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1900 Substance Use

1910 Drug Testing Considerations

1911 Guiding Principle for Drug Testing

CPS October 2020

If a caseworker has cause to believe, based on credible evidence, that a parent or caregiver is using substances, and the use threatens a child’s safety, the caseworker uses tools and resources to address substance use as part of the case.

To request a drug test, see:

1914 Requirements for Requesting a Drug Test

1963 Children and Youth Who Are Exposed to or Using Substances

1912 Definitions Related to Substance Use

1912.1 Drug Screen

CPS October 2020

A drug screen is any collected sample that does not have a laboratory confirmation, such as an instant oral swab. Drug screen results are considered preliminary and are not admissible in court.

1912.2 Drug Test and Time Frame

CPS October 2020

A drug test is a test that has undergone preliminary screening and a secondary confirmation test to validate the findings. Drug tests are lab-confirmed, admissible in court, and verified by a medical review officer (MRO).

The caseworker requires a parent or caregiver to be drug tested within 48 hours of a child safety threat that the caseworker believes is related to substance use.

1912.3 Screening Tools (Forms)

CPS October 2020

A screening tool can be used by a caseworker to help determine whether a client needs clinical screening, assessment, or formal treatment services for a substance use disorder.

Caseworkers may find screening tools on the Substance Abuse Forms page of the DFPS intranet.

1913 Factors to Consider to Identify Possible Substance Use

CPS October 2020

When child safety is threatened, the caseworker considers the following to help determine whether a parent or caregiver may be using substances:

  • Personal observation.
  • Medical, criminal, and substance use histories.
  • Information from collaterals.
  • Observation of the living environment.
  • Information from the case record.

The caseworker may use the following at any stage of the case:

1914 Requirements for Requesting a Drug Test

CPS October 2020

Before sending a person for a drug test, the caseworker asks the person about current prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications he or she is taking. The caseworker records this information and includes it on the service authorization to make sure the medical review officer (MRO) can provide the most appropriate result to the caseworker.

See 1932.6 Positive Result with a Valid Prescription.

A caseworker may request a drug test for any of the following reasons:

  • When a court has ordered the drug test.
  • When a safety plan that relates to substance use issues is ending.
  • To assess or reassess for family reunification.
  • To determine whether a parent or caregiver is actively using substances.
  • To encourage participation in treatment for a substance use disorder or long-term recovery.

Types of Drug Screens and Drug Tests

The table below shows the types of drug screens and drug tests that the caseworker may conduct or order for a client and the approving staff.

Type of Drug Test or Drug Screen

Approving Staff

Oral fluid (instant swab test, instant swab test with lab confirmation, or instant test with lab confirmation).

Note: Not approved for clients age 17 or younger.

Caseworker or higher level

Urinalysis test

Notes: Not approved for clients age 17 or younger. Also, caseworkers are not allowed to collect urine samples from any clients.

Supervisor or higher level

Hair strand test

Program director or higher level

Alcohol test

Note: Not approved for clients age 17 or younger.

Supervisor or higher level

Specialty test

Note: Not approved for clients age 17 or younger.

Supervisor or higher level

1914.1 Infectious Client

CPS October 2020

If the caseworker is concerned that a client may have an infectious or communicable disease that may spread through oral fluid, the caseworker, with the supervisor’s approval, refers the client to a lab for a urinalysis test instead of conducting an oral fluid test.

1920 Eligibility for Drug Testing

1921 Client Eligible for Drug Testing by DFPS or a Contracted Lab

CPS October 2020

The following adult clients are eligible for drug testing that is conducted by DFPS or a collection site and lab under contract:

  • Parents and other caregivers in open DFPS cases, except foster or adoptive parents in a licensed facility or home.
  • Prospective caregivers for parental child safety placements.
  • Kinship family members.

A caseworker may conduct an instant swab test on an adult parent, caregiver, or kinship family member. See 1962 Safety and Risk When Substances Are Present.

The caseworker submits Form 2054 Service Authorization (located in IMPACT) to request payment for the testing.

See also 1963 Children and Youth Who Are Exposed to or Using Substances.

1922 Client Ineligible for Drug Testing by DFPS or a Contracted Lab

CPS October 2020

It is not appropriate for a caseworker to arrange for drug testing when a parent or caregiver is:

  • Actively involved in treatment for a substance use disorder, and the treatment provider conducts random testing with lab confirmation; or
  • Randomly tested by another entity, such as a probation department or drug court, and the test is lab-confirmed.

The caseworker determines whether the frequency of the drug testing by the other entity meets DFPS requirements before DFPS discontinues random testing. See 1923 Frequency of Drug Testing.

The caseworker gets a signed Form 2063 Release of Confidential Information from the parent or caregiver that allows the other entity to share the results of drug tests with DFPS.

See 1971.3 Forms for Referral to Substance Use Services.

1923 Frequency of Drug Testing

CPS October 2020

The caseworker conducts random drug tests when lab testing for substance use is allowed and the testing is needed to ensure child safety.

Urinalysis Testing

Urinalysis testing occurs no more often than every five calendar days unless directed by court order.

Hair Strand Testing

Hair strand testing occurs no more often than every 105 calendar days unless directed by court order.

1930 Drug Testing Results and Exceptions

1931 Time Frames for Checking Drug Test Results

CPS October 2020

Obtaining timely results of drug tests is critical for ensuring child safety, making the best possible case decisions, and developing recommendations related to the recovery and support needs of a parent or caregiver.

A caseworker or a supervisor’s designee checks drug test results no later than two business days after the client submitted a sample for testing.

When drug test results are not available within two business days after the client submitted a sample, the caseworker or supervisor’s designee continues to check on the drug test results every subsequent business day until the drug test results are available.

A caseworker or a supervisor’s designee may be required to check on test results sooner or more often, on a case-by-case basis, at the direction of the supervisor or program director. The caseworker or supervisor’s designee follows all leadership directives in those situations.

See 1971 Referral to Treatment.

1932 Drug Test Results

CPS October 2020

There are six possible results for a drug test.

1932.1 Negative Result

CPS October 2020

A negative result means the drug test detected no substance. (Note that a drug test can only detect the substance or substances that it is designed to detect.)

When the result of a parent or caregiver’s drug test is negative, the caseworker does the following:

  • Notifies the parent or caregiver about the result in a timely manner.
  • Encourages the parent or caregiver’s continued abstinence from the substance.
  • Provides positive feedback to the parent or caregiver.
1932.2 Rejected Result

CPS October 2020

A rejected result occurs when the sample did not meet the initial criteria for testing for one or more reasons, such as the following:

  • The urine’s temperature is too low (too cold).
  • There is not enough urine to test.
  • The sample is not urine or has been mixed with some other liquid.

When the lab rejects a sample, the caseworker takes one the following actions to make a conclusion about the client’s use:

  • Has the client retested.
  • Requests a different type of testing, such as a hair strand test instead of a urinalysis test.
  • Relies on credible evidence from observation or from collaterals.
1932.3 Diluted Result

CPS October 2020

A diluted result indicates that a client did one or both of the following:

  • Consumed a large amount of fluids.
  • Took a diuretic.

When the lab indicates that a sample is diluted, the caseworker takes one the following actions to make a conclusion about the client’s use:

  • Has the client retested.
  • Requests a different type of testing, such as a hair strand test instead of a urinalysis test.
  • Relies on credible evidence from observation or from collaterals.
1932.4 Presumptive Positive Result

CPS October 2020

A presumptive positive result on a drug test means that the parent or caregiver’s sample (saliva or urine) contains drug chemicals that have met the screening threshold for an oral fluid screen device (such as iScreen), oral fluid test (such as a cheek swab), or urinalysis test.

A more accurate, though time-consuming, lab confirmation test is necessary to verify presumptive positive results and to rule out any claim of a false positive by the client. Any presumptive positive oral swab requires confirmation by requesting a urinalysis test.

When a lab test confirms a presumptive positive result, this is called a “verified positive result.”

1932.5 Positive Result

CPS October 2020

A positive result on a drug test confirms that use of or exposure to a detectable substance has occurred within the time frame that the test can detect.

A medical review officer (MRO) verifies all positive results.

The caseworker assesses a positive result in relation to the child’s safety and risk. The caseworker discusses the result with the parent or caregiver in a timely manner.

If a parent or caregiver with a positive result is not engaged in treatment for a substance use disorder and is actively parenting a child, the caseworker considers making a referral for the parent or caregiver to one of the following:

  • The regional outreach, screening, assessment, and referral (OSAR) center.
  • A facility that offers treatment for substance use disorders.

If the parent or caregiver is already engaged in treatment for a substance use disorder, the caseworker informs the primary counselor at the facility that is treating the parent or caregiver of the positive result to help the facility tailor treatment services to individual needs.

See:

1962 Safety and Risk When Substances Are Present

1971 Referral to Treatment

1932.6 Positive Result with a Valid Prescription

CPS October 2020

If a parent or caregiver has a positive result and attributes it to a prescription medication, the caseworker determines whether the positive result is from the reported source.

If the parent or caregiver has a valid prescription and is using it as prescribed by a licensed health care professional, a positive result is not considered a “false positive.” It is a positive result that has been validated.

If the caseworker is concerned that the parent or caregiver is abusing prescription medication, the caseworker does the following:

  • Verifies the instructions on the container match the parent or caregiver’s statement.
  • Verifies that the prescription has a recent date, if possible.
  • Verifies that the patient name on the container matches the parent or caregiver’s name, if possible.

If the caseworker still suspects misuse of prescription medication, the caseworker may request that the client count the pills in the caseworker’s presence (or, if the medication is not pills, measure the quantity by an appropriate method).

The caseworker documents any prescribed medication in the case record as details in the Contact Narrative in IMPACT.

The caseworker shares the information about the parent or caregiver’s prescription medication with the lab’s medical review officer (MRO). The MRO assesses whether the medication would have caused the test result.

See also 1940 Prescription Medication.

1933 Client Admission

CPS October 2020

DFPS accepts a parent or caregiver’s verbal or written admission of substance use as a positive indication of the use. However, it is best practice for the caseworker to ask the parent or caregiver to sign a statement of the use. The caseworker determines on a case-by-case basis whether a drug test is also necessary.

See 1910 Drug Testing Considerations.

1934 Refusal to Test

CPS October 2020

When drug testing is appropriate, but the parent or caregiver refuses to take a drug test, the caseworker documents the refusal in a Contact Narrative in IMPACT.

The caseworker consults with the supervisor if a parent or caregiver refuses to take a drug test or refuses to allow a child who is an alleged perpetrator to be drug tested. The supervisor may recommend legal intervention, if there is sufficient concern for a child’s safety in the home.

For cases under court jurisdiction, the caseworker notifies the judge and attorneys about the client’s refusal to test.

1940 Prescription Medication

CPS October 2020

If the parent or caregiver is prescribed one or more medications, the caseworker does the following:

  • Assesses the effects of the prescription medications on the ability of the parent or caregiver to provide supervision and to keep children safe.
  • Determines whether the parent or caregiver is taking his or her medication as prescribed.
  • Gets the parent or caregiver’s signature on Form 2063 Release of Confidential Information. If the parent or caregiver refuses to sign this form, the caseworker consults with the supervisor about whether to request legal intervention.
  • Communicates with the prescribing health care professional after the release of confidential information form is signed, if the caseworker is concerned about prescription misuse.

See:

1932.6 Positive Result with a Valid Prescription

1971.3 Forms for Referral to Substance Use Services

Additional information on the Compassionate Use Act

1950 Authorization for Drug Testing and Services for Substance Use Disorders

CPS October 2020

The caseworker follows the procedures in 8161.1 Active Cases – Authorizing, Extending, or Terminating Direct Services to do any of the following:

  • Authorize additional substance use services by using Form 2054 Service Authorization in IMPACT.
  • Extend or reauthorize drug testing.
  • End drug testing before the end date on Form 2054 Service Authorization in IMPACT.

1960 Substance Use that Affects Children and Youth

1961 Assessment of Substance Use

CPS October 2020

When assessing substance use by a parent or caregiver, the caseworker determines the following:

  • What substance or substances the parent or caregiver is using.
  • The severity of the parent or caregiver’s use (frequency, quantity, and physical dependency).
  • The negative effects of the use on the parent or caregiver (physically, behaviorally, cognitively, socially, and financially).
  • The effects of the parent or caregiver’s use on the child (for example: prenatal exposure, household safety, lack of supervision, support systems, and any risky relationships which may cause harm to the child).
  • The parent or caregiver’s protective capacity.
1961.1 Safety during Home Visits When Substances Are Present

CPS October 2020

A caseworker follows DFPS policy on home visitation when conducting a home visit.

See:

2000 Intake, Investigation, and Assessment

12200 Contacts in Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS)

The caseworker may need to take additional safety measures when the intake report, investigation, or case record indicates substances are present in the home.

If, during a home visit, one or both parents or caregivers appear to be under the influence, and this poses a safety threat to the child or children, the caseworker does the following:

  • First, ensures his or her own safety and the safety of the child or children.
  • Calls law enforcement for assistance.
  • Calls the supervisor for further guidance.

If the caseworker suspects that he or she has arrived at a home that is used as a drug factory, lab, or place where drugs are sold, the caseworker does the following:

  • Calmly leaves the home.
  • Calls law enforcement.
  • Calls the supervisor for further guidance.

If the caseworker observes substances or substance use while in the home, the caseworker does the following:

  • Does not take possession of any drug or any evidence.
  • Calls the supervisor for further guidance.

Considerations for Removal

DFPS does not remove a child from the home simply because the parent or caregiver is intoxicated or under the influence of substances.

The caseworker weighs the following factors before deciding the action to take, when faced with a parent or caregiver who is under the influence:

  • The child’s safety.
  • The potential risk.
  • The protective capacities of the parent or caregiver.
  • DFPS removal policies.

1962 Safety and Risk When Substances Are Present

CPS October 2020

The caseworker needs to determine whether the use of a substance does either of the following:

  • Puts a child in situations of danger or harm.
  • Places the child at risk of abuse or neglect.

Immediate Safety

In assessing the child’s immediate safety, the caseworker considers the following:

  • Behavior of the parent or caregiver (that is, behaviors that put child safety at risk).
  • Signs of impairment by the parent or caregiver (such as altered perception of time, or lack of concentration and coordination that places the child at risk).
  • The presence or absence of a sober, protective parent or caregiver who has sufficient protective capacities to manage threats.
  • Each child’s age and level of vulnerability to measure the extent to which threats or risk of harm is present.
  • Whether the child’s basic needs are being met.
  • Accessibility of substances to the child. (For example, the child has immediate access to substances, or the child has previously accessed substances and the parents or caregivers have not provided additional safety precautions to make sure it will not occur again.)
  • Physical safety. (For example, the living environment is unsafe for the child.)

Risk in Foreseeable Future

To assess the risk of abuse and neglect in the foreseeable future, if DFPS were no longer involved, the caseworker completes the following tasks:

  • Conducts a full Risk Assessment.
  • Talks to professional collaterals (such as school officials or child care staff).
  • Assesses prior CPS and CPI history and case results.
  • Assesses prior criminal history.
  • Assesses current and past substance use.
  • Assesses prior or current participation in programs for the treatment of substance use disorders.
  • Reviews mental health or psychiatric history.
  • Talks to collaterals (such as friends and family members who visit the home) about the parent or caregiver’s past and current substance use.
  • Asks about the presence or absence of a sober, protective parent or caregiver who has sufficient protective capacities to manage threats.

1963 Children and Youth Who Are Exposed to or Using Substances

1963.1 Infants Exposed to or Affected by Substances

CPS October 2020

DFPS handles all cases involving an infant prenatally exposed to or affected by substances on a case-by-case basis.

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires policies and procedures to address the needs of infants who have been exposed to substances. This act requires appropriate referrals to child protective services and other appropriate services, while developing a plan of safe care for the infant and the family.

A plan of safe care is designed to ensure the safety and well-being of the infant and the family after the release from the postnatal care of a provider (such as a hospital) by addressing the following:

  • Health needs of the infant.
  • Health needs of the mother.
  • Need for treatment for a substance use disorder for the affected parent or caregiver, as indicated.

A plan of safe care monitors the family’s use of community resources (in accordance with state requirements for this monitoring).

DFPS develops a plan of safe care for all infants affected by or exposed to substance use. The plan is developed with input from the parents and other caregivers, as well as any professionals and agencies involved in care for the infant and the family.

1963.2 Children and Youth Who Are Not in DFPS Conservatorship and Are Not Emancipated

CPS October 2020

Guiding Principle

When a caseworker becomes aware that a child or youth (referred to as a minor in this section) is using substances, the caseworker treats the situation as a medical concern that the parent or caregiver must address.

Caseworker Responsibilities

Unless legally married or otherwise legally emancipated, a youth is not considered an adult until age 18, even if the youth is a parent.

Court orders requiring drug testing supersede the policy below.

The caseworker does not conduct a drug test on the minor.

See 1914 Requirements for Requesting a Drug Test.

If the alleged perpetrator is a minor parent and the allegations concern substance use by the minor parent, the caseworker does the following:

  • Encourages medical care for the minor parent to ensure his or her health and well-being needs are met.
  • Gets written consent from the minor parent’s parent or legal guardian to send the minor parent to a lab for drug testing.

If the parent or legal guardian refuses to give written consent for the testing, the caseworker consults with the supervisor about whether to request legal intervention.

See 1963.3 Children and Youth in DFPS Conservatorship, if applicable.

Substance Use by a Minor without the Consent of the Parent or Caregiver

In this situation, the caseworker’s role is to do the following:

  • Encourage the parent or caregiver to seek medical care for the minor, including drug testing, through a health care facility or the minor’s primary care physician (PCP).
  • Help the family access community resources or formal treatment, as needed.
  • Empower the parent or caregiver to address the minor’s health, which may be negatively affected by the minor’s substance use.

Substance Use by a Minor with the Consent of the Parent or Caregiver

In this situation, the caseworker’s role is to do the following:

  • Assess for child safety and risk.
  • Evaluate the minor for a possible substance use disorder.
  • Determine whether additional intervention or treatment is appropriate.
  • Determine whether the parent or caregiver was providing the substance to the minor.
  • Help the medical provider evaluate the minor.

DFPS seeks the parent or legal guardian’s consent to drug test the minor at a medical facility or lab. If the parent or legal guardian refuses to consent, DFPS seeks a court order to drug test the minor. DFPS does not request that the parent or legal guardian independently seek drug testing for the minor.

If the minor’s drug test has a positive result, the caseworker does the following:

  • Seeks immediate medical care to ensure the health and safety of the minor.
  • Refers the minor to OSAR (if the minor is age 13 or older) for a clinical assessment to determine whether the minor needs treatment services for a substance use disorder, as indicated.
  • Seeks community-based support, if the minor is age 12 or younger.

See 1971.1 Referral to Outreach, Screening, Assessment, and Referral (OSAR) Center.

Substance Exposure to a Minor from Environmental Contamination

Environmental contamination exists when a living environment or home is contaminated by chemicals from drug handling, use, or manufacture that could harm a person living there.

The caseworker seeks immediate medical care for the minor if environmental contamination is suspected to adversely affect the minor’s health. If recommended by the health care professional, the minor is drug tested (with consent of the parent or legal guardian, or a court order) at an emergency room, medical facility, or contracted lab.

If the minor’s drug test has a positive result, the caseworker shares the results with the physician or medical care provider, as well as the parent or caregiver, to make sure the minor receives appropriate medical follow-up and referrals related to the substance exposure.

1963.3 Children and Youth in DFPS Conservatorship

CPS October 2020

Guiding Principle

DFPS takes a medical approach when addressing substance use because of the physical and psychological harm the use may cause to a child or youth.

Caseworker Responsibilities

If a caseworker or medical consenter suspects that a child or youth may be misusing or abusing substances, the caseworker or medical consenter may have the child or youth drug tested only by a medical provider.

The caseworker and medical consenter do not conduct drug tests on the child or youth.

If the child or youth appears to require immediate medical care, the caseworker must take the child or youth to an emergency medical facility.

To have a child or youth drug tested by a medical provider, the caseworker or medical consenter makes an appointment with the child or youth’s health care provider or primary care physician (PCP).

The caseworker or medical consenter then informs the health care provider or PCP about the concern for the child or youth’s possible use of or exposure to substances.

Exception

If a youth is under the supervision of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) or the county juvenile probation department, the juvenile system may drug test the youth.

1963.4 Youth in Extended Care or Return to Care

CPS October 2020

Youth who are age 18 or older and are receiving extended care or return-to-care services are considered young adults. Young adults are subject to the drug testing policy for adults. While in a DFPS paid placement, the young adult must follow the voluntary agreement that he or she signed to remain in extended care or return-to-care services.

If the caseworker suspects that a young adult is using substances, the caseworker does the following:

  • Makes the appropriate referrals to services to assess whether treatment for a substance use disorder is needed.
  • Encourages the young adult to seek services.

1970 Treatment and Other Resources for Substance Use

1971 Referral to Treatment

1971.1 Referral to Outreach, Screening, Assessment, and Referral (OSAR) Center

CPS October 2020

Caseworkers use their regional outreach, screening, assessment, and referral (OSAR) center when seeking treatment for a substance use disorder for a client age 13 or older.

OSAR centers facilitate access to treatment services for substance use disorders, including intervention, treatment, and recovery options, as well as other community resources.

1971.2 Direct Referral to Treatment Provider

CPS October 2020

The caseworker may refer a client directly to a provider of treatment for substance use disorders when any of the following applies:

  • No provider of outreach, screening, assessment, and referral (OSAR) services is available within 14 business days.
  • The distance to an OSAR center is excessive, and the OSAR center provider cannot travel to the client.
  • The client has other means (such as health insurance) to get treatment services for a substance use disorder.
1971.3 Forms for Referral to Substance Use Services

CPS October 2020

To make a referral to an OSAR center or a direct referral to a treatment provider, the caseworker submits the following forms before the date when the client will be screened for a substance use disorder:

1971.4 Purchase of Treatment Services for Substance Use Disorders for Eligible Clients

CPS October 2020

DFPS may purchase treatment services for substance use disorders through existing DFPS contracts, when the necessary treatment services are unavailable through other state-funded providers.

DFPS clients may find state-funded treatment services unavailable for the following reasons:

  • The distance to an existing provider is too far for the client to travel.
  • The treatment that the client most needs has a waiting list.
  • The services that are available are insufficient to meet the client’s needs.
  • The client does not meet the financial eligibility requirements for state-funded services.

The caseworker completes Form 2054 Service Authorization, located in IMPACT, to purchase substance use disorder treatment services through existing DFPS contracts.

The caseworker contacts the regional contract specialist for a list of available DFPS contracts.

1971.41 Changes to an Existing Contract

CPS October 2020

When services are provided through an existing DFPS contract, rather than through a state-funded provider, the caseworker speaks with the primary counselor at the provider to determine whether any additional units (hours) of service, extensions, or reauthorizations are needed for the service.

See 1971.4 Purchase of Treatment Services for Substance Use Disorders for Eligible Clients.

1972 Resources When Treatment Is Not Recommended

CPS October 2020

In some cases, a qualified credentialed counselor (QCC) performs a clinical assessment for a client, and the QCC does not recommend treatment services for the client. When this happens, the caseworker makes sure the parent or caregiver uses the community resources that the QCC recommended to help the client who may need intervention services or recovery support services.

1973 Resources When Treatment Is Unavailable or Difficult to Access

CPS October 2020

A lack of resources and other logistical circumstances may prevent a client from getting certain services to treat a substance use disorder. This may occur for reasons such as the following:

  • Treatment is not available.
  • Resources are scarce.
  • The waiting list for services is long.
  • The distance to a service provider is too far to travel.

The caseworker uses other community resources while the client is waiting for treatment or until treatment becomes available.

1980 Casework and Substance Use

1981 Substance Use Affecting a Parent-Child Visit or FGDM Conference

CPS October 2020

Court orders supersede the following DFPS policies.

Parent-Child Visit

If a parent appears to be under the influence of any substance, and there is a concern for child safety, the caseworker assesses child safety and the level of supervision needed during the visit.

If the child will not be in danger, DFPS may allow the visit on a case-by-case basis.

Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) Conference

If a parent, caregiver, or other participant is visibly under the influence of a substance in a way that threatens child safety during a family group decision making (FGDM) conference, the caseworker asks the participant to leave the conference.

The caseworker does not conduct an oral fluid drug test during the FGDM conference. Any required testing occurs after the conference and preferably at a different location.

The caseworker, in collaboration with the FGDM facilitator, weighs the benefits of the person’s participation in the FGDM conference, compared to the risk to child safety.

If the child will not be in danger, DFPS may allow the participation.

1982 Recovery, Relapse, and Long-Term Planning

CPS October 2020

Guiding Principle

Recovery from substance use is a long process, and, under the Federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (P.L.105-89), DFPS can be involved with a family only for a limited time.

For that reason, a caseworker and treatment providers communicate regularly and remain aware of the time limits for DFPS involvement with the family.

1982.1 Indicators of Progress in Recovery

CPS October 2020

Indicators of progress in recovery that the caseworker can rely on in considering the next step in the DFPS case, while maintaining child safety, can include the following:

  • Attendance at, engagement in, maintenance of, or completion of a treatment program for a substance use disorder.
  • Participation or engagement in community-based recovery support or after-care programs (such as recovery support services, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous).
  • Achieving and sustaining a period of abstinence from substances.
  • Compliance with the DFPS service plan.
  • Compliance with the DFPS safety plan, if there is one.
  • Development of a relapse safety plan. See 1982.2 Relapse Safety Plan.
  • Achievement of parenting goals.
  • Establishment of a pattern of negative results on drug tests.
  • Consistent attendance at and participation in visits with the child or children.
  • Behavioral changes.
  • Getting or maintaining employment (if applicable).
  • No new reports of criminal activity.
  • No new substantiated allegations of abuse or neglect that are related to substance use.
  • Administration of prescription medications as prescribed (if applicable).
1982.2 Relapse Safety Plan

CPS October 2020

Guiding Principle

Relapse is a return to a pattern of substance use after a period of non-use.

In the relapse safety plan, the client, along with a trusted support system, plans to ensure the safety of the child or children, in case relapse becomes an issue.

Court orders supersede any actions that the client requests in the relapse safety plan.

A relapse safety plan can be developed at any stage of service.

Caseworkers can learn how to develop a relapse safety plan by referring to the Developing a Recovery and Relapse Plan guide on the Child Welfare and SUD (Substance Use Disorder): The Basics page of the DFPS intranet.

At the end of any case involving substance use, the caseworker may advise the client to remain engaged with the client’s support system.

See 1982 Recovery, Relapse, and Long-Term Planning.

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