340:75-6-48. Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) contacts with child, placement providers, parents, and service providers
(a) Child visitation required by the Oklahoma Children's Code.Per Sections 1-4-707, 1-7-103, and Section 1-7-113 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes, OKDHS:
(1) visits each child in OKDHS custody a minimum of one time per calendar month, with no less than two visits per quarter in the home or out-of-home placement; and
(2) interviews or, when an infant, observes each child alone without the placement provider or parent present at least one time per month in an environment where the child would be able to talk freely about safety, permanency, and well-being.The parent or placement provider identifies a place in the home where this interview with the child can occur privately.Interviews always include discussing or, when an infant, observing the child's safety, permanency, and well-being.
(b) Child visitation requirement following initial placement and subsequent placement changes.The assigned child welfare specialist visits each child in OKDHS custody in the child's placement on the day the placement is made, and a minimum of two times per month during the child's first and second month in each placement, and one time per calendar month thereafter.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-6-48
1. Purpose of contacts. The purpose of child welfare (CW) specialist contacts with the child, placement provider, and parent is to:
(1) ensure the child is safe;
(2) ensure the child achieves permanency as expeditiously as possible;
(3) ensure the child's needs are met;
(4) provide timely and relevant information to the placement provider pertinent to the child's needs and permanency planning (PP) process, per Section 1-7-104 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-7-104);
(5) continue to gather information regarding kinship and relative connections and document them in the Family/Kinship Connections screen in KIDS;
(6) contact the child's tribe when the child is identified as a member or is eligible to be a member;
(7) make efforts to ensure the child is placed in a kinship or relative home;
(8) make efforts to ensure siblings are placed together, when possible;
(9) encourage and guide the parent in the completion of his or her individualized service plan (ISP);
(10) ensure the parent understands the ISP, how to correct the conditions that led to CW involvement, and the consequences of failure to make changes;
(11) assess the parent's protective capacities and ability to provide a safe home environment for the child;
(12) evaluate the home situation, ISP progress, behavior changes, and the correction of safety threats;
(13) assist the parent in obtaining the identified services needed to change the behaviors and conditions that led to the child's removal;
(14) advise the parent of his or her rights, roles, and responsibilities in connection with the ISP;
(15) ensure the parent understands the importance of visitation in developing and maintaining a healthy parent-child relationship;
(16) inform the parent and child of the other's situation, progress, and other related issues;
(17) ensure the parent is aware of the next court hearing;
(18) evaluate the quality of services delivered to the child and parent;
(19) include the parent in decision-making by providing the parent with information about the child and services the child is receiving, such as medical care and education; and
(20) support the placement provider, child, and parent and guide them in understanding how the CW and court systems function.
2. Documenting contacts or visits using contact guide and addendums.
(1) contacts or visits with the child are entered in KIDS Contacts screen flagged as a specialist visit:
(A) as quickly as possible after the contact or visit occurs; and
(B) within five-business days after the contact or visit date.
(2) The contact guide and addendums are used when making contact with a child. The contact guide and age-specific addendums that provide a format to assist the CW specialist gather and document information obtained during a contact, are:
(A) Form 04MP007E, Quality Contacts with a Parent; and
(B) Form 04MP008E, Quality Contacts with a Child.
(3) For each child placed in a resource with an overfill, the assigned CW specialist documents the conversations with the resource parents regarding if the specialist is providing support to the provider and any specific plan or supports and any ongoing needs in the personal care/environment/clothing/diet field in KIDS during the monthly specialist visit.
3. Before face-to-face contact with the child or parents. The CW specialist:
(1) plans for the length and location of the contact or visit to support honest conversations;
(2) contacts all of the child's service and medical providers and reviews the most recent service provider report. Evaluates any behavior changes, current treatment plans, medical reports, and prescribed medications;
(3) reviews the child's educational needs, any Individualized Education Program (IEP), or other educational plans;
(4) reviews the case plan goal and makes a plan on how to discuss it with the placement provider and the child;
(5) contacts the foster home's resource specialist to discuss any written plans of compliance (WPCs), resource alerts, or concerns. Reviews the resource's file and any associated investigations; and
(6) identifies all issues and concerns to discuss during the contact.
4. Documenting parent contact summary.
(1) During each face-to-face contact with the parent, the CW specialist completes Form 04MP007E, including the Next Steps and Parent Input sections and documents the information in KIDS Contact labeled "Worker Visit-Parent."
(2) The parent and CW specialist sign Form 04MP007E.
(3) The parent and CW specialist decide who keeps the original document.
(A) When the parent keeps the original document, the CW specialist:
(i) takes a picture of the completed and signed form with the CW specialist's work-issued cell phone before giving the original form to the parent; and
(ii) uploads the picture of the completed and signed form to the KIDS document management system (DMS) and then deletes the form's picture from the cell phone.
(B) When the CW specialist keeps the original document, the CW specialist:
(i) allows the parent to take a picture of the completed and signed form with the parent's cell phone; and
(ii) scans the original form and saves it to KIDS DMS;
(4) When a parent fails to show up as scheduled for monthly-contact or meets parent contact exception or special circumstances requirements in Instructions to Staff (ITS) of this Section, the CW specialist:
(A) contacts the parent;
(B) discusses each item on Form 04MP007E and documents the parent's responses; and
(C) documents why the parent did not sign on the signature line.
(5) When a parent refuses to sign Form 04MP007E, the CW specialist documents why the parent did not sign.
(6) When the CW specialist is unable to locate a parent, a KIDS Contact is entered to indicate the diligent search efforts to locate the parent, per this Section's ITS.
5. Interviewing or observing the child.
(1) The child is interviewed alone, or when an infant, observations are conducted at least once every calendar month with no more than 31-calendar days between contacts with every child.
(2) When the child is older than 12 months of age, the child is observed for any visible injuries, including those that are the result of normal childhood play. When injuries are observed, the child is thoroughly inspected for additional injuries to include rearrangement of clothing, when necessary. When observed injuries appear to fall outside of normal childhood play, the CW specialist follows the preliminary inquiry ITS in Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-3-130.
(3) When interviewing the child alone, the CW specialist asks the child about any injuries the child may have, both visible and non-visible. The structure and type of interview questions are dependent on the child's developmental functioning.
(4) The CW specialist initiates a conversation about safety at each monthly visit, providing an opportunity for the child to learn about safety and to disclose any potential unsafe circumstances.
(5) The parent or placement provider ensures a place where the child may be interviewed privately, affording the child an opportunity to discuss any unsafe conditions. The child may be interviewed outside of the placement or home in an appropriate location in addition to the visit in the placement location.
(6) When the child is non-verbal, the CW specialist assesses safety through observation, per 10A O.S.§1-7-113.
(7) When the child is younger than 12 months of age, the CW specialist observes the child unclothed during a routine bath, clothing change, or diaper change, respecting the child's comfort by allowing the provider or parent to conduct the activity while the CW specialist observes.
(8) The CW specialist sees every child awake each month to properly assess the child's safety. A specialist visit may not be completed by observing a sleeping child.
(9) The CW specialist completes at least one unannounced and unscheduled visit, per quarter for the child in any placement type.
(10) Best practice is to see the entire home or placement every month to ensure the environment is safe for the child. The CW specialist is required to see and document the entire home or placement is seen a minimum of one time per quarter.
(11) Interviews and observations increase in times of change or stress.
(12) At the discretion of the CW supervisor or district director, interviews increase when the child is in a court-ordered placement that would otherwise be unapproved by Child Welfare Services (CWS).
(13) When concerns were identified during the phone call with the resource specialist or facility liaison prior to the CW specialist's contact with the child, the CW specialist assesses all concerns during the contact in the child's placement.
(14) The CW specialist documents the prior conversation between specialists, the assessment of concerns with the placement provider, and follow up discussion, when warranted.
6. Contact at child's school. The CW specialist does not go to the child's school for the purpose of completing a face-to-face contact with the child, except in cases of transporting the child to and from school for appropriate purposes, such as family time, scheduled appointments, and extracurricular activities. The CW specialist ensures the child's confidentiality is respected. Academic progress is not disrupted for any purpose including, but not limited to, specialist visits and parent or sibling visitations.
7. Exception to the assigned CW specialist completing the visit with the child. Continuity and quality visitation is best achieved by the same CW specialist visiting the child each month. The CW specialist responsible for the child is required to complete the specialist visits; however, another CW specialist may make the required monthly contact in the child's placement or home to assess the child's safety, permanency, and well-being needs when there is an urgent, unavoidable scheduling conflict including, but not limited to, extended leave for the CW specialist responsible for the child.
(1) When an alternate CW specialist conducts the visit, the CW specialist responsible for the child makes the next required face-to-face visit with the child as quickly as possible.
(2) Prior to an alternative CW specialist making the required visit, the CW supervisor:
(A) reviews the unavoidable scheduling conflict or 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 CW specialist for the duration of the assigned CW specialist's unavoidable conflict or extended leave; and
(E) documents the details of assignment and duration of the exception in the KIDS Contacts screen selecting the purpose of "Case Staffing." A secondary case assignment is not used for the reassignment of monthly specialist visits or reassignment of all case duties. A reassignment on the assignment screen in KIDS is used when all case duties are reassigned in cases of extended leave.
8. Child contact requirements.
(1) Placement in a family-like setting. The CW specialist completes a visit to the child's placement within 24 hours of placement. Best practice is for the CW specialist to complete visits per:
(A) 1st visit from 2nd through 15th day of placement;
(B) 2nd visit from 16th through 30th day of placement;
(C) 3rd visit from 31st through 45th day of placement; and
(D) 4th visit from 46th day through 60th day.
(2) Placement at a shelter. The CW specialist has face-to-face contact with the child placed in a shelter within 24-hours of the child's entry into a shelter and a minimum of once every seven-calendar days while the child remains in the shelter.
(3) Inpatient treatment. When the child requires admission to an inpatient facility, procedures, per OAC 340:75-16-30 ITS, are followed. No later than 24 hours after a child's admission into an inpatient treatment facility, the CW specialist contacts the facility liaison and the facility liaison supervisor by phone and email to provide notification of the child's placement. In addition to the required monthly visitation for all placement types, when a child is admitted in any inpatient treatment facility, the CW specialist contacts the child's therapist or other mental health professional and the facility liaison by phone at least once per week and inquires about the child's progress to facilitate the discharge plan, per OAC 340:75-16-30.
(4) Child in Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) custody. When the child in Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) custody is also adjudicated delinquent and placed in OJA custody:
(A) OJA is responsible for placement and services to the child;
(B) CWS retains responsibility for, related services, and works closely with the assigned OJA specialist to ensure continuity of care; and
(C) the CW specialist contacts, in person or by phone, the child, the parent, and the OJA worker on a monthly basis to discuss the child's safety, permanency, and well-being. The CW specialist:
(i) obtains and documents the date, location, and substance of the OJA worker's monthly contact with the child;
(ii) enters into KIDS Contacts screen the name of the OJA worker, selects Contact Type/Loc: as "Face to Face (Home or Placement Provider) and then selects source "Made by Non-OKDHS or Non-CW Staff" with the purpose of "Worker Visit." Refer to OAC 340:75-6-46; and
(iii) documents the phone conversation's substance with the placement provider or parent in Contacts flagged as "Worker Visit – No Contact."
(5) OKDHS supervision. Per OAC 340:75-6-85.5, the court may place the child under OKDHS supervision.
(A) During the first 60-calendar days after the court grants supervision, the CW specialist evaluates the child's safety in the home by making face-to-face contact with the child and the person responsible for the child's (PRFC) health, safety, or welfare together one or more times per week, as determined by the CW supervisor.
(B) After the initial 60-calendar days, the CW specialist continues face-to-face contact at least once every other week with the child and PRFC together unless, after a supervisory conference, a need for more frequent visits is determined.
(C) The CW supervisor documents any increase in the number of visits. Contact requirements are documented in the KIDS Contacts with a purpose of "Case Staffing."
(D) The court may establish in its orders a time frame for, and the frequency of, the CW specialist's contacts. Out-of-home supervision is carefully addressed, keeping in mind, the court's orders.
(E) When the child is in an out-of-home Safety Plan, the CW specialist has face-to-face contact with the child:
(i) in the Safety Plan caregiver's home within the first 14-calendar days the child resides in the home; and
(ii) at least once every calendar month thereafter in the caregiver's home with no more than 31-calendar days between contacts.
(F) The contact with the child in the Safety Plan caregiver's home is in addition to the weekly or every other week contact the CW specialist has with the child and PRFC together.
(G) More frequent contacts are made with the child during times of change or stress.
(H) The CW specialist ensures that ITS, of this section are applied, when relevant, for a child in OKDHS supervision.
(6) Contact with young adult 18 years of age and older in voluntary placement. The CW supervisor, CW specialist, young adult, and placement provider jointly determine the CW specialist's contact with the young adult 18 years of age and older who is in voluntary placement.
(A) A minimum of one face-to-face contact with the young adult is required in the placement location every 60-calendar days until case closure.
(B) During the months when the CW specialist's contact with the young adult is not in the provider's home, the specialist contacts the young adult and the provider by phone and discusses safety, permanency, and well-being.
(7) Contact with the child in OKDHS custody placed in out-of-state residential treatment center (RTC). When the child requires admission to an inpatient facility, procedures are followed, per OAC 340:75-1-86 ITS.
(A) The assigned CW specialist completes a worker visit on the day of admission to ensure the child's safety.
(B) The CW specialist contacts the child's therapist, other mental health professional, or facility Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) designee by phone at least once every seven-calendar days to inquire about the child's progress to facilitate the discharge plan. The CW specialist documents the substance of the phone conversation by entering into KIDS Contacts screen the name of the ICPC worker and selects contact source "Made by Non-OKDHS or Non-CW Staff" and selects "Worker Visit." as the purpose.
(C) The CW specialist contacts the child by phone at least once every seven-calendar days to facilitate a private discussion about the child's safety, permanency, and well-being. CW specialist documents a "Worker Visit - No Contact" with the substantive information from this phone call each week.
(D) An ICPC specialist is not assigned for out-of-state RTC admissions. The RTC facility, which is responsible for the child's supervision, protection, safety, and well-being, provides supervision. CWS is expected to enter into an agreement with the residential facility as to the program plan or expected level of supervision and treatment and the frequency and nature of any written progress or treatment reports.
(E) When the child in OKDHS custody is placed in out-of-state RTC through ICPC, per OAC 340:75-1-86, and the child's safety is in question the CW specialist needs to have face-to-face contact with the child.
(F) When the CW specialist travels out-of-state to see a child in RTC placement, the CW specialist seeks agreement from his or her supervisor and district director, explains the safety-related need to travel in an email to Permanency Planning Programs seeking authorization to travel, and completes Form 10AD002E, Out-of-State Travel Authorization, per OKDHS:2-21-109.
(8) Contact with child in ICPC placement with parent, relative, or placement provider.
(A) The OKDHS CW specialist:
(i) conducts phone calls with all verbal children, the parents when the children are placed at home, or the placement provider a minimum of one time every calendar month to discuss safety, permanency, well-being, and placement stability. Phone calls are documented in the purpose section of KIDS Contacts with the purpose "Worker visit – No Contact";
(ii) obtains the date, location, and substance of the ICPC worker's monthly contact with the child from the ICPC worker; documents the substance of the phone conversation each month by entering into KIDS Contacts screen the name of the ICPC worker; selects contact source "Made by Non-OKDHS or Non-CW Staff"; and selects "Worker Visit" as the purpose; and
(iii) scans the quarterly report into the KIDS DMS and documents in KIDS Contacts that it was received and scanned.
(B) The OKDHS CW specialist ensures an agency caseworker in the receiving state:
(i) makes a face-to-face contact with the child in the parent, relative, or foster home no less frequently than every calendar month; and
(ii) submits a quarterly report on the content of the monthly contacts.
(C) When the required monthly contact with the assigned ICPC worker is unsuccessful:
(i) the CW specialist may conduct the required visit virtually, ensuring he or she speaks with all verbal children, parents, or the placement provider. Attempted and completed virtual visits are documented into KIDS Contacts screen with the purpose "Worker visit";
(ii) the assigned CW specialist continues to try and reach the assigned out-of-state ICPC worker to obtain the required monthly face-to-face contact and:
(I) enters it immediately upon receipt including any attempted contacts with the out-of-state ICPC worker into the KIDS Contacts screen per paragraph (8)(A)(ii) of this Instruction; and
(II) if the out-of-state ICPC worker does not respond for 10-business days past the required monthly worker visit date, the assigned CW specialist notifies ICPC at CWS.ICPC@okdhs.org and requests assistance; and
(iii) a virtual visit can only be used in lieu of a timely face-to-face visit no more than once a quarter.
(9) Contact with youth in a shelter, group home, RTC, or acute psychiatric facility.
(A) During monthly face-to-face contact with a youth placed in a shelter, group home, RTC, or acute psychiatric facility, the CW specialist completes the KIDS Contact Guide using questions in the "Guide to Safety Assessment in Residential Settings" (Guide). The Guide is available from CWS Specialized Placements and Partnerships Unit (SPPU) and includes questions related to:
(i) adjustment or behavior;
(ii) medical care, dental care, immunizations, or medications; and
(iii) personal care, environment, clothing, or diet.
(B) The CW specialist follows up with the facility staff to advise them of any concerns identified through using the Guide.
9. (a) Parent contact requirements. The CW specialist has face-to-face contact with the child's parent within the first 14-calendar days of the child's removal and a minimum of once every calendar month thereafter, with no more than 31-calendar days between contacts. Best practice is to see each parent weekly in person or by phone to create urgency toward permanency and offer support to achieve the goal of reunification. The CW supervisor and specialist decide the location of the contact based upon case circumstances. Monthly face-to-face contact in the parent's home is best practice. The CW specialist makes a home visit when assessing the home for reunification purposes.
(b) Phone contact. Phone contact with the child's parent is allowed in place of face-to-face contact when the parent is incarcerated in a facility other than a local jail or lives out-of-state. The CW county of jurisdiction specialist is responsible for contact unless contact exception applies.
(c) Contact exceptions. Parent contact is not required when the below circumstances exist; however, consideration is given to the information a parent may be able to offer regarding the child's needs, family history, and kinship identification. Exceptions to contacts with the parent are documented as a "Contact Exception" and granted when:
(1) the parent's whereabouts are unknown. The CW specialist makes ongoing diligent efforts to locate the parent at least once a month. Efforts to locate the parent are documented in KIDS as a "Contact Exception." Ongoing diligent efforts may include, but are not limited to:
(A) gathering information about current whereabouts and contact information from the child, other parent or persons responsible for the child, family members, service providers, and other collaterals;
(B) completing a search for the parent in other OKDHS records, such as KIDS and Information Management System;
(C) completing an online search of public records, such as Oklahoma Supreme Court Network, Oklahoma District Court Records, and Vinelink; and
(D) contacting OKDHS Child Support Services;
(2) parental rights are terminated;
(3) parent is incarcerated for an offense for which he or she is sentenced to the death penalty;
(4) length of the parent's incarceration is expected to surpass the date of the child obtaining the age of majority;
(5) the court finds reasonable efforts to reunite or to reunify the child and family are not required; or
(6) other justified reasons exist that are documented in the case record.
10. Service provider contact requirements. The CW specialist has phone contact at least quarterly and no later than 10-business days prior to each court hearing with any service provider for the child, parent, or family to obtain current information regarding the client's treatment status and obtain the service provider's recommendation regarding whether services are continued, terminated, or additional services are necessary.
11. Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) specialist. When a child is involved with DDS and CWS, the CW specialist maintains monthly contact with the DDS specialist and coordinates with him or her to ensure the needs of the child are met in addition to the required worker visits.