Placement Preservation Strategy, 14-Day Advanced Notice of Placement Changes and the Grievance Review Process

0100-502.52 | Revision Date: 10/28/19

Overview

This policy provides information regarding the development of a Placement Preservation Strategy (PPS) to prevent a child's/ Nonminor Dependent’s (NMD) removal from placement, 14-Day Advanced Notice of Placement Changes and the Grievance Review Hearing Process.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Policy

Placement Preservation Strategy

14-Day Advanced Notice of Placement Changes

Notice Exemptions

Grievance Process

Representatives

Procedure

Placement Preservation Strategy

CSW Responsibilities

Resources for Placement Preservation Strategies

The Decision is Made to Remove a Child

CSW Responsibilities

Grievance Process Regarding the Pending Removal or the Placement of a Child

CSW Responsibilities

ARA/SCSW/Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

Grievance Review Hearing Section Responsibilities

Prior to Hearing

Post Hearing

Grievance Review Agent Responsibilities

Director’s or Director's Designee Responsibilities

The Grievant or their Representative Requests Case Information

CSW Responsibilities

Grievance Review Hearing Section Responsibilities

Grievance Review Agent Responsibilities

Approvals

Helpful Links

Attachments

Forms

Referenced Policy Guides

Statutes

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 05/09/18 version to include information from ACL 19-26 pertaining to AB2247 regarding a Placement Preservation Strategy (PPS), changing the 7-Day Notice of Intent to Terminate Placement to the 14-Day Advanced Notice of Placement Changes, adding Group Homes and Short-Term Residential Treatment Programs to the required 14-Day notice recipients, and the updated Grievance Review Hearing procedures.

POLICY

Placement Preservation Strategy (PPS)

To prevent children/NMDs in foster care from experiencing unnecessary or abrupt placement changes that may negatively impact their well-being or sense of security and to prevent placement changes occurring due to gender, gender identity, race, or cultural differences, efforts should be made to preserve and strengthen the placement of a child/NMD.


Prior to making a placement change (with exemptions listed below) for a dependent child (on juvenile dependency cases post-disposition) and prior to issuance of a 14-Day Advanced Notice of Placement Changes, a Child and Family Team Meeting (CFTM) must be held to develop and implement a Placement Preservation Strategy to help preserve and support the child’s/NMD’s existing placement.

 

A placement preservation strategy is a youth-centered process to support, equip and wrap a family with resources in the pursuit of preserving the stability, placement, and well-being of children/NMD placed in out-of-home care. The ideal preservation strategy is solution focused, restorative in nature and trauma-informed. It is also focused on the resources, training, and services needed for the resource family in general. Best practices when executing a placement preservation strategy may include:

 

As an additional resource, workers are encouraged to access the Department of Mental Health's (DMH's) Promoting Placement Stability Strategies for DMH Staff and DMH Network of Providers.

14-Day Advanced Notice of Placement Change

 

Generally, replacing a child from a Small Family Home, Resource Family Home, Foster Family Agency Certified Resource Family Home, Foster Home, Relative, Nonrelative Extended Family Member, Group Home, or Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program requires a written 14-day notice to the caregiver prior to removal, unless an exemption exists.

 

If after the development and implementation of a Placement Preservation Strategy (PPS) (on juvenile dependency cases post-disposition) a placement change is still necessary and none of the notice exemptions listed below apply, written notice must be sent to all of the following parties at least 14 days prior to the change (mail delivery of notice requires additional days):

 

  1. The child’s caregiver (DCFS 489-3 for Post-Disposition cases)
  2. The child’s caregiver (DCFS 489-7 for Pre-Disposition cases)
  3. The child (if 10 years of age or older) (DCFS 489-4)
  4. The child’s parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) (DCFS 489-5) and
  5. The child’s attorney (DCFS 489-6)

 

Exemptions for Placement Preservation Strategy and 14-Day Advanced Notice of Placement Change:

Developing and implementing a Placement Preservation Strategy and providing 14-Day Advance Notice of Placement Change is not required if one or more of the following conditions exist:

 

1. The child is in immediate danger. If it is determined that remaining in the existing placement or providing, prior written notice of that placement change poses an imminent risk to the health or safety of the dependent child or other children in the home or facility.

2. The court has ordered a change in placement (including removal, reunification/ return to home of parent/ s or placement in a relative’s home.)

3. There is a waiver of notice by unanimous agreement (full agreement by everyone involved documented on CWS/CMS) from:

The child’s Child and Family Team (CFT) and child (if 10 years or age or older); or

The child’s CFT and the child’s attorney (if the child is under age 10.)

4. There is already a planned placement change, as informed by the CFT described in the child’s/ NMD’s case plan.

 

5. The youth is a nonminor dependent (NMD) placed in a Transitional Housing Placement (THP) program or in a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP).

 

Grievance Process

Every effort should be made to resolve disagreements regarding placement/ removal of a child from a foster home.  The case-carrying Children's Social Worker(CSW) should use the office chain-of-command to resolve issues. However, if there is disagreement/ objection with the intended replacement, the CSW must advise the complaining party of the grievance process and refer them to the Supervising Children’s Social Worker (SCSW), Assistant Regional Administrator (ARA), or Regional Administrator (RA) for a resolution. Objection to removal of a child from a prospective adoptive home is subject to a different process.

 

In the event that resolution is not reached through communication, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has established a grievance process to review complaints from foster parents (including Foster Family Agency [FFA]certified homes, Group Homes, and Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Programs), parents, legal guardians and children regarding the placement or removal/ replacement of a child from a foster home.

 

In addition to advanced notice of the intent to remove a child, foster parent(s) must also be informed that they have the right to request a grievance review, per CDSS MPP Division 31-440.

 

* Los Angeles County is electing not to use a signed waiver of notice, as specified in Section 31-440.2.22.

 

As best practice, as much advance notice as practicable should be provided to foster parents to allow for proper planning and every effort should be made to resolve any disagreements regarding placement/ removal of a child from a foster home. If such a disagreement cannot be resolved, the case-carrying CSW should use the office chain-of-command, advise the complaining party of the grievance process and refer to the Grievance Review Hearing Section for a resolution when appropriate.

 

Additionally, when placing a child with a Resource Family, including a Foster Family Agency (FFA), the CSW should notify the caregiver as soon as the CSW becomes aware if the placed child will potentially be replaced to a relative’s/ NREFM’s home.

 

Grievance Review

Generally, a Grievance Review must not be granted if any of the listed exceptions in CDSS MPP Division 31-020.2.21 through 25 or MPP 31-440.21 through .25 exist.  However, the existence of an exception may depend on the procedural status of the case within the court system, actions by other agencies and/ or voluntary actions by the caregiver.  The exceptions are as follows:

 

  1. The child is in immediate danger.

 

  1. A court has ordered a change in placement (including removal, reunification/ return to home of parent/ s, or placement in a relative’s home.)

 

  1. Adverse licensing or approval actions have occurred that prohibit the foster parent(s) from continuing to provide services.

 

  1. Removal of a voluntarily-placed child is made or requested by the child’s parent(s)/ guardian(s).

 

  1. Removal of a child or modification of services resulting from an administrative review panel determination.

 

  1. Removal of a child for direct placement into an adoptive home.

 

  1. Any complaint regarding only the validity of a law or of a statewide regulation.

 

  1. Any complaint regarding an issue for which a state hearing is available as specified in Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 10950 through 10965.

 

* Los Angeles County is electing not to use a signed waiver of notice, as specified in Section 31-440.2.22.

 

Once the Grievance Review Hearing Section has determined a Grievance Review Hearing is warranted, the child cannot be removed or replaced pending the outcome of the Grievance Review Hearing, unless circumstances change and one of the exemptions noted above are applicable. This grievance process does not substitute the State Fair Hearing proceedings.

Representatives

The grievant may choose to have a representative.  The representative may be a family member, friend, foster parent association member, attorney or any other person of the grievant’s choosing.

 

If the representative requests information, only that information relevant to the grievance and that pertains to the grievant may be shared with the representative.  Information regarding the child or third parties is confidential and may not be shared.  The out stationed county counsel or the assigned trial county counsel should be consulted for advice on confidentiality laws.

 

Prior to DCFS releasing information to a grievant’s representative and/ or for the representative to be allowed to participate at the Grievance Review Hearing, the grievant must sign and date a DCFS 4161-R.

 

At the Grievance Review Hearing, the Review Agent will require the representative to sign a DCFS 4161-C and DCFS 4161-R if these are not already on file.  If the grievant’s representative is an attorney, the Review Agent will postpone the hearing (for not more than ten (10) calendar days) and set a new hearing date at which County Counsel will be present.

Back to Policy

PROCEDURE

 

Placement Preservation Strategy

CSW Responsibilities

Prior to making a placement change for a dependent child (on juvenile dependency cases post-disposition), a Placement Preservation Strategy (PPS) must be developed and implemented (if none of the exemptions apply):

1. The CSW is required to consult with the child’s CFT regarding each placement change;

2. A Child and Family Team Meeting (CFTM) must be held to develop and implement a PPS to help preserve and support the child’s/ NMD’s existing placement.

3. The PPS must be developed and implemented prior to the issuance of the 14-Day Advanced Notice of Placement Changes;

4. The CSW may use the Placement Preservation Strategy Resource List to assist with developing and implementing a PPS. (However, this list is not exhaustive and can be subject to change as resources become available and therefore PPS should not be limited to what is in this list.)

5. The CSW must document all PPS information in CWS/CMS:

a. To document the PPS, all information must be documented in accordance with CFTM Data Entry Instructions for CWS/CMS and the CFTM Narrative field notes must include the words “Placement Preservation Strategy.

14-Day Advanced Notice of Placement Changes

CSW Responsibilities

If after developing and implementing a Placement Preservation Strategy, a placement change is still necessary, the CSW shall provide written notice to all of the following parties at least 14 days prior to the change:

a. The child’s caregiver(s) (DCFS 489-3 or 489-7)

b. The child (if 10 years of age or older) (DCFS 489-4)

c. The child’s parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) (DCFS 489-5) and

d. The child’s attorney (DCFS 489-6)

 

The child’s caregiver should also be provided with the DCFS 4161 Form (Grievance Review Hearing Request) and DCFS 4161-I (Grievance Procedure Regulations) along with the 14-day notice, as further detailed in the Grievance Process Regarding the Pending Removal or the Placement of a Child section below.

The Decision is Made to Remove a Child

CSW Responsibilities

  1. If none of the listed exemptions apply and the child’s/ NMD’s situation does not warrant removal without prior notification:

  1. Provide notice to the caregiver in writing, at least fourteen (14) calendar days prior to the expected removal/ replacement date.

  1. Notify the caregiver of their right to request a Grievance Review hearing by attaching the DCFS 4161 and 4161-I to the DCFS 489-3 or DCFS 489-7.

  1. Notice can be delivered in person or by first class mail; however, the law requires additional time be allowed when service of notice is served by mail.
  1. If placement is in California, add five (5) days to the notice requirement.
  1. If placement is in another state, add ten (10) days to the notice requirement.
  1. If placement is in another country, add twenty (20) days to the notice requirement.

 

  1. If a court terminated permanent placement services:
  1. Provide the caregiver with written notice using the DCFS 489-3 to explain the court order.
  1. If the child is 10 years old or older, provide the child with the DCFS 489-4 form.

  2. Provide the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) with the DCFS 489-5 form.

  3. Provide the child’s attorney with a copy of the DCFS 489-6.

 

  1. Document all contacts and file copies of provided DCFS 489-4, 489-5, 489-6, 4161, and 4161-I forms in the case files.

  2. A placement change must not be made between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., except by mutual agreement of the following parties:

  1. The child (if 10 years of age or older) OR the child’s attorney (if the child is under age 10);

  2. The child’s current caregiver(s);

  3. The child’s prospective caregiver(s); and

  4. The child’s CSW.

Back to Procedure

Grievance Process Regarding the Pending Removal or the Placement of a Child

CSW Responsibilities

For placement disagreements that are not resolved within the office chain-of-command or through implementation of the Placement Preservation Strategy (PPS) and lead to the decision that it is in the child’s best interest to terminate the placement, and when 14-Day Advance Notice of Placement Change Exemptions do not apply, the CSW must:

 

1. Issue a 14-Day Advanced Notice of Placement Changes (DCFS 489-3, 489-4, 489-5, 489-6, or 489-7) to the child’s caregiver, the child’s parent or guardian, the child’s attorney, and the child (if the child is 10 years of age or older.)

2. File copies of the completed forms, including any attachments, in the Placement Folder.

3. Explain to the caregiver that they have the option of requesting a Grievance Review Hearing by submitting a DCFS 4161 form to the Grievance Review Hearing Section within ten (10) calendar days of being notified of the intended removal of the child and at least two (2) days before the intended removal date.

a. Provide the caregiver with a DCFS 4161 and DCFS 4161-I forms.

b. Refer the caregiver to the Grievance Review Information Line at (833) 782-0173 for a pre-recorded informational message.

4. If the CSW is given a completed DCFS 4161 form, notify the SCSW and forward the documents to the Grievance Review Hearing Section.

5. Completed DCFS 4161 forms may be dropped off for submittal to the Grievance Review Hearing Section at 425 Shatto Place, Los Angeles, CA 90020 or may be submitted via fax machine to (213) 427-6154 or through e-mail at GRrequest@dcfs.lacounty.gov

6. Following the Grievance Review Hearing, receive and review copies of the DCFS 4161 form, the Review Agent’s written summary, and the Director’s or his/ her designee's final decision.

a. File these copies in the Placement folder.

b. Discuss the Director’s or his/ her designee's final decision with the SCSW, ARA, and/ or RA and implement the decision.

ARA/ SCSW/ Case-Carrying CSW Responsibilities

Immediately upon notification by the Grievance Review Hearing Section, that the DCFS 4161 Grievance Review Hearing Request form has been received:

 

  1. Postpone replacement of the child while the Grievance Review process is pending.
  2. Complete the 14-Day Grievance Review Case Summary Sheet (written summary).
  3. Obtain SCSW and ARA Approval and signature on the written summary. A copy of the completed written summary will be provided to all participants of the Grievance Review Hearing.
  1. Return the approved written summary to the Grievance Review Hearing Section via email at GRrequest@dcfs.lacounty.gov by the due date and time specified.
  1. If notification is received that a Grievance Review Hearing will take place, prepare to attend the hearing.

 

  1. Taking the case file to the hearing is not permitted.
  2. If there is a change of circumstances necessitating replacement of the child between the time the Notice of Intent to Remove was sent to the caregiver and the time of the scheduled Grievance Review Hearing, the CSW shall provide a completed DCFS 489-8 Change in Circumstances Regarding Pending Placement Change to the grievant and to the Grievance Review Hearing Section.

Grievance Review Hearing Section Responsibilities

Prior to Hearing:

The Grievance Review Hearing Section must receive the DCFS 4161 form from the grievant at least two (2) business days prior to the expected date of removal/ replacement of the child.

 

  1. Upon timely receipt of the DCFS 4161 form, immediately contact the Regional office/ Specialized program to request that they complete and return the 14-Day Grievance Review Case Summary Sheet (written summary) by the next business day.

    The written summary must be received by the Grievance Review Hearing Section the first business day after the DCFS 4161 form is received by the department.

  2. Immediately upon receiving the completed written summary, review it to confirm the Grievance Review Hearing is warranted. See Grievance Process section to determine if a listed exception to the review exists. A decision whether to hold a grievance hearing is to be made on the same business day the completed written summary is received.

  1. If the Grievance Review Hearing is not warranted:

  1. Provide written notice to all involved parties explaining the reason for the denial to a Grievance Review, including the exception, within five calendar days.
  1. Maintain a copy of the denial notice on file for at least one (1) year.

  1. If the Grievance Review Hearing is warranted:

  1. Send written directions via email to the SCSW and CSW to postpone replacement of the child.
  2. Schedule the hearing date with the Grievance Review Agent to occur within 10 business days of the receipt of the 4161 form and send out the 4161-N (Notice of Hearing) form to the grievant, CSW, SCSW, ARA, and RA. Note: the grievant must receive the Notice of Hearing at least 5 days prior to the hearing date.
  3. If the grievant has a representative who is an attorney, the Grievance Review Hearing Section will notify the designated County Counsel so a County Counsel can be appointed to represent the regional office at the hearing.

Post Hearing:

  1. Forward the Grievance Review Agent’s written recommendation to the Director for review and signature.

  2. Ensure that the Director's final written decision is issued within five (5) calendar days of review completion.

  3. Upon receiving the Director's final written decision, send a copy of the Director's final written decision to each party of the review, including the case-carrying CSW, the grievant, every representative of each party, and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) at:

 

California Department of Social Services

Child and Youth Permanency Branch

744 P Street – MS 8-13-73

Sacramento, CA 95814

 

  1. Log and preserve all documents and physical evidence presented at the Grievance Review Hearing, including the audio recording of the hearing.

  2. Retain all Grievance Review Hearing records for at least one (1) year from the date of the Director's final written decision.

Grievance Review Agent Responsibilities

  1. Conduct the Grievance Review Hearing, to the extent possible, in a non-adversarial atmosphere.

    1. Administer an oath or affirmation of truth with all parties and make sure all testimony is given under oath or affirmation.
    2. Review and hear all evidence introduced by the parties to the hearing.
    3. Make sure all parties and representatives are permitted to examine all documents and physical evidence introduced by parties to the hearing.
    4. Make sure the parties, their representatives, and witnesses, while testifying, are the only authorized persons present during the hearing unless all parties and the Review Agent consent to the presence of other persons

    5. The Review Agent has the authority to extend/ continue the hearing for a period of time, not to exceed 10 calendar days, if additional evidence or witnesses are necessary for determination of the issue.

  2. Within three business days of completion of the Grievance Review Hearing, deliver a written recommendation to the Grievance Review Hearing Section for the Director's review.

  3.  Preserve all documents and physical evidence presented at the Grievance Review Hearing for at least one year.


Director or Director’s Designee Responsibilities

  1. Issue a final written decision within five calendar days after review completion.

  1. Return the signed final written decision to the Grievance Review Hearing Section or Review Agent's assistant for distribution.

 

Back to Procedure

The Grievant or their Representative Requests Case Information Presented and/ or Discussed at the Grievance Hearing

CSW Responsibilities

  1. Upon receipt of the signed and dated DCFA 4161-R, provide a copy to the Grievance Review Hearing Section and file the original in the Placement folder.

Grievance Review Hearing Section Responsibilities

  1. Review the DCFS 4161-R and fax it over to the Review Agent.

Grievance Review Agent Responsibilities

  1. Retain the DCFS 4161-R and the DCFA 4161-C as part of the Grievance Review Hearing records for at least one (1) year from the date of the Director’s final written decision.

Back to Procedure

APPROVALS

Grievance Review Hearing Section Approval

Assistant Regional Administrator Approval

Director or Director's Designee Approval

HELPFUL LINKS

Attachments

14-Day Notice and Grievance Review Hearing (GRH)Time Frames

Placement Preservation Strategy Resource List

14-Day Grievance Review Case Summary Sheet

Department of Mental Health's (DMH's) Promoting Placement Stability Strategies for DMH Staff and DMH Network of Providers.

Forms

LA Kids

DCFS 489-3,14-Day Advanced Notice to Caregiver(s) of Placement Changes (Post-Disposition)

DCFS 489-4, 14-Day Advanced Notice to Child Age 10 or Older of Placement Changes

DCFS 489-5, 14-Day Advanced Notice to Parent(s) or Legal Guardian(s) of Placement Changes

DCFS 489-6, 14-Day Advanced Notice to Child’s Attorney of Placement Changes

DCFS 489-7, 14-Day Advanced Notice to Caregiver(s) of Placement Changes (Pre-disposition)

DCFS 489-8, Change in Circumstances Regarding Pending Placement Change

DCFS 4161, Grievance Review Hearing Request Form

DCFS 4161 (SP) Grievance Review Hearing Request Form (Spanish)

DCFS 4161-C, Grievance Review: Representative Statement of Confidentiality

DCFS 4161-I, CDSS Grievance Procedure Regulations

DCFS 4161-N, Grievance Review: Notice of Hearing

DCFS 4161-R, Grievance Review: Representative Agreement

Referenced Policy Guides

0100-520.10, Evaluating a Prospective Caregiver

0300-503.25, Removing a Child from the Home of a Prospective Adoptive Parent(s)

0070-548.01, Child and Family Teams

Statutes

WIC 16010.7- Requires Placement Preservation Strategy prior to removal in post-disposition cases, requires 14-day advanced written notice to specific parties prior to removal, with some exceptions, and prohibits replacement of children between the hours of 9pm and 7am, with limited exception.

California Department of Social Services (CDSS) California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 22, Division 6, Chapter 9.5, Section 89400(a) – States that approval/licensure is not an entitlement to placement.

 

California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) Division 31-020.1 – Requires the county to develop grievance procedures to review complaints from foster parents, legal parents, guardians, and children concerning the placement or removal of a child from a foster home.  All issues are to be resolved in the best interest of the child.

 

CDSS MPP Division 31-020.2 – Lists the circumstances under which a Grievance Review shall not be granted.

 

CDSS MPP Division 31-020.3 – Requires and describes the county’s responsibility to explain the right to a review, to provide a copy of the grievance procedure regulations and to provide assistance in the preparation of the Complaint if assistance is requested or necessary.  Requires and describes the Complainants responsibility to file the required documents, within specified time frames.

 

CDSS MPP Division 31-020.4 – Specifies time frames for the review and notification thereof.

 

CDSS MPP Division 31-020.5 – Specifies how the review shall be conducted and who the review agent shall be.

 

CDSS MPP Division 31-020.6 – Specifies requirements for rendering and dispersing copies of the decision.

 

CDSS MPP Division 31-020.7 – Requires that unless the child is in immediate danger, (s)he shall remain with the caregiver, pending the decision of the county director, when removal of the child from the home is the basis for the complaint.

 

CDSS MPP Division 31-020.8 – Specifies requirements for contents and retention of review records.

 

CDSS MPP Division 31-440.1 – Sets forth the specific requirements and time frames within which the county must provide removal notification to foster parents.  Authorizes the waiver of notice requirements under specific circumstances.

 

CDSS MPP Division 31-440.2 – Lists the conditions under which the county is not required to provide the notice specified in 31-440.1.

 

CDSS MPP Division 31-440.3 – Sets forth the specific requirements for the social worker to provide removal notification to foster parents who are providing permanent placement services when the court terminates permanent placement services.

 

CDSS MPP Division 31-440.4 – Sets forth county responsibility to notify relative(s) or nonrelative extended family member(s) when their home does not meet approval standards and advise them that they have access to the grievance procedures and of the time frame for submitting the grievance review request.

 

Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 16507.5(b) – States that approval/licensure does not entitle the caregiver to the placement of a specific child or children.  Placement is based on the child’s needs and best interests.

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