District of Columbia Code Division I. Government of District. § 4-1301.02. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter:

(1) “Abused”, when used in reference to a child, shall have the same meaning as is provided in § 16-2301(23) .

(2) “Adoption promotion and support services” means services and activities designed to encourage more adoptions of committed children, when such adoptions promote the best interest of the children, including such activities as pre-and post-adoptive services and activities designed to expedite the adoption process and support adoptive families.

(2A) Except where used in title IV of this act, “Agency” means the Child and Family Services Agency established by § 4-1303.01a .

(2A-i) “Behavioral health” means a person's overall social, emotional, and psychological well-being and development.

(2A-ii) “Behavioral health assessment” means a more thorough and comprehensive examination by a mental health professional of all behavioral health issues and needs identified during an initial behavioral health screening by which the mental health professional shall identify the type and extent of the behavioral health problem and make recommendations for treatment interventions.

(2A-iii) “Behavioral health screening” means a brief process designed to identify youth who are at risk of having behavioral health disorders that warrant immediate attention, or intervention, or to identify the need for further assessment with a more comprehensive examination.

(2B) “CAC” means Safe Shores, the District of Columbia's Children's Advocacy Center.

(3) “Case plan” means a written document concerning a child that includes at least the following:

(A) A description of the type of home or institution in which the child is to be placed, including a discussion of the safety and appropriateness of the placement and how the agency that is responsible for the child plans to carry out the voluntary placement agreement or judicial determination made with respect to the child;

(B) A plan for assuring that the child receives safe and proper care and that services are available to the parents, child, and foster parents in order to improve conditions in the parents' home, facilitate return of the child to his or her own safe home or to the child's permanent placement, and address the child's needs while a committed child, including the appropriateness of services provided to the child under the plan.  With respect to a child who has attained 14 years of age, the plan, and any revision or addition to the plan, shall be developed in consultation with the child and, at the option of the child, with up to 2 members of the case-planning team who are chosen by the child and who are not a foster parent of, or caseworker for, the child.  The agency may reject an individual selected by a child to be a member of the case-planning team at any time if the agency has good cause to believe that the individual would not act in the best interests of the child.  One individual selected by a child to be a member of the child's case-planning team may be designated to be the child's advisor and, as necessary, advocate, with respect to the application of the reasonable and prudent parent standard to the child.

(C) To the extent available and accessible, the child's health and education records;

(D) Where appropriate, for a child 14 years of age or over, a written description of the programs and services which will help the child prepare for the transition from being a committed child to independent living;  and

(E) If the child's permanent plan is adoption or placement in another permanent home, documentation of the steps (including child specific recruitment efforts) taken to accomplish the following:

(i) Find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangement, such as with a legal custodian, with a kinship caregiver, or in independent living;

(ii) Place the child with an adoptive family, a kinship caregiver, a legal custodian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and

(iii) Finalize the adoption or legal custody or guardianship.

(F) In the case of a child with respect to whom the permanency plan is placement with a relative and receipt of kinship guardianship assistance payments under § 16-2399 , a description of the:

(i) Steps taken to determine that it is not appropriate for the child to be returned home or adopted;

(ii) Reasons for any separation of siblings, including individuals who would have been considered siblings of the child but for the termination of parental rights or death of a parent, during placement;

(iii) Reasons a permanent placement with a fit and willing relative through a kinship guardianship-assistance arrangement is in the child's best interests;

(iv) Ways in which the child meets the eligibility requirements for a kinship guardianship-assistance payment;

(v) Efforts made to discuss adoption by the child's relative foster parent as a more permanent alternative to legal guardianship and, in the case of a relative foster parent who has chosen not to pursue adoption, documentation of the reasons therefore;  and

(vi) Efforts made to discuss with the child's parent the kinship guardianship-assistance arrangement, or the reasons the efforts were not made;  and

(G) A plan for ensuring the educational stability of the child while in foster care, including:

(i) Assurances that the placement of the child in foster care takes into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement;  and

(ii)(I) An assurance that the Agency has coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies, as defined under section 9101(26) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, approved January 8, 2002 (115 Stat. 1425;   20 U.S.C. § 7801(26) ), to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement;  or

(II) If remaining in the school the child is enrolled in at the time of placement is not in the best interests of the child, assurances by the Agency and the local educational agencies to provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school, with all of the educational records of the child provided to the new school.

(4) “Child Protection Register” means the confidential index of all reports established pursuant to § 4-1302.01 .

(4A) “Consumer reporting agency” means a person or entity that assembles or evaluates consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports and the disclosure of file information to third parties.

(5) “Credible evidence” means any evidence that indicates that a child is an abused or neglected child, including the statement of any person worthy of belief.

(6) “Director” means the Director of the Child and Family Services Agency established by § 4-1302.01 .

(6A) “Domestic partnership” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(4) .

(7) “Drug” shall have the same meaning as the term “controlled substance” has in § 48-901.02(4) .

(8) “Drug-related activity” means the use, sale, distribution, or manufacture of a drug or drug paraphernalia without a legally valid license or medical prescription.

(9) “Entry into foster care” means the earlier of:

(A) The date of the first judicial finding that the child has been neglected; or

(B) The date that is 60 days after the date on which the child is removed from the home.

(9A) “Family assessment” means an evaluation, for the purpose of developing a service plan, to determine:

(A) A family's strengths and needs;

(B) The safety of any children in the home, including assessing whether there exists a risk of abuse or neglect of any child, but excludes a determination as to whether a report of abuse or neglect is substantiated, inconclusive, or unfounded;

(C) A family's ability to function as a cohesive unit;  and

(D) A family's access to resources.

(10) “Family preservation services” means services for children and families who are at risk of abuse or neglect, or in crisis, including:

(A) Services designed to help children return to families from which they have been removed, or be placed for adoption, where safe and appropriate, with a legal guardian, or, if adoption or legal guardianship is determined not to be safe and appropriate for a child, in another permanent living arrangement;

(B) Replacement prevention services;

(C) Services which provide follow-up care to families to whom a child has returned after commitment;

(D) Respite care services; and

(E) Services designed to improve parenting skills and abilities.

(11) Family support services' means community-based services to promote the safety and well-being of children and families, and designed to:

(A) Increase family strength and stability;

(B) Increase parent confidence and competence;

(C) Afford children safe, stable, and supportive family environments;  and

(D) Otherwise enhance child development.

(12) “God parent” means an individual identified by a relative of the child by blood, marriage, domestic partnership, or adoption, in a sworn affidavit, to have close personal or emotional ties with the child or the child's family, which pre-dated the child's placement with the individual.

(13) “Guardian ad litem” means an attorney appointed by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to represent the child's best interests in neglect proceedings.

(13A) “Inconclusive report” means a report, made pursuant to § 4-1321.03 , which cannot be proven to be either substantiated or unfounded.

(14) “Kinship caregiver” means an individual who:

(A) Is approved by the Division to provide kinship care;

(B) Is at least 21 years of age;

(C) Is providing, or is willing to provide for, the day-to-day care of a child; and

(D) Either:

(i) Is a relative of the child by blood, marriage, domestic partnership, or adoption;  or

(ii) Is a godparent of the child.

(15) “Law enforcement officer” means a sworn officer of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

(15A) “Neglected child” shall have the same meaning as is provided in § 16-2301(9) .

(15B) “Panel” means the Citizen Review Panel established by § 4-1303.51 .

(15C) “Placement disruption” means an unplanned move necessary to protect the safety and well-being of the youth.

(16) “Police” means the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

(16A) “Reasonable and prudent parent standard” means the standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child, that should be used when determining whether to allow a child to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.

(17) “Report” means a report to the police or the Agency of a suspected or known neglected child.

(18) Repealed.

(19) “Source” means the person or institution from whom a report originates.

(19A) “Substantiated report” means a report, made pursuant to § 4-1321.03 , which is supported by credible evidence and is not against the weight of the evidence.

(20) “Time-limited family reunification services” means services and activities provided to a committed child and to the child's parent, guardian, or custodian in order to facilitate the safe, appropriate, and timely reunification of the child during the 15 months following the child's entry into foster care.  Time-limited family reunification services include:

(A) Individual, group, and family counseling;

(B) Inpatient, residential, or outpatient substance abuse treatment services;

(C) Mental health services;

(D) Assistance to address domestic violence;

(E) Services designed to provide temporary child care and therapeutic services for families;  and

(F) Transportation to or from any of the services and activities described in this paragraph.

(20A) “Unfounded report” means a report, made pursuant to § 4-1321.03 , which is made maliciously or in bad faith or which has no basis in fact.

(21) Repealed.

(22) “Youth” means an individual under 18 years of age residing in the District and those classified as youth in the custody of the Agency who are 21 years of age or younger.


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