Caseworkers and Visits

A Guide to Caseworkers, Home Visits, and Parent Visits



Who’s Who?

There are a number of different caseworkers assigned to your foster family and your foster child, and keeping everyone straight can be confusing.

DHS Intake Caseworker

When a child is first removed from an unsafe situation, a DHS intake caseworker is responsible for finding an emergency placement for them.  This can be another family member or a foster family.  

The intake caseworker is responsible for the child’s case until the adjudicatory hearing when responsibility is transferred to the CUA caseworker.

Once responsibility transitions to the CUA, the DHS caseworker is no longer involved in the child’s care.


CUA Caseworker

Once a child has been initially established in foster care by DHS, he or she is assigned to one of ten community umbrella organizations (CUAs)

A CUA case worker is assigned to the child and is responsible for working with both the birth family and the child to work towards reunification.  The case worker oversees the safety of the child in foster care with regular visits, and provides resources to birth parents seeking reunification.  When reunification is not possible, the caseworker will work to find other permanent placement options for the child. 

The CUA casewoker is specific to the child.  If a new child is placed in a foster home, they will likely have a different CUA caseworker.

Resource Parent Support Worker

Every foster family is assigned a caseworker from their foster care agency whose responsibility it is to ensure that the foster home continues to meet all DHS requirements and to provide necessary support and resources to the family.   

Foster care agency caseworkers are responsible for regular home inspections similar to the initial home inspection required for certification.

The foster agency caseworker remains with the same foster family with any future child placements.


Home Visits

All foster homes are required to have a number of home visits on a regular basis.

CUA Caseworker

Monthly home visits

Each foster child’s caseworker is required to check on them in their foster home approximately once per month. It is the caseworker’s job to ensure that the child is receiving the proper care. There are times where a caseworker may visit more frequently, such has before an upcoming court hearing, or when the child’s circumstances are changing. 

Resource Parent Support Worker

Within 3 days of a new placement
Monthly home visits
Home evaluation every 3 months

The foster care agency caseworker is responsible for the initial home evaluation.  Once a new child is placed into the home, the caseworker is responsible for visiting the foster family within 3 days.  Afterwards, the caseworker visits on a monthly basis with a home evaluation performed every three months.  During the home evaluation, a clothing inventory is also performed to ensure that enough clothing is available for the child.  For more information about the home evaluation, see the checklist.

Child Advocate

At initial placement
As needed prior to court dates

The child advocate or an associate may visit the child after initial placement in order to better understand the overall picture regarding the child’s situation.  While there is not a regular schedule of home visits, the child advocate may choose to visit from time to time to learn about a child’s status as their situation changes.

Parent Visits

Whenever possible, birth parents should have regular contact with their children through scheduled visits.

How Does It Work?

As long as it is safe to do so, all children should have the chance to see their family regularly. State regulations require visits at least every 2 weeks if possible, although the court or CUA caseworker may recommend visits as often as twice per week, depending on the situation.

Visits are typically held at the CUA or foster care agency, though other arrangements can occasionally be made. Your CUA caseworker will explain how logistics should work out in your specific situation.


How Does It Work?


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When are visits not permited?

Visits are always permited unless explicitly prohibited by a judge. In some cases, the court determine that visits would not be in the best interest of the child, such as in cases of abuse. However, if at all possible, all attempts are made to arrange for family visits.

How often are family visits?

The court often dictates how frequent family visits should take place. If not, your CUA caseworker will let you know how often visits will be arranged. Timing can range from twice per week to once every two weeks. As birth parents move closer to reunification, the frequency of visits may increase.

What if the parents don't show up?

Unfortunately, there are some instances where the birth parents don’t show up to scheduled visits. Attempts are usually made to try to reschedule. This can be a frustrating part of the process for foster parents.

What should I bring?

It is often nice to bring pictures of your foster child or a letter for the birth parents with updates on their child’s progress and life events.

Learn More About Foster Care

The following guides can help get you up to speed on several important aspects of foster care in Philadelphia.


Learn about financial support available for foster parents.


Learn about healthcare topics such as doctors visits and insurance.

The Legal System

Learn about family court, hearings, and child custody.

Caseworkers and Visits

Learn about the different types of caseworkers, home visits, and parent visits.

New Placements

Learn about what to ask when receiving a new placement and the first week in care

School and Daycare

Learn more about education, school, and daycare.

Adoption and Permanency

Learn about foster care, adoption, and foster-to-adopt.

Foster Care Policies

Learn about policies like travel and babysitters