Completing a Unified Home Study (UHS) provides for the formal assessment of a common set of requirements that must be met and documented in FSFN when a child is placed out-of-home, whether relative/non-relative, foster care, licensed, or adoptive home.
The UHS allows for a comprehensive assessment of a residence, family and characteristics of specific participants and is a standardized process of collecting, evaluating, and analyzing information to support the safety of children placed out of the home. The UHS cannot be used for Other Parent Home Assessments (OPHA) or a Reunification Home Study.
The FSFN enhancements to the UHS were implemented on June 15, 2018. These changes significantly enhance the UHS to ensure that policy, practice and FSFN are aligned and to bring the UHS into alignment with the Title IV-E requirements.
The UHS has been re-designed in FSFN with more user-friendly functions to meet the needs of all Child Welfare Professionals and has been modified to capture core questions relevant to all types of UHS home studies: Emergency, Relative, Non-Relative, Licensing, Adoption, Addendum, and Adoption Addendum.
The UHS MUST be completed in FSFN. Not doing so gives the appearance that children are placed in homes without completed and approved home studies. Prior to completing a UHS, a Person Provider must be created in FSFN for the residence of the home study. At SCC, this is completed through an Edit Request via the SCC Data Portal. Data Entry staff will do a thorough search of FSFN to ensure the Person Provider does not already exist in FSFN and then create the Person Provider if needed. We cannot have duplicate Person Providers in FSFN.
The FSFN functionality enhancements include:
· The ability to inactivate non-household members and document if the non-household member is a frequent visitor.
· The ability to build upon (copy) a previously approved UHS so that it is not necessary to start from the beginning when the provider is already in the system.
· A redesign of the finance breakdown group box in its entirety. This will allow for the documentation of multiple employers per household member.
· Modification of the narrative family assessment including:
Ø Updates to the labels
Ø Increased character limits for all narrative fields
Ø Narrative fields that are required or not required based on the home study type selected
· Modification of approvals to reflect current practice decisions.
· The ability to capture common core assessment questions that are relevant to all types of home studies. The questions are also more descriptive in nature and reflect how caregivers have the capacity to meet the needs of the child.
· The ability to search for Person Provider inquiries.
· The ability to answer non-required questions to ensure all possible information is captured, if available.
· Creation of a Provider File Cabinet and a Provider Licensing Checklist.
All required fields on the home study must have information entered in order to submit a “completed” home study to a supervisor for approval. If the child is not already in the household where the home study was completed and the proposed out-of-home caregiver is not selected, the proposed caregiver will be verbally advised within three (3) business days of the supervisor’s decision. Regardless of the supervisor’s decision, a copy of the signed home study must be provided to the caregiver within five (5) business days. A copy of the UHS signature page with the caregivers, case manager and supervisor signatures will be uploaded to FSFN within two (2) business days of receiving the signatures.