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«California Department of Social Services 2015-2019 Child and Family Services Plan 744 P. St * MS 8-12-91 * Sacramento CA 95814 Contents INTRODUCTION ...»

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California Department of Social Services

2015-2019 Child and Family Services Plan

744 P. St * MS 8-12-91 * Sacramento CA 95814





Outcome Measures

Systemic Factors

Information System

Case Review

Quality Assurance

Staff Training

Service Array

Agency Responsiveness to the Community

Foster and Adoptive Parent Licensing, Recruitment, and Retention


Prevention Strategies

Continuum of Care Reform

Child Welfare Core Practice Model

California Partners for Permanency

Mental Health Coordination

California Wraparound

Tribal Consultation Policy (TCP)


Resource Family Approval (RFA)


Child and Family Services Plan Development

Plan for Ongoing Coordination and Collaboration

Responsibility for CWS and Protections of Indian Children:

Sources of Data and Goals for ICWA Compliance in the Next Five Years

Notification of Indian Parents and Tribes of State Proceedings

Placement Preferences

Active Efforts to Prevent the Breakup of the Indian Family

Division 31 Regulations Changes:

Communication and Training:

CFSP/APSR Exchange of Information

Coordination with Title IV-B Tribes:

Chafee Foster Care Independence and ETV Programs


California Child and Family Services Plan 2015-2019 Page 2









California Child and Family Services Plan 2015-2019 Page 3


As the most populous state in the country with nearly 9.5 million children, one of the most linguistically diverse regions in the world with the largest minority population in the country, including 109 federally recognized Indian tribes and an estimated 79 tribes that are seeking federal recognition, California undoubtedly has a complicated child welfare system. California’s state-supervised child welfare system is administered at the local level by 58 counties, each governed by a county Board of Supervisors. The range of diversity among the counties is immense and there are many challenges inherent in the complexity of this system. However, its major strength is the flexibility afforded to each county in determining how to best meet the needs of its own children and families. The counties, which differ widely by population and economic base, are a wide mixture of urban, rural and suburban settings, thus driving the need to make their own decisions on how to coordinate local service delivery to children and families.

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS), through its Children and Family Services Division (CFSD), is authorized by statute to promulgate regulations, policies, and procedures necessary to implement the state’s child welfare system and to ensure safety, permanency, and well-being for California’s children. The CDSS is responsible for the supervision and coordination of programs in California funded under federal Titles IV-B, IV-E, and XX of the Social Security Act. Furthermore, CDSS is responsible for developing the state’s Child and Family Services Plan (CFSP). These efforts are achieved within a framework of collaboration with child welfare stakeholders. Due to its complexity and this high degree of collaboration, California’s child welfare system is ever-changing as it seeks to improve its ability to meet the needs of the state’s children and families.

The CFSD has oversight of the state’s child welfare services (CWS) system and plays a vital role in the development of policies and programs that implement the goals of CDSS’ mission. In developing policies and programs, CFSD collaborates with other state and local agencies, tribal representatives, foster/kinship caregivers, foster youth, foster care service providers, community-based organizations, the Judicial Council, researchers, child advocates, the Legislature, and private foundations to maximize families’ opportunities for success.

Oversight of California’s CWS system is provided by the various branches of the CDSS/CFSD:

 The Child Protection and Family Support Branch (CPFSB) has primary responsibility for the emergency response, pre-placement and in-home services policy components, including child abuse prevention and the Title IV-E Child Welfare Waiver Demonstration projects, as well as statewide training and staff development activities of public child welfare service workers. In addition, a wide range of community-based services, including child abuse prevention, and intervention and treatment services that are designed to increase family strengths and capacity to provide children with a stable and supportive family environment, are funded under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), Community Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP), Child Abuse Prevention, Intervention and Treatment (CAPIT) and the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) Act, which are administered in the branch.

 The Children’s Services Operations and Evaluation Branch (CSOEB) is responsible for maintaining the integrity of child and family services provided by the 58 California counties. This branch has primary responsibility for the implementation of the CWS System Improvements; the California – Children and Family Services Review (C-CFSR); adoption assistance and independent adoptions California Child and Family Services Plan 2015-2019 Page 4 program policy; coordinating child welfare and probation disaster plans; ensuring interstate placements are in compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA); the review of child fatality/near fatality statements of findings and information submitted by counties; operating State Adoption’s Regional and Field Offices; providing post-adoption services; and reviewing, maintaining, managing, and ensuring the confidentiality of all California adoption records.

 The Child and Youth Permanency Branch (CYPB) supervises the delivery of services to children removed from their homes and placed into foster, kinship, adoptive, or guardian families and the delivery of services to non-minor dependents participating in the extended Foster Care Program.

The Branch responsibilities include program management through regulation development and policy directives related to family reunification; out-of-home care and permanency for dependent children and non-minor dependents; Independent Living Program; and foster parent training and recruitment.

 The Case Management System (CMS) Support Branch is responsible for providing support and oversight of the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System (CWS/CMS). The CWS/CMS is a Personal Computer (PC)-based Windows application that supports the case management business needs of California’s child welfare social workers. As the CDSS’ primary point of contact for CWS/CMS, this Branch is responsible for facilitating the development of CWS programmatic changes and improvements to the system, pursuant to state and federal policy and regulation.

The Branch also works closely with the counties to assure programmatic consistency and clarity, and to respond to collective county questions regarding system issues as they relate to state policy. The Branch works closely with various entities including counties, the County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA), the Office of Systems Integration (OSI), and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in order to ensure the creation of an efficient and effective user friendly system that meets all the needs and requirements for end users as well as state, federal, and county stakeholders.

 The Foster Care Audits and Rates Branch (FCARB) is responsible for ensuring that children placed into foster care in group homes and by foster family agencies are receiving the services for which providers are being paid; that provider payment levels are established appropriately; that overpayments are minimized; and that federal, state, and county payment and funding systems are appropriately administered. In addition, this branch provides policy direction with regards to foster care eligibility, administration of the Title IV-E Plan, and conducts a variety of audits for the purpose of determining whether foster care funds are being used appropriately.

California Child and Family Services Plan 2015-2019 Page 5  The Office of the Foster Care Ombudsman (FCO) provides foster children and youth or concerned adults with a forum for voicing concerns regarding the Foster Care system’s services, treatment, and placement. This office provides a central statewide clearinghouse and technical assistance for county child welfare Ombudsman offices, coordinates with them to address concerns related to foster youth in their county, and provides direct outreach to foster youth who may be experiencing problems with their care providers or county workers.

California Child and Family Services Plan 2015-2019 Page 6 California Child and Family Services Plan 2015-2019 Page 7 California Child and Family Services Plan 2015-2019 Page 8 VISION The vision of California’s CWS system is every child in California will live in a safe, stable, permanent home, nurtured by healthy families and strong communities. As such, CDSS and its county partners strive to ensure that services and supports are tailored to meet the needs of the individual child and family in all settings.

Key Goals include:

1. Engaging children, youth, families and young adults by teaming with them in assessing their strengths and needs and in-service planning and delivery.

2. Assessing each child and family to identify strengths and needs, including:

o Which mental and behavioral health treatments would be most appropriate.

o What community based services and supports would be most beneficial.

o What living situation would best promote a permanency outcome.

3. Providing culturally-sensitive care and services in all settings.

4. Developing a trauma-informed system.

5. Providing a continuum of safe placement resources that support children’s well-being and needs for timely permanency.

6. Using a multi-agency collaborative approach to provide services and supports where there is full collaboration and shared accountability across all service providers.

7. Achieving positive outcomes for safety, permanency, and well-being for all children in the state through data drives that support continuous quality improvement (CQI).


To achieve its mission, CDSS collaborates with the state’s 58 county child welfare agencies and juvenile probation departments, the CWDA, the Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC), federal, state and local government, the Legislature, the Judicial Branch, tribal representatives including the tribes with which the state has a Title IV-E agreement (Karuk and Yurok), philanthropic organizations and other stakeholders. The end goal is to provide supervision, fiscal and regulatory guidance, and training and development of policies, procedures and programs in accordance with prescribed federal and state statutes governing child welfare.

Collaboration is the invaluable foundation to California’s continuous progress to create positive outcomes for vulnerable children, youth, and families entrusted to our care. The CDSS’ level of commitment to multi-level partnerships distinguishes California’s approach to child welfare practice and reform. The CWDA and the counties are the state’s primary partners with whom consistent collaboration occurs to discuss ever-evolving policies and processes governing CWS services throughout the continuum of care.

Significant to the development of policies and programs to ensure the safety, permanency, and wellbeing of every child involved in CWS, is system-wide collaboration and stakeholder involvement with additional state and local agencies, community-based and philanthropic organizations, the courts, community service providers, tribal representatives, interagency teams, workgroups, commissions, and other advocacy groups. For example, stakeholders and partners were involved in the implementation of the Fostering Connections After 18 (After 18) Program that implemented the provision of the federal Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, which gives states the option to extend foster care beyond the age of 18; California Partners for Permanence (CAPP) to reduce long-term foster care; the Continuum of Care Reform efforts (CCR); the development of the CFSP, and the Annual Progress and Services Report (APSR). For the CFSP, counties, tribal nations, and stakeholders were California Child and Family Services Plan 2015-2019 Page 9 provided with draft copies of the report for review and comment. Several of these collaborations for creating the CFSP are detailed below. Further details regarding California’s collaboration with Native American tribes and tribal representatives are discussed in detail in the section, Collaboration between State and Tribes.

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