http://www.alabamaadministrativecode.st ... 0-5-34.pdf
(a) Safety plans are developed to protect children
from safety threats when the parents’/primary caregivers’
protective capacities are insufficient. Safety plans are based on
identifiable safety threats and coupled with diminished
parental/primary caregiver protective capacities which place the
child at present or impending danger. Safety plans shall use the
least restrictive alternative for protecting the child, and any
out-of-home placements shall be in the least restrictive, most
family-like setting that can offer safety and meet the children’s
individualized needs. When developing an “in-home” or
“out-of-home (non-foster care)” safety plan, the person
responsible for protecting the children can be either a
professional or non-professional (e.g., family member, relative
neighbor), and must be cleared through the Central Registry when
evaluating protective capacities.
(3) Types of Safety Plans.
(a) There are three (3) types of safety plans that are
based on children’s living arrangement:
1. In-Home – Safety plans designed to provide
protection for children living in their own homes. Services are
provided in the home to control safety threats by substituting
for diminished parental/caregiver protective capacities.
Chapter 660-5-34 Human Resources
Supp. 6/30/08 5-34-30
2. Out of Home (Non-Foster Care) - Safety plans
designed to provide protection for children whose parents, legal
custodians, or primary caregivers agree for them to live
temporarily with others (e.g., relatives, neighbors, friends).
The agreement is made between the parents, legal custodians or
primary caregivers, the child welfare staff and the person
responsible for providing protection. The home of the person
providing protection does not have to be approved as a foster
family home. As part of the safety plan approval process, child
welfare staff shall make a visit to the home prior to the child
being placed, except in emergency situations, in which case a
home visit is made no later than the next calendar day or with
supervisory approval the next working day. The maximum timeframe
that an Out-of-Home Non-Foster Care safety plan can be in place
without court involvement is ninety (90) days. Court involvement
occurs either by filing a dependency petition or initiating
contact with legal counsel to start legal action. Based on
individual assessments, there are situations in which the 90 day
timeframe is not appropriate and earlier court involvement
becomes necessary.http://www.alabamaadministrativecode.st ... index.html
Hi aaaalfamily - I don't have enough information to answer your specific questions and would have to say that the answers depend on whether or not their has been any court intervention. It sounds as though Mom may have voluntarily agreed to take the steps CPS is insisting on to keep the issue out of court.
If Mom has voluntarily agreed to cooperate, her cooperation can be withdrawn at any time and she can go pick up her children. Should she decide to do that it would likely tick off CPS who would then have to decide if they have a provable case and legal probable cause to either A - remove the children without a court order and play cover their ass later, or if they think they have probable cause, seek a court order to remove the children opening up an official case. Both options will result in the removal of Mom's children, official court intervention and from that moment on it's a crap shoot. If the court is not involved, CPS doesn't really have the authority in and of themselves to make Mom do anything or you for that matter. But again, if you tick CPS off, they could move from "voluntary" services and placement to forced court ordered services and placement.
If the court has already been involved then the children must have been officially moved into the temporary care and custody of the state and if that is the case then CPS will be visiting your home frequently. Often times and in all the States (Alabama not being one of them) I have researched about, CPS hands on involvement ends after the court involved removal of the children and the case is then managed by an outside contracted CPS case management contractor. In that scenario, it's not officially a CPI or CPS worker showing up at your house but rather a Case Manager. So, without knowing who that may be or until you follow up and tell me if this is a court ordered and sanctioned removal or a voluntary placement, I haven't tried to track down policy and procedure handbook without additional information.
I will tell you up front the CPS/Case Managers are notorious for falsifying documents and I would caution you about signing anything, especially if there are any blank spaces not filled in at the time they are asking you to sign it. There is nothing preventing them from filling in the blanks later after they have already gotten a signature and that is dangerous. Also I would ask for a copy, no one should ever sign anything they aren't being provided a copy of....
If court is involved then this is how I would answer your questions:
Can they conduct pop up visits? - yes, they are required to do at least one monthly as I recall
Can I tell them that they need to come in the evening when I'm off work? - you can tell them that's your preference but I don't know if they will agree except to say how would they have access to the children if you and the children aren't there?
Do I have to sign their contact visit sheet? - see above
Are they allowed to have unsupervised discussions with the children? - if the court's ordered the children's removal then YES
Are they allowed to search my home? - One of the things CPS/Case Managers do is a walk through of your home under the guise of making certain there are no safety issues. If there are rooms in your house off limits to the children - say for example you keep your bedroom door locked at all times - then you can advise them the children are never allowed in that room and bar access to it but aside from that, if the court is involved then yes, they can do this and if you bar them, likely they will remove the children from you.
Short version is that without court involvement CPS doesn't even have the authority to come into your home. But you must know that if you fail to cooperate, they will likely yank the kids.
Are the children placed you based on Mom's voluntarily agreement/Safety Plan or did the court order removal of the children?http://familyrights.us/