Assessing Newborns or Other New Children in the Household

When there is a change to a family’s circumstances which has the potential to impact the safety of a child, it is considered a critical juncture in the case and necessitates a re-assessment of the family.  This includes the birth of a new child or a child joining a focus household in an open case.  There are two types of assessments based upon timing and the situation; Pre-birth Assessment and Post-birth Assessment. The purpose of these assessments is to re-evaluate the protective capacities and child needs.  The child welfare professional also must re-evaluate the current safety plan to determine if new safety plan actions or tasks are needed to protect the new child. 

The child welfare professional must complete an assessment in any of the following circumstances:

  • A child joins a focus household that is under investigation for allegations of abuse, neglect or abandonment or receiving ongoing case management services.
  • A child will be residing in the home of the parent/significant caregiver receiving ongoing case management services. “Resides” means that the child will live in a home on a permanent basis including any time-sharing custody agreements.

When these assessments must occur:

  • The Pre-birth Assessment must be completed within 6 months of the child’s due date. 
  • The Post-birth Assessment should be completed within 14 business days of the birth of a child, or the arrival of a child into the focus home.

The assessment is completed via an FFA-O or Progress Update in FSFN for an ongoing services case. Information must be gathered and assessed in each domain when a:

·         Parent/significant caregiver or a minor in a focus household is pregnant.

·         Baby is born or a new child enters a focus household.

A supervisor consultation must be provided prior to the approval of the FFA-O or Progress Update to determine if a pre-birth assessment, newborn child assessment, or new child assessment has been sufficiently incorporated.

Requirements Before Baby is Born:

ü  Pre-birth assessment, completed within six months of the due date via FFA-O or Progress Update.

ü  Supervisor Consult, to review pre-birth assessment.

ü  Other Parent Home Assessment, if there is a non-maltreating parent to whom the baby will be released.

ü  Multidisciplinary Staffing, with the parents, grandparents (if the parent is a minor), GAL, current caregivers, appropriate others. If one parent is non-offending, their OPHA must be done prior to the staffing.

ü  CLS Staffing, with Case Management (supervisor must be present if CM is not fully certified), GAL, and Lead Agency. Prior to Staffing CM must complete a pre-birth assessment and an OPHA.

Requirements After Baby is Born / New Child Enters the Home:

ü  Re-evaluate the current safety plan to determine any need for changes and implement as necessary. This must be done before a newborn is discharged from the hospital.

ü  CM must inform GAL of any changes made to the safety plan.

ü  CM must complete an edit request so that the baby can be added to the FSFN case.

ü  FFA-O or Progress Update must be completed within 14 business days of the child’s birth or a new child arriving.

ü  Determine need for Child Placement Agreement if there is an out-of-home safety plan in place.

ü  Re-assess In-Home Safety Analysis Questions and update Conditions for Return as appropriate.

ü  CLS Staffing, with Case Management (supervisor must be present if CM is not fully certified), GAL, and Lead Agency. Prior to Staffing CM must complete an FFA-O or Progress Update and an OPHA.

Resources are located on the J Drive: J:\Training Resources and Processes\Tasks in FSFN\New Child In Household