How to write a child welfare case report for the state of indiana

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Unless directed otherwise, a court report will always look like this on top.

STATE OF INDIANA  )                                                        IN THE MONROE CIRCUIT COURT

COUNTY OF MONROE ) SS:                                                    JUVENILE  DIVISION

IN THE MATTER OF  )    CAUSE NO: 

*name of child here*,

A CHILD IN NEED OF SERVICES

No one has ever been able to tell me what the SS: means.  If anyone reading this knows, please tell me.  I just know it needs to be there.

The next line will look like this

*type of report,* REPORT

DATE

The type of report could be “DISPOSITIONAL, REVIEW,PERMANENCY, or TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS.  There are others, but these are the ones a child welfare worker will most frequently be attending.

Next, you will list in the people you have contacted concerning the case,  the date of last contact, and the relationship to the child.  It should look like this:

PERSONS CONTACTED                               LAST CONTACT                               RELATIONSHIP TO CHILD

name of person                                                Date of Contact                                  How is this person involved

for example:

Shelly Dages                                                   April 17, 2009                          Court Appointed Special Advocate

Use as many lines as you need to list all of the people contacted.  If you contact the child, which you most likely will do, don’t forget to add him/her to the list of people contacted.  If this is an on-going case (as most are) you need only to list the people contacted since the last court date.

Next, you will list the documents reviewed, like this:

DOCUMENTS REVIEWED

(for example)

CASA Case File

DCS Case File

These could be DCS (department of child services) case file, CASA (court appointed special advocate) Case file, Developmental assessments, grade reports, etc.  There is no way to make a comprehensive list of the documents a person writing this type of report my have studied. 

The next step is to list any prior interventions.  The child may have had no previous interventions if this is the first time they have been deemed to need services.  it will look like this:

PRIOR INTERVENTIONS

10/10/08  Substianted child abuse report, child removed from home and placed in foster care.

1/01/09    Substianted child neglect report, child removed from home and placed in foster care.

these are examples, not taken from any actual case that I am aware of.

list all previous interventions.

Then comes placement history.  Like this:

PLACEMENT HISTORY

(example)

01/01/09 to present     Child in foster care with Minnie and Mickey Mouse

12/02/08 to 01/01/09   Child lived in home with biological mother

10/10/08 to 12/2/08     Child in foster care with Betty and Billy Boop

The placement history may get longer if the child gets moved back and forth, but it will never get shorter.  Every placement the child has will be listed in each report.

Next is the assessment.

ASSESSMENT

for the assessment you will write a brief synopsis of the case.  For example:

Bugs Bunny is a 6 year old child who was originally removed from the home of his mother, Tweety Bird, on 10/10/08, in Monroe County because of substantiated allegation against her of child abuse.  Bugs was first placed in the foster home of Betty and Bill Boop on10/10/08.

As a result of having Bugs removed from her home, Ms. Bird was ordered to complete parenting classes, anger management classes and substance abuse counseling through the Center for Behavioral Health.  Bugs was given services through first steps at this time.

On 1/01/09, Ms. Tweety Bird was arrested for driving while intoxicated.  It was found that she had left Bugs alone while she went out to the bars.  Bugs was removed fromm her home on substantiated allegations of child neglect and placed in the foster home of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Bugs is doing very well in his foset placement with the Mouse family.  He attends school, church, participates in sports and speech therapy.  He has some issues with acting out when he coes not get his way, and this is being addressed in therapy and with his foster family.

Bugs recently began taking Adderal for ADD symptoms, prescribed by Dr. Pink Panther, and his foster family reports that the medication is helping him focus on his school work and seems to have improved his behavior at home.

Then comes the summary.

SUMMARY

The summary is based more on the opinion of the report writer, while the assessment is “just the facts”.  Here is an illustration of what I mean by that:

Bugs Bunny has been involved with the Department of Child Services as a Child in Need of Services for nearly 2 years.  He has been in foste care for 6 months from the date 10/10 08.  Bugs was reunified with his mother once and subsequently been placed back in foster care.  Ms. Bird has been through several treatment programs with varying success.  Her success with her parenting classes and anger management classes was partly responsible for her reunification with Bugs and the case being dismissed in December of 2008. Bugs is back in foster care and his mother has reportedly not begun another addictions treatement program as recommended by Dr. Pink Panther and DCS.

In the past, this CASA volunteer has observed Ms. Bird alternately work hard at meeting her case plan requirements for reunificaton of Bugs and relapse into alcohol abuse. There have been sober periods for Ms. Bird but she has been unable to maintain these for more than a few months at a time.  Also, Ms. Bird has been unable to develop appropriate parenting skills necessary to raise a young child.   Bugs needs a consistent placement with people who know how to set firm boundaries and enforce them approriately.  This CASA believes that Ms. Bird does love her sone, Bugs, but due to her struggles with alcohol she is not able to provide for his care at this time.  In order for Bugs to be placed back wtih his mother she would need to enter addictions treatment in an attempt to live a sober life.  If Ms. Bird fails to enter and complete treatment, this CASA will recommend that her parental rights be terminated in order for Bugs to be placed in a permanent, safe home.

Last comes the recommendations.  In the county I work in, the judge wants up to list them on a seperate page.  This varies from county to county.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1) Bugs Bunny should remain a ward of the Department of Child services and a Child in Need of Services.

2) Ms. Tweety Bird should begin addictions treatment as soon as possible and complete the program.

3) An interim hearing should be set for 3 months hence to assess Ms. Bird’s addiction treatment.

You could have more recommendations, or less.  The ones listed are just examples.

End the report like this:

Respectfully Submitted,

Your Name                                                             Your Supervisors Name (if necessary)

(signature)                                                               (signature)

(typed)                                                                      (typed)

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