Allegations

When a problem develops the caregiver should immediately notify the social worker and the minor’s attorney. Each child in the foster care system has a social worker who helps with supervision of the child, and provides support and guidance to caregivers. In addition, each minor in the foster care system has an attorney. Foster care works best when caregivers, social workers, and minor attorneys work as a team to meet the foster children’s needs.

When an Allegation Is Made:

  • When an allegation is made, an investigation will be conducted to determine if the allegation is unfounded, inconclusive, or substantiated. The caregiver will be given information regarding this action and will have input into its outcome. If the caregiver feels that adequate input was not provided, the caregiver should contact the county social worker or the social worker’s supervisor.
  • Depending upon the allegations made, the Child Welfare Services (CWS) agency will initiate an investigation into the allegations by conducting a visit to your home, from immediately up to ten days after CWS receives the allegations. You generally will not receive advance notice of the allegations made against you, or the home visit, until the social worker arrives at your home. After the investigation is completed, but not more than thirty days later (unless a longer timeline was previously agreed upon) you will be notified by County CWS of the decision made.
  •  Depending on the preliminary findings regarding the allegations, the foster child may be removed from your home immediately.
  • If it appears that other children in the home, including your biological family, have been subjected to abuse or neglect, an investigation will be initiated.
  • If the decision is made to revoke your license as a resource / foster parent, County CWS is required to submit documentation to substantiate the allegations to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and there is a formal procedure that ends with an administrative hearing by the State. (Health and Safety Code section 1538, Title 22, Division 6, Chapter 9.5, Regulation 89242)

Caregiver Has the Right To:

  • To be provided a fair, timely, and impartial investigation of allegations or complaints.
  • To have a support person of the caregiver's choosing present during investigation inquires with the caregiver.
  • To be provided due process during the investigation.
  • To request and receive management review of decisions.
  • Unless the child is in immediate danger, he/she shall remain with the foster parent(s), pending decision of the county director, when removal is the basis for a complaint. (Reference 31-020 GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES).

If the allegation is substantiated, the county will refer information regarding the caregiver along with case information to the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) of the California Department of Justice for inclusion in the statewide database. The Caregiver will receive notice that referral to CACI is to occur and at the same time, will receive a Request for Grievance Hearing form. This form can be used to challenge the CACI listing.

Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) Grievance Procedures (Division 31-021)

Within five (5) business days of submitting an individual's name to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for listing on the CACI pursuant to Section 31-501.4, the following forms shall be sent to the individual at his/her last known address:

  • The Notice of Child Abuse Central Index Listing (SOC 832),
  • Grievance Procedures for Challenging Reference to the Child Abuse Central Index (SOC 833), and
  • Request for Grievance Hearing (SOC 834).
  • Grievance Procedures for Challenging Reference to the Child Abuse Central Index
  • SOC 833 (3/10)
  • Notice Of Possible Listing On the Child Abuse Central Index – What You Need to Do
  • ALL COUNTY LETTER NO . 12-21 – April 24, 2012 - This All County Letter is to inform counties of the provisions of Assembly Bill (AB) 717, Chapter 468, Statutes of 2011. AB 717 made changes to the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) reporting requirements, effective January 1, 2012

Generally, inclusion of caregiver’s name in the CACI means that no future placements will be made with caregiver. If the allegation is unfounded or inconclusive the county may continue to place children in caregiver’s home. However, placements are at the discretion of the county [CCL regulation 89045(a)].

Grievance Procedures:

  • If you are unable to resolve your issues with the social worker or social worker’s supervisor, file a grievance in writing and request a grievance hearing. Each county shall provide grievance procedures to review complaints from foster parents, legal parents, guardians, and children concerning the placement or removal of a child from a foster home. All issues shall be resolved in the best interest of the child. See Grievance Procedures – Division 31-020 Manual of Policies and Procedures CHILD WELFARE SERVICES .
  • Request For Grievance Hearing - SOC 834 (3/10)  

Contact Us

Office of the Foster Care Ombudsman
Toll-free telephone: 1-877-846-1602
E-mail: fosterfamilyhelp@dss.ca.gov