Children have permanency and stability in their living situations
No, question 5F is determining whether (1) a TPR was filed at any point prior to the PUR OR (2) if it was filed in a timely manner (in accordance with ASFA) during the PUR if the child reached the 15/22-month mark during the PUR. Reviewers only assess the timeliness of the TPR filing if it was due during the PUR. We do not assess the timeliness of a TPR filing in Item 5 when it occurred outside the PUR.
• If a TPR was filed prior to the PUR, the answer to 5F is Yes. Timeliness is not considered because it occurred outside the PUR.
• If the child has already been in foster care for 15 out of 22 months prior to the start of the PUR, and the agency DID NOT file a TPR prior to the PUR, there is no need to look for a TPR filing during the PUR. The answer to 5F in this case will always be No.
• If the child reached the 15/22 mark during the PUR, but the TPR filed during the PUR was not done timely (i.e. not by the 15/22-month timeframe) reviewers should answer 5F with No.
No, as long as the child is placed with a relative at the 15/22-month timeframe, a documented compelling reason is not required for the purposes of question 5G1. In this scenario, the first option for G1, "At the option of the state, the child is being cared for by a relative at the 15/22-month time frame." would be answered Yes.
Yes. Title IV-E agencies need only apply the TPR requirement in section 475(5)(E) to a child once. If, when a child reaches 15 months in foster care, the state/Tribe does not file a petition for TPR because one of the exceptions applies, the state/Tribe does not need to begin calculating another 15 out of 22 months in foster care for that child. Therefore, the answer to 5F in this case is No because the agency didn’t file a petition to terminate parental rights prior to the PUR or in a timely manner during the PUR, and the answer to 5G, “Did an exception to the requirement to file or join a termination of parental rights petition exist?” would be Yes because the first option in 5G1, "At the option of the state, the child is being cared for by a relative at the 15/22-month time frame." would be answered Yes.
Placements for children should be in the most family-like setting and the least restrictive environment that ensures safety. When a child is moved to a more restrictive higher level of care, reviewers must determine if appropriate measures were first taken to stabilize the initial placement through services and supports for foster parents. Ensuring that foster parents receive needed training, respite arrangements, and ongoing support is critical in supporting the stability of placements. If efforts were not made to stabilize placements before moving a child, that should be reflected in Item 4 in support of an “Area Needing Improvement” rating because the move to a more restrictive placement without first attempting to stabilize the previous placement would not have been the best way to meet the child’s needs. If the child’s safety could not be ensured while making efforts to stabilize a placement, then it could be determined that a move to a more restrictive setting was in fact in the child’s best interests to meet his or her needs, and this would be reflected as a Strength. Likewise, if the agency made efforts to support the placement through services to the foster family, and it was determined that the child later needed to be moved to a more restrictive placement, this too could be reflected as a Strength.
Since these assessment centers are generally meant to be temporary, 4C1 would be answered, “The child’s current setting is in a temporary shelter or other temporary setting,” and 4C would be answered “No” because the most recent placement was not stable because it was a temporary assessment program.
Reviewers should use “other” and explain the circumstances.
No, we do not include trial home visits (or runaway episodes) in calculating 15 out of 22 months in foster care (see 45 CFR § 1356.21(i)).
The expectation is that goal(s) are established with the child’s best interest for permanency in mind and drive the planning and activities to accomplish permanency for the child. Whether single or concurrent goals are in place, reviewers should consider whether each permanency goal was established timely and was based on the needs of the child and the case circumstances for the period of time in which the goal is in place. Reviewers should also factor in whether single and concurrent goal changes are being made timely and appropriately
Reviewers should consider goals as inappropriate if they are selected or changed primarily due to the agency’s lack of resources, such as few preadoptive families, subsidy limitations, or agency and court process delays related to permanency.
The count for 15/22 begins with the date of the judicial finding of child abuse and neglect (usually the adjudicatory hearing) or 60 days after the child’s entry into foster care, whichever is earlier, so it would begin when the child first entered foster care in State A.
Reviewers should use the date it was first established as a concurrent goal.
No, a child’s time in detention should not be counted because the child is not considered to be “in foster care” due to the nature of the placement facility. The 60-day requirement for establishing a case plan is based on 60 days from the date on which the child was placed in foster care.
The provision to file a petition for a child who has been in foster care for 15/22 months only applies to children while they are in foster care, so the count would begin on the date the child entered foster care.
No. We do not require that the case plan goal be court-ordered for it to be considered “established” for CFSR purposes. If the case plan goal is identified in the child’s case plan, or described in an administrative review or case plan meeting, reviewers can consider this as the date on which the goal was established.
Yes. A compelling reason for not filing TPR needs to be made only once.
While it is correct that the instrument does not require that there be a signed and dated agreement to justify a Strength rating, the reviewer must have evidence of formal steps that were completed to make the arrangement permanent to support the Strength rating. This should not be assumed solely because the child remained in the facility beyond her 18th birthday.
Question 6C asks, “For a child with a goal of other planned permanent living arrangement during the period under review, did the agency and court make concerted efforts to place the child in a living arrangement that can be considered permanent until discharge from foster care?”
And the instructions for that question ask the reviewer to consider:
- The child’s current living arrangement and whether formal steps were completed to make this arrangement permanent.
- Whether this might have included the agency’s asking foster parents or relatives to agree to and sign a long-term care commitment, or ensuring that a child who is in a long-term care facility to meet special needs will be transferred to an adult facility at the appropriate time.
Finally, the Quality Assurance guide says, “If question C is answered Yes but question C2 is answered “no date,” ask reviewers why they believe the child’s living arrangement can be considered permanent.”
The intent of all of these instructions is to find out from the reviewer what concerted efforts/formal steps were made to make the arrangement permanent that could lead to a Strength rating.
Yes. The CFSR is not only a review of the child welfare agency, but the system as a whole, which includes the court and other entities working to achieve permanency for children. Item 6, Question B instructs reviewers to answer “no” to concerted efforts to achieve timely permanency if reviewers “determine that the agency and court have achieved the permanency goal before the suggested time frame, but there was a delay due to lack of concerted efforts on the part of the agency or court during the period under review”. Such delays could include or be a result of: not establishing timely and appropriate permanency goals, court docketing challenges, agency and/or court and attorney staffing limitations or high caseloads, agency policies and procedures that create barriers, etc. Reviewers will need to determine whether the delay is significant enough in light of the case circumstances to consider the item an area needing improvement.
No. Reviewers need to answer 6B, 6C, and 6C2 based on the efforts the agency made during the PUR prior to the youth turning 18.
In Item 6, reviewers are asked to consider only current (or most recent) permanency goals. If the child's current goal is OPPLA and concurrent goals are not in place, 6B would be answered NA and only 6C would be answered Yes or No.
The third bullet in the instructions for 6B and 6C refers to cases in which the child has a goal of OPPLA and a concurrent goal of reunification, guardianship, or adoption and neither goal will be achieved for the child in a timely manner. Permanency in this bullet refers to both the achievement of the goal of OPPLA and the achievement of the other concurrent goal. In determining whether permanency can be achieved timely for the goal of OPPLA, reviewers should consider whether formal steps were completed in a timely manner to establish a permanent living arrangement for the child.
No, if a child has a concurrent goal of OPPLA and the child is already placed in a living arrangement that can be considered permanent, question 6C would be answered Yes because the goal of OPPLA has already been achieved.