Fed: Policy Manual, Prevention, reunification

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Marina
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Fed: Policy Manual, Prevention, reunification

Postby Marina » Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:16 am

Federal: Policy Manual, Prevention, reunification

8.3A.9 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Reasonable efforts http://www.acf.hhs.gov/j2ee/programs/cb/laws_policies/laws/cwpm/policy_dsp.jsp?citID=92


8.3A.9b TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Reasonable efforts, to prevent a removal

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/j2ee/programs/cb ... p?citID=91


TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, Reasonable Efforts, Qualifying Language in Court Orders

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/j2ee/programs/cb ... ?citID=330


8.3C.4 TITLE IV-E, Foster Care Maintenance Payments Program, State Plan/Procedural Requirements, Reasonable efforts
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/j2ee/programs/cb ... p?citID=59

Marina
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Reasonable efforts

Postby Marina » Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:49 am

Reasonable efforts (Policy manual)

1. Question:
What is the statutory basis for treating a judicial determination
that the State made reasonable efforts to prevent the child's removal from his/her home,
to reunify the child and family,
and to make and finalize an alternate permanent placement when the child and family cannot be reunited
as title IV-E eligibility criteria?

Answer:
Section 472 (a)(1) of the Social Security Act (the Act) contains two eligibility criteria.
The first pertains to the child's removal from home.
Such removal must be based on a voluntary placement agreement
or a judicial determination that it was contrary to the child's welfare to remain at home.

The second eligibility criterion requires a judicial determination that the State made reasonable efforts
of the type described in section 471 (a)(15) of the Act.
Section 471 (a)(15) of the Act requires the State agency to make reasonable efforts
to prevent the child's removal from his/her home,
to reunify the child and family,
and to make and finalize an alternate permanent placement when the child and family cannot be reunited.

The requirements for judicial determinations regarding reasonable efforts are title IV-E eligibility criteria. If the eligibility criteria are not satisfied, the child is not eligible for title IV-E funding.

Marina
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To prevent a removal

Postby Marina » Sat Mar 11, 2006 11:00 am

To prevent a removal

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/j2ee/programs/cb ... p?citID=91

Question:
Title IV-E eligibility for an entire foster care episode is prohibited
if the reasonable efforts to prevent removal requirements are not satisfied.
Please explain the rationale for this policy.

Answer:
The requirement for the State to make reasonable efforts to prevent removals
is a fundamental protection under the Social Security Act
and one of several criteria used in establishing title IV-E eligibility.
From both a practice and an eligibility perspective,
it is impossible for the State to provide efforts
to prevent the removal of a child from home after the fact.


From a practice perspective, the removal of a child from the home, even temporarily,
makes a profound impact on a family that cannot be undone.
If the child is returned after services have been delivered, or even immediately,
the State has reunified the family, not prevented a removal.


The statute requires that title IV-E eligibility be established at the time of a removal.
If the State does not make reasonable efforts to prevent a removal
or
fails to obtain a judicial determination with respect to such efforts,
the child can never become eligible for title IV-E funding for that entire foster care episode
because there is no opportunity to establish eligibility at a later date.

(Could you do a Freedom of Information request for date and invoice of money spent on prevention, for individual or even locality. I think we should pursue Title IV-E fraud.)
Last edited by Marina on Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

Marina
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To qualify language in courts

Postby Marina » Sat Mar 11, 2006 11:14 am

To qualify language in courts

Question:
Some States have begun to use qualifying language in court orders,
which restricts the purpose of the reasonable efforts findings to title IV-E funding purposes only.
For example, in one State, the court annotates its orders with the phrase
"for Federal funding purposes only"
in order to address parental concerns that the order is entered without prejudice.
Another State proposes adding language to the court order
that "the title IV-E judicial determination shall not be given any effect in subsequent court proceedings."
Is the use of qualifiers to the judicial determination of reasonable efforts allowable under title IV-E?

Answer:
No. It is not permissible for a State to use such restrictive language in making the required judicial findings.
When a judicial determination is qualified by language stating or implying that it has been made
for the purpose of Federal funding only or that it has no precedential effect,
then a bona fide judicial determination has not been made.
An official notation that a finding is for a limited purpose only
suggests that it must be "re-made" in order for it to become valid.


This policy is consistent with legislative history
and was addressed in the preamble to the 2000 regulations,
which quote S. Rep. No. 336, 96th Cong., 2d Sess. 16 (1980)
and make the point that the required judicial determinations should not become
"...a mere pro forma exercise in paper shuffling to obtain Federal funding..." (pg. 4056, 65 Fed. Reg.).


Court orders containing judicial determinations qualified by restrictive language such as that described above
will not satisfy title IV-E eligibility requirements for Federal financial participation (FFP).

(In Virginia, there are no court transcripts, only rubber-stampling by the judge, according to the Title IV-E policy manual.)

Marina
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Procedural requirements for reasonable efforts

Postby Marina » Sat Mar 11, 2006 11:51 am

Procedural requirements for reasonable efforts


Question:
What is the definition of "reasonable efforts?"

Answer:
We have not, nor do we intend to define "reasonable efforts."
To do so would be a direct contradiction of the intent of the law.
The statute requires that reasonable efforts determinations be made on a case-by-case basis.
We think any definition would either
limit the courts' ability to make determinations on a case-by-case basis
or be so broad as to be ineffective.
In the absence of a definition,
courts may entertain actions such as the following
in determining whether reasonable efforts were made:


(1) Would the child's health or safety have been compromised
had the agency attempted to maintain him or her at home?


(2) Was the service plan customized to the individual needs of the family
or was it a standard package of services?


(3) Did the agency provide services to ameliorate factors present in the child or parent,
i.e., physical, emotional, or psychological,
that would inhibit a parent's ability to maintain the child safely at home?


(4) Do limitations exist with respect to service availability, including transportation issues?
If so, what efforts did the agency undertake to overcome these obstacles?


(5) Are the State agency's activities associated with making and finalizing
an alternate permanent placement consistent with the permanency goal?
For example, if the permanency goal is adoption, has the agency filed for termination of parental rights, listed the child on State and national adoption exchanges,
or implemented child-specific recruitment activities?

[Check state policy manuals, not just cps, but comprehensive services, for:
time (within 6 months?),
prevent foster care rather than general prevention.]

Virginia Foster Care Prevention Guidelines
http://www.csa.state.va.us/html/forms/c ... endixH.doc

A. Assessment
B. Case work and group work
C. Counseling and treatment
D. Court activities
E. Day care for children
F. Developmental day care for children
G. Substance abuse services
H. Education and training
I. Emergency shelter and other emergency needs
J. Family and personal adjustment counseling
K. Family planning
L. Health related services
M. Health screening and treatment (EPSDT)
N. Homemaker/home management services
O. Housing
P. Intensive intervention services
(home- and community-based)
Q. Legal services
R. Nutrition related services
S. Referral to other resources
T. Resource development
U. Respite care
V. Service planning
W. Services to specified disabled individuals
X. Socialization and recreation
Y. Transportation


(Note how assessment is first on the list, therefore everybody has gotten prevention.)

Marina
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Soc Sec Act: Sect 471 (a) (15) (Title IV-E)

Postby Marina » Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:23 pm

Social Security Act: Sect 471 (a) (15)

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws ... fe2003.htm

(15) provides that--

(A) in determining reasonable efforts to be made with respect to a child,
as described in this paragraph, and in making such reasonable efforts,
the child's health and safety shall be the paramount concern;

(B) except as provided in subparagraph (D),
reasonable efforts shall be made to preserve and reunify families--

(i) prior to the placement of a child in foster care,
to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the child from the child's home; and
(ii) to make it possible for a child to safely return to the child's home;

(C) if continuation of reasonable efforts of the type described in subparagraph (B)
is determined to be inconsistent with the permanency plan for the child,
reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan,
and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child;

(D) reasonable efforts of the type described in subparagraph (B)
shall not be required to be made with respect to a parent of a child
if a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that--

(i) the parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances
(as defined in State law, which definition may include but need not be limited to
abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, and sexual abuse);

(ii) the parent has--

(I) committed murder... of another child of the parent;

(II) committed voluntary manslaughter... of another child of the parent;

(III) aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit such a murder or such a voluntary manslaughter; or

(IV) committed a felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent; or

(iii) the parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily;

(E) if reasonable efforts of the type described in subparagraph (B) are not made with respect to a child
as a result of a determination made by a court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with subparagraph (D)--

(i) a permanency hearing (as described in section 475(5)(C)) shall be held for the child within 30 days after the determination; and

(ii) reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan,
and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child; and

(F) reasonable efforts to place a child for adoption or with a legal guardian
may be made concurrently with reasonable efforts of the type described in subparagraph (B);

Marina
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45CFR 1356.21 (b) and (d)

Postby Marina » Sat Mar 11, 2006 1:24 pm

45CFR 1356.21 (b) and (d)

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422 ... 356.21.pdf

§ 1356.21 Foster care maintenance payments program implementation requirements.

(a) Statutory and regulatory requirements of the Federal foster care program.


(b) Reasonable efforts.
The State must make reasonable efforts to maintain the family unit
and prevent the unnecessary removal of a child from his/her home,
as long as the child’s safety is assured;
to effect the safe reunification of the child and family
(if temporary out-of-home placement is necessary to ensure the immediate safety of the child);
and to make and finalize alternate permanency plans in a timely manner
when reunification is not appropriate or possible.

In order to satisfy the ‘‘reasonable efforts’’ requirements of section 471(a)(15)
(as implemented through section 472(a)(1) of the Act),
the State must meet the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (d) of this section.
In determining reasonable efforts to be made with respect to a child
and in making such reasonable efforts,
the child’s health and safety must be the State’s paramount concern.

(1) Judicial determination of reasonable efforts to prevent a child’s removal from the home.
(i) When a child is removed from his/her home,
the judicial determination as to whether reasonable efforts were made,
or were not required to prevent the removal,
in accordance with paragraph (b)(3) of this section,
must be made no later than 60 days from the date the child is removed from the home
pursuant to paragraph (k)(1)(ii) of this section.

(ii) If the determination concerning reasonable efforts to prevent the removal
is not made as specified in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section,
the child is not eligible under the title IV–E foster care maintenance payments program
for the duration of that stay in foster care.

(2) Judicial determination of reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan.

(i) The State agency must obtain a judicial determination
that it has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan that is in effect
(whether the plan is reunification, adoption, legal guardianship, placement with a fit and willing relative,
or placement in another planned permanent living arrangement)
within twelve months of the date the child is considered to have entered foster care
in accordance with the definition at § 1355.20 of this part,
and at least once every twelve months thereafter while the child is in foster care.

(ii) If such a judicial determination regarding reasonable efforts
to finalize a permanency plan
is not made in accordance with the schedule
prescribed in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section,
the child becomes ineligible under title IV–E at the end of the month
in which the judicial determination was required to have been made,
and remains ineligible until such a determination is made.

(3) Circumstances in which reasonable efforts
are not required to prevent a child’s removal from home
or to reunify the child and family.
Reasonable efforts to prevent a child’s removal from home
or to reunify the child and family
are not required if the State agency obtains a judicial determination
that such efforts are not required because:

(i) A court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances
(as defined in State law, which definition may include but need not be limited to
abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, and sexual abuse);

(ii) A court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the parent has been convicted...

(iii) The parental rights of the parent with respect to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily.

(4) Concurrent planning.
Reasonable efforts to finalize an alternate permanency plan may be made concurrently
with reasonable efforts to reunify the child and family.

(5) Use of the Federal Parent Locator Service.
The State agency may seek the services
of the Federal Parent Locator Service to search for absent parents
at any point in order to facilitate a permanency plan.

(d) Documentation of judicial determinations.

The judicial determinations regarding contrary to the welfare,
reasonable efforts to prevent removal,
and reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan in effect,
including judicial determinations that reasonable efforts are not required,
must be explicitly documented and must be made on a case-by-case basis
and so stated in the court order.

(1) If the reasonable efforts and contrary to the welfare judicial determinations
are not included as required in the court orders identified in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section,
a transcript of the court proceedings is the only other documentation
that will be accepted to verify that these required determinations have been made.

(2) Neither affidavits nor nunc pro tunc orders will be accepted
as verification documentation in support
of reasonable efforts and contrary to the welfare judicial determinations.
(3) Court orders that reference State law
to substantiate judicial determinations are not acceptable,
even if State law provides that a removal must be based on a judicial determination
that remaining in the home would be contrary to the child’s welfare
or that removal can only be ordered after reasonable efforts have been made.

(In the case that I am familiar with, the "prevention services" are listed on the foster care service plan.
I am going to hound the state hotline email with questions
about how summer school, care packages at Christmas, etc. are supposed to prevent removal,
ask them how does it work, ask them for documentation that it actually works,
ask them for information on reporting Title IV-E fraud, etc.)


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