Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Mississippi

Date: April 2018

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Code of Miss. Rules, 18-006-104, Part VII, Sec. B

The case plan for each child is developed within 30 calendar days from the date of removal from the home. Within 30 calendar days of a child's entrance into foster care, the Division of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) caseworker shall convene a family team to develop service plans and visiting plans for both the child and the parents with the participation of all team meeting participants. The family service plan is developed and submitted to the supervisor within 30 calendar days of the custody date, unless the court determines otherwise.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Code of Miss. Rules, 18-006-104, Part VII, Sec. B

Family engagement is an ongoing process of involving the family from the initial investigation throughout the life of the case. The caseworker must engage the family, extended family members, and formal and informal support networks through family team meetings to help them make a permanent plan for the child. The family should be considered as the experts of their situation and should identify the problems and solutions to these problems with the assistance of the caseworker and their formal and informal support systems. The caseworker will work with the family to develop an adult and child individualized service plan, listing tasks and goals needing achievement to facilitate the permanent plan.

The case plan for each child is developed jointly with the parent or guardian of the child.

The family team meeting includes the caseworker, the caseworker's direct supervisor, the foster caregiver (if applicable), the child's parent or guardian, other family members (if appropriate), and the child, unless there is justification for excluding the child from the planning process.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Code of Miss. Rules, 18-006-104, Part VII, Sec. B

The case plan for each child:

  • Includes a description of the services offered and provided to prevent removal of the child from the home and to reunify the family
  • Includes a description of the type of home or institution in which the child is placed
  • Includes a discussion of the safety and appropriateness of the placement
  • Includes a plan for ensuring that the child receives safe and proper care and that services are provided to the parents, child, and foster parents in order to facilitate the child's return home or for permanent placement
  • Includes a plan for ensuring that appropriate services are provided to the child and foster parents in order to address the needs of the child while in foster care
  • When appropriate for a child age 16 or older, includes a written description of the programs and services to help the child prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living
  • In the 90-day period immediately prior to the child's 18th birthday, addresses the assistance and support needed in developing a transition plan that is personalized and includes specific options on housing, health insurance, education, local opportunities for mentors and continuing support services, and work force supports and employment services
  • Includes information about the importance of designating another individual to make health-care treatment decisions on behalf of the child if the child becomes unable to participate in such decisions, and the child does not have, or does not want, a relative who would otherwise be authorized under State/Tribal law to make such decisions
  • Provides the child with the option to execute a health-care power-of-attorney, health-care proxy, or other similar document recognized under State/Tribal law
  • Documents the steps to finalize a placement when the case plan goal is or becomes adoption or placement in another permanent home

When the case plan goal is adoption, at a minimum the documentation shall include child-specific recruitment efforts such as the use of Tribal, State, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, to facilitate orderly and timely placements.

The family service plan (FSP) should be individualized, strengths based, family focused, and culturally responsive. In a case in which the child in custody has a permanent plan of reunification, an FSP between the caseworker and the parents, caregivers, and child is required. The FSP should be used as a means of facilitating the child's return home.

The parents will have a 6-month period in which to complete the tasks in the FSP. At the end of 6 months, the court may direct DFCS to (1) continue to work with the parents for return of the child to their home, (2) begin procedures to terminate parental rights, or (3) pursue another permanency plan.

Each FSP and revision of the plans shall include the following:

  • Service goals, desired outcomes, and timeframes for achieving them
  • Service and supports to be provided, and by whom
  • The signatures of the parents, with whom reunification is planned, and, when appropriate, the child or youth
  • Unmet services and support needs that impact safety, permanency, and well-being
  • Efforts to maintain and strengthen relationships
  • Educational needs and goals
  • The need for culturally responsive services and the support of the family's informal social network

The goals and tasks set forth within the FSP shall be a direct reflection of the decisions made within the family team meeting.