*Also see our page on Family/Child Visiting.
From the T/TA Network & Children’s Bureau
Evidence-Based Practice, Research, and Reports
- Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Inspector General Reports on Caseworker Visits with Children in Foster Care
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued two reports examining states' ability to track the frequency of caseworker visits to children in foster care. The OIG was directed to determine whether or not states had standards for visits by caseworkers, the extent that states issue reports on such visits, and the extent to which children were actually visited. The report indicated that 43 states had written standards calling for caseworkers to visit children in foster care at least monthly. The OIG also concluded that only 20 states of the 51 reviewed demonstrated their ability to actually produce statewide reports. Of these 20, seven states indicated that, on average, fewer than half of children in foster care were visited monthly. The OIG recommended that the Administration for Children and Families in HHS work with states that have limited or nonexistent automated capacity to develop such a system. For states where the capacity exists, HHS should work with states on ways to ensure visits are being recorded. The reports are:
See the NRCPFC PowerPoint presentations summarizing these two reports below.
Resources & Publications
- Caseworker Visits with Families
This NRCPFC information packet explores caseworker visits with families in foster care, provides related facts and statistics, discusses relevant legislation and policies, and presents an overview of best practices and model programs. The publication concludes with a list of online resources for additional information. Written by Teija Sudol. (July 2009)
- Technical Bulletin #2: Systems Issues Related to Reporting and Evaluating Caseworker Visits
This technical bulletin (TB) from the Children’s Bureau provides guidance to States on system issues related to the collection and reporting of information on caseworker visits with children in foster care. This TB does not establish new Federal systems or reporting policy, but is intended to assist States with aligning their information system activities to support caseworker visit data requirements of the Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-288) at section 424(e)(1) and (2) of the Social Security Act (the Act) and Program Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-08-03, issued April 18, 2008. It also provides a list of considerations should a State choose to expand their data collection activities beyond the Federal requirements into program analyses that may support monitoring activities such as the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSR). (May 2008)
Webinars, Webcasts, and Videos
- Addressing the Use of Caseworker Visit Funds
The Children’s Bureau, the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC), and the National Resource Center for In-Home Services hosted this webinar to address the use of caseworker visit funds (in keeping with the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act). This webinar took place for State Foster Care Managers and Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program Grantee Managers. Gail Collins, Director, Division of Program Implementation, Children’s Bureau, offered a policy overview and a brief overview of the caseworker data that States submitted from FY 2007-2011. Representatives from New York and Georgia shared State examples, presenting on their use of Caseworker Visit Funds. The webinar concluded with a question and answer/discussion period. (July 26, 2012)
- Enhancing Worker-Child and Worker-Parent Visits in Order to Achieve Child Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being
The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) and the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) hosted this teleconference on worker-child and worker-parent visiting. Presenters provided an overview of critical factors in relationship building and engagement, State efforts to enhance worker visits, and enhancing worker visiting from a tribal perspective. Available Training and Technical Assistance resources were also discussed and the teleconference concluded with a question and answer period. (March 2005)
Trainings & Curricula
- Promoting Placement Stability and Permanency through Caseworker/Child Visits
Through the Child and Family Service Review (CFSR) process, it was found that there is a significant positive relationship between caseworker visits with children and a number of other indicators for safety, permanency and well-being. This curriculum was developed by the NRCPFC in response to that clear indication that the importance of caseworker visits to children in foster care is positively correlated to outcomes for children and families. This one day curriculum is intended to be part of either pre-service or ongoing training within a child welfare organization. It builds on the concepts of attachment, strengths-based assessment and planning, child and youth development, effective interviewing and organizing contacts. The curriculum allows caseworkers to practice some of these skills through role plays and preparatory activities. The seven developmental checklists are tools for caseworker's to use as they begin to more intentionally structure their visits to focus on safety, permanence, and well being. (Updated May 2008)
- Promoting Permanency Through Worker/Parent Visits
This one day NRCPFC competency-based curriculum helps workers structure their visits with family to promote safety, well being and permanency. It provides a review of what has been learned from the CFSR about the relationship between worker/parent visits and placement stability and permanency and gives workers seven developmental checklists and questions to assess safety and well being. Workers learn how to use a four step process to organize their visitation with family.
From Collaborating Organizations
Evidence-Based Practice, Research, and Reports
- Child Welfare Caseworker Visits with Children and Parents: Innovations in State Policy
This report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) provides information about the potential of effective child welfare caseworker visits in achieving positive outcomes for children and families, both those receiving in-home and foster care services. It also offers strategies for legislators who are interested in supporting child welfare agency administrators in enhancing the quality and frequency of those visits. (September 2006)
- Getting To Outcomes® for Home Visiting
Published by the RAND Corporation and prepared for the State of New Mexico, this toolkit aims to support the implementation of home visiting programs. It describes a 10-step process that helps empower groups to better plan, implement, and evaluate home visiting programs, with the goal of achieving the best possible outcomes. The model presented in this manual is meant to provide specific guidance, yet be flexible enough to facilitate any home visiting program. It also includes checklists, tools, tips, resources, and other helpful extras. (2013)
From the States
Worker's Role: Visits with Children Practice Bulletin
Caseworker visits and interaction with children are a cornerstone of practice and one of the most important ways to promote positive outcomes for children. The core focus of visits is the protection of children and strengthening families. Visits are the mechanism for monitoring safety and providing services to promote the well-being of the child and the child’s family and caregivers. This bulletin developed by the Iowa Department of Human Services provides practice tips and sample questions for caseworkers visiting with children, as well as resources, including a chart identifying major developmental tasks specific to various stages/ages of children. (February 2008)
Preparing for Caseworker Visits – Monthly Individual Contact Form & FAQs
The Kansas Youth Advisory Council developed these tools to help youth prepare for visits with their caseworkers. The Monthly Individual Contact Form (PPS 3061) and Monthly Individual Contact FAQs (PPS 3061A) are available in English and Spanish on the Kansas Department for Children and Families website. (July 2012)
Caseworker Visitation with a Child in Out-of-Home Placement Circular Letter
The purpose of this circular letter from the Maryland Department of Human Resources, Social Services Administration is to delineate the requirements for local department caseworker visitation with a child in out-of-home placements, including foster and kinship care. Visits are face-to-face contacts with a child, which involve directed and purposeful communication and interaction. This letter details minimum standards established for visiting children in out-of-home placements and includes directives for both the frequency and content of visits. (December 2008)
- Minnesota PIP TIPS
Program Improvement Plan (PIP) Tips is one of the strategies the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is using to communicate what is being learned from the Minnesota Child and Family Service Reviews, conducted in counties throughout the state. PIP Tips identify case practices and systemic strengths that support achievement of safety, permanency and well-being outcomes for children and families served by the child welfare system.
They include tips pertaining to:
- Training Videos Demonstrate Best Practices for Caseworker Visits
Frequent, quality visits by caseworkers with children in foster care are essential to their safety and well-being at all ages. At each developmental stage, their needs change, and so does the focus of the visit. These nine brief videos from the Minnesota Department of Human Services each provide best practice suggestions for different scenarios involving foster children.
- New Mexico:
This PowerPoint presentation provides training for caseworkers in New Mexico CYFD on entering information about worker/child visits into the agency's automated information system, FACTS. It makes a connection between good practice, good documentation, and better outcomes. (2007)
- North Carolina:
Tool to Enhance Monthly Agency Visits
This seven-item tool from North Carolina DSS is designed to be a guide for monthly visits. It is intended to be used as a guide for conversation, not a checklist of items to read off every month. Workers are advised to continue to have their typical, open-ended conversations with foster parents and children in care, and then to simply use the tool at the end of the visit to summarize, ensure that important topics are not overlooked, and plan follow-up. (June 2008)
Caseworker Face-to-Face Contact Requirements for Children and Juveniles in Out-of-Home Placement
Regular and consistent face-to-face contacts by a child’s caseworker that are focused on the goals established in the case plan directly impacts positive outcomes for children and juveniles, including the management of safety, timely achievement of permanence, and improved well-being. This policy by the Wisconsin DCF, establishes the requirement for caseworkers to have face-to-face contact at least once each and every full calendar month with children and juveniles who are living in an out-of-home placement. Additionally, this policy directs agencies on how to document information about the caseworker’s face-to-face contact in eWiSACWIS. (2012)
- Caseworker Visits with Children
A key task in casework practice with children in out-of-home care is caseworker visits with children. Both the frequency and the quality of these visits are key elements of effective practice to achieve goals of safety, permanency, and well-being. This webpage from the Child Welfare Information Gateway provides a listing of current resources regarding this topic and includes state and local examples.