Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Child and Family Services (PA-CFS) 31: Case Closing and Aftercare

The agency works with children and families to plan for case closing and develop aftercare plans. 



This core concept applies regardless of permanency outcome – the agency is expected to work with families who received in-home services, reunified families, adoptive families, families with permanent legal guardianship, youth transitioning to independence, and birth parents who will not be reunited with their children. 
2020 Edition




Child and Family Services promote child and family well-being, protect children’s safety, stablilize and strengthen families, and ensure permanency.
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. 
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.  
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.
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
  • Case closing procedures
  • Aftercare planning and follow-up procedures
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Parents served
    4. Children served
    5. Resource parents
  • Review case records

PA-CFS 31.01

Planning for case closing:  
  1. is a clearly defined process that includes the assignment of staff responsibility; 
  2. begins at intake; 
  3.  involves the worker, children, families, resource families, and other supportive people chosen by children and families, as appropriate; and
  4. includes collaboration with the court to ensure that jurisdiction is terminated before the case is closed, when necessary.

Examples: Supportive people chosen by children and families can include, for example, extended family, friends, and other service providers.

PA-CFS 31.02

Upon case closing, the agency notifies any collaborating service providers, including tribal governments, as appropriate.

PA-CFS 31.03

When children have remained or been reunified with their families, the case closing process includes a discussion with the family about the successful changes in behaviors and conditions that reduced risk to the child and strategies for maintaining those changes.

PA-CFS 31.04

The agency works with children and families to develop an aftercare plan, sufficiently in advance of case closing, that identifies short- and long-term needs and goals and facilitates the initiation or continuation of needed supports and services, including crisis resources.
Note: When a case is closed because an adoption or guardianship has been finalized, the specifics of aftercare planning will be covered by PA-CFS 29, and when a youth ages out of care without having achieved legal permanency, additional details regarding transition planning will be covered by PA-CFS 21.07 and PA-CFS 21.08. Similarly, when children have been reunified with their families, the aftercare plans referenced in this standard will likely be extensions of the plans for support and services described in PA-CFS 20. When cases are closed following the provision of in-home services, without children ever being separated from their families, aftercare planning will be entirely covered by this core concept standard. 

PA-CFS 31.05

The agency follows up on the aftercare plan, as appropriate, when possible, and with the permission of children and families.