for appropriateness in a case review conference at least every 6 months.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Ann. Code § 15-11-201; Rules & Regs. r. 290-9-2-.07

A case plan shall be developed by Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child and, when appropriate, the child.

The case plan for each child in foster care who has reached age 14 shall be developed and revised in consultation with the child and, at the option of the child, 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. DFCS may reject an individual selected by a child to be a member of the case-planning team at any time if DFCS has good cause to believe that the individual would not act in the best interests of the child. One such member 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.

In regulation: In developing the plan, the involvement of the child, foster parent, agency representative, and, when appropriate, the legal custody holder, shall be documented in the case plan.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Ann. Code § 15-11-201

A case plan shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

  • A description of the circumstances that resulted in such child being placed in foster care
  • An assessment of the strengths and needs of the child and family and the type of placement best equipped to meet those needs
  • Specific time-limited goals and related activities designed to enable the child's safe return home, or, if return home is not possible, activities designed to result in permanent placement
  • Assignment of specific responsibility for accomplishing the planned activities
  • The projected date of completion of the case plan objectives and when time-limited services will be terminated
  • A schedule of visits between the child and his or her siblings and other appropriate family members or an explanation if no visits are planned
  • When the placement is either a substantial distance from the home of the child's parent, or out of State, why the placement is the most appropriate and is in the best interests of the child
  • If applicable, a statement of the reasonable efforts made toward the following:
    • To place siblings removed from their home in the same foster care, kinship care, guardianship, or adoptive placement, unless such a joint placement would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings
    • In the case of siblings removed from their home who are not jointly placed, for frequent visits or other ongoing interaction between the siblings
  • Provisions ensuring the educational stability of such child while in foster care, including the following:
    • An assurance 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 such child is enrolled at the time of placement
    • An assurance that DFCS has coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that such child remains in his or her current school
    • If remaining in such school is not in the best interests of the child, an assurance that DFCS and the local educational agencies have cooperated to ensure the immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school, with all of the educational records of the child provided to the new school
  • The child's health and education records and information
  • A recommendation for a permanency plan for such child that may include the following options:
    • Reunification
    • Adoptive placement
    • Permanent guardianship
    • Placement with a fit and willing relative
    • Another planned permanent living arrangement for a child who has reached age 16

The case plan for each child in foster care who has reached age 14 shall include the following:

  • A document describing the rights of the child with respect to education, health, visitation, and court participation; the right to be provided with a consumer report; and the right to stay safe and avoid exploitation
  • A signed acknowledgment by the child that the child has been provided with a copy of the document above and that the rights contained in the document have been explained to the child in an age-appropriate way
  • A written description of the programs and services that will help him or her prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living