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New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual

 

Manual:

CP&P

Child Protection and Permanency

Effective Date:

Volume:

IV

Out-of-Home Placement

Chapter:

A

General Placement Considerations

3-9-2009

Subchapter:

2

Child Safety/Safety Assessments

Issuance:

100

Assessing Child Safety in Out-of-Home Placement Settings

 

 

Purpose        3-9-2009

 

CP&P is required to assess the safety of each child for whom it has legal authority to place out of home.  This policy provides a formal process for CP&P and other child protective service agencies to assess the safety of these children, taking into consideration the child‘s need for safety, permanency, and well-being, and the ability of the caregiver or facility staff to meet these needs.

 

The responsibility to assess safety extends to children placed within the State of New Jersey as well as to New Jersey children placed out of state.

 

Note:  In all interactions with children, the Worker’s and Resource Family Support Worker‘s role is to assess the child’s immediate safety and well-being.

 

Authority       3-9-2009

 

N.J.S.A. 30:4C-26.8, Criminal history investigation of prospective resource family or adoptive parents.

 

N.J.A.C. 10:133D-2.7(a), In-person visitation when a child is placed out of his or her own home

 

N.J.A.C. 10:133D-2.8, Change in placement

 

Definition of Terms            3-9-2009

 

For the purpose of this policy, the following terms shall have these stated, limited meanings:

 

“Congregate Care” is a children‘s residential treatment center, a group home setting, or a youth shelter.

 

Contracted Agency Home” is any of the following types of homes available to serve CP&P children through a CP&P contract:  resource family homes, treatment homes, bridge homes, alternative care homes, children’s shelter homes, juvenile-family in crisis shelter homes.

 

“CP&P Representative” is the CP&P staff member who conducts a child safety home visit, such as the assigned field Worker, or the Resource Family Support Worker.

 

“Resource Family Home” is a home-based, family-like, out-of-home placement setting for a child for whom CP&P has legal authority to place out of home.  The term includes placement of a child in kinship care (relative or family friend), and foster care, as well as an adoptive home in which the child‘s adoption is not yet finalized.

 

“Resource Family Support Worker” or “RFSW” is the CP&P employee who is responsible for working with resource families in a particular geographic area.

 

“Resource Parent/Applicant” is the adult who is licensed, or is applying to be licensed, as the immediate caregiver for the children placed in the resource family home.

 

“Safe” means that a child is not in immediate or imminent danger of serious harm.

 

“Safety Assessment” is a point-in-time determination of whether or not a child or a facility is safe.  For the purposes of this policy, the term “safety assessment” shall be applied to a process of assessing safety in resource family homes (including those applying to be resource family homes), independent living and congregate care settings, unless stated otherwise.

 

“Unsafe” means a child is currently in immediate or impending danger of serious harm.  A factor checked “yes” on the Division’s out-of-home child safety assessment tool (CP&P Form 22-6) means that the child is found to be “unsafe” under the present circumstances, requiring either prompt implementation of a Safety Protection Plan or immediate removal of the child.

 

“Worker” is a professional member of the CP&P field staff, who is assigned CWS referrals to assess, CPS reports to investigate, case management of families in open case status, or who performs “specialty” functions in CP&P caseloads.  The term, “Worker,” is generic.

 

For the purposes of this policy, the generic term, “Worker,” does not apply to Resource Family Support Workers, who are discussed separately in the text.

 

Intervals for Assessing Child Safety - A Team Approach   3-9-2009

 

Efforts to assess child safety, license, and/or investigate concerns are coordinated and shared between the following authorities to the greatest extent possible, at the following intervals:

 

LEAD ASSESSOR

WHEN TO ASSESS

Assigned Worker

In-State

·      At the time of placement, when placing the child(ren) with kinship caregivers on an emergency basis (presumptive eligibility)

·      Within 5 days of placement (when placing in a licensed resource home)

·      Within 5 days of moving/re-placement

·      Upon initial assessment of home of kinship caregiver applicant

·      While conducting Minimum Visitation Requirement (MVR)

 

Out-of-State

·      On the day of  placement

·      Every six months thereafter

 

Youth in Congregate Care Settings or Independent

Living (use CP&P Form 22-10, Congregate Care

Questionnaire):

·      Within one month of placement

·      Every 6 months thereafter

·      Youth reaches out to Worker or is in crisis

·      Youth is on leave from placement

Resource Family Support Worker/Contract Agency Worker

·    When following up with a Correction Action Plan from

IAIU

·     During the annual re-evaluation (with OOL Inspector, when possible)

·     When requesting a waiver for exception to population limitations

Office of Licensing Inspector

·    Annually, at 1 year licensing inspection (using the Licensing Inspection Tool)

·     During the 3 year licensing renewal (using the Licensing Inspection Tool)

SPRU Investigator

·     At the time of placement, when placing the child(ren) with a kinship caregiver on an emergency basis (presumptive eligibility).

·     Upon completion of a CPS investigation in a resource home (when responding for IAIU)

IAIU Investigator

·      Upon conducting an IAIU investigation (with the Assigned Worker, when possible)

Public Defender Conflict Investigation Unit Investigator

·     When investigating a CP&P employee, an employee's relative, or another conflict matter


 

Note:  Child safety may be reassessed at any other time, when appropriate and as necessary, to assess the safety of one or more children placed out of home.

 

When the child is dual managed by CP&P and a Care Management Organization (CMO) or Youth Case Manager (YCM), the Worker invites the appropriate agency to accompany him or her to the home when conducting the safety assessment.

 

The Department‘s Interstate Services Unit assists Local Office Workers when coordinating child safety assessments in out-of-state resource family homes.

 

The Worker completes the safety assessment while conducting a required minimum visitation requirement (MVR) field visit.