Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Montana

Date:

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Pol. Man. § 402-2

A case plan must be completed within 30 days for a child placed under a voluntary placement agreement and within 60 days for a child placed under a court order.

The plan must be updated or a new plan developed when a child moves to a new placement setting. The case plan also must be updated whenever a change in the permanent plan for the child occurs. At a minimum, the case plan must be updated at least every 6 months.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Pol. Man. § 402-2

The case plan must:

  • Be developed jointly with the parents or guardian of the child
  • Offer parents or guardians the opportunity to participate in the development of the case plan

If the parents or guardians are unwilling or unable to participate in the development of the case plan, the reason for the lack of participation must be noted in the plan.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Pol. Man. § 402-2

The case plan must:

  • Describe the placement setting of the child and the plan for ensuring that the child receives safe and appropriate care in that setting
  • Demonstrate that the child's placement is the least restrictive, most familylike setting available and in close proximity to the home of the parents when the case plan goal is reunification
  • Demonstrate that the placement is in the best interests of the child and that the special needs of the child are being met
  • Describe the services offered and provided to prevent removal of the child from his or her home, the services offered and provided to improve the conditions in the parents' home and facilitate the safe return home of the child, or the permanent placement of the child
  • Describe the services that are being provided to the child and his or her foster parents and why these services are appropriate to address the needs of the child while in foster care
  • Include, when reunification is not possible, documentation of the steps that are being taken to find an adoptive family, a fit and willing relative, a legal guardian, or another planned permanent living arrangement and to finalize the adoption or establish legal guardianship
  • Include the most recent health and education records of the child, including the following:
    • The names and addresses of the child's health providers
    • The child's educational status, including the following:
      • The services already provided and to be provided to the child or out-of-home caregiver to address the child's educational needs
      • Assurances that each placement of the child in foster care takes into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting, the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement, and an assurance that the division has coordinated with the appropriate school officials to ensure that the child remains in the same educational setting
      • If remaining in the current educational setting is not in the child's best interests, document the reasons why moving the child out of the current school district is in his or her best interests and assurances that the division and the local school officials will provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school, with all of the educational records of the child provided to the school
    • A record of the child's immunizations, known medical problems, and medications
    • Any other relevant health and education information concerning the child determined to be appropriate by the State agency
  • For a youth age 16 or older, include the following:
    • A written transitional living plan that describes the programs and services that will help the youth prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living
    • A copy of any consumer credit report on the youth for each year until discharged from foster care and assistance in interpreting the credit report and resolving any inaccuracies
  • In the 90 days immediately prior to youth's 18th birthday, describe efforts made to:
    • Offer the youth assistance and support in development and implementation of a personalized transitional plan, including options such as housing, health insurance, education, mentors, support services, workforce supports, and employment
    • Offer the youth information about the importance of designating another individual to make health-care treatment decisions for him or her if he or she becomes unable to participate in such decisions and he or she does not have, or does not want, a relative who would otherwise be authorized under State law to make such decisions
    • Provide the youth with the option of designing and executing a health-care power-of-attorney, proxy, or similar document