Advocate News


02.10.2014

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Advocate Tip: Communicating With Parents About Their Services

When children are placed in the Temporary Managing Conservatorship of the State, CPS is required to provide parents with services to alleviate the issues that brought the children into custody. One of the expectations of a CASA Advocate is to provide a recommendation to the court about whether or not children should return to the care of their parents. In order to provide a recommendation that is in the best interest of the children, Advocates need to communicate with parents about the services they are required to complete.

Obtaining Information

One of the first steps in providing recommendations on the children’s permanency is to obtain a copy of the Family Plan of Service. The Family Plan of Service should outline all of the tasks and services that the parents will need to complete in order for their children to be returned to their custody. Once an Advocate is aware of the services the parents need to complete, they can begin talking to them about their progress with those services. Advocates should ask parents which services they have begun, as well as determine which others they may still need to complete.

Follow-Up

In addition to speaking with the parents about their services, Advocates should also follow up with the service providers. Advocates should make an effort to verify that parents are engaged in their services and ask about their progress. Advocates can ask how many classes/sessions the parent has attended, whether or not the parent actively participates in the classes/sessions, or if the service provider has seen any improvements. In addition to speaking with service providers, Advocates should also follow up with the caseworker to obtain information about the parent’s progress. The caseworker can provide information regarding any changes in service providers or additional services that may have been added to the Family Plan of Service.

Remember that in order for Advocates to obtain information from the service providers, parents will need to sign the Authorization and Release form. Without this form, service providers will not be able to provide Advocates with information regarding the parents; however, signing the form is completely voluntary and parents are not obligated to do so. If a parent refuses to sign the release form, Advocates should still follow up with the caseworker about any services the parent may have completed.

  1. What questions should Advocates ask the parent’s service providers?
  2. True or False. Parents do not have to sign the Authorization and Release form.
  3. Why is it important for Advocates to talk to parents about their services?

To receive 1 hour worth of training credit, read the above article and submit answers to the accompanying training questions to Elisabeth Reise at ereise@casa-satx.org.