Information for Resource Families

Caregivers are one of the most important sources of information about the children in their care.

Samantha Jones and family

Courts, lawyers, and social workers should have the benefit of caregivers’ perceptions about the children in their care. Caregivers are the people who know the children better than anyone in the system. Caregivers raise the children and are with them 24/7, whereas the social worker may only see them once a month and the CASA may only see them once a week. 

Both federal and state law recognizes the importance of foster parents’ participation in juvenile court proceedings and require information sharing with caregivers. Federal law requires that foster parents and other caregivers receive expanded opportunities for notice, the right to participate in dependency court review and permanency hearings, and the right to communicate concerns to the courts. State law similarly provides that caregivers may submit their concerns to courts in writing. On October 26, 2021 the California Department of Social Services published an All County Information Notice in order to "remind county child welfare service agencies...of the requirement to provide the caregiver with a hearing notice and a Caregiver Information Form (JV-290 form) and JV-290 Instruction Sheet for Caregiver Information Form (JV-290 INFO) that the caregiver may complete and submit to the juvenile court."  See All County Information Notice No. I-87-21a

Basic Information All Resource Family Caregivers Should Have

When the agency places a child, the caregiver is provided with a "caregiver placement agreement."  This agreement should contain the basic information needed for the caregiver to provide for that child's needs while placed in their care, including all of the following:

NOTE:  The minor's attorney is required to provide his or her contact information to the child's caregiver no later than 10 days after receipt of the caregiver's contact information.  If the child is 10 years or older, his or her attorney must provide that contact info directly to the child no later than 10 days after receipt of the caregiver's contact information.  California Rule of Court, Rule 5.660(d)(5)

NOTE: If you are a caregiver for a foster child in Los Angeles County, you may send a request for a child’s Social Security Number (SSN) to [email protected]gov LADCFS will provide the child’s SSN upon request, if they have it. See LADCFS's policy on SSN requests HERE.

If you are the caregiver of a child in the care and custody of a county other than Los Angeles and the county is not providing a foster child’s SSN as required by law, please email Advokids at [email protected] and we will try to assist you.

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FOR MORE INFO:  The Judicial Council of California released a Primer containing general information for foster and relative caregivers about the dependency court process, as well as, some specific suggestions on how to participate and advocate for the foster child in your care.   By providing the juvenile court with current, detailed information, you can help the court to make the best possible decisions for the child.  To review the Primer, please click here.

 

NOTE about the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA):  It is imperative that everyone - attorneys, social workers, the court - ask whether a foster child may have Indian heritage at the very beginning of a dependency case. If ICWA is not followed the case may be overturned or invalidated at any stage, including post finalization of an adoption. Please see our ICWA page for more information.

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Resource Family Caregivers Are Entitled To:

 

NOTE FOR LOS ANGELES COUNTY CASES:  Caregivers who have concerns or questions about court hearing notices and/or JV-290 forms, you may email your inquiries to the inbox at [email protected]gov, or call (213) 351-5602 or (213) 352-5603 during standard business hours.

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Communicating with the County Welfare Agency

Advokids encourages foster child advocates to report serious concerns about the health, safety, and welfare of a child in foster care to the county child welfare agency. All communications should be in writing, and if the concern is serious enough, the correspondence should be sent to not only the assigned social worker, but also his/her supervising social worker. Copies of all letters of concern sent to the county child welfare agency should also be sent to the assigned social worker, the child's attorney, County Counsel, the CASA, if one has been appointed, and the Foster Family Agency social worker. Example of letter of concern (pdf)

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Communicating with the Court:  Guidelines for completing and filing a JV-290 Caregiver Information Form

The JV-290 Caregiver Information Form is a simple form that helps you organize detailed information about the child and communicate with the court. As a foster parent or relative caregiver, you know the most about the child's current circumstances and needs, and should provide any information or concerns you may have to the juvenile court. The goal is to enable the judge to make informed decisions about the child and reach the best outcome regarding the disposition of the child. You may use the JV-290 to describe the child and alert the court to potential placement disruptions, visitation issues, and any unmet needs.

The JV-290 form may be submitted in connection with court review hearings, which are held every six months, starting with the "6-month review hearing." For more information regarding review hearings, please visit our Dependency Court Process page.

Foster parents in California have fought to pass legislation to ensure your right to attend review hearings, file a JV-290, and play an active role in the juvenile court process. Even if your Foster Family Agency files a JV-290, we recommend that you file one as well.

When completing the JV-290 Caregiver Information Form, be sure to be factual, provide specific information, and remain child-centered, positive and kind. You may also want to:

  • Attach a photo so the judge can put a beautiful, smiling face to a name and file number.
  • Report all the positive developments in the child’s life and the progress made.
  • Share any concerns or individual needs the child may have that are or are not being met.  We encourage caregivers to reach out to medical providers to advocate for the child's mental and physical health.  You can use this sample Request for Medical Services letter to contact pediatricians, mental health professionals and any other providers who treat the child.
  • If possible, attach letters from doctors, teachers, or other professionals to support your concerns or requests for services. If you have attachments, be sure to check the box on item 12, indicate the total number of pages attached, and include the date and the case number. Label each attachment page “Attachment to JV-290, Date, Case Number.”
  • The court is required by law to "consider the report and recommendation" included in the JV-290 "prior to determining any disposition."  Welfare and Institutions Code § 366.21(d)

When you file your JV-290, you are also developing a relationship with your juvenile court judge and all other parties involved with the case. Your JV-290 will become a part of the court file and will reflect your dedication and commitment to the child. You should file JV-290s faithfully and consistently prior to every review hearing, starting with the six-month hearing. Down the road, if you need to solicit assistance from the juvenile court regarding your child, your JV-290 Forms will help the judge track your participation in review hearings and will show how hard you have worked on behalf of the child in your care. JV-290 Forms should be filed two weeks before the scheduled review hearing.

For your benefit, the Judicial Council also created the JV-290 Instruction Sheet, which provides detailed instructions for filling out and filing the JV-290. You will find the forms below.

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Filing Your JV-290 in Person at the Courthouse

At least five calendar days before the hearing, bring your completed JV-290 form with copies to the Juvenile Court Clerk's office for filing.  The court filing clerk will sometimes make copies for you but we advise you to bring additional copies just in case (some counties only require 1 or 2 additional copies, some you need to bring 8).  The clerk will then distribute, or "serve" your JV-290 to all of the relevant people involved in the case.   Be sure to keep one copy stamped "filed" by the Clerk, for your records.  California Rules of Court, Rule 5.534(k)(6)

Make sure to bring the following documents with you:

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Filing Your JV-290 by Mail

At least seven days prior to the hearing date, mail your completed JV-290 form with attachments to the juvenile court filing clerk's office (where the hearing will be held).  Include however many copies required in your envelope (default is 8 unless you call beforehand and confirm the clerk only requires 1-2 copies).  Include a cover letter indicating the mailing is for "filing and service" and that you request a "file-endorsed" copy returned in the self-addressed stamped envelope you have provided. The clerk is responsible for providing copies of your form to all parties and completing the proof of service.

 

E-Filing Your JV-290

You have the option to e-file your JV-290 in the following counties:

Other counties may also offer e-filing in their juvenile divisions.  If you are in a different county and wish to e-file, you should call the court clerk’s office to learn whether the juvenile court currently accepts submissions by e-file.  Be sure to specify that you are inquiring about filing in juvenile court, as counties may permit e-filing in other courts, but not the juvenile division.  

 

Requirement for Foster Family Agency to File a Report or JV-290

If you are a caregiver licensed through a foster family agency (FFA), consider reaching out to your FFA case worker regarding whether the FFA will file a JV-290 Caregiver form or a report with the juvenile dependency court prior to the status review hearing or implementation of the permanent plan (366.26) hearing as required in Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.21(d).  Welfare and Institutions Code § 366.21(d)

 

The Reasonable Prudent Parent Standard

The standard used by a caregiver or licensee that is characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintains the foster child’s health, safety, and best interest.  Welfare and Institutions Code § 362.04(a)(2) and (c)

For more information, see the California Department of Social Services All County Information Notice, “Questions and Answers (Q&A) Regarding Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standards.”

 

Support for Caregivers

Caregivers often need assistance in navigating the juvenile dependency system.  It can be very helpful to reach out to other caregivers in your area who may be experiencing similar struggles and/or are familiar with the local child welfare agency and local court system.  Other caregivers can often provide tips and advice that can prove invaluable to improving your dependent child's life.  Additionally, there may be offices in your county that are there to help you with specific legal, financial and other struggles you may be facing.  If you are in need of legal assistance or general support beyond what Advokids can provide, please consult this Directory of local caregiver associations and county offices.

 

Need Immediate Assistance for an Escalating Situation in Your Home?

The California Family Urgent Response System  is a free hotline for current or former foster youth and their caregivers to call and get immediate help for any issues (big or small) they may be having. The hotline is open 24 hours per day. When you call the FURS hotline, you will be connected with a trained counselor or peer who will listen to you. FURS is a safe and private space to talk. If more support is needed, a local team can come directly to where you are to help you work on the problem and create a plan to help stabilize your situation and keep everyone safe. The team will also help connect you to local services and future support. If you need assistance, CALL OR TEXT: 1-833-939-FURS (3877) or visit online at www.cal-furs.org.

FURS is a coordinated statewide, regional, and county-level system designed to provide collaborative and timely state-level phone-based response and county-level in-home, in-person mobile response during situations of instability, to preserve the relationship of the caregiver and the child or youth. For additional FURS program resources and background information, please click here.

 

Legal Disclaimer: Advokids provides educational information and resources to those who use our website, call our hotline, or submit requests for information via the website. Any information provided may not be construed as the giving of legal advice to any person about a particular legal matter and should not be relied upon as the basis for taking a particular action or refraining from taking a particular action in any legal matter. If you want or need legal advice about a particular legal matter, you should consult a lawyer.

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