340:75-1-29. Child Welfare Services case responsibility
From intake through case closure, the Child Welfare Services case may be assigned to more than one child welfare (CW) specialist and may involve more than one county. For example, a hotline, child protective services, permanency planning, and adoption specialist may be assigned during the life of the case. In other cases, a child may be adjudicated as a deprived child in one county, while the child's parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian resides in another county, and the child is placed in another county. • 1 & 2
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-1-29
1. (a) Initial meeting (IM) and process. The IM is an opportunity for the biological and resource parents to talk about the child's needs, share family information, build positive and supportive relationships between the parents, and develop the child and resource family support plan to assist with placement stability. The IM is held for children placed in all family-like settings including kinship, traditional, and therapeutic foster homes. (1) through (4) of this Instruction detail the child welfare (CW) specialist's role and responsibilities during the initial meeting process.
(1) The IM is scheduled and conducted by the assigned CW specialists within 30-calendar days of each placement. The IM is scheduled around the placement provider, parents, and child. Mandatory participants are:
(A) the assigned child protective services (CPS) specialist and/or supervisor at the first placement;
(B) the assigned permanency planning (PP) specialist and/or supervisor or lead specialist for all subsequent placements;
(C) the assigned resource specialist and/or resource family partner specialist or supervisor(s) for the current and previous placements;
(D) all biological parents. In cases of domestic violence (DV), separate IMs are conducted for the victim and the batterer. In cases where a child is in the permanent custody of Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS), the CW specialist assesses if including the biological parents is in the child's best interest; and
(E) the current and previous resource parent(s), when appropriate.
(2) The assigned CW specialist is responsible for scheduling the first IM and schedules IMs for all subsequent placement changes.
(A) An IM is held in a neutral location on a date and time that works for the placement provider's, parents', and child's schedules.
(i) Every effort is made to change the meeting date and time to accommodate the parents' schedules; however, when a parent is unable to attend, the specialist works to secure his or her presence by phone or virtual conference.
(ii) When parent participation is impossible, the CW specialist gathers important information about the child using the "All About Me!" section of Form 04PP023E, Initial Meeting, as a guide and brings that information to the IM.
(iii) For absent parents, extensive and diligent efforts are made and documented to locate the parent prior to the meeting. Child information is gathered from the people who are caring for the child.
(iv) In DV cases, two separate IMs are conducted, one with the victim and one with the batterer when the dynamic within the DV warrants this. The victim may invite his or her advocate to attend all meetings.
(v) When all parents are not in attendance, the IM documentation must contain valid reasons why they did not attend.
(vi) Every effort is made to change the meeting date, place, or time to accommodate resource parent schedules; however, when resource parents are unable to attend, the specialist works to secure their participation by phone or virtual conference. When that is not possible, the meeting is rescheduled.
(vii) When the current placement provider refuses to attend in any capacity, the resource specialist or facility liaison addresses this with him or her and includes the information in the IM documentation.
(B) All parties are contacted and given the meeting date, time, and location. The specialist discusses the IM's purpose, the child's likes, dislikes, and needs with each attendee. All other discussions are conducted in different meetings. When a party is unable to attend the IM, the specialist makes an effort to ensure the party participates by phone or virtual conference.
(C) Form 04PP023E is provided with the CW specialist's contact information to the biological and resource parents to answer any questions they have about the process.
(D) The child and/or biological parent(s) are encouraged to complete and bring the "All About Me!" section of Form 04PP023E to the meeting.
(E) Extensive diligent search efforts are conducted to locate any absent parents and are documented in KIDS.
(3) During the IM, the CW specialist:
(A) reviews the meeting's purpose and ground rules that emphasize the meeting is:
(i) conflict free;
(ii) child friendly; and
(iii) focused on the child's needs;
(B) facilitates a discussion of the child's routine, likes and dislikes, needs, education, sleeping and eating habits, allergies, medication, medical conditions or needs, extracurricular activities, community and family connections, contact information for any connections, and techniques and/or things that provide security and comfort to the child;
(C) establishes goals, boundaries, and methods to facilitate an ongoing line of communication between biological and resource parents and those present;
(D) discusses what supports the resource parents may need for the child moving forward including, but not limited to, child care, transportation, services, respite, and contact with other parties;
(E) uses Forms 04MP015E, Important People in the Child's Life/Family Tree, and 04PP023E to guide the facilitation process;
(F) develops and documents a child and resource family support plan using Form 04PP024E, Child and Resource Family Support Plan, and places it in the KIDS File Cabinet;
(G) provides a copy of Form 04PP024E to each of the mandatory IM participants listed in (a)(1) of this Instruction;
(H) reviews the support plan with the resource specialist at least quarterly to make sure all services, resources, and supports are in place to ensure placement stability. When the support plan needs updating, the PP specialist schedules a family meeting with the resource specialist, child, biological family, and resource family to discuss changes;
(I) discusses and completes the child's educational needs using Form 04MP072E, The Best Interest Determination, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-6-50; and
(J) discusses the child's sleeping arrangements, per OAC 340:75-7-18. For a child 12 months old and younger, safe sleep consideration is essential.
(4) Within five-business days of the IM date, the meeting is documented in KIDS Contacts by the CW specialist and includes:
(A) Contact Type: Face-to-Face, Phone, or Virtual Conference;
(B) Staff Participants: First and last names and job titles of staff attending;
(C) Non-client/non-collateral participants including the resource parents' first and last names;
(D) Purpose: Select Initial Meeting – Bridge and Support Plan; and
(E) within the body of the contact:
(i) the efforts made to ensure all parties attended the IM;
(ii) the details from the IM guide about the child(ren);
(iii) the details from the IM guide about the child and resource family support plan; and
(iv) identifying the staff responsible for implementing the child and resource family support plan.
(b) Case transfer meetings. Ensuring a continuity of services for the child and family is important when cases are transferred. The case plan goal drives all decision-making. All CPS functions, including setting up the transfer meeting, are completed within 10-calendar days of the emergency custody hearing or petition filing, whichever is earlier, and the case is transferred to a PP specialist. An initial case transfer meeting between CPS and PP is completed within 10-calendar days of the emergency custody hearing or petition filing, and:
(1) includes the CPS and PP specialists; both supervisors; the family; and tribal CW worker, when applicable;
(2) is preferably held in person or by teleconference, when the case is transferred to another district;
(3) includes discussion of the Safety Plan, when applicable, and how safety threats are managed and controlled; and
(4) includes a discussion of, but not limited to, the:
(A) safety threats to the child and safety plan, when applicable;
(B) referrals made for services and Safety Plan any barriers to service provision for the child or family;
(C) child's placement;
(D) demographic information;
(E) child's educational needs;
(F) child's medical and immunization histories;
(G) family's Native American heritage;
(H) previous court hearing results;
(I) next court date and any requests by the court or parties for specific information or action;
(J) visitation plan and the date the last visit occurred;
(K) diligent search and family-finding efforts for relatives;
(L) IM with the resource family, when applicable; and
(M) family meeting outcomes, when applicable.
(c) Transfer meeting between PP specialists. The transfer meeting between PP specialists includes the information in (b)(4) and:
(1) an articulation of the specific adult behaviors that are safety threats to the child requiring OKDHS involvement with the family;
(2) a description of interventions in place to affect behavioral changes in the family;
(3) a description of specific behavioral changes needed in the family;
(4) a discussion of successful and previous intervention attempts; and
(5) a written case summary including the case history, legal history, and placement information.
(d) Case transfer meeting between CPS and family-centered services (FCS).
(1) The case transfer meeting between the CPS and FCS specialists is completed within 10-calendar days after a Safety Plan is established and Form 04MP025E, Family Service Agreement, is signed and includes:
(A) the CPS and FCS specialists; both supervisors; the family; service providers; Safety Plan monitors; kin; informal supports; and tribal CW worker, when applicable;
(B) a discussion of the:
(i) results of Form 04KI030E, Assessment of Child Safety; and
(ii) Safety Plan and how the safety threats are being managed and controlled; and
(C) a discussion of, but not limited to, the:
(i) referrals made for services and any barriers to service provision for the child or family;
(ii) remaining safety threats;
(iii) behavioral changes demonstrated by the person responsible for the child (PRFC);
(iv) child's needs;
(v) action steps identified during the meeting, the name of the person responsible for completing each step, and the amount of completion time assigned to each step; and
(vi) a visitation plan developed for the child involved in an out-of-home Safety Plan using Form 04MP047E, Visitation Plan, and measures to ensure purposeful visits occur between the child, sibling(s), and PRFC. The visitation plan is updated as progress is made and the PRFC's protective capacities increase. A copy of the visitation plan is entered into the KIDS File Cabinet.
(2) The CPS specialist enters a KIDS contact with a purpose of "Family Accepted FCS" and changes the case type to FCS.
(e) Case transfer meetings are documented in KIDS Contacts with a purpose of "Transfer Meeting." The contact includes a summary of the meeting discussion, first and last names of everyone involved, meeting location, and resulting action steps.
2. Case location and responsibility.
(1) Use of secondary case assignment. The use of secondary case assignment is rare and must be staffed and approved by the county of jurisdiction district director and the county of service district director.
(A) Each district director must agree the circumstance warrants an exception to the use of new or continued use of a secondary assignment. When reviewing an exception request, consideration is given to keeping siblings together and using kinship placements in the decision-making process. These exceptions include, but are not limited to:
(i) an existing and meaningful long-term relationship between a child or parent and an assigned secondary CW specialist;
(ii) a case plan goal that warrants long-term placement outside of the region or adjoining county;
(iii) pending court action for the transfer of jurisdiction not in the region or adjoining county; or
(iv) extensive one-way travel time that consumes more than half of an eight-hour work day.
(B) When an exception is agreed upon and a secondary assignment remains or is made, the picklist assignment in KIDS is "County of Service."
(C) Emergency or short-term tasks in the county of service, such as placement disruptions, preliminary inquiry-related assignments, or medical treatment, require an agreement between the county of jurisdiction district director and county of service district director, without KIDS assignment. Each emergency or short-term task must be documented by the county of service in the KIDS Contacts screen.
(2) CPS investigation or assessment secondary case responsibility. Primary assignment of a CPS investigation or assessment is with the county of residence for the primary alleged victim. A CPS courtesy activity may be assigned to the county where the child, sibling, PRFC, or alleged perpetrator is located, as necessary.
(A) When the primary alleged victim resides in two households for an equal amount of weekly or monthly time due to custodial arrangements, sometimes described as 50/50 shared physical custody, the primary assignment is with the county where the alleged abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse occurred. The home of standard weekend visitation is not considered a child's residence.
(B) When the alleged victim, sibling, PRFC, or alleged perpetrator is temporarily not within the county of jurisdiction and the nature of the allegations or injuries to the child require an immediate response or the interview information is time-sensitive in order to make a safety decision, a CPS courtesy activity is requested.
(C) For after-hours emergencies and Priority I investigations in non-contiguous counties, the Hotline is responsible for notifying both the county of residence and the CPS courtesy activity county.
(D) A CPS courtesy activity is not utilized for investigative activities between contiguous counties, including those across regional boundaries. When an emergency situation may require the assignment of a courtesy activity to a contiguous county, the district directors are expected to work together to make the assignment.
(E) When a report contains allegations against a biological parent and the child is in out-of-home care at the time the report is received, the primary assignment is to the county with the open permanency planning case assignment. A CPS courtesy request may be sent to conduct interviews when the alleged victim, sibling, or PRFC is located in a non-contiguous county.
(3) Secondary case responsibility. In the event that more than one CW specialist is assigned to the case with the approval of both district directors, the primary case is maintained in the county of jurisdiction.
(A) A recommendation to transfer legal jurisdiction of the deprived action rather than using secondary OKDHS responsibility may be appropriate, when:
(i) none of the active case participants reside in the county of legal jurisdiction; or
(ii) all parental rights are terminated and the child resided in a stable placement in a county other than the county of legal jurisdiction for six months or longer.
(B) When a case is anticipated to close within six months, the CW specialist considers if transfer of legal jurisdiction expedites or impedes permanency due to the assignment of new parties, such as a new judge, child's attorney, or district attorney.
(C) Per OAC 340:75-19-26, when the child is in tribal custody, the primary case is assigned to OKDHS tribal program staff for the specific tribe and the secondary case is assigned to the custody specialist in the region where the child is placed.
(D) When assigned CW specialists disagree regarding the case plan or case actions after consultation between the respective CW supervisors, the CW supervisors contact the respective district directors to:
(i) review the matter and reach a consensus; or
(ii) consult with the PP Programs Unit for direction, when unable to reach a consensus.
(E) The county of jurisdiction specialist is the principal case coordinator and is responsible for:
(i) gathering information regarding the child's circumstances and, when applicable, each parent's circumstances or situation; and
(ii) preparing and submitting the progress report to the court of jurisdiction.
(F) Refer to OAC 340:75-3-510 for information regarding coordination between counties for completion and submission of Form 04KI003E, Report to District Attorney.
(4) Alternative CW specialist making required visit. The CW supervisor:
(A) reviews the unavoidable scheduling conflict or the assigned CW specialist's extended leave, assesses the frequency of another CW specialist completing the required contacts, and either grants or denies the exception;
(B) informs the CW specialist responsible for the child of the decision;
(C) assigns the monthly contact to another CW specialist;
(D) ensures the child is seen consistently by one assigned alternative specialist for the duration of the unavoidable scheduling conflict or the assigned CW specialist's extended leave; and
(E) documents the details of assignment and duration of the exception in the KIDS Contacts screen with the purpose of "Case Staffing." A secondary case assignment is not utilized for the reassignment of monthly specialist visit(s) or reassignment of all cases. A reassignment on the assignment screen in KIDS is used when all case duties are being reassigned in cases of extended leave.
3. Jurisdiction involving more than one state. In rare circumstances, OKDHS becomes involved with a family due to the abuse and neglect of a child where a previous child custody order was issued in another state. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), per Sections 551-101 through 551-402 of Title 43 of the Oklahoma Statutes (43 O.S. §§ 551-101 through 551-402), aids the court in determining which state court has jurisdiction over the child and must be followed.
(1) The UCCJEA:
(A) governs all proceedings related to child custody determinations. UCCJEA does not apply to child support proceedings, adoption proceedings, juvenile delinquency proceedings, nor proceedings for emergency medical care; and
(B) provides that a child custody determination made by a court with jurisdiction is binding on all parties to the extent the determination may be modified.
(2) A state court has jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination when the state is the home state of the child, either on the date the proceeding is filed or was the home state within six months of the proceedings. The court that made a child custody determination has continuing jurisdiction as the home state court until the:
(A) court determines neither the child, parent, nor any person acting as a parent has a significant connection with this state and substantial evidence concerning the child's care and protection is no longer available in the state; or
(B) child, child's parents, and any person acting as a parent do not presently reside in the state.
(i) Home state is defined as the state where the child lived with a parent for at least six-consecutive months prior to the commencement of the proceedings or since birth for children six months of age and younger.
(ii) Person acting as a parent is defined as a person, other than a parent, who was awarded legal custody by a court or has physical custody of the child for a period of six-consecutive months within one year prior to the filing of a child custody proceeding.
4. Temporary emergency jurisdiction.
(1) A state court that does not otherwise have jurisdiction may enter an emergency order when a child is present in the state and a child was abandoned or a child, sibling, or child's parent is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse.
(2) When there was a previous child custody determination, the court making the emergency order must immediately communicate with the court that made the previous determination, to resolve the emergency, protect the child's safety, and decide duration of the emergency order.
(3) When there was no previous order by another state court, the emergency order remains in effect until a court with jurisdiction enters an order. When no proceedings are filed in a state court with jurisdiction, then the emergency order becomes final.
5. UCCJEA application to Indian tribes.
(1) A state court must treat a tribe as if it were a state of the United States when applying 43 O.S. §§ 551-101 through 551-210.
(2) A child custody determination by a tribe made in conformity with this act must be recognized and enforced.
6. UCCJEA application to foreign countries.
(1) A state court must treat a foreign country as if it were a state of the United States when applying 43 O.S. §§ 551-101 through 551-210.
(2) A child custody determination made in conformity with this act must be recognized, unless the child custody law of the foreign country violates fundamental principles of human rights.