Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - Vermont

Date: April 2018

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Family Services Div. Policies, Policy #69 and #125

When a social worker has been assigned to provide ongoing services to an intact family, he or she will complete an initial case plan with the family within 60 days of the date the family risk assessment was completed.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 5121

The Department for Children and Families shall actively engage families and solicit and integrate into the case plan the input of the child, the child's family, relatives, and other persons with a significant relationship to the child. Whenever possible, parents, guardians, and custodians shall participate in the development of the case plan.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Code of Rules § 13-171-001; Family Services Div. Policies, Policy #125

Case planning is the process of working with the family to develop a set of agreed-upon goals and strategies that focus on the underlying issues that led to the child safety intervention, as well as the issues that are contributing to current unresolved danger and/or future risk of harm.

The case plan must plan for the safety of the child or youth. The social worker shall work with the family to identify the family's strengths, protective capacities, and any natural supports (including relatives, friends, and community supports that may be of assistance), and services needed. When possible, the priorities in the case plan should reflect the family's view of the most pressing issue facing them.

The education section of the child's case plan must include a plan for ensuring the educational stability of the child while in foster care, including the following:

  • Assurances that each placement of the child in foster care 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
  • An assurance that the State 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 each placement or, if remaining in that school is not in the best interests of the child, that the State agency and the local educational agencies will provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school, with all of the educational records of the child provided to the school

The case plan must include, at minimum, the following information:

  • A determination of the safety of the child
  • The appropriateness of the child's placement
  • How the plan ensures the child's safe and proper care and addresses the child's needs
  • The services provided to the parents, child, and substitute care providers to make it possible for the child to safely return home or be placed in another permanent setting
  • The conditions that brought the child and family to the department's attention
  • The likely date by which permanency for the child may be achieved through any of the following options:
    • Safely reunifying the child or youth with his or her family
    • Transferring custody and/or guardianship of the child
    • Adoption
    • Another permanent placement and/or preparing the youth for legal independence