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Advocacy Tip: Understanding Service Plans from an RTC

Understanding Service Plans from an RTC

When a child in CPS custody requires a higher level of care than can be provided in a foster home they may be placed in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC). In addition to providing a higher level of supervision, RTCs can provide a number of different services to the children in their care. One of the many services a RTC can provide is a Service Plan. The Service Plan is developed by a professional level service provider according to the guidelines set forth by DFPS Licensing and is used to ensure the child’s needs and goals are being met. Although the Service Plan may look different depending on the RTC, they must all contain the same information, and be created and reviewed within a specific timeframe.

Preliminary Service Plan

When a child is admitted into a RTC the service provider develops what is called a Preliminary Service Plan. The Preliminary Service Plan must be completed within 48 hours of the child’s placement at the RTC. This plan must include the immediate treatment and care needs of the child, any immediate educational needs, and any dental or medical needs. Additionally, any specific issues or concerns the child has that might escalate their behavior should be included as well.

Initial Service Plan

Within 30-45 days after a child is placed at a RTC, a meeting must be held in order to develop the Initial Service Plan. The RTC is required to notify and invite the child’s CPS caseworker 2 weeks prior to the meeting and allow them to participate in the development of the plan. The child’s CASA advocate can also be invited and attend these meetings. During the meeting, the preliminary plan is reviewed and goals for the child will be established. The CPS caseworker and CASA advocate also have the ability to suggest specific goals be added to the Service Plan or ask any questions they might have. While the Preliminary Plan addresses the child’s immediate needs when placed at the RTC, the Initial Service Plan provides more in depth information as to the child’s needs and the services the child will receive while placed at the RTC.

Service Plan Review

The RTC Service Plan must be reviewed and updated every 90 days for children with an emotional disorder, a pervasive developmental disorder, or special medical needs. Children placed in a RTC due to mental retardation must have their Service Plan reviewed and updated every 180 days. Every time the Service Plan is updated the CPS caseworker must be notified and sign the updated plan. During the review the following must be evaluated: the child’s progress and the effectiveness of techniques used to meet the child’s needs, identify any new needs and techniques to address them, any achieved or changed goals, and the effectiveness of any prescribed psychotropic medications for the child. The Service Plan Review must also document the child’s visitation plan and contact with family members, update the estimated length-of-stay and discharge plans, and determine whether or not continued placement at the RTC is appropriate for the child.

1. A child’s Initial Service Plan must be created by the RTC within how many days of placement?

2. List three things that must be included in a Service Plan Review.

3. How can a child’s CASA advocate assist in the creation and review of the child’s RTC Service Plan?

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