When a child is initially placed in foster care, the law mandates that the social worker visit the child at least three times in the first 30 days. The rule after that has generally been that social workers are to have face-to-face contact on a monthly basis with the child in foster care. California regulations, however, have long allowed exceptions, meaning that many children are rarely visited in-person by their social worker. This, however, is reversing.
Congress has found that there is a strong correlation between frequent caseworkers visits and positive outcomes for children. Therefore, Congress passed Public Law 109-288 also known as the “Child and Family Services Act of 2006,” which mandates that by October 1, 2011: 90% of children must be visited by a caseworker monthly, and 51% of those visits must occur in a child’s home.
What does this mean for CASAs? Ask the child if the social worker is talking to them privately. It is important that the social worker talk to the child separately from their caregiver to check in. Also, as a CASA you should be aware that this is taking effect October 1 and make sure that your child is receiving these monthly visits; if not, this is something you can work with your case supervisor on to remedy.
Look at this two All County Letters (ACL) for more information on the new law, and as always, please contact us if you have any questions!