4313. Notification of Court Hearings, Providing Reports to Court, and Information Sharing with Out-of-Home Caregivers

Approval: Connie Lambert-Eckel, Assistant Secretary

Original Date: July 31, 2010

Revised Date: July 1, 2018

Policy Review: July 1, 2021


Purpose 

Providing information to caregivers about their right to be present and participate in court hearings and sharing important information about a child is essential in supporting a caregiver’s ability to meet the individual needs of children placed in their care.

Scope

This policy applies to Division of Children and Families staff.

Laws

RCW 13.34.096  Right to be heard notice

RCW 13.34.260  Foster Home Placement - Parental Preferences

RCW 13.34.820  Permanency for Dependent Children Annual Report

RCW 74.13.280  Client Information

Policy

Caseworkers must:

  1. Notify caregivers:
    1. Of all court hearings via telephone, writing or in-person.
    2. Of their right to attend and be heard at all court hearings.
      1. At the same time parties to the case are required to be notified;
      2. At the time of placement or as soon as possible if the child changes placement.
  2. Provide caregivers with the Caregivers Report to the Court form DSHS 15-313 and inform them that:
    1. They are able to complete and submit the Caregiver’s Report to the Court form DSHS 15-313 to the guardian ad litem (GAL) or caseworker and it will be provided to the court before each hearing.
    2. The report only includes information about the child and not information about the child’s parent unless it is directly related to the child’s well-being.
  3. Inform the court of the dates and method by which the caregiver was informed of the court hearing.
  4. Share information with caregivers about the child, including but not limited to:
    1. Child-specific safety concerns and safety planning if applicable, including:
      1. Information on all youth identified as Sexually Aggressive Youth (SAY), Physically Assaultive and Aggressive Youth (PAAY), high risk, or sexually reactive per RCW 74.13.280  and SAY/PAAY policy.
      2. The Youth Supervision Plan DSHS 15-352.
    2. The Child Information and Placement Referral form (CIPR) DCYF 15-300. Provide this form:
      1. No later than 72 hours after initial placement.
      2. No later than 24 hours after an urgent change in placement. Urgent is defined as one of the following:
        1. A court order has been entered requiring an immediate change in placement.
        2. The child is unsafe.
      3. At or before a planned change in placement.
    3. Health care information including immunization history, behavioral health and education. Youth must provide informed consent for information about:
      1. Mental health when the youth is age 13 and older.
      2. A sexually transmitted disease, including Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) when the youth is age 14 and older.
      3. A substance use disorder and the child or youth is of any age.
      4. Abortion and reproductive rights. Consult with the attorney general or attorney if the child is age twelve or younger.  
    4. Child Health and Education Tracking (CHET) Screening Report DSHS 14-444 within the first 60 days of initial placement, if completed.
    5. The child’s court report.
    6. The child’s birth certificate.
    7. The child’s social security number to aid the caregiver in filing their taxes or for other planning on behalf of the child. CA staff must not provide tax advice. Refer caregivers with questions to their tax preparer, the DSHS Tax Desk or to IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing information.
    8. On-Going Mental Health (OMH) Screening Report DSHS 15-434 if completed within the previous six months.
    9. Reports and recommendations resulting from all child assessments and screenings within five days of receipt by CA.
    10. Shared planning meeting notices.
  5. Documentation
    1. Document the date the caregiver was notified of court hearings in the Caregiver Notification page in FamLink.
    2. Document when and what information has been shared with the caregiver in a case note.
    3. Document that the completed CIPR form was provided to the caregiver by uploading into FamLink a:
      1. Signed and dated copy of the form; or
      2. Copy of the email sending the completed form to the caregiver.

Forms

Caregivers Report to the Court form DSHS 15-313