Case Review

The impact of services and activities designed to address the causal and/or contributing factors identified in the Family Assessment, and agreed upon by the caseworker and the family, must be reviewed to determine if services are having the anticipated impact on identified concerns. The Case Review is a re-examination of safety, strengths, needs, risk and a discussion of the impact service provision has on the family system.

The Case Review tool (JFS 01413) allows PCSAs to establish internal policies regarding the parties with whom the Case Review shall be conducted. The Case Review tool, or sections within it, may be reviewed with the family based upon agency practice and/or case situations.

The Case Review is completed no later than every three (3) months based upon whichever of the following activities occur first:

  • Original Court Complaint Date
  • Date of Placement
  • Date of Court Ordered Protective Supervision
  • Date of Agency Worker Signature on Case Plan (for no court orders only)

At six (6) month intervals, a Case Review is completed in conjunction with the Semiannual Administrative Review (SAR). The dates that trigger the initial SAR and Case Review are the same. The Case Review must be done at the time of the SAR regardless of when the last Case Review was completed. If a Case Review is not completed within the three (3) months timeframe, the expectation is the Case Review would be completed prior to the SAR and another Case Review would be completed in conjunction with the SAR. The timeframe for completion of the next Case Review would be three (3) months (90 days) from the date of the SAR. The agency may review cases utilizing the Case Review tool more frequently if agency practice or case circumstances warrant it.

If the legal status of the case changes during the review period, the Case Review timeline does not change. For example, if a Protective Supervision case becomes a Substitute Care case, the timeline for completion of the Case Review would not change to three (3) months (90 days) from the date of placement.

The Case Review is completed at the time of case closure unless the case is closed within 30 days post completion of the Case Review (either at the three (3) month interval or SAR) and the intention to close the case is recorded.

Safety Re-Assessment

The Safety Re-Assessment is a structured review to support and document decisions to maintain, create, modify, or discontinue a safety response. The Safety Review section includes a review of safety threats, changes in protective capacities and child vulnerability, and progress toward resolving safety threats.

Based on the information contained in the Safety Review, the PCSA makes the decision as to whether a new safety response is needed and should be created, or whether the existing safety response should be maintained, modified, discontinued, or was previously discontinued.

The Safety Re-Assessment may also be completed in lieu of the safety assessment, if through the ongoing assessment of safety, the safety response from the previous assessment of safety must be changed. An example is if the child was previously considered safe and now, an in-home or out-of-home safety plan is necessary or the child needs to be placed in a legally authorized out-of-home placement. This section must be approved by an agency supervisor and contained in the case record. The completion of this section for the purpose of documenting a change in the safety response does not negate the requirement to complete this section at the time of the Case Review, regardless of when it was completed.

Based on the information contained in the Safety Re-Assessment, the caseworker should specify whether the safety response identified in the last assessment of safety (e.g., Safety Assessment or Safety Re-Assessment) should be maintained, created, modified, discontinued, or was previously discontinued.

If different safety responses were identified per child, the selection will be based upon the most restrictive safety response. For example, if one child has an in-home safety plan and the other child is in a legally authorized out-of-home placement (due to safety reasons) and the in-home safety plan is being discontinued but the other child is remaining in placement, select Maintain and discuss the reasons for the in-home safety plan being discontinued in the narrative.

"Maintain" is, based on this safety review, indicating the safety response(s) has/have not changed since the last assessment of safety.

"Create" is, based on this safety review, indicating there have been changes identified in protective capacities or child vulnerability that place the child(ren) in immediate danger of serious harm and a safety plan (including a legally authorized out-of-home placement) must be created.

"Modify" is, based on this safety review, indicating an existing safety response must be modified. Changes have been made in safety threats, protective capacities, and/or child vulnerability and an existing safety plan (including a legally authorized out-of-home placement) must be modified.

"Discontinue" is, based on this safety review, indicating all threats resulting in the safety response have been controlled and/or resolved or there has been adequate change in protective capacities or child vulnerability to protect the child(ren) from serious harm. The safety response is no longer needed.

"Previously Discontinued" is, based on this safety review, indicating a safety threat is not currently active but has been active at any time since the last assessment of safety and the safety response was discontinued.

Family Perception

The caseworker describes how the family views their ability and willingness to protect their children including a description of how the family views their strengths as well as their problem areas.

Other individuals' perceptions may also be included. Other individuals involved in the case may include relatives providing care to the child(ren) and/or support to the family. These individuals' perceptions provide a unique perspective of how they view the family's strengths and problems.

It is important to note that this section deals only with the family's perception and others involved in the case. It does not include the caseworker's perception. The worker should not include any opinions to information they may have regarding the legitimacy of the family's perception.

Case Progress Review

Services Review

This section discusses the impact services are having on addressing safety threats, risk, permanency, and child well-being. It also includes an evaluation of the progress the services are having on addressing case plan concerns as well as recommendations as to whether services should be continued, modified, or discontinued. Additionally, barriers to services are identified.

Family members listed on the case plan, including a child (if age appropriate) and substitute caregivers are encouraged to participate in the review of case plan services and provide input into how these services are impacting safety, risk, permanency, and child well-being issues.

Strengths and Needs Assessment Update

This section describes the most significant information obtained since the last assessment or case review. It includes new information regarding the strengths and needs elements, underlying conditions, protective capacities, and child vulnerability. Any new life events and key case activities are described. Also, if the child(ren) is placed out of the home, a description of the quality of visitation, including family interaction and the family's ability to meet the child's need for safety is completed.

Risk Reassessment Scale of Abuse/Neglect(51)

The risk reassessment is designed to primarily inform whether the risk of future maltreatment has been reduced, increased, or remained the same following the provision of services or changing circumstances within the family. Risk reassessment also assists in making decisions regarding child permanency planning and service provision.

A risk reassessment is completed on all cases in which an initial risk assessment has been completed. A risk reassessment will not be completed on non-child abuse and/or neglect cases (e.g., Dependency, Unruly/Delinquent).

While the initial risk assessment has separate scales for abuse and neglect, there is only one scale for risk reassessment. The focus at reassessment is the impact of services provided to the family during the period assessed and/or on whether certain events in the family have occurred since the last assessment. The first four (4) items are those strongly related to the probability of subsequent abuse and/or neglect and generally do not change from the initial assessment. The next four (4) items are also strongly related to the probability of subsequent abuse/neglect, but they relate to events that did or did not occur since the last assessment. The final two (2) assessment items specifically relate to the caregiver's progress in relation to the case plan, including participation in services and the extent to which those services have had an impact on problematic behaviors/conditions.

Risk Reassessment Scale of Abuse/Neglect

R1.Number of Prior Reports

Count all reports that were investigated whether substantiated or not. Include investigations for any type of abuse and/or neglect prior to the investigation that led to the current case opening. Do not include the current abuse and/or neglect report if the risk reassessment is being completed due to a subsequent report.

R2.Number of Children in the Home

The number of individuals under 18 years of age residing in the home at the time of the most recent investigation. If a child had been removed as a result of the investigation or was on runaway status, count the child as residing in the home.

R3.Number of Adults in the Home

Number of individuals 18 years of age or over residing in the home at time of the most recent referral. (Exclude here any person 18-21 who is developmentally delayed and was counted as a "child" in the prior question.)

R4.Current Age of Primary Caregiver

The current age of the primary caregiver (as of the reassessment date).

R5.Either Caregiver Currently has Major Parenting Skills Problems

  1. No- none of the following conditions exist.
  2. Yes- score this item as a "yes" if any of the following circumstances exist:
    1. Either caregiver currently uses excessive and/or inappropriate disciplinary practices to punish children in the home. Examples include discipline that routinely involves use of an instrument (belt, board, etc.) that results in marks, bruises, contusions, etc.; restraining child with rope, duct tape, or other mechanical means; denial of food or other necessities as punishment; or use of disciplinary practices that are inappropriate given the child's age or development.
    2. Either caregiver over-controls child(ren) evidenced by unreasonable and/or excessive rules, being overly demanding or overbearing; overreaction and/or berating/demeaning responses to relatively minor infractions. Over-controlling parents may be referred to as tyrannical; they use cruel and unjust power and authority. Parents who are simply strict and firm in their disciplinary practices should not be considered over-controlling.
    3. Either caregiver is unable or unwilling to care for/supervise children, or has minimal knowledge of child development and age-appropriate expectations for children, or repeatedly uses disciplinary methods not appropriate to child's age; or fails to keep guns/weapons locked and inaccessible.

If major parenting skills problems previously identified as a risk factor, and the child(ren) have been out of the home since the last assessment, and all visitation has been supervised, and treatment providers report no change in behavior associated with the poor parenting skills, consider the problem to be currently present.

R6.Either Caregiver is Currently Involved in Harmful Relationships

  1. No, none of the following circumstances currently exist.
  2. Yes, some or major problems, and/or domestic violence- score this item as a "yes" if:
    1. Adult relationships outside the home (e.g., friends involved in drug lifestyle or criminal activities) are harmful to domestic functioning or child care
    2. Harmful adult relationships inside the home are characterized by a currently moderate level of marital or domestic discord that interferes with family functioning. This may include lack of cooperation or communication between partners, open disagreements on how to handle child problems/discipline; or frequent and/or multiple live-in partners.

Also score this item as "yes" if there are major problems with adult relationships in the home or any domestic violence. This includes a relationship currently characterized by domestic conflicts, which may involve physical violence, that require intervention by police, family or others. Either caregiver is currently involved in domestic violence defined as adult mistreatment of one another, evidenced by hitting, slapping, yelling, berating, verbal/physical abuse, physical fighting (with or without injury; with or without weapon), continuing threats, intimidation, ultimatum, frequent separation/reconciliation, involvement of law enforcement and/or domestic violence programs, restraining orders or criminal complaints. Chronic or serious arguments and disagreements between caregivers and/or other adults in the household are occurring. Little communication, support or attachment between caregivers exists. There are few positive interactions.

R7.Either Caregiver has a Current Substance Abuse Problem

Caregiver(s) has a current problem of alcohol/drug abuse, evidenced by substance use causing:

  • a new child abuse and/or neglect report;
  • conflict at home;
  • problems providing appropriate care for children;
  • extreme behaviors/attitudes;
  • financial difficulties;
  • frequent illness;
  • job absenteeism, job changes, or unemployment;
  • driving under the influence, traffic violations, or criminal arrests;
  • disappearance of usual household items (especially those easily sold); or
  • life organized around substance use.
  1. No- No problems with substances or has successfully completed treatment (may currently be in aftercare) and shows no evidence of current problem.
  2. Yes- either or both caregivers abuse alcohol and/or other drugs, as defined above. This includes persons currently in substance abuse treatment programs and those in aftercare who show evidence of relapse.
  3. Yes, and refuses treatment- Caregiver(s) has a current alcohol/drug abuse problem; treatment has been offered or recommended for the caregiver(s) and has been refused by the caregiver(s).

R8.New Reports of Abuse/Neglect Since Last Assessment

Rate this item based on whether reports, alleging abuse or neglect, have been received since the last risk assessment.

  1. No, referral was screened out or report was unsubstantiated.
  2. No reports have been received since the last risk assessment, or a referral was screened out or a report was unsubstantiated.
  3. Yes, a new report was received since the last risk assessment and it was substantiated or indicated.

R9.Primary Caregiver's Progress Toward Case Plan Goals

Rate this item based on the primary caregiver's participation in the case plan and whether he/she is mastering skills learned from participation in program(s).

  1. Successfully completed all programs recommended or actively participating in programs; pursuing objectives detailed in case plan; observations/reports show caregiver's application of learned skills in interactions between child(ren) and caregiver, caregiver to caregiver, and caregiver to significant adult(s) or self-care, home maintenance, financial management, or mastery of skills toward reaching the behavioral objectives agreed upon in the case plan.
  2. Moderate participation in pursuing objectives in case plan- The caregiver is participating in services, has made progress, but is not fully complying with the objectives in the case plan. Or, caregiver willing to participate in services, but the services are not available.
  3. Minimal participation or refuses involvement or failed to comply/participate as required- The caregiver refuses services, sporadically follows the case plan or is not demonstrating the necessary skills due to a failure or inability to participate.

R10.Secondary Caregiver's Progress Toward Case Plan Goals

Rate this item based on the secondary caregiver's participation in the case plan and whether he/she is mastering the skills learned from participation in program(s).

  1. Not applicable, only one caregiver in the home. There is no secondary caregiver in the home. Check line next to a..
  2. Successfully completed all programs recommended or actively participating in programs; pursuing objectives detailed in case plans; observation/reports show caregiver's application of learned skills in interaction(s) between child(ren)/caregiver, caregiver to caregiver, and caregiver to other significant adult(s); or self-care, home maintenance, financial maintenance, or mastery of skills toward reaching the behavioral objectives agreed upon in the case plan. Check line next to b..
  3. Moderate participation in pursuing objectives in the case plan- The caregiver is participating in services, has made progress but is not fully complying with the objectives in the case plan. Or, the caregiver is willing to participate in services, but the services are not available.
  4. Minimal participation or refuses involvement in programs or failed to comply/participate as required. The caregiver refuses services, sporadically follows the case plan or is not demonstrating the necessary skills due to a failure or inability to participate.

Actual Risk Level

The actual risk level is determined by scoring each item and totaling the score. Using the following matrix, the caseworker will determine the family's scored risk level.

Score Risk Level

0 - 3

Low

4 - 7

Moderate

8 - 12

High

13 - 22

Intensive

Policy Overrides

After completing the risk scale, the caseworker then determines whether or not any of the policy override reasons exist. Policy overrides have been determined to be case situations that warrant the highest level of service from a PCSA agency regardless of the risk scale score at the initial assessment or any reassessments. If any policy override reasons exist, the risk level is increased to intensive. Note that the conditions associated with the policy overrides must have occurred during the reassessment period. That is, just because a policy override was applied at the initial assessment, which does not automatically mean that it will be applied now. A policy override is only used at reassessment if the event occurred since the last assessment.

Definitions of the policy overrides can be found in the Family Assessment section of this manual.

Discretionary/Optional Overrides

The caseworker determines whether or not any discretionary/optional override reasons exist. At risk reassessment, a discretionary/optional override may be applied to increase or decrease the risk levelby one level in any case where the caseworker believes information obtained supports the risk level set by the scales as being too low or too high. All overrides must be approved in writing by the supervisor. If the override is to increase the risk level, approval from additional managers may be required per agency policy.

Final Risk Level

The final risk level is the risk level with any policy or discretionary/optional overrides applied. If no policy or discretionary/optional overrides were implemented, the scored risk level will be the same as the final risk level.

Case Status

The case status is the determination of whether the agency should continue to provide services to the family. It is based upon the information obtained through the review of safety and case plan, the update of strengths and needs assessment, and the reassessment of risk.

If the family continues to be in need of agency services, the caseworker will indicate the type of agency services: in-home supportive services, protective supervision, or out-of-home placement.

If the agency plans to terminate services, the caseworker will indicate the reason why agency services will be terminated. These reasons include: family is no longer in need of agency services; services are terminated against agency recommendations; and family refused agency services and/or court petition denied.

The caseworker will also provide a description to support the case status selected above. The description will include a discussion as to how the risk reassessment, safety review, family perception, case progress review (including strengths and needs summary), and services review informs change readiness in the family, permanency planning, and service provision.

If the case is being closed, the caseworker will provide a summary justifying case closure.