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

Date: April 2018

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Perm. Plan. Pol. Man. § 624-05-15-50

Each child in foster care is required by Federal law to have a case plan which must be a written document and a discrete part of the case record. The initial case plan must be developed within 30 days of entry into foster care.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Admin. Code § 75-03-14-06; Perm. Plan. Pol. Man. §§ 624-05-15-50; 624-05-15-20-08

Every county social service board must have a county permanency-planning child and family team. The supervising agency must invite the child's parents, the foster parents, and the guardian ad litem to participate in the permanency-planning meeting for the foster child, unless good cause exists to exclude any person from the planning meeting.

The foster parents shall participate in the permanency-planning child and family team for the child. The foster parents shall cooperate in carrying out the objectives and goals of the permanency plan for the foster child in their care.

In policy: A foster child who has reached age 14 must be given the opportunity to participate in the development and revision of their individualized permanency plan. The child must be allowed to personally invite two additional members of the child's choosing to join the child and family team who are not the child's foster parents or case manager. Custodians may reject an individual selected by a child to be a member of the team at any time if there is good cause to believe that the individual would not act in the best interests of the child. One individual selected by the child to be a member of the child's team may be designated to be the child's advisor and, as necessary, advocate with respect to the application of the reasonable and prudent parent standard to the child.

Child and family team members may include the following persons:

  • Parents, foster parents, and custodians
  • The regional foster care supervisor
  • The county social service board director
  • Treatment providers
  • The juvenile court supervisor or other court representative
  • Tribal Government personnel, when appropriate
  • The case manager
  • The foster child, when appropriate

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Perm. Plan. Pol. Man. § 624-05-15-50

The child's case plan must include the following:

  • A description of services offered and provided to prevent removal of the child from the home and to reunify the family
  • A description of the type of home or institution in which the child will be placed
  • A discussion of safety and appropriateness of the placement, how the responsible agency plans to carry out court requirements (i.e., reasonable efforts)
  • The services provided to the parents, child, and foster parents in order to improve conditions in parents' home, facilitate return of the child to their own safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and address the needs of the child while in foster care
  • The plan for visits between the parents, siblings, and the foster child
  • Assurances that the child receives safe and proper care
  • The most recent information available regarding the child's health and education records
  • A discussion of how the plan is designed to achieve a safe placement for the child in the least restrictive, most familylike setting available and in close proximity to the home of the parents when the case goal is reunification
  • An explanation (if applicable) of why a placement that is a substantial distance from the home of the parents, in a different State, or outside of the Tribal service area is in the best interests of the child
  • Assurances that the child's placement in foster care takes into account proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement, including the following:
    • Assurances that a school-age child in foster care is enrolled as a student, is in the process of enrolling, or is incapable of attending school on a full-time basis due to the medical condition of the child, and that such information is included in the case plan
    • Assurances that the agency has coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement; or, if remaining in such school is not in the best interests of the child, assurances by the State agency and local educational agencies to provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school, with all of the educational records of the child provided to the school

For a foster child who is age 14 or older, the plan must include a written description of programs and services that will help the child prepare for his or her transition to a successful adulthood. The case manager must assist the child in developing goals to meet his or her independent living needs.

A foster child who has reached age 16 and has been identified as 'likely to age out of foster care' will be considered a Chafee Independent Living Program 'Priority 1' participant. Children age 16 and older are required to be referred to the Chafee Independent Living Program for assistance from the case manager in assessing and addressing the needs for a child's transition to a successful adulthood.