4122. Case Transfer

Approval:  Jennifer Strus, Assistant Secretary

Original Date: 

Revised Date:  July 23, 2017

Policy Review:  July 23, 2021


To provide direction for Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) child welfare employees in transferring cases between units, offices and regions in a manner that prioritizes child safety, permanency, and well-being. 


This policy applies to DCYF employees.


  1. Follow Case Assignment policy when determining primary case assignment and emergent response.
  2. Transfer Between Units or Programs In The Same Office
    1. If a case is being transferred between units following the filing of a dependency or a change in program, complete the following:
      1. The sending and receiving supervisors will collaborate within three calendar days of the dependency or program change, e.g., Child Protective Services (CPS), Children and Family Welfare Services (CFWS), Family Voluntary Services (FVS), etc., to determine if case transfer is appropriate.
      2. If there is agreement, the receiving supervisor must assign or co-assign the case within five calendar days of the request for transfer.
      3. If there is disagreement, supervisors must consult with the area administrator (AA).
    2. When a child becomes legally free:
      1. If the permanent plan is adoption, the case must be staffed with an adoption supervisor within five working days from the date of the termination hearing and transferred to an adoption worker within ten working days from the date of the termination hearing.
      2. If the permanent plan for a legally free child changes to a plan other than adoption, the case will be staffed between the Adoption unit and CFWS unit. The staffing must occur within five calendar days of the court ordered change to identify the unit for the case.
  3. Transfer Between Offices
    1. The caseworker can request a transfer of primary case assignment between DCYF offices for a non-court involved case if the following requirements are met:
      1. The parent or legal guardian establishes residency in a different county and continued assessment or services are needed or requested. If a parent is in inpatient treatment with his or her child, transfer will not be considered until the parent has been in treatment for a minimum of thirty calendar days.
      2. The supervisors or AA in the sending and receiving offices agree to the case transfer.
      3. If there is agreement, the receiving supervisor must assign the case within five calendar days of receiving the request to transfer.
    2. When requesting a transfer of primary case assignment between DCYF offices for a court-involved case. This does not apply to legally free cases:
      1. Follow the Legal Jurisdiction policy:
      2. If there is agreement and the receiving county’s court accepts legal jurisdiction, the sending supervisor must verify that the case documentation is complete and transfer within five business days of receiving the court order to transfer legal jurisdiction.  
    3. Follow the Courtesy Supervision policy when a child is in  the care and custody of DCYF, and is placed outside the sending office’s area.
    4. If a child in a foster home placement moves with the foster family to another area, the originating DCYF office notifies the Licensed Division, and the receiving DCYF office for courtesy supervision, if necessary.
  4. Transfer of jurisdiction from state court to tribal court, per ICW Policies and Procedures Chapter 6: Casework Activities for Court Proceedings
    The child welfare caseworker will:
    1. Send JU 11.0900 Motion for Order Transferring Jurisdiction to Tribal Court, and Tribal Court’s Order Accepting/Declining Jurisdiction, JU 11.0960 to the tribe for its use for these purposes. A tribe may also use its own tribal court forms). Upon receipt of an order from a tribal court accepting jurisdiction, the state court shall dismiss the child custody proceeding without prejudice. 
    2. Provide the tribe with the case information, and if requested, schedule a transfer case staffing.
  5. Disagreement about case transfer must be resolved at the lowest level possible. If the disagreement is unresolved at the caseworker level, the supervisors must work with the AA, or Regional Administrator to resolve it.