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Advocate Tip: Family Plan of Service

What is a Family Plan of Service?

When a child is placed in the care of Child Protective Services there are certain requirements that parents must meet in order for their children to be reunified with them. The Family Plan of Service, also referred to as the Service Plan, is created prior to the 60 Day Hearing in order to provide parents with a guide as to the services they need to complete and the goals they need accomplish while their children are in CPS care. After the plan has been created, the CPS caseworker is expected to review the Service Plan with the parent and explain what is required of the parent in order for their children to be returned to their care. Once the plan has been reviewed, parents are asked to sign the plan and acknowledge that they understand what is required of them. The Family Plan of Service will then be filed with the court and becomes a court order.


What Does the Plan Include?

Every Family Plan of Service that is created applies to the individual parent listed on the Service Plan and that parent’s children. The plan includes sections that describe the reasons for CPS involvement and the concerns for the children’s safety, a description of the family’s strengths, and family and community support systems that are available to the parents. Two of the most important sections of the Family Plan of Service are the Service Plan Goals and the Tasks and Services. The goals are developed based on the issues that brought the children into care and any other safety concerns that exist in the family. The expectation is that if parents are able to successfully meet their goals then the children can be safely returned to their care. The list of tasks and services should provide parents with all of the information they need in order to contact their service providers and initiate their services. Parents are expected to be able to successfully complete and demonstrate what they have learned from all of their services. The last two pages of a Family Plan of Service include the Parent Acknowledgement and a list the permanency goals that the Department may consider for the children. The Parent Acknowledgement page explains to parents what the consequences can be if a parent does not complete their Service Plan and provides signature lines for the parent, CPS caseworker, and CPS supervisor.


Things to Remember

CASA advocates can request a copy of the Family Plan of Service from the CPS caseworker once it has been created. If the Service Plan does not provide specific service provider information, CASA advocates can ask the caseworker to provide contact information for those service providers so that CASA can contact them as well. Advocates should contact their CASA Supervisor if there are any issues obtaining a copy of the plan or if the advocate has concerns about the plan itself.

  1. At what point can CASA advocates obtain a copy of the Family Plan of Service?
  2. True or False. The Family Plan of Service is not considered a court order until it is filed with the court.
  3. What should parents be able to do if they complete their services and meet their goals?

To receive 1 hour worth of training credit, read the above article and submit answers to the accompanying training questions to Anna Munoz at

Advocate Tip: Family Plan of Service