Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Indiana

Date: April 2018

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-34-15-1; 31-34-15-2

In accordance with Federal law, a case plan is required for each child in need of services who is under the supervision of the Department of Child Services as a result of an out-of-home placement or the issuance of a dispositional decree. The department shall complete a child's case plan no later than 60 days after the date of the child's first placement or the date of a dispositional decree, whichever comes first.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-34-15-2

The department, after negotiating with the child's parent, guardian, or custodian; the child, if the child is at least age 14; and any child representatives selected by the child under § 31-34-15-7 shall complete the child's case plan.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-34-15-4

Effective July 1, 2018: The case plan must include a description and discussion of the following:

  • A permanent plan, or two permanent plans if using concurrent planning, for the child and an estimated date for achieving the goal of the plan or plans
  • The appropriate placement for the child based on the child's special needs and best interests
  • The least restrictive familylike setting that is close to the home of the child's parent, custodian, or guardian if out-of-home placement is recommended
  • Family services recommended for the child, parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Efforts already made to provide family services to the child, parent, guardian, or custodian
  • Efforts that will be made to provide family services that are ordered by the court
  • A plan for ensuring the educational stability of the child while in foster care that includes the following assurances:
    • The placement of the child in foster care considers the appropriateness of the current educational setting of the child and the proximity to the school where the child is presently enrolled.
    • The department has coordinated with local educational agencies to ensure that the child remains his or her current school or is provided with immediate, appropriate enrollment in a different school.
  • Any age-appropriate activities that the child is interested in pursuing
  • For a child in foster care who is at least age 14, the following:
    • A document that describes the rights of the child with respect to:
      • Education, health, visitation, and court participation
      • The right to be provided with the child's medical documents and other medical information
      • The right to stay safe and avoid exploitation
    • A signed acknowledgment by the child that acknowledges receipt of the document described above and that the rights contained in the document have been explained to the child in an age-appropriate manner
  • Any efforts made by the department to enable the child's school to provide appropriate support to and protect the safety of the child, if, in developing the case plan, the department coordinates with officials in the child's school to enable the school to provide appropriate support to and protect the safety of the child

If an out-of-home placement is appropriate, the local office or department shall consider whether a child in need of services should be placed with the child's suitable and willing blood or adoptive relative caretaker, including a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, or an adult sibling, before considering other out-of-home placements for the child.