Child and Family Services (PA-CFS) 14: Worker Contact and Monitoring
Workers maintain regular contact with children, parents, resource families and residential treatment providers, and collaborating organizations and agencies to promote safety, well-being, and progress towards service and permanency goals.
When the agency is working with American Indian or Alaska Native children and families representatives from tribes or local Indian organizations should be informed of regular contact with children, families, and caregivers, and be given an opportunity to participate.
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Examples: While regular visits will occur on a consistent, scheduled basis, some agencies may also make one unannounced visit per quarter.
Contacts with children and parents are used to:
cultivate strong, supportive, and productive relationships;
monitor and promote safety, permanency, and well-being; and
share information about the children, and facilitate parental involvement in children’s care and activities, when children have been separated from their families.
This standard applies both when children are living at home with their families and when children are in out-of-home care.
When children are in out-of-home care parents should be encouraged to participate in their health appointments, school activities, and other events, and involved in everyday decision making whenever possible, unless contraindicated.
Examples: Personnel can cultivate strong, supportive, and productive relationships by, for example:
being honest, predictable, and dependable;
expecting that families want the best for their children and emphasizing that the agency and family share a common goal of keeping children safe;
listening to feelings and concerns without judging, criticizing, shaming, blaming, or arguing;
demonstrating empathy and concern for all family members;
understanding and acknowledging that families may be fearful of the agency’s power and that the agency’s impact on a family can be life-changing;
recognizing that family members may exhibit anger, avoidance, apathy, or resistance as a result of agency involvement and their own personal histories of adverse experiences or trauma, and addressing family members’ reactions in an appropriate manner; and
ensuring that interactions with family members are sensitive and responsive to any history of adverse experiences or trauma.
When children are in out-of-home care, workers regularly consult with out-of-home caregivers to:
maintain positive relationships;
monitor and promote safety and well-being;
share all relevant and legally permissible information concerning the children;
clarify their role in supporting and contributing to the service and permanency plan;
inform them about, and encourage their participation in, upcoming team meetings and court hearings, as appropriate;
provide ongoing feedback regarding performance that includes attention to both strengths and needs;
assess whether additional assistance or support is needed; and
respond to questions, concerns, and issues, as needed.
Safety monitoring should include attention to potential concerns including: inadequate or unsafe heat, light, water, refrigeration, cooking, and toilet facilities; malfunctioning smoke detectors; unsanitary conditions; lack of phone service; unsafe doors, steps, and windows, or missing window guards where necessary; exposed wiring; access to hazardous substances, materials, or equipment; rodent or insect infestation; walls and ceilings with holes or lead; and insufficient space.
While support and consultation will be provided during the regularly scheduled visits described in PA-CFS 14.03, workers must also respond to questions and requests for assistance between visits.
NA The agency does not work with children placed in out-of-home care.
The agency promotes the delivery and coordination of services across systems by:
facilitating timely and consistent referrals for assessments and services;
helping family members access needed services and navigate different systems;
communicating with children, families, and out-of-home care providers to monitor service delivery, including both confirming that services were initiated and are appropriate, and responding to complaints or problems;
communicating with other involved service providers and systems in a regular and timely manner to share information and monitor service participation and progress; and
ensuring appropriate communication and coordination among the other providers serving children and families.
Communication among providers is especially critical when providers work with family members regarding specific issues that may impact safety, such as substance use, mental health, and domestic violence.
Agency personnel work cooperatively and follow formal procedures for sharing relevant information about a case internally:
when different workers are responsible for different components of service; and
when responsibility for the case is transferred to a different worker.
Information should be shared to facilitate case continuity and ensure that the needs of children, families, and resource families (or residential treatment providers) are met. For example, the information collected by licensing workers during resource parent assessments should be shared with caseworkers and inform ongoing work with children and resource families, and caseworkers’ ongoing work with children and resource families should be considered when updating resource family assessments and conducting annual reviews of strengths, needs, and performance. Similarly, workers arranging adoptions should access all relevant information about both children and prospective matches when identifying families that will develop lifelong relationships with the children.
When children are reunified with their families following out-of-home care, they are visited in the home on the day following return to confirm safety.
NA The agency does not provide reunification services.
Current information about children’s placements is updated within 24 hours of any change and available to authorized personnel at all times.
The agency collaborates with law enforcement, tribal governments, and other community agencies to establish procedures for preventing and responding to missing children that address:
creating an environment that provides a sense of safety, support, and community;
assessing the risk of abduction or running away;
immediately reporting missing children to the agency, law enforcement, and parents;
working in partnership with other relevant agencies, including law enforcement, to find missing children, and protocols for the sharing and release of information needed to assist in a search;
the specific responsibilities of law enforcement, tribal governments, and other community agencies, as appropriate;
welcoming, screening, debriefing, and conducting event-based re-assessments, including re-entry examinations and clinical consultations, when children return; and
addressing issues that led to the episode or that arose while children were missing by providing needed supports and ensuring appropriate placements, including new placements when necessary.
Procedures for responding to allegations of maltreatment by a resource family or residential treatment provider:
respect the rights and needs of children, their families, and the resource family or residential treatment provider under investigation;
address the process for investigation, appeal, and resolution;
address access to resources or services that can provide support throughout the investigation process; and
are developed in collaboration with law enforcement, tribal governments, and other community agencies, and incorporate input from resource families and residential treatment providers.
NA The agency does not work with children placed in out-of-home care.