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New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual




Child Protection and Permanency

Effective Date:



Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles



Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles




Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles



Partnership in Assessment, Case Planning, and Service Implementation




This issuance memorializes the principles of the Division’s Partnership in Assessment, Case Planning, and Service Implementation.




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A)   Partnership Model 8-24-93


The Partnership Model outlines the ideals of a service system which is based on a philosophy which promotes shared responsibility among service providers and service recipients.  The primary goal of partnership is to enable the service system to better meet family and community needs.


The Model specifies the role expectations and responsibilities of individuals, families and agencies/groups necessary to promote partnership.   Implementation of the concepts of this Model and the barriers associated with implementation will be unique to each Local Office and case situation.


B)   Partnership Role of Parents and Other Clients          12-15-97


Clients have both a right and a responsibility to participate in assessment and case plan development and implementation.  This is based upon the belief that the fairest and best informed assessments, plans, and decisions can be made if those who are most affected by the decisions:


·         provide information, ideas, and recommendations and participate in decision making,

·         are informed of why the Division is involved with him or her and the family, if the person did not ask for help (N.J.A.C. 10:133-1.4(k)5),

·         are informed of what the Division expects from him or her and the child (N.J.A.C. 10:133-1.4(k)6),

·         know the expected results of their involvement, and

·         are given information about how to achieve their own objectives.


Partnership is a method to help empower the client to change his own situation by encouraging him to participate in assessment, needs identification and the development of solutions which maximize self-reliance and independent action.


C)   Parents' Participation in Assessment  8-24-93


As a primary source of information concerning his family's situation, the parent provides information to the Family Service Specialist to enable the agency to make an informed, responsible assessment.  During assessment, the parent helps to identify:

·         the factors contributing to the child's and family's difficulties,

·         the strengths within the family that can be tapped or focused on to help solve problems, and

·         the natural resources that are potentially available to provide strength and support to the family (relatives, friends, neighbors, church affiliations, etc.).

·         The parent actively participates in the development of a case plan.  He provides information and ideas/recommendations to enable a joint determination of:

·         solutions to best meet the needs of the family,

·         action steps to be taken,

·         resources to be used, and

·         realistic time frames for achievement of each action.


The parent signs the case plan, confirming his participation in or agreement with the plan's development.


D)   Parents' Participation in Service Implementation     8-24-93


The parent actively participates in case plan implementation by:

·         taking action on his tasks as agreed upon in the case plan,

·         proposing modifications to the case plan when appropriate,

·         ensuring that other family members work on their tasks as listed in the case plan, and

·         ensuring that he, the children, or other family members use the services agreed upon in the case plan.


The parent discusses progress or lack of progress (including reporting if service providers are not providing appropriate services) on the objectives with the Family Service Specialist and raises questions and concerns as often as necessary.  The parent, with encouragement from the Family Service Specialist, actively communicates his feelings and desires as they relate to:

·         himself,

·         his family,

·         the family's involvement with CP&P and other service providers,

·         critical service decisions that affect the family's welfare, and

·         the quality and appropriateness of services and the elements of the case plan.


E)   Disagreement with Assessment or Case Plan           12-15-97


An applicant or client who disagrees with an action taken by a Worker may ask to speak with the supervisor and, if the disagreement is unresolved, with the office manager.  See NJAC-10-133-1-8.


F)   Partnership Role of Family Service Specialist and Other CP&P Staff 8-24-93


It is CP&P policy that there be an active client/Family Service Specialist partnership in service provision.  The goal is to empower the client to change his own situation.


In the spirit of partnership the Family Service Specialist and other agency staff:


·         view the parent as caring and capable of rational and independent action,

·         view the input and participation of the parent as crucial to effective case management,

·         recognize that parents are integral and valuable participants in the process of assessment and case planning,

·         recognize that parents are partners in accomplishing the case plan.

·         Based upon the above, the Family Service Specialist and other agency staff:

·         •actively involve families in assessment and decisions made about the children,

·         engage the parent in the process of developing a case plan, and

·         treat the parent as competent to change his situation.


G)   Family Service Specialist's Role in Assessment       8-24-93


The Family Service Specialist engages the parent as an active partner in assessment and case planning.  The Family Service Specialist encourages and helps the parent to clearly state the family's strengths, resources and problems.


The Family Service Specialist, with the parent:

·         identifies strengths and weaknesses within the family,

·         identifies natural resources that may help to ameliorate the family's problems,

·         identifies problems not recognized by the parent, and

·         provides information on services and advocacy supports that the agency can make available to the family either directly or through referral.


The Family Service Specialist ensures that the parent understands:

·         why he and his family are involved with CP&P,

·         what needs to be done to strengthen his family, and

·         what needs to be done to protect the children and/or return the children.


In partnership with the parent, the Family Service Specialist develops a case plan which encourages self-reliant solutions.  The parent is given a copy of the case plan for his own use.


H)   Family Service Specialist's Role in Case Plan Implementation 8-24-93


The Worker encourages the parents' active participation in implementing the case plan and:

·         identifies and utilizes the parent's and family's strengths in completing objectives,

·         encourages, supports, and helps to mobilize the parent's and family's natural support systems,

·         ensures that the parent and the family receive the services that were identified in the case plan,

·         advocates for the parent with other agencies, when necessary, to mobilize community resources to help meet the family's needs, and

·         reviews and modifies the case plan when appropriate.


I)     Partnership Role of Foster Parents      8-24-93


It is CP&P policy to encourage a spirit of partnership between resource parents, the Family Service Specialist, and birth parents, as appropriate.  Cooperation between birth parents and resource parents provides a more open emotional environment for the child and an important support in the network of the birth parent.  The Division encourages the resource parent to actively participate in the agency's goal of maintaining and strengthening the child's family.

The partnership concept is used when appropriate and viable in situations where:

·         the birth parent and resource parent are accepting of interaction with one another,

·         the birth parent can benefit from interaction with the resource parent,

·         the resource parent has the ability to work successfully with the birth parent, and

·         the child will benefit from interaction between the parent and resource parent.


J)    Responsibilities of the Resource Parent in Partnership 12-15-97


The resource parent has a responsibility to:

·         accept the birth parents, siblings and other relatives as individuals who are important to the child,

·         support the efforts of the parent to be a parent,

·         understand that birth parents, siblings and other relatives are part of the child's life even while the child is in placement and that they have a legitimate right to maintain their involvement in the child's life,

·         maintain an attitude of respect, understanding and concern toward the birth parents, siblings and other relatives with the leadership and support of the Family Service Specialist,

·         handle information about the child and his parents, siblings and other relatives in a responsible way and maintain confidentiality,

·         encourage the child's involvement with his family and help the child and his parents, siblings and other relatives maintain their ties, in cooperation with the Family Service Specialist and as determined in the case plan,

·         work as a team member with agency staff by reporting observations, problems in regard to the child and his family and discussing with the Family Service Specialist and birth parents, when appropriate, the methods and plans for helping the child and the family,

·         participate in case conferences and the formulation of case plans for a child in his care, as requested by the Division,

·         recognize the dynamics of placement and the effect of separation on the child and his family,

·         listen to the child as he shares thoughts and feelings about his parents and other relatives and why he was placed, and

·         understand that visitation between the child and his parents, siblings and other relatives is a crucial element in permanency planning and maintaining family connections.

·         Resource parents aid the Family Service Specialist and birth parents as agreed on in case conferences, the Case Plan, Out-of-Home, and the Visitation Plan, when applicable, in helping the birth parents to carry indicated responsibility for the child.  The involvement of a resource parent can range from minimal to intensive.  Some examples are to:

·         participate in developing the visitation plan (N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.5(f)),

·         include the birth parent in scheduled school conferences regarding the child,

·         include the birth parent, siblings and other relatives in birthday parties or other celebrations involving the child (at a minimum, the resource family can supply photos, a letter describing the events, etc.),

·         include the birth parent in scheduled doctor appointments for the child,

·         provide a role model for the birth parent for mothering/fathering and family life, and

·         provide a nurturing relationship for the birth parent (ultimate involvement is resource parent as parent aide) and become a part of the parent's support system.

·         The resource parent cooperates with the Family Service Specialist and the birth parents to prepare the child to separate from the resource family to return to his own family or another permanent placement, when applicable.


K)   Responsibilities of the Division in Partnership          12-15-97


The Division has the responsibility to encourage partnership with each resource parent.  To accomplish this, the Division representative:

·         shall encourage the resource parent to participate in developing the visitation plan (N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.5(f)) and the case plan,

·         encourages the resource parent to participate in case reviews and Child Placement Review Board sessions,

·         shall provide the resource parent with a health care record (N.J.A.C. 10:122D-2.5(b)),

·         shall provide the resource parent with the child's education record (N.J.A.C. 10:122D-2.6(c)and (d)),

·         shares necessary information regarding the case on an on-going basis,

·         responds to the foster parent's concerns.


L)   Partnership Role of Community Agencies and Groups      8-24-93

It is CP&P policy to encourage partnership among community agencies and groups.  The goals are:

·         to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive approach to address multiple needs of individuals, families, and communities in New Jersey,


·         to provide high quality, relevant, family-centered services to the citizens of New Jersey, and


·         to close service gaps through the development of needed resources.


Factors of agency/group partnership include:


·         leadership,

·         networking,

·         developing affiliation agreements,

·         dialogue,

·         collaboration,

·         cooperation,

·         teamwork, and

·         identifying/addressing barriers to partnership.

·         CP&P encourages partnership among all community agencies and groups, including:

·         intra-departmental partnership between divisions of the Department of Children and Families,

·         inter-departmental partnership between government agencies at the state level, and

·         local, public and private agencies that provide services to families.


M)  Affiliation Agreements      3-14-85


Partnership between CP&P and community agencies and groups is promoted through affiliation agreements.  Affiliation Agreements serve to:


·         formalize the networking efforts of Local Office staff,

·         encourage the community to work together to close the gaps in service responsibility and service availability,

·         ensure that the agencies participating know and agree on what is expected of each other,

·         increase awareness of each agency's and group's mandates and problems, and

·         increase and enhance the resources available to families.

·         The development of affiliation agreements creates:

·         a mutual support system, and

·         a forum to address barriers and turf issues together for the benefit of the community and individual families.

N)   Assessment             8-24-93


The private or other public agency which has total responsibility for case assessment follows established assessment procedures appropriate for their service.  These responsibilities may be similar to those of the Family Service Specialist. 


O)   Service Implementation    8-24-93


When the other agency involved has primary responsibility for implementation of case plans, the responsibilities may be similar to those of the Family Service Specialist.  See CP&P-I-A-1-300.


When the other agency is providing only a specific service for the client, that agency's responsibilities may include:


·         providing the service and supplying both the client and the primary Worker with feedback as to progress and growth,

·         sharing in the development of the case plan through staffing sessions, etc.,

·         developing an understanding of each agency's role in helping the family reach their goals,

·         referring and advocating for the family to gain access to other community resources which will help them in their growth toward independence, and

·         encouraging self-sufficiency, but also encouraging the parent to discuss problems with the Family Service Specialist before they become crises.


P)               Development of Service Resources     8-24-93


When no service provider is responsible for a needed service, the community services network, which includes the Human Services Advisory Council, is responsible for identifying service gaps and assisting in the development of needed supports for the citizens of their community.


Q)               Developing Natural Support Systems  8-24-93


The natural helping system includes relatives, friends, and neighbors.  Staff from CP&P and other agencies are encouraged to seek out and use the family's natural helpers to their fullest extent in individual case plans.  Families are encouraged to identify and use the natural helpers in their support system.






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