Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
Wisconsin Works (W-2) Manual
126.96.36.199 Child Welfare Case-by-Case Exception
188.8.131.52 Coordinating Services with the Child Welfare Agency
Applicants and participants who meet all financial and nonfinancial eligibility requirements are eligible for all W-2Wisconsin Works services even if the Dependent Child A person who resides with a parent and who is under the age of 18 or, if the person is a full-time student at a secondary school or a vocational or technical equivalent and is reasonably expected to complete the program before attaining the age of 19, is under the age of 19(ren) is temporarily absent from the home provided these four conditions are all met:
1. The child will not be or has not been continuously absent for more than three months; and is expected to return to the parent’s household.
2. The child’s absence is not the result of removing the child under a dispositional order which places custody of the child outside the home, indefinitely or for three or more months.
3. The custodial parent continues to exercise responsibility for the care and control of the child meaning the parent is responsible for decisions about the child’s education, health-care, and any treatment, hospitalization, and long-distance travel while the child is out-of-home.
4. The applicant or participant must report the absence of a child within five working days regardless of the number of children in the home.
The parent’s requirement to report the child’s absence to the W-2 agency within five working days begins on the day when the parent knows the child is absent from the home.
NOTE: The five day notification period is a federal TANFTemporary Assistance for Needy Families requirement and the time frame differs from the W-2 10-day notice of change requirement.
The temporary absence of a child policy is not applicable if there is at least one dependent child remaining in the home because then the dependent child requirement is met for W-2 nonfinancial eligibility.
A case-by-case exception to the “up-to-three month” temporary absence time period may apply when the absence is due to child welfare issues. Under the following circumstances, the temporary absence time period may be extended to up to six months if all of the following conditions are met:
1. The applicant or participant must report the child’s temporary absence due to child welfare issues to the W-2Wisconsin Works agency within five working days of the child’s temporary absence due to child welfare issues.
The parent’s requirement to report the child’s absence due to child welfare issues to the W-2 agency within five working days begins on the day when the parent knows the child is absent from the home due to child welfare issues.
The W-2 agency will accept a report of a child’s temporary absence from the Child Welfare agency as a report from the parent. The W-2 agency must inform a parent of any temporary absence report made by the Child Welfare agency on behalf of the parent.
When the Child Welfare agency is involved with the family, the W-2 agency must work with the Child Welfare agency to develop and implement procedures to meet the reporting requirement.
2. The Child Welfare agency confirms the child was removed from the home due to child welfare issues (e.g. when juvenile justice issues are involved, only child welfare issues are considered for meeting this policy requirement).
3. The parent maintains an appropriate home for the child based on determinations by the W-2 and Child Welfare agencies (e.g. the parent is not in a treatment center or other out-of-home placement). Because the Child Welfare agency has expertise in making determinations regarding safe and appropriate housing for the reunification of parents with their children, the W-2 agency should base their determination of an appropriate home for the child on the Child Welfare agency’s decision.
If the W-2 agency has any concerns about the safety and/or appropriateness of the home, the W-2 agency should contact the Child Welfare agency.
Note: The parent’s participation in out-of-home care for mental health, AODAAlcohol and Other Drug Abuse and/or medical care for no longer than one month during the child’s absence from the home does not preclude eligibility based on temporary absence provided the parent meets the requirement to maintain an appropriate home for the child based on determinations by the W-2 and Child Welfare agencies.
4. The permanency plan and any other Child Welfare agency plan state that the child is expected to be reunified with the parent in the parent’s household within six months and the child is not expected to “age out” of child status while in the out-of-home placement.
5. The child’s out-of-home placement type is consistent with reuniting the child with the parent in the parent’s household within six months of the child’s temporary absence from the home (e.g. child is not in a pre-adoptive placement).
6. The custodial parent is cooperating, following through and satisfactorily completing Child Welfare agency appointments and all activities required for reunification with the child.
7. The custodial parent is cooperating in, participating in, and satisfactorily completing the W-2 agency’s assigned activities.
For each month the child welfare exception is applied, the W-2 agency must contact the Child Welfare agency to determine whether requirements 1 - 6 above are met. The W-2 agency must also determine whether requirement 7 is met on a monthly basis.
The temporary absence policies for child welfare situations require significant communication and collaboration between the W-2Wisconsin Works agency and Child Welfare agency. To ensure communication and coordination between the two agencies, the W-2 agency is required to develop and implement procedures for the following:
1. Identification of families receiving services from both agencies;
2. At a minimum contact every other week with the Child Welfare agency’s primary worker for the family, and more frequent contact as appropriate when there are relevant changes, to discuss W-2 participation and to determine the family’s progress in meeting goals including reunification with their child(ren) (e.g. participation in joint staffing meetings between both agencies with the family or family members).
3. Sharing assessments and other relevant information between both agencies about the family, including confidential information in accordance with federal and state confidentiality laws.
4. Clarification about the impact of any out-of-home placement or other legal orders on the custodial parent’s on-going care and control of the child(ren).
5. Coordination of referrals to other resources, including AODAAlcohol and Other Drug Abuse, mental health, etc., to ensure that services are not duplicated.
6. When activities that may be required by the Child Welfare agency for the parent’s reunification with the child(ren), such as parenting classes, are approvable W-2 activities, then the W-2 agency must coordinate with the Child Welfare agency so that these activities are included in the parent’s W-2 EPEmployability Plan.
This page last updated in Release # 11-02
Release Date: 04/07/11
Effective Date: 04/07/11