Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
Email Feedback | Printing Help
Practices and Procedures Guide


4610. General Information

  1. All case plans are reviewed at regular intervals in an effort to ensure that case management for the family is comprehensive in scope, that children receive proper care, and that permanency plans are accomplished in a timely manner. Social workers need to be familiar with case review requirements for different types of case situations.
  2. Case review requirements may differ depending upon the following or other factors:
    1. Whether the case originated in CPS, FRS, or CWS.
    2. Whether children are in an in-home or out-of-home care situation.
    3. Whether there is court involvement.
    4. Whether the child is a Native American/Alaskan Native child.
    5. Whether the child is in a rehabilitative service placement.
    6. Whether the case plan specifies adoption as the permanency plan.

4630. Periodic Case Review

4631. Legal Requirements

  1. Federal law requires that each child in out-of-home care have a full case review at least every six months from the beginning date of the placement episode. This may be accomplished in a full court review hearing or through an administrative review.
  2. State law requires that the case of every dependent child be reviewed by the juvenile court every six months from the date of the establishment of dependency or the date of the placement of the child, whichever comes first. Placement is limited to 90 days for children who are in placement as a result of an Child in Need of Services (CHINS) Disposition hearing.
  3. Other types of court hearings or internal staffing may sometimes meet federal requirements for periodic review if:
    1. Parent(s) of the child have been invited to the review or staffing.
    2. One person on the reviewing body is not directly responsible for developing and implementing the case plan.
    3. The review addresses the content of the periodic review.

4632. Content of Periodic Reviews

  1. Periodic reviews cover the entire case plan and focus on child safety.
  2. They shall include a review of:
    1. The safety threats which necessitated placement.
    2. Need or reason for the child's continued placement.
    3. The report to the court, Case Plan and Comprehensive Family Evaluation.
    4. The appropriateness of the type of placement and the permanent plan.
    5. Parental progress with the case plan and progress toward permanency.
    6. The projected date that the permanent plan will be completed.
    7. Whether parents have been notified and/or involved in agency decision-making especially as it relates to changes in visitation, placement, and the child's legal status.

4640. Court Review Hearings

Court review hearings must be held every six months from the date of placement or establishment of dependency, whichever comes first. Six month reviews continue to occur as long as the child remains dependent or until a dependency guardianship has been established.

4650. Administrative Case Review

  1. Administrative case review must occur in the following situations:
    1. Court procedures or hearings have not met the federal guidelines or time-frames for periodic review.
  2. Administrative review may be used for other purposes as determined by the Regional Administrator.
  3. The social worker shall give reasonable advance notice of the date, time, and place of review to:
    1. Child's tribe, in accordance with the ICW Manual;
    2. Relative caretakers;
    3. Treatment Providers;
    4. Other professionals who play a significant role with the family;
    5. Individuals with responsibilities identified in the safety plan;
    6. The family, if appropriate, if not present, their perspective should be represented;
    7. Foster Parent;
    8. Child, if over 12 years of age.
  4. With the exception of the GAL and parents' attorney, parents must give written consent to the attendance of others at the review. Social workers shall encourage such permission. Foster care providers often have valuable information about the child's daily life, medical, educational and emotional condition. They may be invited into the review without parental permission but only for the purpose of giving information about the child's adjustment to out-of-home care and to give the reviewers information on the child's current condition.

4651. Recommendations from Review

  1. The person designated by the review committee shall complete the Administrative Review Form, DSHS 05-203, after the review.
  2. The Administrative Review Coordinator shall send copies of the DSHS 05-203 to:
    1. The parents of the child.
    2. The social worker for the child.
    3. Children over 12 subject to the review.
    4. The Native American child's Tribe and/or LICWAC, as applicable.
    5. The private agency social worker responsible for placement of the child, when applicable.
    6. The GAL for the child.

4670. Permanency Planning Hearing

  1. The juvenile court makes a determination regarding the future status of the child by the 12th month of placement for all. To provide reasonable assurance that this has occurred, permanency planning hearings are held for any child in placement by the 12th month of original placement date and annually thereafter. See Appendix A for the definition of “Original Placement Date.”
  2. The social worker must notify the child's foster parent(s) or relative care provider(s) of the date and location of permanency planning hearings pertaining to the child.

4671. Preparation for Permanency Planning Hearings

  1. The social worker submits an updated report to the court, to the juvenile court prior to the permanency planning hearing within timeframes established by regional and juvenile court policy. The report to the court submitted for a permanency planning hearing must clearly delineate the DCFS recommendations for permanency planning.
  2. While it is always necessary when updating the report to the court to review the parents' progress towards improving the conditions leading to the child's placement in out-of-home care, it is particularly important that a careful review of the permanency plan occur at the time of the permanency planning review. If, at this point, the social worker is still recommending to the court that eventual return home will occur, the worker shall carefully describe to the court how this view is consistent with the child's right to early achievement of a safe, permanent home. The worker carefully considers all alternative permanency plans before making a recommendation on either a primary or an alternative plan to the court.

4680. LICWAC Review

For procedures regarding review of Native American/Alaskan Native children in placement, the social worker follows the requirements contained in the ICW Manual.

46100. Monthly Supervisor Case Reviews

  1. Purpose

    Monthly supervision provides practice guidance and case direction for the assigned Social Worker to address:

    • Appropriate and timely delivery of services to families and children,
    • Safety issues and family progress toward case goals,
    • Concurrent planning and family cultural needs and
    • Review of authorized family expenditures.
  2. Policy

    Social work supervisors must conduct monthly supervisor case reviews with each assigned social worker and document each case reviewed in the client electronic case file.

    The case review discussion must include:

    1. A focus on child safety, including the supervisor's review that all monthly visits for the child, known parent/legal guardian and caregiver by the assigned social worker have been completed and documented as required in the Social Worker Monthly
    2. Health and Safety Visit Policy.
    3. Steps the family and/or children need to achieve permanency including concurrent planning, relative search, and community supports.
    4. Assessment of the services provided to each family, including the family cultural and linguistic needs.

    Note: Social work supervisors will not document social worker performance concerns in the client electronic case file.

  3. Procedure

    Social work supervisors will conduct 100% case reviews monthly with staff. During these reviews, supervisors will:

    1. Discuss the following practice areas with the assigned social worker during the case review:
      1. Timeliness of response time (CPS only)
      2. Child safety threats
      3. Monthly health and safety contacts
      4. Family progress towards achieving safety and permanency and concurrent planning to include relative search
      5. Current well-being of children in out-of-home or in-home care
      6. Child return home when identified safety threats of serious harm can be managed and controlled with an in-home safety plan.
    2. Discuss the following issues to determine if case closure is appropriate:
      1. Safety threats have been reduced or eliminated and the parent or caregiver's protective capacities have increased to assure the child's safety and well being
      2. The legal action was terminated
      3. Service authorizations are closed
      4. Family connected to formal and informal supports and other community resources
    3. Document and record a summary of the supervisor case review discussion under the supervision/administrative review code under the client case name.

46110. Complaint Resolution

  1. CA management will always make effort to resolve complaints at the lowest possible level in the organization, while involving affected staff in exploration and resolution of the issues.
  2. As provided in WAC 388-74-035 and RCW 74.13.045, after making a reasonable effort to resolve a complaint with a social worker or licenser, a client, foster parent, or community member may contact the CA Constituent Relations office to request assistance. The toll free number is 1-800/723-4831.
  3. When Constituent Relations staff and local CA staff have been unable to resolve the complaint, the Regional Administrator, the Office Chief, or the Constituent Relations supervisor may convene a panel to review the complaint in accordance with WAC 388-74-040. The panel must submit written findings and recommendations to the CA Assistant Secretary, who will issue a final, written report.
  4. See the Operations Manual, chapter 3000, section 3220, for identification of those issues and topics that are not subject to the complaint resolution process described in RCW 74.13.045, chapter 388-39 WAC, and this section (46110).


4710. General

  1. CPS investigations must be completed within 90 days of the date of referral.
  2. FRS episodes of service are concluded within 90 days of the date of referral.
  3. CWS episodes of service are concluded according to the following guidelines:
    1. The social worker closes cases open without court action if the supervisor does not provide written approval every 90 days to keep the case open.

4720. Cases Originating in CPS with No Court and No Placement Activity

  1. The social worker may close continuing service cases when the problems resulting in CA/N identified in the Summary Assessment Form have been alleviated, and no new factors have been discovered which would increase the risk of CA/N.
  2. The worker may close other cases in which there is a continuing risk of CA/N but which are not likely to be resolved through treatment efforts when:
    1. Further voluntary services are not available or are rejected.
    2. There is no plan to file a dependency petition.

4730. Court and/or Placement Cases

  1. DCFS shall not close cases for service while a supervised dependency or CHINS order is in effect or within six months of the time a child is returned to parental care as a result of a dependency order.
  2. The social worker shall complete all forms and narrative recording within 90 days of a decision to terminate services and close a case.
  3. The supervisor shall review both CAMIS and the case folder for accuracy and completeness and sign-off the closure in the case record before closure or transfer to another service.
  4. For legally free children who are not adopted and the child leaves care and is at least 18 years of age, the social worker prepares the file for archiving and sends it to Olympia adoption archives.

4735. Youth Petition for Reinstatement of Parental Rights - Policy

  1. A child, age 12 and older, has the right to petition the court for reinstatement of parental rights if:
    1. She/he has been legally free for three (3) or more years from the date of termination or the exhaustion of appeals; and
    2. She/he has not achieved or will not imminently achieve a permanent plan.
  2. A child younger than age 12 may petition the court for reinstatement of parental rights if she/he can show good cause and is able to meet the above requirements.
  3. A proceeding to reinstate parental rights is a separate action from the termination of parental rights proceeding and does not vacate the original termination of parental rights order.

47351. Reinstatement of Parental Rights

Purpose Statement Eligible youth have the right to know and have counsel if a parent contacts the department, supervising agency or GAL about reinstatement of their parental rights. Assigned counsel can support youth when they consider petitioning the court for reinstatement of parental rights.

RCW 13.34.215 Petition Reinstating Terminated Parental Rights

  1. Youth 12 and older have the right to petition the court for reinstatement of parental rights when meeting certain criteria.
  2. Verbal notice must be provided to eligible dependent youth 12 and older, of their right to have counsel appointed if a parent contacts CA, the supervising agency or GAL regarding reinstatement of their parental rights.
  1. Notify eligible youth 12 and older who meet the criteria of their right petition the court for reinstatement of parent rights:
    • Previously found dependent under RCW 13.34.
    • Age 12 and older
    • Legally free for at least three years; with the entry of a final order of termination
    • Permanent plan is not achieved or will not immediately be achieved
    • Permanent plan was achieved but not sustained for three years

    Note: Eligible youth under age 12 may also petition the court for reinstatement of parental rights if good cause is determined.

  2. The court will inquire if an eligible youth has received notification of right to counsel and the parental rights reinstatement at a review hearing. An eligible youth includes the following criteria:
    1. Does not have a court appointed attorney;
    2. Age 12 and older
    3. Legally free for at least three years; with the entry of a final order of termination
    4. Permanent plan is not achieved or will not immediately be achieved.

    Note: After the eligible youth's 15th birthday the court will make an additional inquiry.

  3. Document the notification in a Case Note or on the Shared Planning Form in the electronic case file.
  4. Complete a Safety Assessment and background check of the parent(s) and any other adults in the home prior and be prepared to make recommendations. Consider the following:
    1. Reinstatement of parental rights is in the best interest of the youth;
    2. Reinstatement will present a risk to the health, safety, and welfare of the youth, and;
    3. The parent(s) has addressed their parental deficiencies.
  5. Complete the following when the court conditionally grants the petition to reinstate parental rights:
    1. Change the permanency plan in the report to the court to reunification;
    2. Complete a Safety Assessment and Plan and refer family for transitional services;
    3. Supervise placement for six months as per Trial Return Home 43051A policy; and
    4. Conduct monthly social worker visits/health and safety checks in the home, not to exceed 40 days between each visit as per Social Worker Visit 4420 policy.
  6. When the court determines the youth is safe and has lived with the parent for a minimum of six (6) months:
    1. Document court decision to dismiss the dependency;
    2. Close the case.
Cultural Considerations

Family Centered Approach:
The way CA staff engages the family (or fails to engage the family) can directly affect the willingness of the family to work with other members of the department. The level of trust and integrity established between the agency and the family often has a direct relationship on the youth being able to remain/reunify with his/her family. Everyone who meets the family needs to build positive relationships.

For example:
The definition of family varies from group to group. While the dominant culture has focused on the nuclear family, African Americans define family as a wide network of extended family, non-blood kin and community. Native American Indian families traditionally include at least three generations and multiple parental functions delegated among aunts and uncles, as well as grandparents and cousins. Different cultural groups also vary in their traditional practices and views of adoption.

Determine if there are cultural considerations that need to be addressed as part of the planning process, for example, obtaining information about protocols, such as, how to approach a family, use of a cultural elder, matriarch or patriarch or the need for a culturally appropriate support person.


Guidelines for Reinstatement Hearings

Reinstatement Threshold Hearing Notification could include:

Assist the youth with obtaining legal counsel upon the youth's request to petition the court for reinstatement of parental rights by:

  1. Contacting the legal counsel already assigned to the case;
  2. Requesting legal counsel at the next review hearing or if no hearing is scheduled make a request for an early review;
  3. Notifying the youth's Tribe(s) if applicable.
  4. Notifying all parties of the Threshold Hearing including:
    1. Youth's former parent whose parental rights are the subject of the petition;
    2. Youth's current foster parent, relative caregiver, guardian or custodian;
    3. Youth's Tribe(s) if applicable;
    4. Note: Hearing notification to all parties is by via personal service or certified mail or the court can order a specific type of notification.

Reinstatement Threshold Hearing could include:

Request the court to order any assessments and/or evaluations needed to evaluate the parent's current fitness and interest in reinstatement. In determining what assessments and/or evaluations may be appropriate consider the following:

  1. Deficiencies identified in the record of the prior termination proceeding;
  2. Services recommended and not completed in the dependency action;
  3. Any current concerns;
  4. Current youth welfare check and BCCU background check;
  5. Consult with the AAG regarding recommendations for any assessments and/or evaluations.

Reinstatement Merit Hearing Notification could include:

Give prior notice of the merit hearing to the following parties:

  1. The youth's former parent whose parental rights are the subject of the petition;
  2. The youth's current foster parent, relative caregiver, guardian or custodian;
  3. The youth's tribe if applicable.

Reinstatement Merit Hearing could include:

Prepare documentation to show efforts made by the department to achieve permanency, such as:

  1. Dates youth was staffed at Adoption Consortium;
  2. Youth's registration with WARE;
  3. Youth's registry with the Northwest Adoption Exchange;
  4. Youth's participation in other recruitment projects (i.e. Wednesday's Child );
  5. Dates of discussion with youth in which the youth was asked, about in-state and out-of-state placement options (include copies of relevant case notes);
  6. On-going relative search documentation;
  7. Dates of discussion with current and past foster parents (include copies of relevant case notes)
  8. Any other recruitment activities as appropriate; and
  9. Review of adoptive home studies considered and reasons why the family is not considered (include copies of relevant case notes).

4740. Closure of Legally Free Cases

  1. Following the completion of adoption finalization, the social worker:
    1. Terminates all DCFS medical and foster care payments effective the last day of the month in which the adoption is finalized.
    2. Forwards a copy of the adoption decree to the local office of the Attorney General or to the court, depending on local procedures, requesting that the dependency of the child be dismissed.
    3. Sends notification of finalization, including a copy of the adoption decree, to the regional adoption support program manager, when the child is to receive adoption support services.
    4. Provides notification to the CSO, if it is a relative adoption and the child is receiving TANF or SSI.
    5. Arranges for notification to the Trust Fund Unit.
    6. Notifies the Social Security Administration if the child is on SSI or SSA Title II, survivor's benefits.
    7. Prepare the child's legally free file for archiving following procedures in the Operations Manual, chapter 13000, section 13930. Do not archive any file where SSI or SSA benefits determination is still pending.
    8. Sends the prepared file, including all Title IV-E documents, to adoption archives.
    9. Refers the family to any on-going community and adoption support groups as needed and to the Social Security Administration to apply to be Representative Payee for benefits, if applicable.
    10. Provide ongoing support and information and referral as requested and available through DCFS.
    11. Provides other post-finalization services to any adoptive person or family, including:
      1. On-going information and referral to community adoptive support services.
      2. A copy of the search brochure to persons seeking information.
      3. Referral of adoptees to the headquarters adoption program manager to search information from archived records.
    12. Informs the adoptive family in those situations in which trust money is available and instruct the family to apply at the agency providing benefits (e.g., SSI or Social Security) if they wish to receive the trust. The adoptive family must be made aware that their confidentiality cannot be guaranteed if application for these funds is made. The adoption worker shall request the family to confirm in writing if they do not wish to apply for either type of benefit.
  2. If the child is Native American/Alaskan Native, follow the provisions of the CA ICW Manual in providing notification to the child's tribe.

4750. Guardianship

Refer to 4340

1OPD-date of the child's most recent removal from the child's home and placement under the care and responsibility of Children's Administration, either voluntarily, police custody, or court ordered.

2 Meetings/staffings listed are held for specific case situations and do not apply to all cases or within the designated time frames of the shared planning meetings.

5The Social Security Administration does not recognize "termination of parental rights" with regard to survivor's benefits. A child remains eligible for said benefits due to the death or disability of a birth parent. These benefits may be paid even after a child is adopted, if the adoptive family so chooses.

6 RCW 13.34

7 The Division of Developmental Disabilities also has a Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) for children or youth with developmental disabilities. (DSHS 09-004C), with no abuse/neglect issues. The DDD VPA is an agreement between DDD and the parents of child with developmental disabilities as defined in RCW 71A.10.020 and does not grant temporary custody to DSHS

8 DSHS 15-259

9 DSHS 15-209C

10 Legal authority for out-of-home placement occurs with one of three actions: 1) Police hold for up to 72 hours, (RCW 26.44.050), or 2) Court order, or 3) CA Voluntary Placement Agreement signed by the parents or legal guardian.

12 Refer to Guardianship Guidelines, Permanency Planning Practice Guide For Social Workers for criteria.

13 When dependency guardianship subsidy is paid, the source of funds must be state funds.

14 Refer to Shared Planning Policy for participants and form.

15Refer to Long-term Care Agreement Guidelines, Permanency Planning Guide for Social Workers for criteria.

16Refer to Shared Planning Policy for participants and form.