Case Management for Child Welfare

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Case Management for Child Welfare

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Table of Contents Part 1: Foundations...............................................3 Part 2: Child-Centered Support........................18 Part 3: Family Assessment and Monitoring...35 Part 4: Case Study................................................60

Please note: This Training Module includes many editable document templates to be downloaded and customized to best fit the needs of your organization and caseworkers as you serve vulnerable children and families. Each linked, downloadable document will look like this within the text. Click on each link and the associated editable form will download to your computer automatically in Word document format. Then, the form is yours to customize.

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PART 1: FOUNDATIONS

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WHAT IS CASE MANAGEMENT? View this video to learn more about what Case Management is.

Case Management is a trusting, collaborative relationship between a professional and a client or family utilizing support services. It is focused on supporting children and families in achieving their goals, and guides the delivery of social service support. Caseworkers and the children and families they serve work together to identify needs and solutions in a journey of empowerment. Caseworkers need to be connected to the local community, and aware of available services. Included in Case Management is a process of documenting assessments, plans, and progress toward meeting the goals of individuals served.

How does Case Management help programs serving vulnerable children and families? If done well, Case Management can help organizations identify the best placement, goals, and services for each child. When Case Management is done in a team setting, it helps everyone stay informed of a child’s current situation. With thorough communication and record keeping, Case Management helps staff organize a smooth service delivery. For example, if one caseworker gets sick, another can pick up where they left off with good case notes and organized information. 4


Case Management is vital for any program serving children. Each child’s journey will be unique and specific, and greatly benefit from an advocate to maintain focus on his or her best interest. Through collaborative assessment and the coordination of services, Case managers develop a plan to support, then monitor progress and make adjustments to services based on outcomes. Keep in mind that not all Case Management processes begin with a child protection report or separation from parental care. Some programs, such as those providing counseling or after school support, may not have any sort of crisis point from which the process originates. In fact, that is the ideal situation. Wherever possible, we want to provide support in working toward goals prior to a crisis. However, some programs, such as foster care agencies or children's homes, may begin their relationship with a child after a significant change. We can use a Case Management process in these situations, as well. Child-centered Case Management is highly relational. It requires an assigned, trained case worker for each child, ensuring case goals are being met as efficiently as possible. Not only are caseworkers advocates, they also provide information, encouragement, support, mentoring, and connection to formal services. Case Management for children in care ensures that permanency plans progress successfully for all parties involved, while ensuring the best interest of the child and family is prioritized throughout the process.

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GOOD CASE MANAGEMENT IS:

Child-centered Confidential

Family-focused

Inclusive

Does no harm

Good Case Management Based on strengths and dignity

Promotes family selfdetermination

Improves quality of life

Includes child participation

Collaborative

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HOW CAN WE IMPLEMENT CASE MANAGEMENT?

1. Hire Case Management staff

2. Train and organize staff

3. Make local connections

4. Identify record-keeping tools

5. Implement a Case Management process

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1. Hire Case Management Staff Good Case Management begins with a competent caseworker. It is best to engage local social work staff who understand the application of social work to the local culture. A knowledgeable, skilled, trustworthy social worker is the foundation of any program serving children and families. Work to find sustainable sources of funding to ensure you can hire and train an excellent social work team and compensate them fairly, as it is one of the most important investments any program will make.

Each child and family in your program must have an assigned case worker. Appropriate caseloads can be anywhere from 15-25 cases per worker.

Job Description All caseworkers need a clear job description that outlines primary tasks, as well as the core competencies needed to perform the role. Job descriptions can serve as a tool for communication, ensuring caseworkers, supervisors, and other program staff know what is expected from the point of hiring. Further, they serve as a guide for what type of training a caseworker may need to be successful. See one editable example here. 8


When a sufficient pool of credentialed social workers are not readily available, it may be possible to train and utilize the skills of social work paraprofessionals for some of your program’s Case Management needs. Paraprofessionals receive training in specific components of Case Management, and are able to expand the capacity of a social work team by handling these tasks. Social work paraprofessionals must be supervised by credentialed social workers, and it is vital that their supervisors have an understanding of how to work with this population.

For more information on determining caseloads, see page 41 of the Interagency Guidelines for Case Management & Child Protection (Global Child Protection Working Group). For more on social work para professionals, review Paraprofessionals in the Social Service Workforce (Global Social Service Workforce Alliance) and watch Developing Social Work Capacity in Low-Resource Environments (CAFO). For more on the resources needed for Case Management, see page 13 of Core Concepts and Principles of Effective Case Management (Global Social Service Workforce Alliance).

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2. Train and Organize Staff Case Management is a professional role, and should be treated as such. View this video to learn more about how to train staff.

Training If Case Management staff are not well trained, the process will be ineffective. Training begins with an understanding of why Case Management is important. If Case Managers don’t understand why their work is vital, they will fail to be diligent. Other key areas of training include: • Human development principles • An understanding of the local and national child welfare system • Record keeping and precisely how to utilize available tools • What services can support children and families locally • How to use a strengths-based approach • Specific, realistic, and collaborative goal setting • How to offer high support and empathy while holding high expectations • How to empower and collaborate with families • Understanding the stages of change and an ability to work effectively with individuals and families at their own level of readiness

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Local, in-person training is best, and may be available within your context. Explore the following options to see if they offer Case Management training in your area: • Local, regional, or national government child welfare offices • Local NGOs caring for vulnerable children and families • Social work faculty at local universities • NGOs or social work faculty from nearby regions or nations that would be able to travel to train your team

To supplement in-person training, consider these programs: • Case Management Guidelines 101 (The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action) • Tanzania Para Social Worker Training Manual & Curriculum (American International Health Alliance) For more on communicating with children, see pages 46-48 of Family Case Management (FHI360). For a Caseworker Competency and Skill Framework, view page 73 of the Interagency Guidelines for Case Management & Child Protection (Global Child Protection Working Group).

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Supervision All caseworkers should report to a supervisor who provides oversight. Adequate supervision will include weekly or bi-weekly meetings to agree on goals, expectations and support. Case Management is a very involved process, with many moving parts, and it requires a great deal of skill, practice, relational ability, memory, and problem solving, and work plans, review individual cases, revise case load, process decision making, encourage self-care and support coping with stress, and identify professional development opportunities. All cases should be reviewed with a supervisor every 60 days. Supervisors should ensure all files are up to date. Supervision may also include group sessions. In addition to supporting the practical components of casework, supervisors should also support the wellbeing of caseworkers. Burnout rates for caseworkers are incredibly high, and appropriate supervision can assist programs in retaining staff. The supervision relationship can offer vital space for reflection, leading to more thoughtful decision-making. Working on selfcare strategies and processing difficult experiences with cases and beyond can provide support, encouragement, and guidance needed for caseworkers to serve long term.

For an explanation of the roles of supervisors and caseworkers, view page 76 of the Interagency Guidelines for Case Management & Child Protection (Global Child Protection Working Group).

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For more on supervision in Case Management, begin with page 147 of Child Protection Case Management Operations Manual (Namibia Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare). For an example of a caseworker appraisal form, see pages 96-97 of the Handbook for Case Management in Child Protection (Uganda Ministry of Labor, Gender, and Social Development).

3. Make Local Connections In conversations with multiple Case Management experts, the most common risk mentioned for Case Management is trying to do it alone. Case Managers serve to advocate for children and families within the system of the larger community, which means they need to know their community. When considering collaboration, there are 3 key types of partners to keep in mind: • Local Government. In many contexts, the local government has a significant role in child welfare. It is vital to develop respectful and trusting relationships with local government entities, and to support their efforts to care for vulnerable children and families. This can be a symbiotic relationship, with your program providing support and capacity building, while government leaders provide training on national and local laws that apply to your context.

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• Local NGOs. These relationships may prove to be some of the most valuable a program can have. Ideally, NGOs can connect, share resources, advocate for each other, and collaborate on common issues. Case Management is only one area in which mutual learning and support will only augment each program involved. Finding local partners often begins by asking local contacts who they know, as connections that come via relationships are always strongest. The Member Directory of the Christian Alliance for Orphans and the Directory of Organizations from Better Care Network can both be filtered by nation, providing another avenue for learning about who is doing what. • Local Experts. Local experts can hold a variety of roles, and may or may not be credentialed. Professional social workers, psychologists, teachers, doctors, and lawyers may be able to provide advice or services (check the Member Directory of the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance). Local influencers such as business owners, pastors, policemen, and tribal leaders may be well connected and able to support networking or policy changes in your context. However, just as important are connections with those individuals who really know what is going on in the community. Retired grandmothers, shopkeepers, and security guards may have a great deal of information on community life. They may be able to share local services, to identify the children and families that need support, and to flag those individuals who might have unsafe behaviors or attitudes toward children. 14


4. Identify Record-Keeping Tools Find out what Case Management standards, guidelines, and tools are outlined by the government in the country where you work. Depending on your context of service, some of the Case Management tools you use may already be decided for you. It will be important to use these in accordance with any government policies, but keep in mind that you are not limited to those tools. If they seem insufficient to serve the best interest of children and families, you can always add more tools for your program. Although they may need to be adapted to fit a given context, it is recommended that programs utilize tools that have been validated by experts in the field. Too often, programs develop their own tools without the needed expertise to ensure they are comprehensive and effective. Beginning with poorly-designed tools will significantly limit the impact of Case Management. Specific, editable tools will be offered in Case Management 2: Child-Centered Support and Case Management 3: Family Assessment and Monitoring. For more information about how to use the tools in this training module, view this video. Primero, OSCaR and Children First Software are all great digital tools for organization, tracking and management of case information.

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5. Implement a Case Management Process The Case Management process follows a specific pathway, as pictured below:

Child-centered Case Management 1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

This same process will repeat with almost every client, but different tools and timelines may be used based on the needs of the client and the resources available. This part of the training module has laid the foundation for understanding Case Management. The following two parts will give you concrete tools, processes, and instructions for serving vulnerable children and families with these concepts. Learn more about the relationship between Child-Centered Support and Family Assessment and Monitoring in this video. 16


Every child's journey will be unique and specific, and will greatly benefit from an advocate to meet their best interest."

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PART 2: CHILD-CENTERED SUPPORT

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As you learned in Case Management: Part 1, there is a specific pathway to Case Management:

1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

1. Initial Screening In emergency situations, the Initial Screening serves to assess risk. Screening should be completed within 48 hours of a child protection report. Some programs such as those assigned cases by the local government may not need to complete this step. It is focused on making a timely decision in response to a report of concern. It is vital to begin to build trust in this stage by listening, asking thoughtful questions, and showing compassion. It may turn out that the client is safe, and no further action is needed. At the other extreme, serious risk of harm may require immediate action. Many clients may need family support and access to services. Appropriate authorities should be engaged as necessary. 19


Keep in Mind: • Children and youth should have the opportunity to express their views and feelings of a situation in accordance with their developmental ability. • Completing this form requires at least one meeting with the client (child or youth). Building trust, listening the child about his or her wishes, and learning relevant information may require multiple meetings. • Keep in mind that a parent may desire for a child to present only certain parts of a story, or to hide the truth. If the parent or caregiver does not believe the account of the child, they are unlikely to be able to support protecting him or her without a change in mindset. It is often helpful to interview the child on his or her own, as long as that is developmentally appropriate. • Children may have experienced a traumatic situation, and it is important they are not forced to relive it by retelling the story repeatedly to caseworkers, psychologists, police officers, etc.

When responding to a report of a protection concern for a particular child, consider the safety of other children and adults in the home as well. There may be a need for additional assessment. Further, do not make the assumption that removing a child from the home is the ideal solution. For example, if an adult is physically abusive to a child, he or she may use the same behaviors with others in the home. 20


Getting to the root of why this is happening and addressing the cause whether not having learned other ways to parent underlying substance abuse, or frustration from lack of employment - is far more effective in the long term, and can be combined with monitoring and support in the short term. If that is not effective, it may be necessary to remove the adult from the family setting or to resettle the rest of the family, at least for a time. Removing a child from family is potentially very traumatic, and may not address the root problem. We want to think very carefully before making this decision.

APPLY YOUR LEARNING: Consider a child or scenario in your work. With this in mind, complete a sample Initial Screening document before moving to the next step.

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2. Assessment 1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

A thorough Intake Assessment will give us more information about the child’s life and circumstances, and will allow us to make more effective plans to improve his or her well-being. An assessment should be completed within 7 days of receiving a child protection report. The focus should be on completing an accurate assessment, rather than doing it quickly, so set aside plenty of time to walk through it. Assessments should be: • Trauma-informed and culturally competent • Given the time to be done accurately • Involve the participation of the child • Completed by a trained caseworker • Approached warmly and with compassion, understanding this can be a difficult process for the child. • Holistic • Connected to action steps via the Case Plan 22


At the time of the assessment, we also suggest using the Child Status Index (CSI). The CSI is a brief evaluation that can be used on a regular basis to monitor child well-being. It should be repeated once every 3 months.

APPLY YOUR LEARNING: Considering the child you drafted an Initial Screening for in Step 1, complete a CSI and Intake Assessment.

For more information on how to create a Genogram, view this Simple Family Genogram (VISUAL PARADIGM). For a brief video of how to use the CSI, view How to Fill Out a Child Status Index Form (1MILLIONHOME). For original instructions on the CSI, review the Child Status Index Made Easy (PEPFAR, USAID, MEASURE Evaluation).

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3. Case Planning Assessment and case planning go hand in hand, as we develop our Case Plan based on what we learn from our assessment. An assessment and a draft case plan should be completed within 7 days of receiving a child protection report.

1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

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Case Plans Should:

List the needs identified in the assessment, and the strategy for meeting those needs

Be clear and actionable

Assign responsibility

Take child input into consideration

Be approved by key stakeholders

Start with a plan for permanency from the beginning

Be a living document, able to be revised if a child’s needs or situation change

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A Case Plan needs approval from all key stakeholders. It will also serve as a tool for communication, helping each person to understand their roles, responsibilities, and timelines. We accomplish these tasks through an initial Case Conference, to be completed within 14 days of the child protection report. The caseworker will convene the meeting, establish a time and location, and invite key stakeholders. Stakeholders to consider are: The child The parent/guardian/caregiver The child’s teacher or school psychologist The child’s psychologist The caseworker A guardian ad litem or court-appointed advocate Police officers involved in the case The child’s legal case worker or lawyer if the child is involved with the criminal justice system Other key supports in a child’s life, including mentors, close friends, church members, health visitors, etc.

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The aims of the Case Conference are: To get stakeholders on the same page To offer the child and parent an opportunity to share their perspectives on what is and is not working for them To review Child Status Index results and Case Plan progress To identify and address any concerns To update the Case Plan (a minimum of every 6 months, but more often when there are changes) Further Case Conferences will be repeated every 3-6 months, or whenever a major change (such as a new placement) occurs. This will allow key stakeholders to be on the same page, avoid miscommunication, and better serve the needs of the child.

APPLY YOUR LEARNING: Take time now to draft an example from your previous scenario using the Case Plan and Case Conference.

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4. Implementation Assessment and case planning go hand in hand, as we develop our Case Plan based on what we learn from our assessment. An assessment and a draft case plan should be completed within 7 days of receiving a child protection report. 1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

Implementation consists of building the process and documentation related to advocating for the best interest of a client. Each client needs a wellmaintained file that is stored in a locked unit if hard copy or if digital. All files are confidential, and children and families should have access to their case files. A Tracking Form can help organize information and ensure documentation is completed on time. All documentation should be professional and based on fact, avoiding bias, judgment, and discrimination. Case managers will make the majority of their contact with children and family members during Implementation. For each visit with a child, caseworkers should complete a Case Note. Case notes should be thorough and completed within 24 hours of the case visit, in 28


order to ensure all notes are accurate. The purpose of these visits is to ensure the client is receiving support as planned and making progress toward case goals. Visits should occur at least monthly ideally in the client’s home setting. The visit may include supporting counseling or connecting the client to further services, perhaps even accompanying the client to access those services. Ultimately, the case visit should always move towards the Case Plan goals. Interestingly, some of the most powerful interventions are simply about connection: validating a client’s struggles, frequent visits, listening, highlighting strengths, and troubleshooting concerns. Each visit with the child should: Be based on relationship Involve listening and building rapport Check on progress toward goals (and help to troubleshoot, where applicable) Occur on a regular basis (at least once per month) Provide referrals to other supports, where applicable Offer care and support Be child-centered Document progress (via the case note)

APPLY YOUR LEARNING: Take time now to draft an example from your previous scenario using the Case Plan and Case Conference. 29


5. Monitoring & Review All case managers should report to a supervisor who provides oversight (review Case Management Foundations for more on this). Regular monitoring and review of a child’s Case Plan goals and progress ensures a child is safe, healthy, and moving in the right direction. It also provides the opportunity to make course corrections, as needed. All cases require a Case Review between the case manager and their supervisor every 60 days as part of supervision. A Case Conference should be repeated every 3-6 months, including an updated Case Plan. Additionally, a Case Conference should be held any time there are major changes to a child’s circumstances or Case Plan.

1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assesment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

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6. Case Closure or Referral A case may close or transfer for a number of reasons. In the ideal scenario, goals were achieved and services are no longer needed, and the case can be closed. Sometimes, a case is closed because the client is no longer engaged or doesn’t want to receive support. In these situations, we want to make sure we end the relationship as well as possible, and with proper Case Closure documentation.

1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

In other cases, the child may move, be a danger to other children in the program, or no longer fit the program demographics (i.e. aging out of a program). In these and other instances, it is vital that we refer the child to another program that can better meet his or her needs prior to terminating services. A Case Referral form will offer the new program vital information about the child.

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Where appropriate, you will want to share the case file with the new program. In this instance, it is important to have a Release of Information signed by the child and his or her legal guardian, as their information is their property. When possible, this brief Exit Interview can be used with the Case Closure or Referral forms. This can foster valuable discussion that benefits both the program and the child. APPLY YOUR LEARNING: Take time now to complete the sample Case Closure, Case Referral, and Exit Interview documents.

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Child-Centered Case Management is focused on the best interest of the child - both in the short and long term 33


STEPS AT A GLANCE Day 0

Child protection report made

Within 48 hours

Initial Screening

Child, caregiver, and caseworker

Intake Assessment

Child, caregiver, and caseworker

Child Status Index

Child, caregiver, and caseworker

Case Plan

All professionals and key stakeholders

Within 14 days

Initial Case Conference

All professionals and key stakeholders, including child and caregiver

Monthly (or more often)

Case Visit/Note

Child, caregiver, and caseworker

Every 2 months

Review Case with Supervisor

Caseworker and supervisor

Every 3 months

Child Status Index

Child, caregiver, and caseworker

Case Conference

Child, caregiver, and caseworker

Update Case Plan

All professionals and key stakeholders

Within 7 days

Every 6 months

This Tracking Sheet will help organize all these steps. 34


PART 3: FAMILY ASSESSSMENT & MONITORING

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FAMILY-CENTERED CASE MANAGEMENT As you learned in Case Management: Part 1, there is a specific pathway to case management: You may be working individually with a child, or with an entire family. Sometimes you are doing both. You may begin working with a child, only to realize you will have more impact working with his or her family. You may begin working with a family, only to realize a child needs some extra support. This section will address family case management. As you learn, keep in mind the content we covered in Part 1: Foundations. As part of this module, we will be sharing some basic, editable documents with you. Feel free to use them, add questions, or add your program’s logo. Similar documents should be used by any program serving children at risk. We will cover six parts of the Case Management process in this module.

Two Types of Family Case Management In this section, we will cover six parts of Family-Centered Case Management. Before we begin, it is important to understand there are two primary types of Family Case Management. The first is to PREVENT unnecessary separation of a family. 36


The second is to SUPPORT a family placement after separation, such as a reintegration with biological family, kinship care, adoption, or foster care. Although there are some similarities, most of the principles are the same, and we will address them together.

1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

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1. Initial Screening and Family Tracing When a family is referred to a government system or NGO for support, it is always a good idea to begin with an Initial Screening. At this stage, we can better understand what types of support the family will need to be healthy. A screening should occur within 48 hours of a referral.

1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

When responding to a report of a protection concern for a particular child, consider the safety of other children and adults in the home, as well. There may be a need for additional assessment. Further, do not make the assumption that removing a child from the home is the ideal solution. For example, if an adult is physically abusive to a child, he or she may use the same behaviors with others in the home. Getting to the root of why this is happening and addressing the cause - whether there's 38


a lack of parenting skills, underlying substance abuse, or frustration from lack of employment - is far more effective in the long term, and can be combined with monitoring and support in the short term. If that is not effective, it may be necessary to remove the adult from the family setting or to resettle the rest of the family, at least for a time. Removing a child from family is potentially very traumatic, and may not address the root problem. We want to think very carefully before making this decision.

Family Tracing When a child is at risk of separation from family, but is still living with family, family tracing is not necessary. [In this case, move directly to our next section on assessment]. However, when a child has been in another placement, cannot stay with biological parents, or has lived on the streets, family tracing may be necessary to locate a suitable family placement. We always want to consider biological parents first. They may be easily located by using the child’s records or memory, or it may require internet or record searches, placing advertisements in local newspapers, or conversations with known relatives or other contacts. If the biological parents are found, assessment for suitability is the next step (see next section). Although most biological parents will require some level of support to care for their children, we should only place children with parents who express a willingness to care for them.

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Sometimes, reintegration with biological parents is simply not an option. Cases of persistent and willful abuse, neglect, violence, or exploitation, along with severe mental illness, chemical dependency, or repeated decision-making that puts a child in harm's way may be reasons to avoid reintegration with biological parents. Even in these situations, family care is still possible, ideally with individuals who have already invested in the child’s life and well-being. This is called kinship care. We begin the process of finding alternative families by searching for adults who may be interested in and suited 1. Ask the child who they trust. Children should always have a voice in their placement, and they often know best who treats them well. It is not necessary to discuss potential placement with the child yet, as the trusted individuals may be unable to care for him or her. 2. If the child has been in group care, who are the individuals who have visited him or her? Does the child trust them? 3. Connect with known family members. 4. Search out fictive kin. These can be neighbors, church members, teachers, or other community contacts who have had a strong connection to the child before. Keep in mind that social workers, teachers, former caregivers, relatives, friends, and other contacts may be able to offer information during the search process.

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It is ideal to investigate each of these groups to identify as many possible placements for the child as possible. Keep good records using a Family Tracing Tracking Form. From there, we can make decisions based on the child’s best interest. Once a potential family is identified, we can assess them for suitability. Children should be informed of the family tracing process, and involved at a developmentally-appropropriate level. Keep in mind that searching for family and not finding them - or finding them unable to provide care - can be traumatic. Further, although we are seeking family for the child, we must respect confidentiality, and only share information that is absolutely necessary and does not endanger a child. A balance must be achieved between offering the child a voice in the process, and protecting him or her from harm. If no safe leads are generated via family tracing, an assessed and trained foster family may be the best placement option for the child.

APPLY YOUR LEARNING: Consider a child you knew or currently care for. Complete the Initial Screening and Family Tracing forms with them in mind.

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2. Assessment 1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

Any family being considered for placement needs to be assessed. Further, any family at risk of separation should be assessed. To obtain an accurate assessment, we must work to build a relationship with the family. Taking on the posture of an outside expert examining the details of their lives will likely lead to them feeling defensive. Instead, it is far more effective to learn about the family’s strengths and needs from their perspective, and to ask what they think might be potential solutions.

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Some Key Principles of Family Assesment: • The child and family should be involved in the assessment process and have a voice in the decision-making process. • Consider both protective and risk factors • Assess the family’s willingness and ability to care for the child • Evaluate the family’s level of readiness for and ability to change • What support would be required for the family to successfully care for the child? • If there are other children currently residing with the family, are they exhibiting signs of harm? • All questions need to be appropriate for the culture and context - make adjustments as needed.

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Different types of family assessments require slightly different forms:

Situation

Family Assessment Form

The family is intact but at risk of separation

Assessment for Families at Risk of Separation

Separation has occurred, but reintegration may be possible

Family Reintegration Assessment

Reintegration with biological parents is not possible, but placement may be possible with relatives or another family

Alternative Family Placement Assessment

APPLY YOUR LEARNING: Considering the child you had in mind in the previous section, complete the Assessment for Families at Risk of Separation, Family Reintegration Assessment, and Alternative Family Placement Assessment.

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3. Case Planning 1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

The Case Plan is the part of the process when we turn information into action.

Family Group Conference Every family needs help sometimes. For children remaining with biological parents, reintegrating with biological parents, or entering kinship care, a Family Group Conference can be a powerful, efficient, and effective tool that can contribute to building a Case Plan. A Family Group Conference is a formal meeting involving key stakeholders in the life of a child or family, who may include extended family, friends, neighbors, church members, etc., as well as a Family Group Conference facilitator. The goal of the meeting is to encourage key stakeholders to identify solutions in meeting the needs of the child and family. When they are part of the process, they are likely to be more engaged and committed to the solutions they help identify. 45


There are four main stages to Family Group Conference (also known as Family Group Decision Making):

1. The facilitator identifies and invites key stakeholders, and shares about the process

2. At the meeting, the professionals involved communicate strengths and concerns to the group.

3. The professionals leave the room, enabling a private family time, where key stakeholders alone create a plan that addresses the concerns. It can help to use a Family Group Conference Guide. This meeting may take a long time, and should not be given a strict deadline. The family may choose to invite professionals to be part of the meeting, or not.

4. Family and friends present the plan to the professionals, who then assist the family and others to implement the plan, as long as it addresses the concerns and is in the best interest of the child. It is sometimes necessary to make a few adjustments, to ensure all goals are met. However, as much as possible, professionals should strive to let the family take the lead. The more ownership they have, the higher the likelihood of success.

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For more training in Family Group Conference, connect with Eigen Kracht (they speak English).

Case Planning A comprehensive case plan will increase a family’s chances of success. Based on decisions made during the Family Group Conference, a written Case Plan can make sure all parties are on the same page. An assessment and a draft case plan should be completed within 3 days of the Family Group Conference.

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Case Plans should:

List the needs identified in the assessment, and the strategy for meeting those needs

Be clear and actionable

Assign responsibility

Take child input into consideration

Be approved by key stakeholders

Start with a plan for permanency from the beginning

Be a living document, able to be revised if a child’s needs or situation change

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A Case Plan needs approval from all key stakeholders. It will also serve as a tool for communication, helping each person to understand their roles, responsibilities, and timelines. We accomplish these tasks through an initial Case Conference, to be completed within 14 days of the Family Group Conference. The caseworker will convene the meeting, establish a time and location, and invite key stakeholders. Stakeholders to consider are: All family members Friends Neighbors Stakeholders in the children's lives, such as teachers or social workers The caseworker A guardian ad litem or court-appointed advocate Police officers involved in the case Other key supports in a family’s life, including mentors, close friends, church members, health visitors, etc.

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The goals of the Case Conference To get stakeholders on the same page

To offer the family an opportunity to share their perspectives on what is and is not working for them To review Case Plan progress

To identify and address any concerns

To update the Case Plan (a minimum of every 6 months, but more often when there are changes)

Further Case Conferences will be repeated every 3-6 months, or whenever a major change (such as a new placement) occurs. This will allow key stakeholders to be on the same page, avoid miscommunication, and better serve the needs of the child.

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Part of any reintegration or new placement case plan should include preparing the child and family for placement. This will require time and walking through a number of steps together. Learn more by reviewing pages 19-24 of the Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration.

APPLY YOUR LEARNING: Remember the child and the family that you used in the previous examples. With them in mind, complete the Family Group Conference Guide, Family Case Plan, and Family Case Conference.

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4. Implementation 1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

This phase of the process includes working with the family to make progress toward the goals outlined in the case plan, as well as evaluating their well-being. Implementation consists of building the process and documentation related to advocating for the best interest of a client. Each client needs a wellmaintained file that is stored in a locked unit if hard copy, or password protected if digital. All files are confidential, and children and families should have access to their case files. A Tracking Form can help organize information and ensure documentation is completed on time. All documentation should be professional and based on fact, avoiding bias, judgment, and discrimination. Case managers will make the majority of their contact with children and family members during implementation.

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Remember, the entire Case Management process is rooted in relationships, meaning contact must be frequent and trust must be built. Scheduled and unscheduled family visits can both be valuable, and visits will typically occur more frequently at the beginning of the process, as we seek to assist the family with any initial changes that need to occur. A brief case note should be completed for each visit within 24 hours of contact. Different types of situations require slightly different forms:

Situation

Family Case Note

Preventing Family Separation

Family Support Case Note

Family Placement (i.e. reintegration or alternative family placement)

Family Placement Support Note

The purpose of these visits is to ensure the family is receiving support as planned and making progress toward case goals. Visits should occur monthly or more frequently, ideally in the family’s home setting. The visit may include supporting counseling or connecting the family to further services, perhaps even accompanying the family to access those services. Ultimately, the case visit should always move towards the Case Plan goals. Interestingly, some of the most powerful interventions are simply about connection: validating a family’s struggles, frequent visits, listening, highlighting strengths, and troubleshooting concerns.

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Each visit with the family should: Be based on relationship Involve listening and building rapport Check on progress toward goals (and help to troubleshoot, where applicable) Occur on a regular basis (at least once per month) Provide referrals to other supports, where applicable Offer care and support Be family-centered Document progress (via the Case Note)

Family + Individual Monitoring. In cases where a child has been identified as in need of support, it will still be necessary to provide assessment, case planning, and monitoring for him or her. Evaluations such as the Child Status Index may occur at the time of the family visit, so multiple forms may be completed at one time. As Case Plan goals are achieved, it may be possible to move to just monitoring the child or family. APPLY YOUR LEARNING: Do you work with more family preservation or placement cases? Choose one of the two (or both) documents to complete with a particular family in mind. 54


5. Monitoring & Review

1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

All caseworkers should report to a supervisor who provides oversight (review Part 1: Foundations for more on this). Regular monitoring and review of a family’s Case Plan goals and progress ensures a family is safe, healthy, and moving in the right direction. It also provides the opportunity to make course corrections, as needed. All cases require a Case Review between the case manager and their supervisor every 60 days as part of supervision. A Case Conference should be repeated every 3-6 months, including an updated Case Plan. Additionally, a Case Conference should be held any time there are major changes to a family’s circumstances or Case Plan. Sometimes, a placement isn’t working out like we’d hope. We did the assessment and provided support, but it is not going well. What can we do? 55


1. We will want to talk to the individuals in the family, and see what ideas they might have for solutions. They are the experts on their life together. 2. We may need to hold another Family Group Conference to see what creative solutions they can identify based on the strengths and resources they can offer. 3. We may need to think creatively about additional community-based services that could support the family. A family needs both willingness and ability to care for a child (or children). When they lack ability, solutions can often be identified. However, where they lack willingness, that is more difficult to overcome. If you have pursued these options and had no success, it may be time to explore another family placement for the child(ren). In a situation like this, it will be helpful to walk through the Family Case Management steps again, beginning with Family Tracing. Keep in mind that removal from a placement can be traumatic, but so can be staying in one that is harmful. We must carefully identify the best option for the child and family.

APPLY YOUR LEARNING: Consider how you have reviewed cases in the past. Which steps from this module will you be able to easily implement? Which will be difficult? Make a plan for how you can implement regular monitoring and review of each child’s case.

1. Screening 56


6. Case Closure or Referral 1. Screening

6. Case Closure or Referral

2. Assessment

5. Monitoring and Review

3. Case Plan

4. Implementation

A case may close or transfer for a number of reasons. In the ideal scenario, goals were achieved and services are no longer needed, and the case can be closed. Sometimes, a case is closed because the family is no longer engaged or doesn’t want to receive support. In these situations, we want to make sure we end the relationship as well as possible and with proper Case Closure documentation. In other cases, the family may move, refuse to work on case goals, or no longer fit the program requirements. In these and other instances, it is vital that we refer the family to another program that can better meet their needs prior to terminating services. A Case Referral form will offer the new program vital information about the child. Where appropriate, you will want to share the case file with the new program. In this instance, it is important to have a Release of Information signed by the family, as their information is their property. 57


STEPS AT A GLANCE Day 0

Child Protection Report made

Within 48 hours

Initial Screening

Child and caseworker

Intake Assessment

Child and caseworker

Child Status Index

Child and caseworker

Case Plan

All professionals and key stakeholders

Within 14 days

Initial Case Conference

All professionals and key stakeholders

Monthly (or more often)

Case Visit/Note

Child and caseworker

Every 2 months

Review Case with Supervisor

Caseworker and supervisor

Every 3 months

Child Status Index

Child and caseworker

Case Conference

All professionals and key stakeholders

Update Case Plan

All professionals and key stakeholders

Within 7 days

Every 6 months

This Tracking Sheet will help keep the process organized.

To conclude this module, view this video.

APPLY YOUR LEARNING: Consider one of the families in your care. Using them as an example, walk through this process and practice using the included tools. If you’d like to learn more about how Case Management can apply in your context, read the following case study and templates to see how these principles were used.

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Healthy families most naturally provide the love, nurture, and protection that every child needs to thrive. Family-Centered Case Management allows us to empower families to do their very best for children 59


PART 4: CASE STUDY PART 3: FAMILY ASSESSSMENT & MONITORING 60


THE SCENARIO David is the founder and CEO of All Star Ministries. Based in Lima, Peru, his organization provides social work services to vulnerable children by providing foster care, family preservation, and family reintegration services. As David and his wife, Daniella, have worked together in this ministry, they’ve seen a lot of growth over the past six months. Traditionally working with 2-5 families at a time, they now have 15-25 families and children at their door asking for or in need of help. While David is excited to see their reach increase, he and his wife are overwhelmed with the workload. Paperwork, cases, and plans are lost in the shuffle. Their tiny office is completely disorganized with a desk full of papers. David and Daniella both feel like their ability to keep up and provide quality care is spreading thin during this time of growth. The fact that their professional backgrounds are in economics and education is becoming more and more apparent. It’s obvious to David and Daniella that they need someone trained in social work. As a result, they begin to assess what All Star Ministries’ needs are. Working with a foot in both child-centered and family-centered Case Management, they realize that their family preservation, family reintegration, and foster care Case Management each have unique needs. With that, they begin the Case Management training module, completing all three parts of the module.

Follow along in the sample templates to see how All Star Ministries might complete these forms. Use these as a sample guide before implementing into your own unique organization.

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CM1: FOUNDATIONS All Star Ministries Caseworker Job Description Local connections in Lima, Peru

The Scenario, continued... One of the children in All Star Ministry’s (ASM) care is Antonio Rivera. Antonio came to them when his parents were both placed in jail. The hope for Antonio is to place him successfully into foster care until his family is released from the prison, which should be in one to two years from the date ASM received his case. While Case Managers helping Antonio will work to place him and help transition into a healthy foster care home, they also want to support Antonio’s parents when they return. Antonio’s family came from a particularly impoverished area of Lima, and there are no biological or kin relatives who were willing to take him in. ASM spoke with Antonio’s parents before they were sent to prison, and while they are looking forward to reunifying, they lack the resources and skills to parent well when Antonio is placed back into their care. With that, Case Managers at ASM decided they will provide both childcentered and family-centered Case Management for Antonio and his family. While Antonio is in foster care, they will provide a child-centered Case Plan. When his parents are released from prison, they will adapt and create a family-centered plan in the family and Antonio’s best interest. Continue along in this case study to see the records Case Managers used for Antonio during his journey from alternative family care to reintegration back into his family of origin. 62


Upon receiving the child protection report, Antonio’s Case Managers completed this timeline... Day 0

11/20/2019 Child Protection Report

Within 48 hours

Antonio’s Initial 11/21/2019 Risk Screening

Child and caseworker

Antonio’s Intake Assessment

Child and caseworker

Within 7 days

11/28/2019

11/28/2019 Child Status Index

Child and caseworker

Antonio’s Case 11/28/2019 Plan

All professionals and key stakeholders

Within 14 days

12/5/2019

Antonio’s Initial Case Conference

All professionals and key stakeholders

Monthly (or more often)

1/5/2020

Antonio’s Case Visit/Note

Child and caseworker

Every 2 months

3/5/2020

Caseworker and Roberto’s Review Case w/ Supervisor Supervisor

Every 3 months

4/5/2020

Child Status Index

5/5/2020

Antonio’s following All professionals and Case Conference key stakeholders

5/5/2020

Update Case Plan

Every 6 months

Child and caseworker

All professionals and key stakeholders

This Tracking Sheet will help keep the process organized.

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Once Antonio’s parents returned from jail, Antonio’s Case Managers created a Family Reintegration Plan… Day 0

1/1/2022

Child protection report made (In this scenario, Antonio’s parents returned from jail)

Within 48 hours

1/2/2022

Initial Screening (Completed a few years ago for Antonio)

Child and caseworker

1/7/2022

Antonio’s Assessment for Family Reintegration

Child and caseworker

1/7/2022

Child Status Index

Child and caseworker

1/7/2022

Antonio’s Family Case Plan

All professionals and key stakeholders

Within 14 days

1/14/2022

Antonio’s Family Group Conference Guide and Initial Case Conference

All professionals and key stakeholders

Monthly (or more often)

2/14/2022

Antonio’s Family Case Visit/Note

Child and caseworker

Every 2 months

3/14/2022

Roberto’s Family Review Case with Supervisor

Caseworker and Supervisor

Every 3 months

4/14/2021

Child Status Index

Child and caseworker

6/14/2022

Antonio’s following Family Case Conference

All professionals and key stakeholders

6/14/2022

Updated Case Plan

All professionals and key stakeholders

Within 7 days

Every 6 months

This tracking sheet will help organize all these steps.

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