Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 11
MAKING REASONABLEMAKING REASONABLE
EFFORTS THROUGHEFFORTS THROUGH
EFFECTIVE CASEEFFECTIVE CASE
PLANNINGPLA...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 22
DisclaimerDisclaimer
• I am just a guy with Power Point presentation.I am just a guy with Power Point pres...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 33
Topics to be CoveredTopics to be Covered
Part One: Reasonable EffortsPart One: Reasonable Efforts
Part Two...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 44
ObjectivesObjectives
• Address legal issuesAddress legal issues
• Give you some take-home itemsGive you so...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 55
The kids we serve.The kids we serve.
• Their belongings in a bag, their hearts on aTheir belongings in a b...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 66
State PowerState Power
• Consider the element of control we haveConsider the element of control we have
ov...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 77
PART ONEPART ONE
Reasonable EffortsReasonable Efforts
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 88
Nebraska Family Policy ActNebraska Family Policy Act
frames the reasonable effortsframes the reasonable ef...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 99
Reasonable Efforts and CaseReasonable Efforts and Case
Planning -Planning -
Getting it out frontGetting it...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1010
Reasonable Efforts isReasonable Efforts is
Everybody’s BusinessEverybody’s Business
• The agencyThe agen...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1111
Passivity = ComplicityPassivity = Complicity
• You cannot sit on the sidelines and point fingersYou cann...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1212
Timeliness of Delivery of Services -Timeliness of Delivery of Services -
FrontloadingFrontloading
• Time...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1313
Timeliness and the Six-Month MythTimeliness and the Six-Month Myth
• Timeliness is a relative term and i...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1414
What is “Reasonable Efforts”?What is “Reasonable Efforts”?
• Your definition.Your definition.
• Judge Ke...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1515
What is “Reasonable Efforts”?What is “Reasonable Efforts”?
The Legal ConceptThe Legal Concept
• Reasonab...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1616
Two Tiers of Reasonable EffortsTwo Tiers of Reasonable Efforts
• Tier One Reasonable EffortsTier One Rea...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1717
Reunifying-Reunifying-
Some Questions to be AddressedSome Questions to be Addressed
• What are the circu...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1818
Reunifying-Reunifying-
Some Questions to be AddressedSome Questions to be Addressed
• What services are ...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1919
Reunifying-Reunifying-
Some Questions to be AddressedSome Questions to be Addressed
• What additional se...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2020
Examples of No Reasonable EffortsExamples of No Reasonable Efforts
To Reunify FindingTo Reunify Finding
...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2121
Examples of No Reasonable EffortsExamples of No Reasonable Efforts
To Reunify Finding,To Reunify Finding...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2222
Examples of No Reasonable EffortsExamples of No Reasonable Efforts
To Reunify Finding,To Reunify Finding...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2323
Examples of No Reasonable EffortsExamples of No Reasonable Efforts
To Reunify Finding,To Reunify Finding...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2424
Alternative Permanency PlansAlternative Permanency Plans
If continuation of reasonable efforts to reunif...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2525
Examples of No Reasonable EffortsExamples of No Reasonable Efforts
To Effect Alternative PlacementsTo Ef...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2626
Other Reasonable EffortsOther Reasonable Efforts
IssuesIssues
• Is the standard for return home differen...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2727
Documenting FindingsDocumenting Findings
• We also believe it necessary to ensure StateWe also believe i...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2828
Part TwoPart Two
Effective Case PlanningEffective Case Planning
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2929
The Case PlanThe Case Plan
• Filed within 30 days.Filed within 30 days.
• Determined at a meeting involv...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3030
The Case Plan, continuedThe Case Plan, continued
• Reunification plan must include:Reunification plan mu...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3131
The Case Plan, ContinuedThe Case Plan, Continued
• Reunification plan must include:Reunification plan mu...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3232
The Case Plan, ContinuedThe Case Plan, Continued
• Reunification plan must include:Reunification plan mu...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3333
The Case Plan, ContinuedThe Case Plan, Continued
• Filed with the court and made a courtFiled with the c...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3434
It is all about “Outcomes”It is all about “Outcomes”
Outcomes are the product of:Outcomes are the produc...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3535
Judge Key’sJudge Key’s
Ten Steps to Problem SolvingTen Steps to Problem Solving
• Get the right people a...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3636
To Whom Does the Case PlanTo Whom Does the Case Plan
Belong?Belong?
• The agencyThe agency
• The judgeTh...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3737
What should drive the developmentWhat should drive the development
of a reunification case plan?of a reu...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3838
PEANUTSPEANUTS
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3939
WHEN DOES CASEWHEN DOES CASE
PLANNING BEGIN?PLANNING BEGIN?
• Permanency planning begins the first momen...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4040
What is the foundation of a goodWhat is the foundation of a good
case plan?case plan?
• The Court is the...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4141
What is the foundation of a goodWhat is the foundation of a good
case plan?case plan?
• The finding shou...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4242
Characteristics ofCharacteristics of
a Good Case Plana Good Case Plan
SIMPLICITYSIMPLICITY
SPECIFICITYSP...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4343
SIMPLICITYSIMPLICITY
• Simplicity means the property,Simplicity means the property,
condition, or qualit...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4444
SPECIFICITYSPECIFICITY
• Specific means explicitly set forth; definite;Specific means explicitly set for...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4545
ACCOUNTABILITYACCOUNTABILITY
In order to have accountability, eachIn order to have accountability, each
...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4646
RELATIVITYRELATIVITY
 Must bear a rational relationship to theMust bear a rational relationship to the
...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4747
““DOABLILITY”DOABLILITY”
Above all, it must beAbove all, it must be “doable.”“doable.”
O.C.G.A. Section ...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4848
General CommentsGeneral Comments
1.1. Plan should be driven by needs of thePlan should be driven by need...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4949
How is the Case Planning ProcessHow is the Case Planning Process
Linked?Linked?
1.1. The case plan must ...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5050
Inappropriate goals and steps for aInappropriate goals and steps for a
Reunification Plan.Reunification ...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5151
Questions to ask about every goalQuestions to ask about every goal
and every step.and every step.
• Is i...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5252
The two critical questions for beforeThe two critical questions for before
submission of a case plan to ...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5353
Efficiency and TimelinessEfficiency and Timeliness
• Time is a precious commodity in the life ofTime is ...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5454
Relapse PlanningRelapse Planning
• A much neglected component of the caseA much neglected component of t...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5555
PART THREEPART THREE
VISITATION OR FAMILY TIMEVISITATION OR FAMILY TIME
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5656
Visitation is aVisitation is a
Critical Part of Case PlanningCritical Part of Case Planning
• Legal requ...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5757
What is the Visitation ProtocolWhat is the Visitation Protocol
Project?Project?
• Project of the Georgia...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5858
What is “Family Time”?What is “Family Time”?
• ““Visitation” does not adequately describeVisitation” doe...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5959
Goals of the ProjectGoals of the Project
• Reach consensus for minimum familyReach consensus for minimum...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6060
Core PrinciplesCore Principles
• Whenever children are removed from theirWhenever children are removed f...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6161
Core Principles, ContinuedCore Principles, Continued
• Although it is generally true that whatever isAlt...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6262
Core Principles, ContinuedCore Principles, Continued
• Within thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days follow...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6363
Core Principles, ContinuedCore Principles, Continued
• Throughout the life of the case,Throughout the li...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6464
Core Principles, ContinuedCore Principles, Continued
• The failure to provide for meaningful family time...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6565
Default Provisions-Default Provisions-
Working AssumptionsWorking Assumptions
• Focus on duration and fr...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6666
Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6767
Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol
• The children shall be provided meaningful and safe
Fami...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6868
Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol
• Family Time Plans should be based on the unique facts
o...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6969
Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol
• Wherever used herein, the term “Family Time Plan” shall...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7070
Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol
• At the shelter care hearing, the court shall put in pla...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7171
Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol
• Within thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days following re...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7272
Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol
• Whenever possible, the parents and the foster parents
s...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7373
Troup County’s Protocol -Troup County’s Protocol -
Default ProvisionsDefault Provisions
• Age Birth to 6...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7474
Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol –
Special CircumstancesSpecial Circumstances
• The defa...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7575
Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol –
Special CircumstancesSpecial Circumstances
• Safety, ...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7676
Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol –
Special CircumstancesSpecial Circumstances
• Presence...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7777
Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol –
Special CircumstancesSpecial Circumstances
• Transpor...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7878
Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol –
Family Time for SiblingsFamily Time for Siblings
• Th...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7979
Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol –
• In all matters relative to the establishment of a F...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 8080
Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol –
• At the first Citizens’ Panel Review held following ...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 8181
Family Time MilestonesFamily Time Milestones
• Started as a part of the Visitation ProtocolStarted as a ...
NCJFCJNCJFCJ 8282
Thank you.Thank you.
michael@kmglawfirm.commichael@kmglawfirm.com
Special thanks to Jim AndersonSpecial ...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Making reasonable efforts through effective case planning

707 views

Published on

The Honorable R. Michael Key outlines best practices for case planning for children in foster care.

Published in: Law
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Making reasonable efforts through effective case planning

  1. 1. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 11 MAKING REASONABLEMAKING REASONABLE EFFORTS THROUGHEFFORTS THROUGH EFFECTIVE CASEEFFECTIVE CASE PLANNINGPLANNING The Georgia Child Welfare Legal Academy atThe Georgia Child Welfare Legal Academy at Emory University School of LawEmory University School of Law Atlanta, GeorgiaAtlanta, Georgia Judge R. Michael KeyJudge R. Michael Key December 3, 2009December 3, 2009
  2. 2. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 22 DisclaimerDisclaimer • I am just a guy with Power Point presentation.I am just a guy with Power Point presentation. • I take an expansive view of judicial oversight.I take an expansive view of judicial oversight. • I believe that it is the responsibility of the judgeI believe that it is the responsibility of the judge to fill voids in the system. Unless there isto fill voids in the system. Unless there is specific authority to the contrary, I will assumespecific authority to the contrary, I will assume that I have the authority, as well as thethat I have the authority, as well as the responsibility, to fill the voids.responsibility, to fill the voids. • Specifically, I think I have the responsibility toSpecifically, I think I have the responsibility to make sure we have a good case plan, that themake sure we have a good case plan, that the agency works the plan and that the parentsagency works the plan and that the parents understand the plan and the consequences ofunderstand the plan and the consequences of failing to comply with the plan.failing to comply with the plan.
  3. 3. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 33 Topics to be CoveredTopics to be Covered Part One: Reasonable EffortsPart One: Reasonable Efforts Part Two: Effective Case PlanningPart Two: Effective Case Planning Part Three: Visitation or Family TimePart Three: Visitation or Family Time
  4. 4. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 44 ObjectivesObjectives • Address legal issuesAddress legal issues • Give you some take-home itemsGive you some take-home items • Inspire you to institutionalize the goodInspire you to institutionalize the good work that you already do and to actuallywork that you already do and to actually take home and implement some thingstake home and implement some things you might pick up during this presentationyou might pick up during this presentation
  5. 5. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 55 The kids we serve.The kids we serve. • Their belongings in a bag, their hearts on aTheir belongings in a bag, their hearts on a sleeve, or tucked securely away,sleeve, or tucked securely away, • Their futures not their own, but held in the handsTheir futures not their own, but held in the hands of those who do not know them.of those who do not know them. • Their worlds asunder; insecurity and mistrustTheir worlds asunder; insecurity and mistrust their constant companions.their constant companions. • They come to us looking for answers, forThey come to us looking for answers, for understanding, for hope, for resolution.understanding, for hope, for resolution. • What we give them will determine who they areWhat we give them will determine who they are and who they will forever be.and who they will forever be. • Equally as important, what they becomeEqually as important, what they become because of their having passedbecause of their having passed ourour way, willway, will definedefine ourour lives andlives and ourour place in history.place in history. RMK September 24, 2005RMK September 24, 2005
  6. 6. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 66 State PowerState Power • Consider the element of control we haveConsider the element of control we have over these children and families, and theover these children and families, and the consequences of how we exercise thatconsequences of how we exercise that controlcontrol • Can be like a tank rolling over a antCan be like a tank rolling over a ant • Can use state power for good or badCan use state power for good or bad • What is the responsibility that comes withWhat is the responsibility that comes with that power?that power?
  7. 7. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 77 PART ONEPART ONE Reasonable EffortsReasonable Efforts
  8. 8. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 88 Nebraska Family Policy ActNebraska Family Policy Act frames the reasonable effortsframes the reasonable efforts discussiondiscussion When children and families require assistanceWhen children and families require assistance from the state, the health and safety of the childfrom the state, the health and safety of the child is the paramount concern and reasonable effortsis the paramount concern and reasonable efforts shall be made to provide such assistance in theshall be made to provide such assistance in the least intrusive and least restrictive methodleast intrusive and least restrictive method consistent with the needs of the child and toconsistent with the needs of the child and to deliver such assistance as close to the homedeliver such assistance as close to the home community of the child or family requiringcommunity of the child or family requiring assistance as possible. 43-532assistance as possible. 43-532
  9. 9. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 99 Reasonable Efforts and CaseReasonable Efforts and Case Planning -Planning - Getting it out frontGetting it out front • A good case plan is so critical to effectingA good case plan is so critical to effecting permanency for the child that the failure on thepermanency for the child that the failure on the part of the Agency to timely develop andpart of the Agency to timely develop and implement a good case plan, in and of itself,implement a good case plan, in and of itself, constitutes a failure to make reasonable effortsconstitutes a failure to make reasonable efforts to reunify the child with the family.to reunify the child with the family. • We shouldWe should allall use the reasonable effortsuse the reasonable efforts requirement as a tool to ensure the timelyrequirement as a tool to ensure the timely delivery of appropriate services.delivery of appropriate services. • When compared to the human and monetaryWhen compared to the human and monetary cost of bad case plans, good case plans arecost of bad case plans, good case plans are cheap.cheap.
  10. 10. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1010 Reasonable Efforts isReasonable Efforts is Everybody’s BusinessEverybody’s Business • The agencyThe agency • The judgeThe judge • The court staffThe court staff • The parentsThe parents • The parents’ attorneyThe parents’ attorney • The childThe child • The child’s attorneyThe child’s attorney • The CASAThe CASA • The Service ProvidersThe Service Providers • Foster ParentsFoster Parents
  11. 11. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1111 Passivity = ComplicityPassivity = Complicity • You cannot sit on the sidelines and point fingersYou cannot sit on the sidelines and point fingers • You have a responsibility to use “reasonableYou have a responsibility to use “reasonable efforts” to:efforts” to: -- Hold one another accountable forHold one another accountable for the work we do…the work we do… -- And to support one another in theAnd to support one another in the development and delivery ofdevelopment and delivery of effective serviceseffective services
  12. 12. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1212 Timeliness of Delivery of Services -Timeliness of Delivery of Services - FrontloadingFrontloading • Timeliness of services can be as important asTimeliness of services can be as important as the services themselves.the services themselves. • The failure toThe failure to timelytimely deliver services, in and ofdeliver services, in and of itself may constitute a failure to makeitself may constitute a failure to make reasonable efforts even if the case plan isreasonable efforts even if the case plan is otherwise a good case plan.otherwise a good case plan. • Delaying hearings, reviews and delivery ofDelaying hearings, reviews and delivery of services is like foregoing prenatal care andservices is like foregoing prenatal care and worrying about the baby when it gets here.worrying about the baby when it gets here.
  13. 13. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1313 Timeliness and the Six-Month MythTimeliness and the Six-Month Myth • Timeliness is a relative term and it isTimeliness is a relative term and it is relative to the facts in each individual caserelative to the facts in each individual case • The time frame for delivery and/orThe time frame for delivery and/or completion of services is almost never sixcompletion of services is almost never six monthsmonths • The six-months of being drug free is not aThe six-months of being drug free is not a statutory requirement - the statute merelystatutory requirement - the statute merely authorizes the court to require treatmentauthorizes the court to require treatment and six months of negative drug screensand six months of negative drug screens
  14. 14. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1414 What is “Reasonable Efforts”?What is “Reasonable Efforts”? • Your definition.Your definition. • Judge Key’s definition:Judge Key’s definition: Making “reasonable efforts” is doing forMaking “reasonable efforts” is doing for the families and children we serve thatthe families and children we serve that which we would want others to do for uswhich we would want others to do for us and our families if we found ourselves in aand our families if we found ourselves in a like circumstance.like circumstance. RMK
  15. 15. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1515 What is “Reasonable Efforts”?What is “Reasonable Efforts”? The Legal ConceptThe Legal Concept • Reasonable efforts are required:Reasonable efforts are required: – To preserve and reunify families prior toTo preserve and reunify families prior to placement of the child into foster careplacement of the child into foster care – To prevent or eliminate the need for removalTo prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from the child’s homeof the child from the child’s home – To make it possible for the child to returnTo make it possible for the child to return safely to the child’s homesafely to the child’s home O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-58(a)O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-58(a)
  16. 16. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1616 Two Tiers of Reasonable EffortsTwo Tiers of Reasonable Efforts • Tier One Reasonable EffortsTier One Reasonable Efforts ---- Reasonable efforts made in eachReasonable efforts made in each individual caseindividual case • Tier Two Reasonable EffortsTier Two Reasonable Efforts ---- Reasonable efforts to track needs andReasonable efforts to track needs and to develop services to meet the needsto develop services to meet the needs
  17. 17. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1717 Reunifying-Reunifying- Some Questions to be AddressedSome Questions to be Addressed • What are the circumstances or conditionsWhat are the circumstances or conditions causing the child to continue to becausing the child to continue to be separated from her family? That is to say,separated from her family? That is to say, what is the specific reason that the childwhat is the specific reason that the child could not be adequately protected atcould not be adequately protected at home and the specific harm that mayhome and the specific harm that may occurred if the child is returned home?occurred if the child is returned home?
  18. 18. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1818 Reunifying-Reunifying- Some Questions to be AddressedSome Questions to be Addressed • What services are being offered to reduceWhat services are being offered to reduce the risk to an acceptable level?the risk to an acceptable level? • Are those services reasonably calculatedAre those services reasonably calculated to reduce the risk? (reverse caseto reduce the risk? (reverse case planning)planning) • Are the services being offered in a timely,Are the services being offered in a timely, accessible, and culturally andaccessible, and culturally and developmentally appropriate manner?developmentally appropriate manner? • Are the desired outcomes beingAre the desired outcomes being
  19. 19. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 1919 Reunifying-Reunifying- Some Questions to be AddressedSome Questions to be Addressed • What additional services could be offeredWhat additional services could be offered to reunify the family?to reunify the family? • To the extent that there are such services,To the extent that there are such services, why are they not being offered?why are they not being offered? • To the extent that such services are notTo the extent that such services are not available, has the agency madeavailable, has the agency made reasonable efforts to identify and developreasonable efforts to identify and develop such resources?such resources?
  20. 20. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2020 Examples of No Reasonable EffortsExamples of No Reasonable Efforts To Reunify FindingTo Reunify Finding • Failure to develop case plan aroundFailure to develop case plan around court’s finding as to cause of separationcourt’s finding as to cause of separation • Failure to conduct proper assessmentsFailure to conduct proper assessments • Failure to match services with needsFailure to match services with needs • Expecting too much out of parents tooExpecting too much out of parents too early in the caseearly in the case • Failure to provide meaningful visitationFailure to provide meaningful visitation • Failure to develop resources (Tier Two)Failure to develop resources (Tier Two) • Failure to provide transportationFailure to provide transportation
  21. 21. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2121 Examples of No Reasonable EffortsExamples of No Reasonable Efforts To Reunify Finding,To Reunify Finding, ContinuedContinued • Failure to provide good information toFailure to provide good information to service providersservice providers • Failure to follow up with service providersFailure to follow up with service providers • Failure to obtain meaningful reports fromFailure to obtain meaningful reports from service providers for hearings and reviewsservice providers for hearings and reviews • Failure to timely file revised case plans,Failure to timely file revised case plans, evaluations and other documentationevaluations and other documentation necessary to conduct hearings andnecessary to conduct hearings and reviewsreviews
  22. 22. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2222 Examples of No Reasonable EffortsExamples of No Reasonable Efforts To Reunify Finding,To Reunify Finding, ContinuedContinued • Failure to expedite child supportFailure to expedite child support proceedingsproceedings • Failure to involve parents and others inFailure to involve parents and others in case planningcase planning • Failure to communicate contents of caseFailure to communicate contents of case planplan • Failure to communicate – PeriodFailure to communicate – Period • Failure to identify and work with familyFailure to identify and work with family strengthsstrengths
  23. 23. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2323 Examples of No Reasonable EffortsExamples of No Reasonable Efforts To Reunify Finding,To Reunify Finding, ContinuedContinued • Failure to meet the needs of the childFailure to meet the needs of the child • Failure to be prepared for hearings andFailure to be prepared for hearings and reviewsreviews • A failure to comply with ICPC, includingA failure to comply with ICPC, including Reg 7Reg 7 • Failure to comply with policy, standingFailure to comply with policy, standing orders, and protocolsorders, and protocols • ……. and maybe the failure to implement. and maybe the failure to implement effective practiceseffective practices
  24. 24. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2424 Alternative Permanency PlansAlternative Permanency Plans If continuation of reasonable efforts to reunifyIf continuation of reasonable efforts to reunify the family is determined to be inconsistent withthe family is determined to be inconsistent with the permanency plan for the child, reasonablethe permanency plan for the child, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in aefforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with thetimely manner in accordance with the permanency plan and to complete whateverpermanency plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanentsteps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.placement of the child. O.C.G.A. Section 15-11- 58(a)(3)O.C.G.A. Section 15-11- 58(a)(3)
  25. 25. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2525 Examples of No Reasonable EffortsExamples of No Reasonable Efforts To Effect Alternative PlacementsTo Effect Alternative Placements FindingFinding • Failure to do concurrent planningFailure to do concurrent planning – Failure to develop a concurrent planFailure to develop a concurrent plan – Failure to implement a concurrent planFailure to implement a concurrent plan • Failure to timely identify alternativeFailure to timely identify alternative placementsplacements • Failure to counsel the child on alternativeFailure to counsel the child on alternative placementsplacements • Failure to comply with the 15/22Failure to comply with the 15/22 requirementsrequirements
  26. 26. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2626 Other Reasonable EffortsOther Reasonable Efforts IssuesIssues • Is the standard for return home different atIs the standard for return home different at different stages of the case?different stages of the case? • Should the agency be required to “hold theShould the agency be required to “hold the parent’s hand” early in the case? (The “velvetparent’s hand” early in the case? (The “velvet touch”)touch”) • Should the agency be required to file a motionShould the agency be required to file a motion for attachment for contempt before withdrawingfor attachment for contempt before withdrawing services based on parent’s failure to acceptservices based on parent’s failure to accept offered services? (The “sledge hammer”)offered services? (The “sledge hammer”)
  27. 27. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2727 Documenting FindingsDocumenting Findings • We also believe it necessary to ensure StateWe also believe it necessary to ensure State accountability in the areas of documentation ofaccountability in the areas of documentation of reasonable efforts and contrary to the welfarereasonable efforts and contrary to the welfare determinations and requirements related to enforcementdeterminations and requirements related to enforcement of section 471(a)(18) of the Act. Some commenters wereof section 471(a)(18) of the Act. Some commenters were concerned that the documentation requirements andconcerned that the documentation requirements and enforcement of section 471(a)(18) of the Act were tooenforcement of section 471(a)(18) of the Act were too inflexible. However, we believe that State accountabilityinflexible. However, we believe that State accountability and Federal oversight in these critical areas of child andand Federal oversight in these critical areas of child and family protections and anti-discrimination consistent withfamily protections and anti-discrimination consistent with the statute, will lead to better outcomes for children andthe statute, will lead to better outcomes for children and families. [From the Final Rule]families. [From the Final Rule]
  28. 28. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2828 Part TwoPart Two Effective Case PlanningEffective Case Planning
  29. 29. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 2929 The Case PlanThe Case Plan • Filed within 30 days.Filed within 30 days. • Determined at a meeting involving theDetermined at a meeting involving the Agency, the parents and the child.Agency, the parents and the child. • Parents entitled to five days advanceParents entitled to five days advance written notice.written notice. • Must contain dissenting recommendationsMust contain dissenting recommendations where applicable.where applicable. O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-58(b)O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-58(b)
  30. 30. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3030 The Case Plan, continuedThe Case Plan, continued • Reunification plan must include:Reunification plan must include: -- Each reason requiring removalEach reason requiring removal -- Purpose child was placed in foster carePurpose child was placed in foster care -- Why child cannot be protected at homeWhy child cannot be protected at home andand the harm which might occur at homethe harm which might occur at home -- Description of the services offered andDescription of the services offered and provided to prevent removalprovided to prevent removal
  31. 31. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3131 The Case Plan, ContinuedThe Case Plan, Continued • Reunification plan must include:Reunification plan must include: -- Discussion as to how plan is designed toDiscussion as to how plan is designed to achieve a placement that is:achieve a placement that is: -- In a safe settingIn a safe setting -- Least restrictiveLeast restrictive -- Most family-likeMost family-like -- Most appropriateMost appropriate -- In close proximity to child’s homeIn close proximity to child’s home -- Consistent with child’s best interestsConsistent with child’s best interests and special needsand special needs
  32. 32. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3232 The Case Plan, ContinuedThe Case Plan, Continued • Reunification plan must include:Reunification plan must include: -- Clear description of specific actions to beClear description of specific actions to be taken by the parentstaken by the parents -- Clear description of specific services to beClear description of specific services to be provided by the Agencyprovided by the Agency -- Specific time framesSpecific time frames -- The responsible person within the AgencyThe responsible person within the Agency -- Consideration of a reasonable visitationConsideration of a reasonable visitation schedule which allows meaningful contactschedule which allows meaningful contact through personal visits, phone calls andthrough personal visits, phone calls and lettersletters
  33. 33. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3333 The Case Plan, ContinuedThe Case Plan, Continued • Filed with the court and made a courtFiled with the court and made a court orderorder • Must be served on the parents at theMust be served on the parents at the same time it is filed with the courtsame time it is filed with the court O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-58(c)O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-58(c)
  34. 34. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3434 It is all about “Outcomes”It is all about “Outcomes” Outcomes are the product of:Outcomes are the product of: • PhilosophyPhilosophy • ProcessProcess • PeoplePeople – Those we serveThose we serve – Those who serveThose who serve
  35. 35. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3535 Judge Key’sJudge Key’s Ten Steps to Problem SolvingTen Steps to Problem Solving • Get the right people and information to the table.Get the right people and information to the table. • Understand roles, rights, responsibilities, andUnderstand roles, rights, responsibilities, and authority of participants.authority of participants. • Define the problem and reduce it to writing inDefine the problem and reduce it to writing in clear, concise terms.clear, concise terms. • Take ownership of the problem and the solution.Take ownership of the problem and the solution. • Set specific, achievable goals.Set specific, achievable goals. • Identify steps to achieve goals.Identify steps to achieve goals. • Assign responsibility for completing steps.Assign responsibility for completing steps. • Build in monitoring and accountability.Build in monitoring and accountability. • Remain flexible.Remain flexible. • Celebrate successes all along the way.Celebrate successes all along the way.
  36. 36. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3636 To Whom Does the Case PlanTo Whom Does the Case Plan Belong?Belong? • The agencyThe agency • The judgeThe judge • The court staffThe court staff • The parentsThe parents • The parents’ attorneyThe parents’ attorney • The child?The child? • The child’s attorneyThe child’s attorney • The CASAThe CASA • The Service ProvidersThe Service Providers • Foster parentsFoster parents
  37. 37. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3737 What should drive the developmentWhat should drive the development of a reunification case plan?of a reunification case plan? The case plan should be driven by theThe case plan should be driven by the identified needs of the family and not byidentified needs of the family and not by the readily available resources of thethe readily available resources of the Agency and community.Agency and community.
  38. 38. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3838 PEANUTSPEANUTS
  39. 39. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 3939 WHEN DOES CASEWHEN DOES CASE PLANNING BEGIN?PLANNING BEGIN? • Permanency planning begins the first moment the child welfarePermanency planning begins the first moment the child welfare agency touches the case.agency touches the case. • The first important step in terms of case planning is to thoroughlyThe first important step in terms of case planning is to thoroughly investigate the case to determine the reasons that the child cannotinvestigate the case to determine the reasons that the child cannot be maintained at home safely.be maintained at home safely. • It is the responsibility of the agency to dig deep into the history andIt is the responsibility of the agency to dig deep into the history and dynamics of the child, the family, and the environment to determinedynamics of the child, the family, and the environment to determine the root causes of the alleged deprivation.the root causes of the alleged deprivation. • Without a thorough investigation on the front end, permanency willWithout a thorough investigation on the front end, permanency will be delayed as the underlying problems are discovered later in thebe delayed as the underlying problems are discovered later in the process and the plan revised, or the child may be returned homeprocess and the plan revised, or the child may be returned home prematurely and therebyprematurely and thereby placed at risk of a subsequent removal, orplaced at risk of a subsequent removal, or worse.worse.
  40. 40. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4040 What is the foundation of a goodWhat is the foundation of a good case plan?case plan? • The Court is the gatekeeper of the child welfare system.The Court is the gatekeeper of the child welfare system. • The Court should never, consciously or through inaction,The Court should never, consciously or through inaction, abdicate its responsibility as gatekeeper.abdicate its responsibility as gatekeeper. • The Court should never accept stipulations of deprivation.The Court should never accept stipulations of deprivation. • The foundation of a good case plan is the court’sThe foundation of a good case plan is the court’s determination of the reason that the child cannot bedetermination of the reason that the child cannot be maintained at home safely.maintained at home safely. • That finding should be made at the first hearing, which isThat finding should be made at the first hearing, which is the 72-hour hearing.the 72-hour hearing.
  41. 41. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4141 What is the foundation of a goodWhat is the foundation of a good case plan?case plan? • The finding should be based on evidence presented inThe finding should be based on evidence presented in open court, at the hearing, with full recognition that theopen court, at the hearing, with full recognition that the standard of proof at that hearing is probable cause, andstandard of proof at that hearing is probable cause, and that hearsay evidence is admissible.that hearsay evidence is admissible. • Of course, the plan may have to be amended after theOf course, the plan may have to be amended after the adjudicatory hearing to the extent that the evidence doesadjudicatory hearing to the extent that the evidence does not support the prior findings, or that the evidencenot support the prior findings, or that the evidence establishes other or additional reasons why the childestablishes other or additional reasons why the child cannot be returned home safely.cannot be returned home safely.
  42. 42. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4242 Characteristics ofCharacteristics of a Good Case Plana Good Case Plan SIMPLICITYSIMPLICITY SPECIFICITYSPECIFICITY ACCOUNTABILITYACCOUNTABILITY RELATIVITYRELATIVITY DOABILITYDOABILITY
  43. 43. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4343 SIMPLICITYSIMPLICITY • Simplicity means the property,Simplicity means the property, condition, or quality of beingcondition, or quality of being simple.simple. Absence of luxury or showiness;Absence of luxury or showiness; plainness; absence of affectation orplainness; absence of affectation or pretense.pretense. The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition • Georgia law uses the term “clear”Georgia law uses the term “clear” O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-58(c)(3)O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-58(c)(3)
  44. 44. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4444 SPECIFICITYSPECIFICITY • Specific means explicitly set forth; definite;Specific means explicitly set forth; definite; special, distinctive, or unique, as a qualityspecial, distinctive, or unique, as a quality or attribute; intended, for, applying to, oror attribute; intended, for, applying to, or acting upon a particular thing.acting upon a particular thing. The American Heritage Dictionary, Second Edition • Georgia law actually uses the term “specific”. O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-58(c)(3)
  45. 45. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4545 ACCOUNTABILITYACCOUNTABILITY In order to have accountability, eachIn order to have accountability, each component of the plan:component of the plan: • Must be specific and simply stated as theMust be specific and simply stated as the whatwhat has to be done.has to be done. • Must be specific and simply stated as toMust be specific and simply stated as to whowho needs to do it.needs to do it. • Must be specific and simply stated as toMust be specific and simply stated as to whenwhen it needs to be done.it needs to be done.
  46. 46. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4646 RELATIVITYRELATIVITY  Must bear a rational relationship to theMust bear a rational relationship to the reason that the child cannot bereason that the child cannot be maintained safely at home.maintained safely at home.  Georgia provides that services andGeorgia provides that services and actions not directly related to theactions not directly related to the circumstances necessitating separationcircumstances necessitating separation cannot be made condition of the casecannot be made condition of the case plan.plan. O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-58(c)(3)O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-58(c)(3)
  47. 47. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4747 ““DOABLILITY”DOABLILITY” Above all, it must beAbove all, it must be “doable.”“doable.” O.C.G.A. Section Common Sense 101
  48. 48. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4848 General CommentsGeneral Comments 1.1. Plan should be driven by needs of thePlan should be driven by needs of the family, and not dictated by thefamily, and not dictated by the availability of existing resources.availability of existing resources. 2.2. Remember that we operate in a worldRemember that we operate in a world of minimum standards.of minimum standards. 3.3. Limitations which impair the ability ofLimitations which impair the ability of any participant to accomplish goals orany participant to accomplish goals or to complete specific action steps mustto complete specific action steps must be dealt with in the case plan.be dealt with in the case plan.
  49. 49. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 4949 How is the Case Planning ProcessHow is the Case Planning Process Linked?Linked? 1.1. The case plan must state theThe case plan must state the reasonsreasons why the child cannot be adequatelywhy the child cannot be adequately protected in the home.protected in the home. 2.2. The case plan mustThe case plan must identify theidentify the changeschanges that must be made in order forthat must be made in order for the child to be safely returned home.the child to be safely returned home. 3.3. The case plan must describe theThe case plan must describe the specificspecific actionsactions to be taken by the parents andto be taken by the parents and thethe specific servicesspecific services to be provided into be provided in order to effect the identified change.order to effect the identified change.
  50. 50. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5050 Inappropriate goals and steps for aInappropriate goals and steps for a Reunification Plan.Reunification Plan. • No change should be required that does not reduce the risk factorsNo change should be required that does not reduce the risk factors that make it unsafe for the child to return home, and no steps shouldthat make it unsafe for the child to return home, and no steps should be required unless the completion of those steps is reasonablybe required unless the completion of those steps is reasonably calculated to bring about the identified changes.calculated to bring about the identified changes. • Too many case plans include goals and steps that bear no rationalToo many case plans include goals and steps that bear no rational relationship to one another or to the reasons the child cannot berelationship to one another or to the reasons the child cannot be returned home safely, and become unnecessary barriers toreturned home safely, and become unnecessary barriers to reunification.reunification. • They also often overwhelm the parents so much that they are unableThey also often overwhelm the parents so much that they are unable to complete those steps that are properly part of the reunification plan.to complete those steps that are properly part of the reunification plan. • They statutory authority for this proposition is found at O.C.G.A.They statutory authority for this proposition is found at O.C.G.A. Section 15-11-58(c)(3), which provides that, “...all services and actionsSection 15-11-58(c)(3), which provides that, “...all services and actions required of the parents which are not directly related to therequired of the parents which are not directly related to the circumstances necessitating separation cannot be made conditions ofcircumstances necessitating separation cannot be made conditions of the return of the child without further review.”the return of the child without further review.”
  51. 51. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5151 Questions to ask about every goalQuestions to ask about every goal and every step.and every step. • Is it simple so as to be understood by all?Is it simple so as to be understood by all? • Is it specific as to who, what, where and when?Is it specific as to who, what, where and when? • Does it allow for accountability?Does it allow for accountability? • Does it relate directly to the reason the childDoes it relate directly to the reason the child cannot be maintained safely at home?cannot be maintained safely at home? • If all of the steps are achieved, will the risk to theIf all of the steps are achieved, will the risk to the child be reduced to a level that will allow thechild be reduced to a level that will allow the children to return home?children to return home? • Is it doable?Is it doable?
  52. 52. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5252 The two critical questions for beforeThe two critical questions for before submission of a case plan to thesubmission of a case plan to the court:court: • When the parents complete all of theWhen the parents complete all of the steps on the case plan, will you besteps on the case plan, will you be comfortable allowing the children to gocomfortable allowing the children to go home?home? • Is there any step in the case plan that, ifIs there any step in the case plan that, if not completed, will keep you from allowingnot completed, will keep you from allowing the child to go home?the child to go home?
  53. 53. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5353 Efficiency and TimelinessEfficiency and Timeliness • Time is a precious commodity in the life ofTime is a precious commodity in the life of a child.a child. • There is no more important time than theThere is no more important time than the present.present. • Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can doDon’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today.today. • It saves time in the long run.It saves time in the long run.
  54. 54. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5454 Relapse PlanningRelapse Planning • A much neglected component of the caseA much neglected component of the case plan.plan. • Re-entry.Re-entry. • Every reunification plan should include aEvery reunification plan should include a relapse plan designed to reduce therelapse plan designed to reduce the likelihood of relapse, and to ensure thelikelihood of relapse, and to ensure the safety of the children in the home in thesafety of the children in the home in the event of a relapse.event of a relapse. • Success partner.Success partner.
  55. 55. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5555 PART THREEPART THREE VISITATION OR FAMILY TIMEVISITATION OR FAMILY TIME
  56. 56. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5656 Visitation is aVisitation is a Critical Part of Case PlanningCritical Part of Case Planning • Legal requirement – a reasonableLegal requirement – a reasonable visitation schedule that allows the parentsvisitation schedule that allows the parents to maintain meaningful contact with theto maintain meaningful contact with the child through in person visits, phonechild through in person visits, phone contact and letterscontact and letters • Practical applications – The VisitationPractical applications – The Visitation ProtocolProtocol
  57. 57. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5757 What is the Visitation ProtocolWhat is the Visitation Protocol Project?Project? • Project of the Georgia Court ImprovementProject of the Georgia Court Improvement Initiative and the National Council ofInitiative and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court JudgesJuvenile and Family Court Judges • Joint Project of the Permanency PlanningJoint Project of the Permanency Planning Department and the Domestic ViolenceDepartment and the Domestic Violence Department of the National CouncilDepartment of the National Council • Multi-Disciplinary WorkgroupMulti-Disciplinary Workgroup • Work in ProgressWork in Progress
  58. 58. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5858 What is “Family Time”?What is “Family Time”? • ““Visitation” does not adequately describeVisitation” does not adequately describe the time families need together, eitherthe time families need together, either quantitatively or qualitatively.quantitatively or qualitatively. • ““Family Time” should be frequent,Family Time” should be frequent, consistent, and as “family-like” as possibleconsistent, and as “family-like” as possible given the state of disruption within thegiven the state of disruption within the family.family.
  59. 59. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 5959 Goals of the ProjectGoals of the Project • Reach consensus for minimum familyReach consensus for minimum family time;time; • Identify innovative practices;Identify innovative practices; • Identify the roles of various persons andIdentify the roles of various persons and agencies with reference to visitation; andagencies with reference to visitation; and • Develop a decision model to ensure thatDevelop a decision model to ensure that all relevant factors are considered andall relevant factors are considered and properly weighed in setting family time.properly weighed in setting family time.
  60. 60. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6060 Core PrinciplesCore Principles • Whenever children are removed from theirWhenever children are removed from their homes by state action, the state has a legalhomes by state action, the state has a legal responsibility to provide meaningful and saferesponsibility to provide meaningful and safe visitation.visitation. • There is value in having a beginning point in theThere is value in having a beginning point in the decision making process that is research-based.decision making process that is research-based. • Family time plans should be based on theFamily time plans should be based on the unique facts of each case, allowing for variationunique facts of each case, allowing for variation from the default provisions where certain factors,from the default provisions where certain factors, or “special circumstances”, are present.or “special circumstances”, are present.
  61. 61. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6161 Core Principles, ContinuedCore Principles, Continued • Although it is generally true that whatever isAlthough it is generally true that whatever is good for the parent is good for the child, whengood for the parent is good for the child, when there is a conflict between what is in the bestthere is a conflict between what is in the best interest of the child and what is in the bestinterest of the child and what is in the best interest of the parents, the best interest andinterest of the parents, the best interest and well-being of the child shall always takewell-being of the child shall always take precedence.precedence. • An initial opportunity for family time should beAn initial opportunity for family time should be made available within the first five (5) workingmade available within the first five (5) working days following physical removal of the childdays following physical removal of the child from the home.from the home.
  62. 62. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6262 Core Principles, ContinuedCore Principles, Continued • Within thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days followingWithin thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days following removal of the child from the home, if the childremoval of the child from the home, if the child remains in care, the agency should develop aremains in care, the agency should develop a more case-specific family time plan, taking intomore case-specific family time plan, taking into account the facts as they have developed in theaccount the facts as they have developed in the case, and seeking input from the parents, thecase, and seeking input from the parents, the child, and the CASA or other child advocate.child, and the CASA or other child advocate. • Whenever possible, involvement of the parentsWhenever possible, involvement of the parents and the foster parents together in theand the foster parents together in the development of the family time plan is important.development of the family time plan is important.
  63. 63. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6363 Core Principles, ContinuedCore Principles, Continued • Throughout the life of the case,Throughout the life of the case, circumstances change and facts becomecircumstances change and facts become known that previously had not beenknown that previously had not been considered in developing the family timeconsidered in developing the family time plan.plan. • Family time plans must never be used asFamily time plans must never be used as a threat or form of discipline to the childa threat or form of discipline to the child or to control or punish the parent.or to control or punish the parent. • Family time decisions are not made in aFamily time decisions are not made in a vacuum, so decisions regarding familyvacuum, so decisions regarding family time need to be made with considerationtime need to be made with consideration given to where the child is placed.given to where the child is placed.
  64. 64. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6464 Core Principles, ContinuedCore Principles, Continued • The failure to provide for meaningful family timeThe failure to provide for meaningful family time for children removed by state action, early andfor children removed by state action, early and throughout the life of the case, may constitute athroughout the life of the case, may constitute a failure to make reasonable efforts to reunifyfailure to make reasonable efforts to reunify families or to effect and finalize an alternatefamilies or to effect and finalize an alternate permanency plan.permanency plan.
  65. 65. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6565 Default Provisions-Default Provisions- Working AssumptionsWorking Assumptions • Focus on duration and frequency.Focus on duration and frequency. • Contemplate only supervised visitation atContemplate only supervised visitation at this point in the project (originally).this point in the project (originally). • Driven by the needs of the children andDriven by the needs of the children and families, not controlled by readily availablefamilies, not controlled by readily available resources, but influenced by an overlay ofresources, but influenced by an overlay of reasonableness.reasonableness. • Reunification is the permanency goal.Reunification is the permanency goal.
  66. 66. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6666 Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol
  67. 67. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6767 Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol • The children shall be provided meaningful and safe Family Time from the time they enter care until the reunification is accomplished or until further order of the Court. The Agency shall provide as much Family Time as possible consistent with the best interests of the child, both in terms of frequency and duration, and to provide that opportunity in such a place and manner so as to make it as natural as possible. • The Family Time Default Provisions contained herein are merely as the minimum Family Time and, when possible and appropriate, provision of more Family Time shall be made.
  68. 68. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6868 Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol • Family Time Plans should be based on the unique facts of each case, allowing for variation from the Default Provisions where certain factors, or “special circumstances”, are present. However, whenever there is a variance from the Default Provisions that result in less family time, the reason for the variance should be articulated to all relevant parties to the case, factually based, appropriately documented, and approved by the Court. • Should there be a conflict between what is in the best interest of the child and what is in the best interest of the parents, the best interest and well-being of the child shall always take precedence in developing and implementing the Family Time Plan.
  69. 69. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 6969 Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol • Wherever used herein, the term “Family Time Plan” shall mean and refer to the schedule developed and implemented for the time the child, parents, and, where applicable, siblings spend together. • An initial period of Family Time, consistent with the duration provided for in the Default Provisions, should be made available within the first five (5) working days following physical removal of the child from the home.
  70. 70. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7070 Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol • At the shelter care hearing, the court shall put in place, or ensure that the agency has put in place, a meaningful Family Time Plan. This Family Time Plan shall remain in place until adjudication or until the plan is changed in accordance with the decision model provided for herein. Except to the extent special circumstances that justify a variance are established at the shelter care hearing, the pre-adjudication family time plan should, at a minimum, provide for family time substantially in accordance with the Default Provisions. • In developing the Family Time Plan, there shall be a presumption that the Family Time shall not be supervised. The presumption may be rebutted based on evidence presented at the 72-hour hearing or any other subsequent hearing where Family Time is addressed.
  71. 71. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7171 Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol • Within thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days following removal of the child from the home, if the child remains in care, the Agency shall develop a more case-specific Family Time Plan, taking into account the facts as they have developed in the case, and seeking input from the parents, the child, and the CASA or other child advocate. • Family time plan should be developed in a family conference with as many of the following participants present and/or consulted: (1) the parents; (2) the child; (3) the CASA and/;or attorney for the child; (4) family members with whom the child has a significant attachment; (5) foster parents; (5) service provider who is in a position to offer constructive comment in regard to Family Time; (6) any provider who has assessed the child; and (7) other persons demonstrating a significant attachment or commitment to the child.
  72. 72. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7272 Troup County’s ProtocolTroup County’s Protocol • Whenever possible, the parents and the foster parents should be involved in the development and implementation of the Family Time Plan. • The Family Time Plan should not be rigid, but should allow sufficient flexibility for change as circumstances warrant to ensure the safety and well-being of the child. Provided, however, that when the family time plan is changed, there should be safeguards in place to protect the rights of all parties. • Family time plans shall not be used as a threat or form of discipline to the child or to control or punish the parent
  73. 73. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7373 Troup County’s Protocol -Troup County’s Protocol - Default ProvisionsDefault Provisions • Age Birth to 6 Months- 30 to 60 minutes 3 timesAge Birth to 6 Months- 30 to 60 minutes 3 times per week.per week. • Age 6 to 18 Months- 1 hour 3 days per week.Age 6 to 18 Months- 1 hour 3 days per week. • Age 18 months to 3 years- 1 ½ hours 2 times perAge 18 months to 3 years- 1 ½ hours 2 times per week.week. • Age 3 to 5 years- 2 or more hours 1 time perAge 3 to 5 years- 2 or more hours 1 time per week.week. • Age 5 to 12 years- 2 or more hours 1 time perAge 5 to 12 years- 2 or more hours 1 time per week.week. • Age 12 to 18 years- No specific recommendation.Age 12 to 18 years- No specific recommendation.
  74. 74. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7474 Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol – Special CircumstancesSpecial Circumstances • The default provisions shall apply in every case unless, based on the unique facts of each case, a variation from the Default Provisions is warranted. In considering whether to vary from the Default Provisions, consideration shall be given to any special circumstances which might exist including, but not limited to the following:
  75. 75. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7575 Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol – Special CircumstancesSpecial Circumstances • Safety, which shall always be of paramount concern; • Any special purpose for the Family Time based on the facts of that particular case; • The permanency plan for the child; • Existence of a concurrent plan; • Participation of siblings, including adults and children;
  76. 76. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7676 Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol – Special CircumstancesSpecial Circumstances • Presence of domestic violence; • The schedules and activities of the children; • The schedules and activities of the parents; • The relationship between the child and the current caregiver; • The relationship between the child and the parents before removal;
  77. 77. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7777 Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol – Special CircumstancesSpecial Circumstances • Transportation; • The activities planned for Family Time; • The reasons for removal of the child from the home; • Other existing court orders; • Placement of the child; • Location of the parent; and
  78. 78. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7878 Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol – Family Time for SiblingsFamily Time for Siblings • The particular relationship between the siblings in individual cases should always be considered because, generally speaking, sibling contact is at least as important as contact between children and their parents. • If siblings cannot be placed together, the Family Time Plan should make specific provisions for contact between siblings. It is not necessary that all siblings be present for all family time. Considering the children’s ages and activities it may be perfectly appropriate to have some family time as a complete family unit, and some spent with various parts of the family unit. Provided however that, the duration, length, or quality of family time for one child or parent should not be sacrificed on account of another child or parent.
  79. 79. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 7979 Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol – • In all matters relative to the establishment of a Family Time Plan the work of the Visitation Protocol Project, including the Domestic Violence Team Report from the Project, as it progresses shall be considered. • In any case where reunification is still the permanency plan in the case and supervised visitation is still required six months following the removal of the child from the home, a hearing shall be held at the first available hearing date to show cause why there is still a need for supervised visitation.
  80. 80. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 8080 Troup County’s Protocol –Troup County’s Protocol – • At the first Citizens’ Panel Review held following removal of the child from the home (usually held four months following removal), if there is not a plan in place to move to unsupervised visitation no later than six months following removal from the home, the case shall be referred to the Court for a review of the case generally and of visitation specifically.
  81. 81. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 8181 Family Time MilestonesFamily Time Milestones • Started as a part of the Visitation ProtocolStarted as a part of the Visitation Protocol • Has become a permanency planning toolHas become a permanency planning tool of its ownof its own
  82. 82. NCJFCJNCJFCJ 8282 Thank you.Thank you. michael@kmglawfirm.commichael@kmglawfirm.com Special thanks to Jim AndersonSpecial thanks to Jim Anderson for legal research and ideas onfor legal research and ideas on Reasonable EffortsReasonable Efforts

×