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Description automatically generated

Policy Manual

 

Manual:

CP&P

Child Protection and Permanency

Effective Date:

10-15-2012

Volume:

III

Case Management

Chapter:

B

Case Planning

Revised Date: 8.31.2020

Subchapter:

2

Permanency

Issuance:

300

Concurrent Permanency Planning

 

Purpose: This issuance establishes the policies and procedures for Concurrent Planning and the activities that are encompassed within that process.

 

Authority:

 

      N.J.A.C. 3A:13-3.3

      N.J.A.C. 3A:13-3.5

      N.J.A.C. 3A:13-3.7

      N.J.A.C. 3A:13-3.8

 

Policy:

A)   Concurrent planning is a practice that provides reunification services while simultaneously implementing an alternative permanency plan in the event that reunification cannot be accomplished within the required timeframes.

B)   Concurrent planning is required for all children in Division’s custody with a primary case goal of reunification. A secondary case goal is selected and documented in a Case Plan Assessment.

C)   Concurrent planning allows the alternative plan to be immediately actionable, thereby shortening a child’s stay in out-of-home placement. 

D)   Guiding Principles in concurrent planning include:                    

a)    First placement-best placement practice model: Children who are placed with their Kin or fictive Kin and together with their siblings, experience overall better health and well-being outcomes and shorter stays in placement leading to timely permanency.

Note: Consider the guidelines set forth by the Office of Resource Families and The Office of Family Licensing for Presumptive Eligibility determinations and Waiver considerations See, CPP-IV-B-2-300, Waiver Policy. See, LOM Approval to Place in Kin Home, CP&P Form 4-19

b)    The voice of the parent and child in the placement decision

c)    Placement decisions that consider race, culture, and ethnicity to help minimize the negative impact that a removal can create for a child

d)    Full disclosure to parent(s) regarding Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) that permanency within 12 months is the primary goal. All permanency options - including Adoption and KLG - are discussed with the family of origin.

e)    The child and family’s ability to express their understanding of Permanency and knowledge of what will happen next

f)     Fostering family and community connections to provide a support network that promotes a safe and timely reunification or other permanency plan

g)    Promoting stability of placement by partnering with Resource Parents early in placement episodes and promoting full disclosure regarding the children placed in their care

h)    Providing frequent and progressive parent/child/sibling visitation

i)     Maintaining that the Safety and Well-Being of the CHILD is paramount while supporting the safety, stability, and well-being of his or her family

E)           Other considerations:

a)    Determine if a child is eligible for international adoption or Hague Adoption with a relative. Through the collaborative effort of International Social Services (ISS-USA) and DCF, family connections can:

i)     Give a child resources when needed

ii)    Connect a child to his or her culture, language, traditions

iii)   Strengthen a child’s sense of identity

iv)                                                                          Strengthen the extended family

b)                                                                                       Determine whether the child falls under the jurisdiction of the Indian Child Welfare Act. See CPP-II-C-2-200, Intake Assessment, section entitled Native American Indian Children and CPP-III-C-1-500, Indian Child Welfare Act and Native American Placements.

F) Enhanced Reviews

a)    Any child who is in placement, shall have enhanced reviews to ensure that a permanency plan is developed, and that the child’s best interest is being addressed. NOTE: All reviews; including the specific tasks, roles and responsibilities of participants are identified in the Case Practice Guide available here for review.

 

G)  Enhanced Reviews are conducted by CP&P at multiple intervals during a placement episode. Those reviews are properly documented in NJSPIRIT.

a)  Timeframes for placement reviews and the goals of each review are as follows:

                              i.        Pre-placement conferences shall be held within 72 hours of placement (if it cannot be held prior to the actual placement). Full disclosure of the Adoption and Safe Family Act (ASFA) are reviewed with parents and their supports as appropriate. All Kin and fictive kin family members are identified and a list of relative on maternal and paternal sides as well as any other potential list of kin

                            ii.        A 30-day staffing shall be held within 30 days of a child’s placement to determine whether family circumstances match the prognosis indicators for family reunification found on the CP&P Form 26-89, Concurrent Planning Guide. This staffing ensures that the family and the agency are jointly creating a comprehensive and relevant case plan assessment and a case plan/family agreement that addresses the issues that caused placement and ensures that there is concurrent planning for the children in care.

                           iii.        90-day staffing shall be held within 90 days of a child’s placement to ensure a viable plan is in place to support reunification and visitation, as well as, an appropriate secondary goal. Note: Verify that visitations among parent, child, and siblings are occurring in the least restrictive environment and whether visitation can be become more progressive

                           iv.        A 5-month Enhanced Placement Review shall be completed by the fifth month of placement. Ensure that parents are invited to participate in this review. The purpose is to determine the progress made in achieving the goals reflected in the Case Plan Family Agreement; review the completion of key permanency tasks (such as missing parents); assess parental participation and progress towards reunification or lack thereof, and ensure that parent/child visitation is least restrictive and unsupervised if safe for the child. This review also measures the effectiveness of services already provided and identifies changes needed to meet the needs of the child, family, or resource family. 

                            v.        The 10-month review is broken down into two parts:

a.    10 Month Family Discussion: The purpose of the family discussion is to have an in-depth conversation with the family regarding the status of permanency for the children. It is also to discuss the Division’s recommended permanency goal to the court: an extension of the reunification goal, termination of parental rights (TPR), or kinship legal guardianship (KLG). , During this meeting, specific actions to be completed in order to move forward are discussed. Full disclosure is an integral part of the discussion.

b.    Litigation Conference: Pre-permanency hearing The purpose of this review is intended to establish and assess the agency’s suggested permanency goal in preparation for the permanency hearing normally held at the 12th month of placement. The FN or Guardianship DAG is a critical part of this review NOTE: (can be held prior to the 10th month if appropriate)

                           vi.        An Annual Review is held 365 days after the 5th month review for children who have not yet achieved permanency. The purpose of this review is to discuss the child’s current living arrangement and case goal; barriers to achieving goals, and the appropriateness of the plan for the child. It is also a time to review if proper planning is being done with a family: including updated case assessments, service provisions, family plans / family agreements, and FTM Team meetings. It may also be a time to revisit opportunities once ruled out.

H)   Family Team Meeting

The FTM process plays a powerful role in the Concurrent Planning process. The required timetable for Team meetings and Enhanced Reviews are sometimes the same, thus allowing for one comprehensive meeting to assist the family and their supports in planning toward reunification without overburdening multiple meetings

See CPP III B 5-500, Family Team Meeting

I)     Documentation

Caseworkers shall document all concurrent planning activities regarding the family’s goals, visitations, service provision, progress or lack of progress towards family reunification on the case plan assessment, the family agreement, and, Form 26-52 Contact Sheet.

J)    Questions and Unresolved issues

If you are uncertain how to proceed, consult with a Case Practice Specialist (CPS) in your Local Office or the Area Office Concurrent Planning Specialist who has expertise in concurrent planning policy and procedures. In addition, refer to the CP&P Form 26-88, Concurrent Planning Flow Chart, for guidance in determining the appropriate sequence of events and time frames for concurrent permanency planning.

K)   Factors to Consider When Deciding Adoption Vs. KLG When Reunification is no longer feasible:

a)    Child’s age and legal status

b)    Would termination of parental rights do more harm than good?

c)    Child’s relationship with caregiver. Informed input from children - keeping in mind that children frequently feel they do not wish to be adopted based on lack of knowledge or fear of the unknown

d)    Caregiver’s feelings after receiving full disclosure regarding the child and the advantages/disadvantages of adoption and KLG.

See Case Practice Guide, page 39

L)   Goal of Kinship Legal Guardianship (KLG)

a)    If the goal for a child is KLG, the complaint is filed by the 12th month of the child’s placement in the KLG home. Child shall be in the home for 12 months and a determination made that the parent cannot care for the child

b)    Approval of KLG subsidy is completed prior to the court hearing.

c)    Case record is reviewed for required documentation to support the case goal. Review is completed with the Area Concurrent Planning Specialist and tasks are identified for completion within appropriate timeframes.

d)    The Permanency Worker uses the two-month window between the 10 Month Review and permanency hearing to complete any outstanding tasks and to ensure documentation is current.

e)    Conference is documented in NJ SPIRIT by Area Office Concurrent Planning Specialist.

See CPP-IV-D-2-300, KLG Assessment and KLG Court Order

M)  Goal of Adoption

a)    When reasonable efforts toward family reunification are unsuccessful and despite the offer of and/or provision of services, the parents are unable to resume the care of their child, the preferred permanency goal for that child is adoption.

                  i.        Once the goal of Adoption is ordered, the case is transferred to an Adoption Worker and an assignment is made in NJ Spirit within 5 business days

                ii.        The Permanency Worker plans to introduce the Adoption Worker to the parents caregiver and child.

               iii.        The case is assigned to the paralegal for completion of the guardianship petition. The guardianship petition is filed within 45 days of the permanency hearing.

               iv.        The Adoption Workers are responsible for completing the child summary:

Parts A & B.

                v.        If the child is still not in a permanent home, a child specific recruitment plan is initiated by Adoption Field Support Staff along with a secondary assignment to the child specific recruiter within 30 days of the goal change or permanency hearing.

See CP&P IV Chapter C - Adoption.

 

Forms and Attachments:

 

·         72 Hour Guide

·         30 Day Guide

·         90 Day Guide

·         5 Month Enhanced Placement Review

·         10 Month Review

 

Policy History:

 

·         8.31.2020

·         10.15.2012