Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Nebraska

Date: April 2018

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 43-1312; Admin. Code Tit. 390, §§ 5-004.02; 02A

Following the investigation conducted pursuant to § 43-1311 and immediately following the initial placement of the child, a safe and appropriate plan shall be established for the child.

In regulation: A written case plan will be developed following the assessment of the family or child's needs. Case plan evaluation and revision will then occur at least every 6 months. A written court report incorporating the elements of the case plan will be submitted to the court at least 3 days before, or as dictated by local court protocol, the initial dispositional hearing or any subsequent review hearing.

When a child is placed in the custody of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Federal regulations require that a case plan be developed within 60 days of the date of placement. When there is insufficient time to develop a case plan within this time frame for the child welfare cases, the safety plan will serve as the case plan.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 43-1312; 43-285; Admin. Code Tit. 390, § 5-004.02B

The person or court in charge of the child shall cause to be established a safe and appropriate plan for the child.

Effective July 19, 2018: The department shall provide opportunities for the child, in an age or developmentally appropriate manner, to be consulted in the development of his or her plan, as provided in the Nebraska Strengthening Families Act.

In regulation: Case planning is the responsibility of the caseworker with the active involvement of the child and family and the members of the team supporting services to the family.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 43-1312; 43-285; Admin. Code Tit. 390, §§ 5-004.02B; .02D

The plan shall contain at least the following:

  • The purpose for which the child has been placed in foster care
  • The estimated length of time necessary to achieve the purposes of the foster care placement
  • A description of the services to be provided in order to accomplish the purposes of the foster care placement
  • The person or persons who are directly responsible for the implementation of such plan
  • A complete record of the previous placements of the foster child
  • The name of the school the child shall attend, as provided in § 43-1311
  • The efforts made to involve and engage the child in the development of the plan

In the case of any child age 16 or older for whom another planned permanent living arrangement is the recommended or court-approved permanency plan, the following is required:

  • The permanency plan shall include the identification of significant, supportive connections with identified adults willing to be consistently involved in the child's life as the child transitions to adulthood.
  • The department shall document the intensive, ongoing, and, as of the date of the hearing, unsuccessful efforts made by the department to return the child home or secure a placement for the child with a fit and willing relative, a legal guardian, or an adoptive parent.

Effective July 19, 2018: The department shall include in the plan for a child who is age 14 or older a written independent living transition proposal that meets the requirements of § 43-1311.03 and, for eligible children, the Young Adult Bridge to Independence Act. The juvenile court shall provide a copy of the plan to all interested parties before the hearing. The court may approve the plan, modify the plan, order that an alternative plan be developed, or implement another plan that is in the child's best interests. In its order the court shall include a finding regarding the appropriateness of the programs and services described in the proposal designed to help the child prepare for the transition from foster care to a successful adulthood. The court shall also ask the child, in an age or developmentally appropriate manner, if he or she participated in the development of his or her plan and make a finding regarding the child's participation in the development of his or her plan.

In regulation: The case planning process will:

  • Focus on the problems identified in the assessment of the family and youth
  • Identify a permanency objective
  • Establish and prioritize goals
  • Identify the action steps needed to reunite the family or to prevent out-of-home placement
  • Use the family's resources
  • Build upon the family's and child's strengths
  • Develop or maintain family responsibility
  • Identify who is responsible for tasks
  • Establish timeframes for achieving case goals, projected discharge, and case closure
  • Establish an evaluation process to assess whether outcomes are being achieved

Department staff will use Tribal social services whenever possible when working with Native American parents and children. Case planning and service provision will be based upon the social and cultural standards of the Tribe. Active efforts will be made to provide culturally relevant remedial and rehabilitative services to prevent the breakup of the family and to reunify the family.