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Child and Family Services Policy XI-B- Reasonable Steps to Inform Parties of Intent or Action(effective 10/1/90) states that when the Department is contemplating short-term emergencyservices, or intends to request a preliminary protection order, or intends to file a child protectionpetition, it must attempt to notify relatives who have been the primary caretaker for at least thepast month. This policy also sets time frames for attempts to inform persons regarding childprotection action. What changes in performance and practice have been made since the previous CFSR?The 2003 CFSR rated Item 29 as an area needing improvement because Department staff wereinconsistent in notifying foster parents, pre-adoptive parents, and relative caregivers regardingreviews or hearings, and the courts were not consistent in ensuring opportunities for thesecaregivers to provide input into the reviews or hearings.The inconsistency in notification of foster parents was documented by DHHS in its 2003Statewide Assessment. The finding on the court’s inconsistency was based on stakeholderstatements during the onsite review.The 2004 Program Improvement Plan had two corrective actions:1.Each district will make and implement a plan to ensure notifications are being sent in atimely manner.2.Training will be provided about the role foster parents and caregivers play in court as a coretraining and ensure that it is an ongoing topic in foster parent pre-service training.Current district performance on notification is not systemically tracked. Regarding foster parenttraining, relevant core foster parent training was developed and was last offered in fiscal year2007. The right to notification is mentioned in foster parent pre-service training, but fosterparents rights, roles, and responsibilities with respect to hearings are not addressed in asubstantial way.Maine CFSR Statewide Assessment158March 2009
In 2007, the applicable law was amended to state that in addition to foster parents, pre-adoptiveparents, and relatives providing care have the right to attend and to be heard in any proceedingheld with respect to the child. The amendment made DHHS responsible for providing priorwritten notice of all proceedings to pre-adoptive parents and relative caregivers, in addition tofoster parents. Current practice – what does the data show?Prior written notification is regularly monitored through caseworker, supervisor, and PQI casereviews, but is not formally tracked or reported out through monthly PQI statistics.Regarding foster parent/pre-adoptive parent/relative caregiver notification, a PQI query of allfoster care cases reviewed between November 2007 and November 2008 found that fosterparents/caregivers were notified of upcoming court proceedings in 75% of the cases reviewed.