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§5.13 Placement With Custodial Parent

[1] Family Maintenance Plan
[2] Child's Educational Needs
[3] Developmental Services Decisions

[1] Family Maintenance Plan

You may, based on the preponderance of the evidence, declare a child to be dependent but not remove him or her from the custodial parent. [See WIC §360(d); CRC 5.695(a)(6).] For such an “in-home placement,” you must approve a family maintenance plan. [See CRC 5.695(a)(6).] You may order services in the case plan to facilitate the placement, such as:

  • Case management,
  • Counseling,
  • Emergency in-home caretakers,
  • Homemakers for teaching and demonstrating, and
  • Parenting classes [see WIC §16507.7].

If a dependent child remains in the custodial home under DSS’s supervision, you must order the custodial parent or guardian to participate in child welfare services or programs. [WIC §362(b); CRC 5.695(c)(2).] You may also order the parent or guardian to ensure the child’s regular school attendance, or to make reasonable efforts to obtain educational services tailored to the child’s specific needs. [WIC §362(d).]

You must conduct a review hearing within six months of disposition, and every six months thereafter until you determine that continued supervision is not necessary. [WIC §364(a).] You may also order family maintenance services for a child who is removed, and then subsequently returned home, even if the statutory maximum time afforded for reunification services was met. [In re Bridget A. (2007) 148 CA4th 285, 310–312, 316.]

If a child is removed and later returned to custody of only one parent, subsequent review hearings are governed by WIC §364 for children not removed from physical custody of the parent to determine whether supervision will continue to be necessary. [In re Gabriel L. (2009) 172 CA4th 644, 650.]

REFERENCE >> For a form of order for in-home placement with formal supervision, see form JV-417.

[2] Child's Educational Needs

Throughout dependency proceedings, including at the disposition hearing and thereafter, you should inquire about the child’s educational needs and the progress to enforce the child’s educational rights. You should ensure that the child’s needs are met for a stable school placement in the least restrictive educational environment, and that the child has access to the academic resources, services, and activities available to other students. [CRC 5.651.] You must address and determine the child’s general and specific education needs, identify a plan to meet those needs, and provide a clear written statement using form JV-535. [CRC 5.651(b)(2).]

Before disposition, you may temporarily limit a parent’s or current caretaker’s right to make educational decisions for the child. [WIC §319(g); CRC 5.650(a).] You must reconsider this limitation at the disposition hearing. [CRC 5.650(a)(1).] If a parent's or caretaker's right to make educational decisions are limited, you must appoint an educational representative for the child. [WIC §361; CRC 5.650(a)–(b).]

If you return custody to a parent or guardian, his or her educational rights are reinstated unless you find that he or she is not able to act in the child's best interest regarding education. Similarly, if you appoint a guardian for the child, all educational rights and responsibilities transfer to the newly appointed guardian unless you determine that the guardian is not able to act in the child’s best interests regarding education. [CRC 5.650(e).]

For further discussion, see Part 1, §3.11.

If you are unable to appoint or identify a responsible adult, you may [WIC §361(a); CRC 5.650]:

  • Refer the child to the local educational agency for appointment of a surrogate parent [see GC §7579.5] if the child has been referred for special education or has a valid IEP [see form JV-536], or
  • Make educational decisions yourself if appointment of a surrogate parent [see Ed C §56050(a)] is not warranted and there is no appropriate foster parent [see Ed C §56055].

[3] Developmental Services Decisions

The court order must also specifically address any limitation on the right of the parent or guardian to make developmental services decisions for the child. The limitations may not exceed those necessary to protect the child. If you specifically limit the right of the parent or guardian to make developmental services decisions, you must at the same time appoint a responsible adult to make developmental services decisions for the child for the period specified. [WIC §361(a).]

An individual who would have a conflict of interest in representing the child may not be appointed to make developmental services decisions. [WIC §361(a).] If you appoint a developmental services decision maker, he or she must have the authority to access the child's information and records [see WIC §§4514(u), 5328(y)], and to act on the child’s behalf for the purposes of the individual program plan process [see WIC §§4646, 4646.5, 4648] and the fair hearing process [see WIC §§4700 et seq], and as set forth in the court order. [WIC §361(a).]

If you cannot identify a responsible adult to make developmental services decisions for the child, you may, with the input of any interested person, make such decisions. If the child is receiving services from a regional center, the provision of any developmental services related to the court’s decision must be consistent with the child's individual program plan and the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act [see WIC §§4500 et seq]. [WIC §361(a).]

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© 2006 by Judicial Council of California
updated as of January 1, 2012