Permanency Outcome 2

Children have permanency and stability in their living situations

Items 7 and 8: The target child was separated from her siblings upon entry into care because a foster home could not be identified that would take a sibling group of four. This was determined to be a resource issue and Item 7 was rated as an area needing improvement. The agency worked to identify a home for the sibling group and they were placed together after 8 days. There were no face-to-face sibling visits during those 8 days, although the agency did facilitate phone calls. We wanted to rate sibling visits as NA for Item 8, but the OMS would not allow an NA response because the children were separated for a very brief time. We thought that NA would be appropriate, extrapolating from the guidelines for rating short-term foster care cases, which state that a child should have visits arranged within 1 to 2 weeks of being placed in foster care.

In this scenario, because the child was only placed apart from her siblings for 8 days during the PUR, and at the time of review the siblings were placed together, the reviewer should check “No” in Item 8 under Applicable Cases in response to “[t]he child has at least one sibling in foster care who is in a different placement setting.” In doing so, visitation for siblings would not need to be assessed in Item 8.

Date Added: Wed, 02/04/2015
Item 8 (pre-applicability bullets): How does a reviewer document in the OMS when different conditions apply to each parent when the pre-applicability bullets state that the condition applies to both parents? For example, one parent was deceased for the entire period under review and parental rights for the other parent were terminated during the entire period under review.

As long as one or more of the conditions applies to each of the parents, the reviewer can mark the item as not applicable for assessment for the parents from the Item 8 applicability page in the OMS. The reviewer should select the two (or more, if applicable) bullets that apply to the parents. Reviewers are encouraged to document which condition applies to which parent in the optional comments narrative field on each item applicability page, although reviewers could also put the information in the optional comments narrative field on the item rating page, or in a QA Note.

Date Added: Fri, 09/18/2015
Item 8: When assessing this item, can visits via Skype or FaceTime be considered face-to-face visitation? For example, the target child and her sibling were placed in different communities about 2 hours apart in the case being reviewed. The agency arranged for monthly in-person visitation and weekly visits through FaceTime.

Visitation between parents and siblings should be in person unless such contact is not possible. For example, the parents/siblings live far away in a different state. In the scenario described, in-person visitation is possible, so reviewers would assess whether the monthly in-person visitation that occurred was of sufficient frequency to maintain or promote the continuity of relationships between siblings and between the child and parents.

Date Added: Wed, 12/03/2014
Item 8: The definition for this item includes parents/caregivers from whom the child was removed and with whom the agency is working toward reunification. How do we assess applicability for multiple parents/caregivers? As examples, consider a child who lived with and was eventually removed from his mother and stepfather but had an ongoing relationship with his biological father (for example, weekend visits), or who was removed from grandparents but had an ongoing relationship with his parents. (Added October 27, 2014)

The goal of the item is to ensure that the child's previous relationships with parents/caregivers are preserved in a way that supports the achievement of permanency with those parents/caregivers. Reviewers should apply a general principle that is consistent with the definitions provided in the item: When biological parents are considered a potential reunification resource and have an established relationship with the child before the child’s entry into foster care, the biological parents should be included in the assessment of the item even if they were not the primary caregivers for the child at the time of removal. Any other parents/caregivers from whom the child was removed and with whom the agency is working toward reunification should also be included in the assessment of the item. The reviewer may also need to consider the timing of reunification plans during the period under review and how that affects which parents/caregivers are included in the assessment.

Please note, applicability and definition of parents in items 8 and 11 are the same.

Date Added: Mon, 10/27/2014
Items 8 and 11: What level of prior relationship constitutes applicability for Item 8 and 11?

"Relationship" in Items 8 and 11 is defined as a meaningful connection between the child and the parent. The reviewer would need to consider the frequency and quality of contact, as well as the child's perception of the parent and their relationship, to determine whether this parent had an applicable relationship with the child. Permanency Outcome 2 is focused on preserving the continuity of relationships and connections that the child had before entry into care, so that context should guide the reviewer's understanding of what is meant by the term "relationship" in these items.

Date Added: Tue, 04/07/2015
Item 9: There are many items that address concerted efforts to meet the needs of a child; e.g., Item 9 addresses efforts made to maintain the child’s connections. How would an item be rated if the concerted efforts were made by others, and not necessarily the agency? For example, the child's connections were preserved but not as a result of anything done by the agency; e.g., the child and relatives ensured that connections happened?

If an outcome was achieved for a child, but not as a direct result of what the agency did, reviewers can consider the concerted efforts made by others involved in the child’s life. However, there may be some case situations where efforts made by others might not be the most appropriate expectation, and that should be taken into consideration when rating this item. For example, the child asked the worker to help make connections with an extended family member; the worker did not follow through, so the child asked someone else to step in and help facilitate the connection.

Date Added: Fri, 05/22/2015
Item 9(A): instructions indicate that if prior to the placement in foster care the child had a relationship with the biological parent who was not the caregiver or not part of the case plan, that connection may be included in this item if it is in the child’s best interest to preserve that relationship. Are biological parents who did not have a previous relationship with the child prior to entry into foster care considered in this item? (Added February 6, 2015)

No, this item is focused on preserving connections that a child had prior to entry into foster care. So if the child did not have a previous relationship with the biological parent, that parent would not be assessed in this item. Developing a new relationship with this parent could be captured in Item 12B.

Date Added: Fri, 02/06/2015
Item 9(A): This item has received some clarification about the need to preserve the child's important connections once they are removed, and the item is specifically about preserving connections (not establishing new ones) that the child had prior to entry in foster care. The tool allows us to N/A the item in the event of an abandoned infant, but we have additional questions specifically surrounding infants removed at birth. For an infant removed directly at birth from the parents, is that considered an applicable reason to N/A this item if the infant does not have any important connections at the time of removal? Or is an infant removed directly at birth applicable for assessment of this item?

An infant removed from his or her parents at birth would typically have connections to the birth family that should be preserved. Reviewers must explore the case circumstances to determine whether the case is applicable for assessment in Item 9. In the case of an abandoned infant, birth family connections are unknown; therefore, the item is not applicable.

Date Added: Thu, 09/17/2015
Item 9(C): This question asks if the Tribe was provided with timely notification if the child may be a member of, or eligible for membership in, a federally recognized Indian Tribe. How would this be answered if the parent is eligible for membership in the Tribe, but has not done what is necessary to be enrolled? Is the child eligible for membership?

Eligibility for membership in a federally recognized Indian Tribe is determined by each Tribe. If the state is aware that a child may be Native American, the Tribe should be provided with notification so that eligibility can be determined by that Tribe.

Date Added: Fri, 05/22/2015
Item 10: We have a case where the child is placed with her uncle's ex-wife. In other words, this was her aunt by marriage. Since a divorce has occurred, is this woman still considered a "relative" for purposes of the CFSR?

In the example provided, the individual can be considered to meet the definition of "relative."

Date Added: Mon, 04/20/2015
Item 10: The tool defines a relative as a person related to the child by blood, marriage, or adoption. We had some questions as to whether certain people are relatives based on that definition. In one case the target child was placed with the adoptive parent of a half sibling. Some of us felt that met the definition and others did not. In another case the child was placed with the aunt and uncle of a half-sibling. Again there was debate about whether this met the definition of a relative.

Yes, in both examples described, the individual can be considered to meet the definition of "relative."

Date Added: Mon, 12/22/2014
Item 10(B,C): A child was placed in a pre-adoptive home prior to the period under review and remained in this placement throughout the period under review; the adoption was finalized during the period under review. Are the questions in Item 10, Relative Placement, in B and C applicable in this case?

Yes. Item 10, questions B and C, are applicable even though the child was placed in a pre-adoptive home and the adoption was finalized. Reviewers should follow the instructions provided for questions B and C to determine if the agency made concerted efforts, prior to or during the period under review, to identify, locate, inform, and evaluate relatives in light of the child’s particular needs. If the agency had searched for and evaluated relatives prior to the period under review, then B and C could be answered as Not Applicable. If no search had been done prior to or during the period under review, then B and C would be answered No.

Date Added: Fri, 05/22/2015
Item 10(C): If the agency did not make concerted efforts to search for a putative father, could this affect how this question is answered with regard to efforts to identify, locate, inform, and evaluate paternal relatives as potential placement resources for the child?

Question C would not be “not applicable” just because the agency did not attempt to search for a putative father. If the agency does not make efforts to locate a putative father, and therefore they were not able to identify, locate, inform, and evaluate paternal relatives, question C should be answered “no.”

Date Added: Fri, 05/22/2015
Item 11: The definition for this item includes parents/caregivers from whom the child was removed and with whom the agency is working toward reunification. How do we assess applicability for multiple parents/caregivers? As examples, consider a child who lived with and was eventually removed from his mother and stepfather but had an ongoing relationship with his biological father (for example, weekend visits), or who was removed from grandparents but had an ongoing relationship with his parents. (Added October 27, 2014)

The goal of the item is to ensure that the child's previous relationships with parents/caregivers are preserved in a way that supports the achievement of permanency with those parents/caregivers. Reviewers should apply a general principle that is consistent with the definitions provided in the item: When biological parents are considered a potential reunification resource and have an established relationship with the child before the child’s entry into foster care, the biological parents should be included in the assessment of the item even if they were not the primary caregivers for the child at the time of removal. Any other parents/caregivers from whom the child was removed and with whom the agency is working toward reunification should also be included in the assessment of the item. The reviewer may also need to consider the timing of reunification plans during the period under review and how that affects which parents/caregivers are included in the assessment.

Please note, applicability and definition of parents in items 8 and 11 are the same.

Date Added: Mon, 10/27/2014
Item 11: How do we capture multiple parents in the OSRI?

Reviewers should note the names of all parents included in the narrative box that says, “Indicate the case participants who are included in this item as Mother and Father.” For example, if the child has one mother but two fathers, the biological father and the stepfather, reviewers would answer questions about the “Mother” using the mother in the case, and answer questions about the “Father” using both the biological father and the stepfather. If reviewers answer Yes for one father but No for the other, the answer to the question would be No.

It is recommended (but not required) that the state explain the different responses for multiple mothers or fathers in the last narrative box after the rating criteria.

Date Added: Mon, 10/27/2014
Item 11 (pre-applicability bullets):: How does a reviewer document in the OMS when different conditions apply to each parent when the pre-applicability bullets state that the condition applies to both parents? For example, one parent was deceased for the entire period under review and parental rights for the other parent were terminated during the entire period under review.

As long as one or more of the conditions applies to each of the parents, the reviewer can mark the item as not applicable for assessment for the parents from the Item 11 applicability page in the OMS. The reviewer should select the two (or more, if applicable) bullets that apply to the parents. Reviewers are encouraged to document which condition applies to which parent in the optional comments narrative field on each item applicability page, although reviewers could also put the information in the optional comments narrative field on the item rating page, or in a QA Note.

Date Added: Fri, 09/18/2015