Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Illinois

Date: April 2018

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 705 § 405/2-10.1; Admin. Code Tit. 89, §§ 315.80; 315.130

Whenever a minor is placed in shelter care with the Department of Children and Family Services or a licensed child welfare agency, the department or agency, as appropriate, shall prepare and file with the court, within 45 days of placement, a case plan that complies with the Federal Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 and is consistent with the health, safety, and best interests of the minor.

In regulation: The permanency-planning process begins when the first contact is made with the child and family. The permanency-planning process continues until the health and safety of the child are ensured and department-funded services terminated.

Service plans are required by State and Federal law regardless of whether the child and family are served directly by the department or through purchase of service providers. The service plan must ensure that the health and safety of the child are the paramount concerns that guide all service, placement, and planning provisions. The initial service plan shall be completed and forwarded to the juvenile court no later than 45 days after placement and must be reviewed at least once every 6 months thereafter.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 315.130

Based on the information gathered during the assessment process described in § 315.100 and through negotiation during the caseworker's contacts, visits, and at the initial family meeting, the caseworker and family shall develop a plan of intervention that is based on the family's strengths and needs and that addresses how the children's needs for health and safety will be met.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 315.130

Service plans shall contain the following information:

  • The names of the children for whom the department is providing services
  • The health and safety factors that have resulted in placement of the children away from the family home and the problems that are causing continued placement
  • The outcomes that would be considered a resolution to these problems and the strengths the family possesses to achieve those outcomes
  • The reasons the child has been put in his or her current placement; the resources that will be necessary to maintain the placement; and, where a residential placement has been deemed necessary, a description of how and when a plan for moving the child to the least restrictive, most homelike placement can be developed
  • The services to be provided to the parents, to each child while in care, and to the foster parents, if necessary, when the child is in foster care that may best resolve the problems
  • The health care to be provided to the child and the mental health care to be provided to address the child's serious mental health needs as well as a description of the child's physical, developmental, educational, or mental disability and any noneducational specialized services the child is receiving or should receive for each disability
  • To the extent available and accessible, the health records of the child
  • A description of the educational program/services the child is receiving or needs to receive
  • To the extent available and accessible, the education records of the child
  • Who will provide the services, how often they will be provided, and an explanation of why these services will meet the needs of the child
  • If the child is placed more than 150 miles from the home of the parents or in a different State, the reasons why the placement is in the best interests of the child
  • If the child is placed in a different State, a requirement that the child be visited no less frequently than every 6 months by a caseworker of the department or of the State in which the child has been placed and that the caseworker submit a report on the visit to the department
  • If siblings are placed apart from one another, the reasons why they are placed apart and what efforts are being made to find a joint placement for the sibling group
  • The permanency goal for each child and the reason for selecting the goal
  • In the case of a child for whom the permanency plan is adoption or other permanent living arrangement, documentation of the steps the department is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangement
  • In the case of a child for whom the permanency plan is independence or for a child age 16 or older, as appropriate, a written description of the programs and services that will help such a child prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living
  • The responsibilities of the family and the child (when appropriate) in fulfilling the service plan
  • The responsibilities of the department and service providers to assist the family in fulfilling the service plan
  • When children and families are separated, the parent-child and/or sibling visiting plan developed with the family, including the time, frequency, and length of visits and who shall be present at the visits
  • The timeframes for achieving the permanency goal, the objectives identified to resolve problems, and the consequences to the child and family if the timeframes are not met
  • A statement that the parents or children may disagree with the service plan and that they may have their disagreement recorded
  • An explanation of how parents or children may request an appeal and fair hearing