Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Maryland

Date: April 2018

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Code of Md. Reg. §

Within 60 days after placement, a written case plan shall be developed for each child in out-of-home placement.

The case plan shall be reassessed within 120 days of the initial plan and every 180 days after that. The local department shall amend the case plan, as necessary, in light of the child's situation and of any court orders that affect the child.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Code of Md. Reg. §

The local department, together with the child's parent or legal guardian, shall develop the written case plan for each child in out-of-home placement. .

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Code of Md. Reg. §

The case plan shall:

  • Describe the circumstances that make placement necessary
  • State with whom the child was living before placement and their relationship to the child
  • Describe the efforts that were made but were unsuccessful in preventing or eliminating the need for removal from the child's home, including the consideration of both in-State and out-of-State placement options, or why such efforts were not possible

The local department shall:

  • Identify and develop a concurrent permanency plan, as appropriate
  • Prioritize permanency plan options using the following order of preference:
    • Reunification with the parent or legal guardian
    • Placement with a relative for adoption or custody and guardianship
    • Adoption by a nonrelative
    • Guardianship by a nonrelative
    • Another planned permanent living arrangement
  • Project the date when the concurrent permanency plans shall be achieved
  • Describe the specific service and behavioral objectives that shall be achieved before the return of the child to the parents if one of the concurrent permanency plans is reunification
  • Identify the services to be provided to the parents and the child in order to achieve the permanency goals
  • Include consideration of the least restrictive setting appropriate to the child's safety and care needs, and when determining a permanency plan, consider the following in descending order of priority:
    • The local jurisdiction where the child's parent resides
    • Placement in another jurisdiction in the State, based on a compelling reason that it is in the child's best interests because of the following reasons:
      • The child has strong ties to family, a placement resource, or other community resources in another jurisdiction in the State.
      • Necessary specialized services are not available to the child in the local jurisdiction but are available in another jurisdiction in the State.
      • There are no placements available in the jurisdiction to meet the individualized special placement needs of the child.
  • Describe the type of home or institution in which the child has been or is to be placed and discuss the safety and appropriateness of the placement
  • Discuss how the local department plans to carry out specific court orders, if any, pertaining to the child
  • Include a plan for ensuring that the child receives safe and appropriate care
  • Include a plan for working to ensure that services are provided to the child, parents, and resource parents to improve the conditions in the parents' home and to facilitate the child's return to his or her own safe home or other safe and appropriate permanent placement
  • Include a plan for working to ensure that services are provided to the child and foster parents to address the needs of the child while in foster care
  • Discuss the appropriateness of the services that have been provided to the child
  • For a child age 14 or older, include a written description of the life skills training that will help the child prepare for independent living
  • To the extent available and accessible, include the most recent health and education records of the child, including the following:
    • The names and addresses of the child's health and educational providers
    • The child's grade-level performance
    • The child's school record
    • Assurances that the child's placement in out-of-home 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
    • A record of the child's immunizations, known medical problems, and medications
    • Any other relevant health and education information