Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System: Wraparound Service Program in Santa Clara County, California . 2.3 Referrals


Case managers from the Departments of Family and Children's Services, (DFCS), Mental Health, and Juvenile Probation make referrals for wraparound services. About 50 percent of referrals are from DFCS, 45 percent are from Mental Health, and 5 percent are from Juvenile Probation. The flow of referrals from these departments into wraparound programs is diagrammed in Figure 1.

Figure 1.
Wraparound Services Referral Flow

Wraparound Services Referral Flow

Referrals are submitted by case managers in these three departments to the Resource and Intensive Service Committee (RISC) for review. The team consists of representatives from Juvenile Probation, Mental Health, and DFCS, the four local residential treatment facilities -- including EMQ and Rebekah (the two wraparound program), the regional center for developmentally delayed children, and the child psychiatric hospital. DFCS referrals are primarily made for children who are currently residing in level 12 - 14 group homes but who case managers believe could function effectively in a less restrictive environment with appropriate support services. The team reviews all referrals at a weekly meeting and decides whether the children should be assigned to the wraparound programs or admitted or maintained in a residential facility. In making their decision, team members consider whether there is a parent, foster, or group home available and the child's symptoms and intensity of need. Parents with serious substance abuse problems, families who have adequate support from family and friends, and children who pose a risk to the community are not assigned to wraparound programs. In addition, wraparound providers may refuse a referral if they can't provide the services necessary to help a particular family, such as specialized treatment for sexual perpetrators or children who set fires.

Assignment to one of the two wraparound programs may depend on available slots. Each program has a limited number of slots designated for Juvenile Probation, Mental Health, and DFCS. A DFCS referral is assigned to the program with an open DFCS slot. Although both programs serve all of Santa Clara County, whenever all other considerations are equal, assignment to a program may be determined by geographical factors. For instance, if the referred child's family resides in southern Santa Clara County, they are referred to Compadres because of its proximity.