Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Rhode Island

Date: April 2018

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Gen. Laws § 42-72-10; Code of Rules 03-007-001, Policy 700.0075

A written service plan for care and treatment shall be prepared for each child under the supervision of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families.

In regulation: A written service plan is required for the care and treatment of each child under the department's supervision. The service plan must be submitted within 30 days when there is a court finding of dependency, neglect, or abuse on a petition filed by the department.

Subsequent service plans are completed by the assigned primary service worker at 6-month intervals or within 30 days of a change in the permanency goal.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Code of Rules 03-007-001, Policy 700.0075

The primary service worker will obtain signatures on the service plan to confirm that all parties participated in the development, review, and revision of the plan and were provided the opportunity to agree or disagree with the content. The following individuals must sign the service plan:

  • Parents or guardians
  • Children age 12 or older (with capacity to participate)
  • Primary service workers and supervisors
  • Foster parents or provider agency representatives who are involved in the development of the service plan and are directly responsible to provide the services prescribed in the plan
  • Department staff persons, other than the primary service worker, who are involved with the family
  • Preadoptive parents in cases in which parental rights have been terminated and the child is in a preadoptive home in which the foster parents have initiated the adoption process

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Gen. Laws § 42-72-10; Code of Rules 03-007-001, Policy 700.0075

The service plan shall include, but not be limited to, a statement of the needs of each child and the proposed treatment and placement. If the plan is adoption or placement in another permanent home, the plan shall include documentation of the steps the department is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent placement and to finalize permanency.

In regulation: A written service plan is required for the care and treatment of each child under the department's supervision. The plan for the child must include information to determine the appropriateness of out-of-home placement. In addition, the State must make reasonable efforts to place siblings removed from their home in the same foster care, adoption, or guardianship placement or facilitate visits or ongoing contacts with those that cannot be placed together, unless it is contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings. The plan must include the following:

  • A plan for ensuring that the child receives safe and proper care and that appropriate services are provided
  • To the extent available and accessible, the child's health and education records
  • When appropriate, for a child age 16 or older, a written description of the program and services that will help prepare the youth for the transition toward a self-sufficiency
  • In the case of a child with respect to whom the permanency plan is adoption, guardianship, or another planned permanent living arrangement, documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangement

The service plan is time limited, individualized, strengths based, and addresses the following:

  • How the family will mobilize their strengths and protective capacities to mitigate behaviors that contributed to child maltreatment
  • The behavior changes needed to ensure the child's safety, permanency, and well-being
  • Action steps that will assist the family to reach the behavior change goal

Each plan includes an educational/medical statement that contains information that must be provided to the foster care provider when a child enters placement. Required information includes the following:

  • Names and addresses of health and educational providers
  • Grade-level performance
  • School records
  • A plan for educational stability, as follows:
    • Assurances that the child's placement takes into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement
    • Assurances that the department has coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies to allow the child to remain in the same school or, if remaining in that school is not in the child's best interests, assurances that the department and the local educational agencies provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school
  • Records of the child's immunizations, known medical problems, and medications
  • Any other relevant health and education information concerning the child

Each plan includes a permanency goal specific to the family's situation, including a projected date for achieving the identified permanency goal. For a child remaining at home, the permanency goal is maintenance of the child at home. For a child in placement, the initial permanency goal is reunification in nearly all situations with specific exceptions, as approved by the court.

For each child age 16 or older, where appropriate, the service plan must include a written description of the programs and services that will help the youth prepare for the transition from foster care to independence. The plan must address the following:

  • Housing
  • Financial support
  • Health care
  • Education and vocation planning
  • Procurement of necessary documents and a credit report
  • Personal community support systems