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The Georgia Cold Case Project

Appendix C. DFCS Case Review Follow-Up Telephone Conference Script

Georgia Cold Case Project DFCS Case Review Follow-Up Telephone Conference Script

First introduce all participants on the follow up call within a couple of minutes after the starting time, including who they are.

1. Background.

The Supreme Court of Georgia Committee on Justice for Children is sponsoring a one-year Cold Case Project. This project is be- ing done in full partnership and support with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services and the Georgia Office of the Child Advocate, and is funded by Title IV-E money. There are eleven Cold Case Project Fellows who will review DFCS records of children in foster care for 2 years or more, where TPR has occurred and the PP is APPLA. The purpose of the project is two-fold: 1) to determine whether we can improve permanency outcomes for these kids; 2) to help the Supreme Court shape statewide child welfare policy based on what we learn from this experience.

The Supreme Court and DFCS share an interest in this area because research shows that aging-out of foster care leads to bad outcomes for children – they are less likely to complete their education, they are more likely to end up homeless and in prison. Further, Georgia faces large fines for these children, including those imposed if the Children and Family Services Review (“CFSR”) is not passed. We’re hopeful our combined efforts can improve the lives of foster kids.

A difference between Permanency Roundtables (PRT) which have and are being held, and the Cold Case Project (CCP) is that the PRT focus on the social work aspect of the cases, while this Project focuses on the legal aspects of the cases. In addition to reviewing permanency options which have been explored legally, the Fellows will look for current diligent search reports, case plans, signed written transition living plans, referrals to independent living, permanency hearing orders, reasonable efforts to achieve permanency documentation, compelling reason documentation and more. These are items which are going to be nec- essary for the federal government to see in the DFCS records during the next CFSR. If these items are not in the record, the State faces huge fines and penalties are paid for these children. The good news is, many of these items can be “fixed” if missing from the current records and can be included in all future records.

2. Questions. Do any of you have questions or concerns about the Cold Case Project?

3. Case Review Summary.

We reviewed # cases in your office on day

,

date

.

The cases were:

[insert names here]

The fellows who reviewed the record(s) are _ who reviewed __

and

__

who reviewed

___

.

[Let the attendees talk after you provide a very brief overview.]

4. Here are the strengths of what we see in your files… Here are some things we think we could use improvement… [Go through each of 10 points and say based on the review of the record, did or did not see. If did not see, can ask is perhaps they have more information about that point.]

[Follow with questions to DFCS participants; let them talk.]

Is there a permanency option that we haven’t explored? What is needed to help you achieve permanency for these kids?

5. The Next Step. A summary of the key points we have discussed will be emailed to you shortly. If there is anyone else with DFCS who you would like to have this information, please feel free to forward, or let us know to include them in the process. Thank you again for working with us and allowing our fellows to review your records. Throughout this year don’t hesitate to call us about the project!

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