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§6.06 Social Worker’s Report
The social worker’s report must be filed with the court and given to the parents or guardian, minor's counsel, CASA volunteer, and to an Indian child's identified tribe at least 10 days before the hearing. [WIC §366.21(c); CRC 5.708.] If the child was removed from parental custody, the social worker must also provide a summary of his or her report at least 10 days before the hearing to any foster parents, relative caregivers, preadoptive parents, nonrelative extended family members, or foster family agency with physical custody of the child. [WIC §366.21(c); CRC 5.534(n), 5.708; see form JV-290.] Different service procedures apply to supplemental reports in Los Angeles County. [See WIC §366.05.]
A social worker’s report containing recommendations for disposition is a mandatory requirement prior to any hearing involving a child who has been removed if the hearing may result in the return of the child to the physical custody of his or her parent or legal guardian, or in adoption or the creation of a legal guardianship, or in the case of an Indian child, effective July 1, 2010, in consultation with the child’s tribe, tribal customary adoption. [WIC §§366.21(d), 366.24.]
Social study reports are admissible at review hearings without having the preparer available for cross-examination. [See In re Matthew P. (1999) 71 CA4th 841, 849 fn 3.] Nevertheless, general principles of due process apply, which may include the parent’s right to call the social worker for cross-examination or otherwise challenge the material in the report. [See In re Jeanette V. (1998) 68 CA4th 811, 816.]
At the hearing closest to and before a dependent minor’s 18th birthday and every review hearing thereafter for nonminors, the county welfare department must submit a report describing efforts toward completing the items described in WIC §391(e)(2), e.g., social security card, certified birth certificate, drivers license, health and education summary, etc. [WIC §391(f).] For a complete list of issues to be described in the report for such a child at the various review hearings, see CRC 5.707(a). See also the chart of Items to Be Produced at Review Hearing.
Additionally, at the last review hearing before the child’s 18th birthday, the child’s Transitional Independent Living Case Plan must be submitted at least 10 calendar days before the hearing. The Plan must include the individualized plan for satisfying criteria in WIC §11403(b), the anticipated placement [WIC §11402], and the child’s alternate plan for transition to independence. [CRC 5.707(b).]