Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

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.

Interpretation

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.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES (PA-CFS)

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Purpose

Child and Family Services promote child and family well-being, protect children’s safety, stablilize and strengthen families, and ensure permanency.
1
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
2
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. 
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.  
3
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  
  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.   
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner. 
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.   
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
4
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.  
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for worker contact and meetings

 

  • Procedures for maintaining contact with other service providers and systems
  • Procedures for preventing and responding to missing children
  • Procedures for responding to allegations of maltreatment in resource families and residential treatment settings
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Parents served
    4. Children served
    5. Resource parents
    6. Residential treatment providers
  • Review case records
  • Review resource parent records
  • Observe system that maintains information about children’s current placements

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 14.01

When children live with their families and in-home services are provided, workers’ meetings with children and parents:  
  1. occur at a frequency determined by the family’s risk level, and no less than once per month;
  2. take place primarily in the home;
  3. happen when convenient for the family; and
  4. include time for private discussions with all parties to ensure that both parents and children can feel comfortable sharing information.

 

Interpretation

This standard applies both:
  1. when children have not been separated from their families, and
  2. when children are reunited with their families following out-of-home care.  
When an agency is legally required to meet with children and parents more frequently (e.g., at least twice per month), the agency is expected to abide by those requirements.

 
NA The agency does not provide services to children who are home with their families.
Examples: While one contact per month may be sufficient in low-risk cases, families with a higher risk level may be seen as often as four times per month.
 
 

PA-CFS 14.02

When children are placed in out-of-home care or moved to a new placement, the worker meets with children and out-of-home-care providers, in the new setting, within three days.


 
Interpretation: When treatment foster care is provided children should be seen on the first day of placement. 

 
NA  The agency does not work with children placed in out-of-home care.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 14.03

When children are in out-of-home care, workers’ meetings with children, parents, and resource parents or residential treatment providers: 
  1. occur at least once a month;  
  2. happen on a consistent, scheduled basis, at mutually agreed upon times, whenever possible;
  3. take place primarily in the resource family home or treatment setting, when meeting with children and out-of-home care providers; 
  4. take place primarily in the home, when meeting with parents; and
  5. include time for private discussions with all parties to ensure that all parties can feel comfortable sharing information.

 

Interpretation

When treatment foster care is provided, workers should meet with children and resource families at least twice per month. 
 

 
Examples: While regular visits will occur on a consistent, scheduled basis, some agencies may also make one unannounced visit per quarter.
 

PA-CFS 14.04

Contacts with children and parents are used to: 
  1. cultivate strong, supportive, and productive relationships; 
  2. monitor and promote safety, permanency, and well-being; and
  3. share information about the children, and facilitate parental involvement in children’s care and activities, when children have been separated from their families. 



 

Interpretation

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:  
  1.  being honest, predictable, and dependable;
  2. expecting that families want the best for their children and emphasizing that the agency and family share a common goal of keeping children safe;
  3. listening to feelings and concerns without judging, criticizing, shaming, blaming, or arguing;
  4. demonstrating empathy and concern for all family members;
  5. 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;
  6. 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 
  7. ensuring that interactions with family members are sensitive and responsive to any history of adverse experiences or trauma. 

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 14.05

When children are in out-of-home care, workers regularly consult with out-of-home caregivers to:  
  1. maintain positive relationships; 
  2. monitor and promote safety and well-being;
  3. share all relevant and legally permissible information concerning the children;
  4. clarify their role in supporting and contributing to the service and permanency plan;
  5. inform them about, and encourage their participation in, upcoming team meetings and court hearings, as appropriate;
  6. provide ongoing feedback regarding performance that includes attention to both strengths and needs; 
  7. assess whether additional assistance or support is needed; and
  8. respond to questions, concerns, and issues, as needed.


 

Interpretation

 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. 

Interpretation

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.

PA-CFS 14.06

The agency promotes the delivery and coordination of services across systems by: 
  1. facilitating timely and consistent referrals for assessments and services;
  2. helping family members access needed services and navigate different systems;
  3. 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; 
  4. communicating with other involved service providers and systems in a regular and timely manner to share information and monitor service participation and progress; and
  5. ensuring appropriate communication and coordination among the other providers serving children and families. 


 

Interpretation

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.

PA-CFS 14.07

Agency personnel work cooperatively and follow formal procedures for sharing relevant information about a case internally:  
  1. when different workers are responsible for different components of service; and
  2. when responsibility for the case is transferred to a different worker. 


 

Interpretation

 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.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 14.08

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.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 14.09

Current information about children’s placements is updated within 24 hours of any change and available to authorized personnel at all times.
 

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 14.10

The agency collaborates with law enforcement, tribal governments, and other community agencies to establish procedures for preventing and responding to missing children that address: 
  1. creating an environment that provides a sense of safety, support, and community;
  2. assessing the risk of abduction or running away;
  3. immediately reporting missing children to the agency, law enforcement, and parents;
  4. 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;
  5. the specific responsibilities of law enforcement, tribal governments, and other community agencies, as appropriate;
  6. welcoming, screening, debriefing, and conducting event-based re-assessments, including re-entry examinations and clinical consultations, when children return; and
  7. 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.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CFS 14.11

Procedures for responding to allegations of maltreatment by a resource family or residential treatment provider: 
  1. respect the rights and needs of children, their families, and the resource family or residential treatment provider under investigation;
  2. address the process for investigation, appeal, and resolution;
  3. address access to resources or services that can provide support throughout the investigation process; and
  4. 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.