Well-Being Outcome 1

Families have enhanced capacity to provide for their children’s needs

Item 12: If a child was living with relatives/guardians at the time of agency involvement and will remain with them, do the biological parents have to be considered as parents if their rights are still intact?

Per the instrument instructions, it would depend on the case circumstances. If the case goal is to continue to keep the children with the relatives/guardians and they are the legal custodians of the children, it may not be necessary to involve the birth parents, if the birth parents were not involved in the circumstances that led to the agency’s involvement with the family. If there is no legal/permanent arrangement with the relatives, and/or if the case was opened due to issues involving the birth parents, then the agency should be working with birth parents to address concerns and/or ensure that relatives can legally/permanently care for the children.

Date Added: Wed, 12/17/2014
Item 12: If the child was removed from the biological mother and stepfather or mother’s long-term boyfriend, does the child’s biological father have to be considered as a parent if their rights are still intact?

Yes, per the second bullet in the instructions, biological parents in foster care cases must be included, unless they meet the “Not Applicable” criteria outlined in the applicability instructions.

Date Added: Wed, 12/17/2014
Item 12: If a child was removed from relatives/guardians, do the biological parents have to be considered as parents if their rights are still intact?

Yes, per the second bullet in the instructions, biological parents in foster care cases must be included, unless they meet the “Not Applicable” criteria outlined in the applicability instructions.

Date Added: Wed, 12/17/2014
Item 12: CB provides a lot of feedback on how Reviewers rate Item 12: Needs and Services of Child, Parents, and Foster Parents. Is there further information available that can help us understand what Reviewers should be considering when examining how case participants’ needs are assessed and services are provided?

CB has developed a reviewer brief that provides background information and case examples.

https://training.cfsrportal.org/resources/3105

Date Added: Thu, 01/28/2016
Item 12: If a child is living with his or her mother when they become involved in the agency and the father was not involved in their lives at the time, would the mother be the only person considered for these items even if the biological father’s rights are still intact but there is no evidence that the father desires to be involved in the child’s life? If the child does not have any contact with his or her father at the time of agency involvement or during the PUR, is there an expectation that the agency will seek out the father to determine if he has a desire to be involved with his own child?

Circumstances must be considered when determining whether to include an uninvolved father in the assessment of this item for in-home cases. For example, if the case was only opened for a short time and the concerns with the family were not significant (no ongoing safety issues or high risk concerns), it may not be necessary for the agency to contact an uninvolved father since the agency’s involvement is very limited. For cases that are court-involved and not voluntary, for cases opened for a longer period of time due to ongoing safety concerns, or for cases in which the mother is not successfully addressing the concerns, the agency should make efforts to contact and inform fathers about the status of the children and engage them in meeting the needs of the children.

Date Added: Wed, 12/17/2014
Item 12(A): What case circumstances are considered acceptable reasons not to include a child living in the home in the assessment of this item?

The existing online training and OSRI instructions address this item. The online training notes: "Some circumstances to consider include the reason for the agency’s involvement with the family and the impact of any risk and safety concerns present during the period under review.” In the “purpose of assessment” for Item 12, the instrument states that "the purpose of this item is to assess whether the agency made concerted efforts to assess needs and identify and provide services necessary to achieve case goals and adequately address issues relevant to the agency’s involvement with the family."

For in-home cases, you should consider the reason for the agency’s involvement with the family, the goals of the case, and the impact of any risk and safety concerns present during the period under review when determining the applicability of children in the assessment of item 12. If, for example, the agency became involved in a case because a parent was requesting mental health services for one of his or her children, and the other children in the home were not subject to any maltreatment concerns and did not require the same mental health services, it may be appropriate to focus only on the child receiving the services because that was the reason for the agency’s involvement with the family and there were no other risk/safety concerns for the other children. Similarly, for cases in which the agency became involved with the family due to a child’s experiencing juvenile delinquency issues, if the other children in the home were not subject to any maltreatment concerns and there are no risk and safety issues present during the period under review that affect the other children, it may be appropriate to focus only on the child for whom the delinquency issues are being addressed in the assessment of item 12. If the delinquency issues are affecting the safety of the other children in the home, and safety-related services are necessary, those would be captured in Item 3, not in Item 12.

Date Added: Wed, 12/17/2014
Item 12(A): A child was in foster care for a period of time during the period under review. He or she is transitioned home and the case is kept open for services for several months after reunification. There are other children in the home who have significant needs. Should those be captured in Item 12A?

No. In a foster care case, Item 12A is only answered for the target child. Reviewers can capture the needs of the other children in 12B by assessing the needs of the parent(s) to care for those children and what services the agency provided to assist them.

Date Added: Tue, 12/15/2015
Item 12(B): Definitions for parents in 12B indicate that adoptive parents should be rated in B if the adoption was finalized during the PUR. If those same adoptive parents had been foster parents during the period under review, do they only get assessed in 12B? Or in C? And would caregivers who became legal guardians during the PUR also be rated in B?

Yes, caregivers who became legal guardians during the PUR would be rated in B, similar to adoptive parents. If a foster parent became an adoptive parent or legal guardian during the period under review, reviewers would rate them as a foster parent in 12C up until the adoption or guardianship was finalized. If the case is kept open for services post-finalization or is opened again during the period under review, reviewers would rate them in B as adoptive parents or guardians for that portion of the period under review.

Date Added: Tue, 05/03/2016
Items 12B, 13, 15: We have some questions regarding a specific type of case and how to deal with the issue of engaging a non-custodial parent. In this case example, it is an in-home, non-court-involved case. We were wondering if there was any specific guidance on how to assess the non-custodial parent when the custodial parent refuses to provide identifying information or consent to contact the non-custodial parent. Since it is a non-court-involved case and we do not have custody of the child, how should the reviewer proceed (especially on Items 12B, 13, and 15) when the custodial parent does not want the non-custodial parent involved?

Per the definition of parents in Items 12, 13, and 15 for in-home cases, inclusion of a non-custodial parent is determined based on case circumstances. The following are examples of when it would be appropriate to expect agency engagement of non-custodial parents:

• The non-custodial parent has ongoing contact with the children.
• Children are at high risk of entering foster care; e.g., safety issues exist that cannot be mitigated in the short term, or the custodial parent is not compliant with safety services or the safety plan.
• The non-custodial parent was notified/made aware of child welfare agency involvement and has a desire to be involved as a resource for the children.

In situations where a custodial parent refuses to allow the agency to contact a non-custodial parent, the agency would be expected to include the non-custodial parent only if the court orders his or her involvement, if the children are at risk for foster placement, or if the children have ongoing contact with the non-custodial parent that necessitates an assessment of that parent.

Note that if the above circumstances exist, but the custodial parent expresses a history of abuse, neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse, etc., by the non-custodial parent, this should be taken into consideration and assessed accordingly.

Date Added: Tue, 11/15/2016
Items 12, 13, 15: A child is placed with a relative, but the relative does not have a legal relationship; e.g., guardianship. The child is removed from the relative and the plan is reunification with the relative because the parents are unable to care for the child. Should items 12, 13, and 15 be rated only for the birth parents because the relative is not a legal guardian? Or should the relative be considered for these items?

Items 12, 13, and 15 should consider the relative as well as the birth parents in this situation because the plan is to reunify the child with the relative. Regardless of the child's legal relationship with the relative, it is important for the agency to review the assessment and services provided to that relative, the involvement of the relative in case planning, and worker contacts with the relative to ensure that the child can achieve a safe and successful reunification.

Date Added: Thu, 02/19/2015
Items 12, 13, 15: How should reviewers apply the OSRI to foster care cases with an alleged father?

The agency must have made concerted efforts to identify and locate alleged fathers in order for questions related to fathers in Items 12, 13, and 15 to be answered Not Applicable (NA). If the agency did NOT make concerted efforts to identify/locate the alleged father, the lack of efforts regarding the father would be rated in Item 12 (Question B2 would be answered No), resulting in an Area Needing Improvement (ANI) rating for Item 12, and the questions related to the father in Items 13 and 15 would be answered NA. If the child came into foster care before the period under review (PUR), the agency made concerted efforts to identify/locate the alleged father before the PUR, and there were no case circumstances during the PUR that would warrant further efforts (e.g., additional information about the father’s identity or location was discovered), questions related to the father in Items 12, 13, and 15 would be answered NA.

Date Added: Wed, 12/03/2014
Items 12, 13, 15: The CFSR QA guide instructs reviewers to rate Items 13 and 15 not applicable if Item 12 is rated as an Area Needing Improvement (ANI) because there were not concerted efforts to locate a parent. Would the need to rate Items 13 and 15 as not applicable apply in any other situations where the agency was cited with ANI for Item 12B (example: parent is incarcerated and will continue to be until long after the child turns 18, but the agency never contacted the parent to evaluate interest in the child, and never assessed for plan)?

The applicability instructions for Items 13 and 15 provide guidance on when these items are not applicable. But the example above would not necessarily apply unless the agency made efforts to rule out the appropriateness or need for parental involvement. Just because a parent is incarcerated—and will be for a long time—doesn't negate the agency's responsibility to reach out to that parent to ask about their desire to be involved, and to assess the appropriateness and level of their involvement.

Date Added: Fri, 05/22/2015
Item 12, 13, 15: What must be taken into consideration when determining inclusion of a non-custodial parent for in-home cases?

Per the definition of parents used for in-home cases in Items 12, 13, and 15, inclusion of a non-custodial parent is determined based on case circumstances. The following are examples of when it would be appropriate to expect agency engagement of non-custodial parents:

• The parent has ongoing contact with the children.

• Children are at a high risk of entering foster care; e.g., safety issues exist that cannot be mitigated in the short term or the custodial parent is non-compliant with safety services or the safety plan.

• A non-custodial parent was notified/made aware of child welfare involvement and has a desire to be involved as a resource for the children.

In situations where a custodial parent refuses to allow the agency to contact a non-custodial parent, the agency would only be expected to include that parent if the court orders the non-custodial parent’s involvement, the children are at risk for foster placement, or the children’s having ongoing contact with that parent would necessitate a parental assessment.

Note that if the above circumstances exist, but the custodial parent indicates a history of abuse, neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse, etc., by the non-custodial parent, this should be taken into consideration and assessed accordingly.

Date Added: Tue, 11/22/2016
Item 14: For a child who is in pre-adoptive placement out of state (OOS), the sending state requires the caseworker to visit every 6 months. For the remaining 5 months they contract with a local social worker for visits. Since the local social worker does not seem to fit the definition of the “other responsible party” as noted in the instrument, are reviewers unable to count the visits made by the local social worker?

When we are talking about a child placed out of state, reviewers can consider the local worker as a “caseworker” if they are a caseworker from the jurisdiction in which the child is placed, even if they don’t meet the definition of “other responsible party.” This is why we included special instructions for out-of-state cases:

"If the child is in a placement in another state, you should determine whether a caseworker from the jurisdiction in which the child is placed, or a caseworker from the jurisdiction from which the child was placed, visits with the child in the placement on a schedule that is consistent with the child’s needs."

In this particular case, since the state has made arrangements for an out-of-state worker to visit the child in addition to doing their own visit every 6 months, the reviewers should consider the work done by the out-of-state worker in addition to the sending worker, and assess all of those efforts in meeting the child's needs.

Date Added: Fri, 10/10/2014
Item 14: With respect to Item 14 and out of state placements, the Round 2 instrument specified that the sending state caseworker visits are at least annually as required by federal law. We did not see that language in the new tool and were curious if we should still consider that in rating our out-of-state placements.

There is no requirement for annual visits by sending state caseworkers, so that should not be a factor in rating cases. Rather, reviewers should use the Item 14 instructions provided in the R3 instrument about children in out-of-state placements, which indicate that "[i]f the child is in a placement in another state, you should determine whether a caseworker from the jurisdiction in which the child is placed, or a caseworker from the jurisdiction from which the child was placed, visits with the child in the placement on a schedule that is consistent with the child’s needs." In determining whether the schedule of visits was adequate, reviewers should consider the specific child’s needs as well as the instrument instructions that guide reviewers to consider a standard of monthly visits unless there is substantial justification that a pattern of visits that was less than monthly was adequate for the child.

Date Added: Fri, 10/10/2014
Item 14(B): The instructions indicate that reviewers must rate "no" for the sub-item if the caseworker did not see the child alone for at least part of each visit if the child is older than an infant. How should reviewers rate this if the child is older than an infant but has not reached the stage in development where he or she is comfortable being away from the parent? Would we be able to rate the item "yes" if the parent is within sight or hearing of the child but not in close proximity to the child and caseworker; e.g., in another room but still within sight?

If reviewers determine that the visitation is conducted in a way that is sensitive to the child’s needs but allows the caseworker to determine the safety and well-being of the child, then B can be answered “yes.”

Date Added: Mon, 11/30/2015
Item 15: Can we count family team meetings, case planning meetings, and other types of visits with the mother as "visits" for the frequency measure for Item 15?

In Item 15, a "visit" is defined as "face-to-face contact between the caseworker or other responsible party and the parent." In answering questions A2 and B2 (if the frequency of visits between the caseworker and mother/father is sufficient to address safety, permanency, and well-being of the child and promote achievement of case goals), reviewers may include non-private visits such as family team meetings, case planning meetings, and supervised visitations if it involves face-to-face contact between the caseworker/responsible party and the parent. However, reviewers will need to address the quality of those visits in questions C and D. To determine the quality of the visits, reviewers will need to consider the location of the visit, including whether or not the location was conducive to open and honest communication between the parent(s) and caseworker.

Date Added: Mon, 12/22/2014
Item 15(A2, B2): How do caseworkers’ efforts to contact parents get assessed in these items? What happens if there is only minimal contact but there is thorough documentation of efforts by the worker to make contact?

Item 15 is rated on visits that actually occurred with parents. If a parent's whereabouts are unknown, despite the agency's efforts to locate them, that parent may not be applicable for an assessment of this item (see applicable-cases instructions for Item 15).

Date Added: Tue, 01/13/2015
Item 15(A2, B2): Instructions indicate that the answer to A2 and B2 should be No if the typical pattern of contact is less than once a month, unless you have a substantial justification for answering either question as Yes. What would be considered substantial justifications? It is our understanding that the response to this item should be based on visits that actually occurred with the parents. If the worker is only able to successfully meet with the parents less than once a month but is able to document efforts to meet with the parents during the months the worker is unsuccessful, could this item be rated as a Strength if there is sufficient information to support that the worker is able to address safety, permanency, and well-being during the months that the worker is unable to meet with the parents?

Item 15 explains that the purpose of the assessment is to determine whether, during the period under review, the frequency and quality of visits between caseworkers and the mothers and fathers of the child(ren) are sufficient to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of the child(ren) and promote achievement of case goals. Item 15 should be rated according to visits that actually occurred with the parents and should consider the quality of those visits in addressing safety, permanency, and well-being and achievement of case goals. The OSRI instructions for 15C and 15D provide information regarding things to consider when determining the sufficiency and quality of the visits. Justification for less-than-monthly visits is a case-specific issue and is difficult to answer, but reviewers should consider the documented efforts made by the worker to meet with the parents, the reasons why a parent was non-responsive, and whether less-than-monthly visits were sufficient to address the safety, permanency, and well-being of the child(ren) and achievement of case goals given the specific case issues.

Date Added: Thu, 01/15/2015