The Placement Services Program was established to provide responsive and comprehensive placement services to children in need of out-of-home placement. All of the Department's placement activities are conducted within the Placement Services program by placement services child welfare workers and staff in coordination with the case carrying child welfare worker.
Department policy regarding placement is to strive to carry out the concurrent planning philosophy of placement. The Department prioritizes family reunification and if that is not an option, efforts are made to identify a permanent home with an available and willing relative or non-related extended family member (NREFM). The Department ensures that the choice of placement will provide stability and appropriate care from the outset for the duration of time the child remains out-of-home with the goal of establishing timely permanence.
Public child welfare systems have been imagining a world without group homes as a result of Continuum Care Reform (CCR). CCR draws together a series of existing and new reforms to the state child welfare services programs designed out of an understanding that children who must live apart from their biological parents do best when they are cared for in committed nurturing family homes. Of the large number of children and youth in foster care in our great state, a good number of them are living in what we know as group homes. It is safe to assume that many of these young people can be successfully cared for in a traditional family setting with the necessary supports and the promise of CCR is that all children will live with a committed, permanent and nurturing family.
To assure our children and youth are not languishing in group home placements that do not meet their very unique needs, California Department of Social Services (CDSS) created a more specific type of congregate care placement, the Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP), to effectively replace group home placements as we know it. STRTPs provide an integrated treatment model of 24-hour specialized intensive care and supervision. STRTPs use trauma-informed and culturally relevant practices to offer the core services and supports children and youth in foster care need. When a child or youth is placed in a STRTP, the STRTP works collaboratively alongside the County to support them in transitioning to a home-based setting with a Resource Parent (which includes community partners, relatives & fictive kin).