Writing the Jurisdiction/Disposition Report

0300-503.10 | Revision Date: 07/01/22


This policy guide instructs DCFS staff on how to complete the Jurisdiction/Disposition report.



Jurisdiction/Disposition Report

WIC 301 Hearings

Addressing Family Time in Jurisdiction/Disposition Reports


Preparing the Jurisdiction/Disposition Report

DI Responsibilities

DI SCSW Responsibilities

ARA Responsibilities


Helpful Links



Referenced Policy Guides


Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 01/13/17 version to reflect the implementation of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment, instructions on addressing Family Time, instructions regarding ICWA inquiries, as well as the option to utilize e-signatures.


Jurisdiction/Disposition Report

The Jurisdiction/Disposition report is a social study that contains evidence to either support or disprove an initial allegation of abuse or neglect contained in the WIC Section 300 petition. After the Detention Hearing (arraignment), DCFS must conduct a thorough investigation by presenting all available evidence to either support or disprove these allegations to the court. The investigation and the Jurisdictional/Dispositional report will help inform the court of all evidence to ensure that proper disposition is made regarding the child.


The Jurisdiction/Disposition report must contain all evidence that is admissible, evidence that is both favorable to the Department and exculpatory to the parent. To recommend sustaining of a count, evidence must be competent enough for the court to find, by a preponderance of evidence, or that it is more likely than not, that the evidence contained in the report supports the sustaining of a count pled under WIC 300.


The report must be based upon an independent investigation by the social worker (a disinterested party), who will contribute reliability and trustworthiness to the report.


The Dependency Investigator (DI) is responsible for preparing the Jurisdictional/Dispositional reports in the following circumstances:





Further, DIs are to prepare:


WIC 301 Hearings

The DI who prepared the Jurisdictional/Dispositional report is responsible for creating a Case Plan Update for a hearing where a WIC 301 agreement is entered into, regardless of whether or not DCFS made the recommendation. This Case Plan Update will document the terms and conditions of the WIC 301 agreement.


Addressing Family Time in Jurisdiction/Disposition Hearing Reports

When writing the Jurisdiction/Disposition hearing report, include the following information:



Preparing the Jurisdictional/Dispositional Report

The report must be completed within five (5) judicial days prior to the Jurisdictional/Dispositional Hearing - OR by the date of the Receipt of Report, if the court has set one.

DI Responsibilities

  1. Review the online case record.
  1. Ensure that all identifying information (e.g. names, addresses, and phone numbers) is recorded and current.
  1. Update the case record, if necessary.


  1. Use and record information from the Family Background #1, Family Background #2, and Family Background #3, as applicable, in the Jurisdictional/Dispositional Report.


  1. Review the SDM Safety Assessment, Risk Assessment, and the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment.
  1. Incorporate the information gathered from these documents into the Jurisdictional/Dispositional report.
  1. Use the SDM Online Help System for completing the tools and definition of terms.
  1. Do not reference the tools or attach any SDM or CANS tools when submitting documents to court, unless ordered by the court.


  1. Conduct individual face-to-face interviews with all the verbal children named on the WIC 300 petition and all parent(s) whose whereabouts are known.


  1. Document all contacts in the Contact Notebook.


  1. Create hearing notices for the parties who are entitled to notice.


  1. Initiate due diligence searches, if necessary.


  1. Generate the Jurisdiction/Disposition report in CWS/CMS.
  1. Select whether:
  1. Select options, as applicable from the following, needed sections:
  1. Complete all appropriate fields in the Jurisdiction/Disposition report that are not populated by the database.
  1. Refer to the Jurisdiction/Disposition Report Template for detailed information.
  1. Document any nonverbal communication during interviews; including demeanor. When documenting nonverbal communication and/or demeanor, be certain to describe with the facts what the person did that led to the conclusion regarding their demeanor or nonverbal cues. DO NOT simply state the conclusion without including the facts that led to the conclusion.
  1. If an ARA signature is necessary, create an additional signature line for the ARA.
  1. Include in the body of the report and attach all documentary evidence that is part of the assessment and investigation of the petition.


  1. Complete the Jurisdiction/Disposition report no later than five (5) judicial days prior to the Jurisdictional/Dispositional hearing – OR by the Receipt of Report date, if set by the court, whichever is earlier..
  1. Deliver the report to court at least two (2) judicial days prior to the hearing or by the date set by the court for receipt of report, whichever is earlier.


  1. Request online approval for the report and the initial Case Plan
  1. Once obtained, print the approval.
  1. Sign/e-sign and date the report.


  1. Submit the report and all supporting documents to the SCSW for approval.
  1. If the report is not approved, take necessary corrective action.
  2. When the report is approved, route the report and all attachments to DCFS support staff for final preparation and delivery to court.

DI SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the Contact Notebook online.


  1. Review the Jurisdiction/Disposition packet.
  1. If not approved, request corrective action and return the packet to the CSW.
  2. If approved and if ARA approval is required, sign/e-sign and date the Jurisdiction/Disposition report and send the packet to the ARA without approving it online.
  1. If approved by the ARA, approve the report online and return the packet to the CSW.
  1. If the ARA does not approve the report, take necessary corrective action, or, if necessary, return the packet to the CSW for corrective action.
  1. If approved and if ARA approval is not required
  1. Sign/e-sign and date the hearing report.
  1. Approve the report online and return the packet to the CSW.

ARA Responsibilities

  1. Review the Jurisdiction/Disposition report and any supporting documents, including all SDM tools used.
  1. If approved, sign/e-sign and date the report and return to the SCSW for online approval.
  2. If not approved, return the packet to the SCSW for corrective action.

Back to Procedure


SCSW Approval

ARA Approval



Guidelines for Providing Best Practice Efforts

Situations Requiring ARA Approval for the Jurisdiction/Disposition Hearing Report

ITA 21-03, Adobe e-Sign for Court Report



LA Kids

Family Background #1

Family Background #2, DI

Family Background #3, Medical and Social History Information about the Birth Mother/Father (in Spanish)

Referenced Policy Guides

0300-306.05, Noticing Process for Juvenile Court Proceedings

0300-306.75, Due Diligence

0400-504.00, Family Time

1000-501.30, Dependency Investigation (DI) Assignment Criteria

1200-500.05, Adopting and Serving Children Under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)


Welfare and Institution Code Section 301 – States, in part, that in any case in which a social worker, after investigation of an application for petition or other investigation he or she is authorized to make, determines that a child is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court or will probably soon be within that jurisdiction, the social worker may, in lieu of filing a petition or subsequent to dismissal of a petition already filed, and with consent of the child's parent or guardian, undertake a program of supervision of the child.


WIC Section 349(d) – States in part that if the minor is ten (10) years of age or older and he/she is not present at the hearing, the court shall determine whether the minor was properly notified of his or her right to attend the hearing and inquire whether the minor was given an opportunity to attend.


WIC Section 355 – States the following:

  1. At the jurisdictional hearing, the court shall first consider only the question whether the minor is a person described by Section 300. Any legally admissible evidence that is relevant to the circumstances or acts that are alleged to bring the minor within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court is admissible and may be received in evidence. Proof by a preponderance of evidence must be adduced to support a finding that the minor is a person described by Section 300.


  1. A "social study" (any written report furnished to the juvenile court and to all parties or their counsel by the county probation or welfare department in any matter involving the custody, status, or welfare of a minor in a dependency proceeding) prepared by the petitioning agency, and hearsay evidence contained in it, is admissible and constitutes competent evidence upon which a finding of jurisdiction pursuant to Section 300 may be based.


WIC Section 358 – States, in part, that the court shall hear evidence on the question of the proper disposition to be made of the child after finding that a child is a person described in Section 300.


WIC Section 358.1 – Sets forth detailed requirements on the issue of sibling relationship which must be addressed in the social worker's social study or evaluation and must be received in evidence and considered before the court can render a disposition decision, and it must be updated and reviewed at subsequent review hearings.



WIC Section 361.49 – States that regardless of his or her age, a child shall be deemed to have entered foster care on the earlier of the date of the jurisdictional hearing held pursuant to Section 356 or the date that is 60 days after the date on which the child was initially removed from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian.


WIC Section 366.21 (e) and (366.21(f),.22 and .25) – Contain provisions that the court may consider information regarding the criminal history of the parent/legal guardian subsequent to the child's removal only to the extent that the criminal record is substantially related to the welfare of the child or the parent/legal guardian's ability to exercise custody/control over the child.


WIC Section 366.23 – States, in part, that if a non-custodial parent is seeking placement or custody of a child, the social worker shall inform the caretaker that he/she has the right to provide the court with input regarding the placement of the child.


WIC Section 366.24(b) – States that whenever an assessment is ordered pursuant to Section 361.5, 366.21, 366.22, 366.25, or 366.26 for Indian children, the assessment shall address the option of tribal customary adoption.


WIC Section 16500.1(b)(1) – States, in pertinent part, that the strengths of families and communities to serve the needs of children who are alleged to be abused or neglected, as described in WIC Section 300, will be used to encourage approaches to child protection, such as allowing children to remain in their own schools and/or in close proximity to their families.


WIC Section 16501.1 – States, in part, that the foundation and central unifying tool in the child welfare services is the Case Plan.

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