All youth being considered for out of home placement are first screened by a group of probation officers who, with input from the youth and family, review the case and determine whether all opportunities for successful supervision in the community have been exhausted. Frequently a case screening will result in additional services or opportunities that may be provided instead of a recommendation for placement. If the recommendation is for out of home placement, the officers will decide the most appropriate type of placement. They will consider placement with a Resource Family or relative (foster care), camp, or a Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP). If placement in an STRTP is recommended, the case must then be assessed by our multidisciplinary team, the Interagency Placement Committee (IPC). IPC is composed of Probation, Health & Human Services, Mental Health and other members as determined. Based on information shared at the IPC meeting, the mental health supervisor will determine if the youth meets one of the three criteria for placement in an STRTP. This process ensures youth and families receive the appropriate services and supervision to support successful reunification or transition to adulthood.
If the Court orders out-of-home placement, the case is transferred to a probation officer who will facilitate placement with the appropriate STRTP, Camp, or Foster Home. The officer will have regular contact with the youth and family throughout this process.
Once the child has been placed out of the home, the case is transferred to a probation officer who will supervise and provide case management to the youth. The officer will work with the care provider to monitor the safety and well-being of the youth and to ensure treatment needs are being met. Each youth in placement is required to appear before the Court every six months for review. A report is prepared by the probation officer with input from the family and care provider to address current progress in placement and in the home during visits.
The assigned officer will meet at least once each month with the youth at the placement. Parents or guardians are also expected to meet monthly with the officer to support reunification. Officers work in close collaboration with parents, placements, treatment staff, and community resources. They will respond to serious misbehavior occurring in the placement as well as supporting and encouraging youth to stay on track.
Each youth and family in placement will be part of a Child and Family Team (CFT). The CFT is made up of the youth and parent or guardian, and includes others who are part of the youth and family’s formal or informal support network and who will continue to be available when the youth returns to the community. The CFT will meet regularly while the youth is in placement to, identify strengths and needs of the youth and family, and to and to guide decision making and support the success of the family.
Health and education information for each youth is tracked through collaboration with County Public Health, the Napa County Office of Education, and Health & Human Services Agency. Youth over the age of 15½ will have a Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP) and participate in ILP programs to develop the skills and resources necessary to become independent, even if they return home prior to their 18th birthday. Qualifying former foster youth may be eligible for support services for housing, work, training and education. A team decision-making meeting is held with a youth and parent prior to a youth leaving their out-of-home placement. Future programs and services are explained and resources identified for each youth.
The first six months following reunification with the family is often a challenge for the youth and family as new skills and behavior are being applied at home. There is risk of relapse or return to unacceptable behavior, which could result in a return to an out-of-home placement. Officers provide intensive support and supervision services to the youth and their family during this critical transition period. They maintain frequent case contact with the youth and family and work collaboratively with community agencies and resources to structure and implement a program which will support a positive transition to home and the community. Youth may be required to participate in the Evening Reporting Center (ERC) to support them in the transition.