Case Planning for Families Involved With Child Welfare Agencies - West Virginia

Date: April 2018

When Case Plans Are Required

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-4-408

The Department of Health and Human Resources shall develop a unified child and family case plan for every family wherein a person has been referred to the department after being allowed an improvement period or where the child is placed in foster care. The case plan must be filed within 60 days of the child coming into foster care or within 30 days of the inception of the improvement period, whichever occurs first. The department also may prepare a case plan for any person who voluntarily seeks child abuse and neglect services from the department or who is referred to the department by another public agency or private organization. The case plan provisions shall comply with Federal law and the rules of procedure for child abuse and neglect proceedings.

Who May Participate in the Case Planning Process

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 49-4-408; 49-4-405; Foster Care Policy § 4.3

The department shall convene a multidisciplinary treatment team, which shall develop the case plan. Parents, guardians, or custodians shall participate fully in the development of the case plan, and the child also shall fully participate if he or she is sufficiently mature and the child's participation is otherwise appropriate.

Other members of team may include the following:

  • The child or family's case manager
  • The adult respondent
  • The child's counsel, guardian ad litem, or court-appointed special advocate
  • The prosecuting attorney
  • An appropriate school official
  • Any other person or agency representative who may assist in providing recommendations for the particular needs of the child and family, including domestic violence service providers

Unless otherwise ordered by the court, a party whose parental rights have been terminated does not have the right to participate in any team meeting.

In policy: For a child who has reached age 14, any revision or addition to the plan must be developed in consultation with the child and, at the option of the child, with up to two members of the case-planning team who are chosen by the child and who are not the child's foster parent or caseworker. The case worker may reject an individual selected by the child at any time if the worker has good cause to believe that the individual would not act in the best interests of the child. One individual selected by the child 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.

Contents of a Case Plan

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-4-604; Foster Care Policy § 4.3

The case plan is a written document that includes, at a minimum, the following:

  • A description of the type of home or institution in which the child is to be placed
  • A discussion of the appropriateness of the placement
  • How the agency responsible for the child plans to ensure that the child receives proper care
  • The services that will be provided to the parents, child, and foster parents in order to improve the conditions that made the child unsafe in the care of his or her parents
  • A plan to facilitate the return of the child to his or her own home or the concurrent permanent placement of the child
  • Services to address the needs of the child while in relative or foster care, including a discussion of the appropriateness of the services that have been provided to the child

In policy: The case plan requires the following information:

  • A description of the type of home or facility where the child is to be placed
  • A discussion of the safety and appropriateness of the placement
  • A discussion of whether the placement is the least-restrictive, most familylike available and in the close proximity to the parent's home
  • If the child is placed a substantial distance from the home of the parents or in a different State, a discussion of why the placement is in the child's best interests
  • A description of how the child will receive safe and proper care in this placement
  • A description of the child's educational plan, whether he or she has remained in the same school he or she was attending at the time of removal, and how educational stability will be achieved
  • A description of the services that are to be provided to the parents, child, and foster parents in order to improve the conditions in the parents' home to facilitate the return of the child to his or her home or to secure a permanent placement for the child
  • A discussion of the services that will be provided to the child while in foster care in order to address the specific needs of the child
  • A discussion of the appropriateness of the services that have been provided to the child
  • A listing of the child's siblings and their locations and the date of the court order sanctioning separation, if applicable
  • A description of the parents' ability to contribute to the cost of placement
  • The recommended visiting plan
  • Documentation of the efforts to ensure that the child is returned home within the approximate time lines set out in the plan
  • Documentation of the concurrent efforts to achieve permanency should the services designed to achieve reunification be deemed unsuccessful
  • If return home is not the permanency plan for the child, a statement of why reunification is not appropriate that specifies in detail the alternative placement for the child, including approximate time lines for when such placement is expected to become a permanent placement
  • In the case of a child whose permanency plan is adoption or placement in another permanent home, documentation of the steps being taken to find a permanent living arrangement, including child-specific recruitment efforts
  • A written description of the programs and services that will help children age 14 and older prepare for the transition from foster care to successful adulthood
  • Documentation of an age-appropriate plan for the child that educates him or her about family planning, pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted infections, and other issues related to healthy sexual development
  • For a child who self-identifies as being sexually active, documentation of the supportive counseling offered to the child on the issues of abstinence and healthy sexual development
  • Documentation of the child's health and education background and progress, including all medical appointments, counseling, individual education plans, school conferences, etc.