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

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When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 63-7-1670; 63-7-1680

Upon a finding that the child shall remain in the home and that protective services shall continue, a treatment plan must be prepared that is designed to alleviate any danger to the child and to aid the parents so that the child will not be endangered in the future.

If the court orders that a child be removed from the custody of the parent or guardian, the court must approve a placement plan. A plan must be presented to the court for its approval at the removal hearing or within 10 days after the removal hearing. If the plan is presented subsequent to the removal hearing, the court shall hold a hearing on the plan if requested by a party.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 63-7-1670; 63-7-1680

The plan must be prepared by the department. To the extent possible, the plan must be prepared with the participation of the parents or guardian of the child, the child, and any other agency or individual that will be required to provide services in order to implement the plan.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Ann. Laws § 63-7-1680

The first section of the plan shall set forth the changes that must occur in the home and family situation before the child can be returned. These changes must be reasonably related to the reasons justifying removal of the child from the custody of the parents or guardian. This section of the plan must contain a notice to the parents or guardian that failure to make the indicated changes within 6 months may result in termination of parental rights.

The second section of the plan shall set forth the following:

  • Specific actions to be taken by the parents or guardian of the child
  • Social or other services to be provided or made available to the parent or guardian of the child

This section of the plan must include timeframes for commencement or completion of specific actions or services. It must contain a notice to the parents or guardian that completion of the indicated actions will not result in return of the child unless the changes set forth in section one of the plan have occurred.

The third section of the plan shall set forth rights and obligations of the parents or guardian while the child is in custody, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The responsibility of the parents or guardian for financial support of the child during the placement
  • The visiting rights and obligations of the parents or guardian during the placement

This section of the plan must include a notice to the parents or guardian that failure to support or visit the child as provided in the plan may result in termination of parental rights.

The fourth section of the plan must address matters relating to the placement of the child, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The nature and location of the placement of the child, unless there are compelling reasons for concluding that disclosure of the location of the placement to the parents, guardian, or other person would be contrary to the best interests of the child
  • Visits or other contact with siblings, other relatives, and other persons important to the child
  • Social and other supportive services to be provided to the child and the foster parents, including counseling or other services to assist the child in dealing with the effects of separation from the child's home and family
  • The minimum number and frequency of contacts that a caseworker with the department will have with the child, which must be based on the particular needs and circumstances of the individual child but which must not be less than once a month for a child placed in this State

The placement must be as close to the child's home as is reasonably possible, unless there are compelling reasons for concluding that placement at a greater distance is necessary to promote the child's well-being. In the absence of good cause to the contrary, preference must be given to placement with a relative or other person who is known to the child and who has a constructive and caring relationship with the child.