Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - North Carolina

Date:

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Admin. Code, Tit. 10A, § 70G.0504; Pol. Man. § 1201(II)

The Department of Health and Human Services shall develop a written out-of-home family services agreement within 30 days of admission of a child in a family foster home.

In policy: An out-of-home family services agreement is implemented for all families when the child is placed in the custody of a local child welfare agency, whether or not the child is removed from the home. For children in the legal custody of the agency, the agreement shall be completed within 30 days of removal of the child from the home.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Admin. Code, Tit. 10A, § 70G.0504; Pol. Man. § 1201(II)

The out-of-home family services agreement shall be developed in cooperation with the child, parents, guardian or legal custodian, and foster parents when possible.

In policy: For children in the legal custody of the agency, the agreement shall be developed in consultation with any youth who is age 14 or older. The youth may select up to two individuals who are not his or her foster parent or social worker. If the agency has good cause to believe that an individual selected by the youth would not act in the best interests of the youth, it may reject that individual. One of the individuals selected by the youth may be designated to serve as the youth's advisor and as necessary advocate for application of the reasonable and prudent parent standard to the youth.

The social worker is responsible for immediately engaging the family, both maternal and paternal, in the planning process, which is focused on correcting the conditions that caused the department to be involved with the family. Whether or not the child enters custody or placement responsibility, the planning process shall involve the family and children (appropriate to their age and ability) and placement providers.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Admin. Code, Tit. 10A, § 70G.0504; Pol. Man. § 1201(II)

The out-of-home family services agreement shall be based upon an assessment of the needs of the child, parents, or guardian. The agreement shall include goals stated in specific, realistic, and measurable terms and plans that are action oriented, including responsibilities of staff, parents or guardian, other family members, legal custodian, foster parents, and the child. The agreement shall address the following services to be provided or arranged:

  • The plan for visits designed to maintain links with the family
  • The expectations of the family, agency, placement provider, and community members
  • Target dates
  • Expected outcomes

In policy: The out-of-home family services agreement serves as the framework upon which the agency's work with the family and child is based, and the information contained in the agreement serves the following purposes:

  • Ensures attention to critical needs in the family
  • Guides overall planning and service delivery for families and children
  • Provides structure for the involvement of all parents and relatives
  • Documents objectives that parents must meet for reunification and documents behaviorally specific activities necessary to meet objectives
  • Assigns responsibility for activities
  • Documents the level of progress of the family toward reunification
  • Meets the requirements of Federal and State law
  • Reflects relevant components of the plan of safe care for a substance-affected infant

The purpose of the out-of-home family services agreement planning process is:

  • To clarify with the family the reasons for local child welfare agency involvement
  • To focus on the safety and permanency needs of the child
  • To identify resources within the entire family that will help the child achieve a safe, permanent home
  • To involve the family in identifying areas that need improvement
  • To clarify expectations for behavioral change with all persons involved
  • To acknowledge the family's strengths and commitment to their child

The agreement must address the services to be provided or arranged; the visiting plan designed to maintain links with the family; expectations of the family, agency, placement provider, and community members; target dates; and expected outcomes.

The out-of-home family services agreement is used to define the primary permanency plan, identify the family's strengths and needs, set objectives and case activities to assist the family in resolving those issues that place the child at risk, specify consequences if the plan does or does not succeed, and to establish the alternative permanency plan if the primary plan does not succeed.