Chapter 3 : Section 10

Aftercare Planning and Services

Policy

Prior to closing an investigation or ongoing services case, the Department shall engage with the family to determine if there are any protective factors or protective capacities that can be enhanced in order to strengthen the family and reduce the risk of future child abuse or neglect.

The Department will assist the family to develop an aftercare plan to strengthen family functioning and reduce risk of abuse or neglect.

The Department will provide the family with information about accessing resources to implement the aftercare plan.

The Department will provide a written copy of the aftercare plan to the family.

Procedures

Prior to closing an investigation or ongoing services case, meet with the child’s parents or guardians, and children age six and older, to develop an aftercare plan. Consider including people who provide positive support to the child and family, such as relatives, kin, other community supports, and service providers. Aftercare planning can occur during individual conversations and/or in team meetings, such as case plan staffings, Team Decision Making meetings, or Child and Family Team meetings.

To develop the aftercare plan, engage with the family to complete the following:

  • Based on information gathered during the Family Functioning Assessment and/or through conversations with the family, identify areas in which the family may need support. Consider current needs and anticipated future needs, which, if unaddressed, could lead to future child abuse or neglect.

  • Encourage the family to identify worries they have about the future.

  • Discuss each of the factors from the Protective Factors Framework:

    • parental resilience;

    • social connections;

    • concrete supports in times of need;

    • knowledge of parenting and child development; and

    • social and emotional competence of children.

  • Identify any protective factors or protective capacities that can be enhanced to strengthen the family and reduce the risk of future abuse or neglect, and the specific parent/guardian, child, or family behaviors or characteristics to be enhanced.

  • Create a plan to enhance the specific behaviors or characteristics. The plan will include a description of each identified need, and the steps the parent/guardian can take to address the need. If applicable, the plan will identify the specific service provider(s), including contact information and the date, time, and location of any upcoming appointments.

  • With the family, identify existing strengths and resources that can be used or developed to strengthen the family’s protective factors and/or the parent/guardian’s protective capacities.

  • Identify services that are being provided to the family now, and consider whether they will or should continue after DCS case closure. If needed, help the family to transition to another funding source or provider so that the services can continue.

When appropriate or necessary, help the family access services by explaining eligibility requirements, filling out forms, or introducing them to an individual who can help them negotiate getting access to the services they need (such as an intake worker at the service agency).

On the Aftercare Plan, CSO-1349A, document the specific behaviors or characteristics to be enhanced, the resources or services to address each behavior or characteristic, and contact information for service agencies or individuals. Provide the family with a written copy of the Aftercare Plan. Whenever possible, the written plan should be reviewed with the family to answer their questions, promote understanding, and encourage follow-through with the plan.

Additionally, complete the following according to the type of record being closed:

  • Investigation – If the Assessment is being closed without provision of ongoing services, provide a community resource list to the family, including the parent help line. As appropriate to the family’s circumstances, also provide information on safe sleep for babies and crisis services. Efforts should be made to close the investigation within 60 days of receipt of the report.

  • In-home services case (services only or court-involved) – Communicate with any service providers currently working with the family to determine if they have or will be completing a Protective Factors survey. Base the aftercare plan on the results of their assessment.

  • Reunification – At least thirty days before case closure, discuss aftercare planning and services. Provide the parents with information, documents, and resources to meet the child(ren)’s identified needs in these areas: physical health, mental and behavioral health (including substance abuse, if applicable), social and emotional development, and education.

  • Young Adult – Involve the youth throughout the aftercare planning process. Provide information to the young adult regarding health insurance, support for continuing education, Transitional Independent Living Program (TILP ) services, the re-entry process into DCS supervised services after exiting care at age 18 years or older, and other concrete and social sources of support such as mentor programs, work force supports, or employment services. As needed, review and revise the transition plan. If not previously provided, give the young adult a certified copy of their birth certificate, Social Security card, state identification card (unless ineligible to receive), and a copy of the youth’s education and health record. See Service and Supports to Prepare Youth for Adulthood for additional information.

Documentation

Document in Notes all meetings to engage with the family to develop the aftercare plan, including the names and roles of people involved; needs identified by the family; existing strengths, resources, and services; and the identified protective capacities and/or protective factors the can be enhanced to reduce risk of future abuse or neglect.

Document in the Notes tab:

  • the information provided to the family about accessing resources to implement the aftercare plan;

  • when appropriate the family’s circumstances, information provided to the family on safe sleep for babies and crisis services;

  • information, documents, and resources provided to parents to meet the children’s identified physical health, behavioral health, developmental, and educational needs; and

  • information provided to a young adult about available services, and any documents or records provided to the young adult, such as birth certificate, social security card, state identification card, and education and health records.

On the Aftercare Plan, document the specific behaviors or characteristics to be enhanced, the resources or services to address each behavior or characteristic, and contact information for service agencies or individuals.

If the case is ready to close following documentation of the aftercare plan, ensure that the case record is complete and document case closure in the Closure tab.

Supervisors

Confirm that the DCS Specialist has discussed aftercare planning with the family if the case is nearing closure. Confirm that the aftercare plan adequately addresses the family’s needs as identified in the Family Functioning Assessment, and discussion with the family and team members. Prior to approving a case closure, ensure the aftercare planning discussion and the Aftercare Plan have been documented in the electronic record.

Effective Date: February 1, 2021
Revision History: November 30, 2012, June 12, 2017, February 6, 2018