Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Iowa

Date: April 2018

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.2; Admin. Code 441-202.15(234)

A case permanency plan, as required by Federal law, is designed to achieve placement in the most appropriate, least restrictive, and most familylike setting available and in close proximity to the parent's home, consistent with the best interests and special needs of the child, and that considers the placement's proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.

In regulation: The department worker shall ensure that a case permanency plan is developed for each child who is placed in foster care if the department has agreed to provide foster care through a voluntary placement agreement, if a court has transferred custody or guardianship to the department for the purpose of foster care, or if a court has placed the child in foster care and ordered the department to supervise the placement.

In all cases, the case permanency plan shall be completed within 60 days of the date the child entered foster care.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.2; Admin. Code 441-202.15(234)

The plan shall be developed by the Department of Human Services or the agency involved and the child's parent, guardian, or custodian. If the child is age 14 or older, the plan shall be developed in consultation with the child and, at the option of the child, with up to two persons chosen by the child to be members of the child's case-planning team, if such persons are not the child's foster parent or caseworker. The department may reject a person selected by a child to be a member of the child's case-planning team at any time if the department has good cause to believe that the person would not act in the best interests of the child. One person selected by a child to be a member of the child's case-planning team may be designated to be the child's advisor or, if necessary, the child's advocate with respect to the application of the reasonable and prudent parent standard.

In regulation: The department worker shall develop the case permanency plan with the child's parents, unless the child's parents are unwilling to participate in the plan's development, and with the child, unless the child is unable or unwilling to participate.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.2

The plan shall specifically include all of the following:

  • Plans for carrying out the voluntary placement agreement or judicial determination that placed the child in care
  • The type and appropriateness of the placement and services
  • The care and services that will be provided to the child, birth parents, and foster parents
  • How the care and services will meet the needs of the child while in care and will facilitate the child's return home or other permanent placement
  • The most recent information available regarding the child's health and education records
  • When a child is age 14 or older, a written transition plan of services that, based upon an assessment of the child's needs, would assist the child in preparing for the transition from foster care to adulthood
  • The actions expected of the parent, guardian, or custodian in order for the department or agency to end its involvement with the child and the child's family
  • If reasonable efforts to place a child for adoption or with a guardian are made concurrently with reasonable efforts to reunify, identification of the concurrent goals and timelines
  • A provision that a designee of the department or other person responsible for placement of a child out of State shall visit the child at least once every 6 months
  • If it has been determined that the child cannot return to the child's home, documentation of the steps taken to make and finalize an adoption or other permanent placement
  • Information on the child's personal history, especially if it is known that the child has behaved in a manner that threatened the safety of another person, has committed a violent act causing bodily injury to another person, or has been a victim or perpetrator of sexual abuse
  • The provisions involving sibling visits or interaction
  • Documentation of the educational stability of the child while in foster care, including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Evidence there was an evaluation of the appropriateness of the child's educational setting while in placement and of the setting's proximity to the educational setting in which the child was enrolled at the time of placement
    • An assurance either that the department coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies to identify how the child could remain in the same educational setting or, if it was determined it was not in the child's best interests to remain in that setting, that the affected educational agencies would immediately and appropriately enroll the child in another educational setting during the child's placement and ensure that the child's educational records were provided for use in the new educational setting
  • Any issues relating to the application of the reasonable and prudent parent standard and the child's participation in age or developmentally appropriate activities while in foster care

For a child who is age 16 or older, the transition plan and needs assessment shall be developed with a focus on the services, other support, and actions necessary to facilitate the child's successful entry into adulthood. The transition plan shall be personalized at the direction of the child and shall be developed with the child present, honoring the goals and concerns of the child, and shall address the following areas of need:

  • Education
  • Employment services and other workforce support
  • Health and health-care coverage
  • Housing
  • Relationships, including local opportunities to have a mentor
  • If the needs assessment indicates the child is reasonably likely to need or be eligible for services or other support from the adult service system upon reaching age 18, provision for the child's application for adult services