340:75-1-9. Oklahoma Department of Human Services authority to administer a child welfare program
The authority of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to administer a Child Welfare program is based on the Oklahoma Social Security Act, Section 176 of Title 56of the Oklahoma Statutes that authorizes DHS to provide . . . for the protection and care of homeless, dependent and neglected children, and children in danger of becoming delinquent.The authority and scope for the care and custody of children, includes:
(1) the Oklahoma Children's Code, Article 1 of Title 10Aof the Oklahoma Statutes; and
(2) federal laws and regulations under Titles IV-B, IV-E, V, VI, XIX, and XX of the Social Security Act, as amended including, but not limited to, the:
(A) Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994;
(B) Interethnic Provisions of 1996;
(C) Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997;
(D) Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008; and
(E) Family First Prevention Services Act, Public Law 115-123. • 1
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-1-9
1. (a) Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (MEPA) and the Interethnic Provisions of 1996 (IEP). MEPA as amended by IEP, eliminates discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin, in the placement of children in foster and adoptive resources, decreases the length of time children wait to be adopted, and facilitates the identification, recruitment, and retention of foster and adoptive parents who meet the distinctive needs of children awaiting placement. MEPA/IEP prohibits states or agencies receiving federal funds from delaying or denying the placement of a child on the basis of the race, color, or national origin of a child or the prospective foster or adoptive parent.
(1) Placement considerations. Any consideration of race or ethnicity is narrowly tailored to advance the child's best interests and is made as an individualized determination for each child. The Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) may not delay or deny the placement of a child for adoption or foster care on the basis of the race, color, or national origin of the child or the adoptive or foster parent. A child who meets the definition of an "Indian child" per the Indian Child Welfare Act is placed according to the child's tribe's placement preferences, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-7-10, 340:75-15-82, and 340:75-19-14.
(2) Recruitment. MEPA/IEP requires that OKDHS engage in active recruitment of potential foster and adoptive parents who reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of children in care needing placement. A comprehensive recruitment plan is developed and updated annually, per OAC 340:75-7-10 and 340:75-15-82.
(b) Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997. ASFA amended Title IV-B and Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. ASFA focuses on promoting child safety, timely decision-making as to permanency, and clarifying "reasonable efforts." Key provisions of the law include:
(1) a provision that reasonable efforts to reunify a child with his or her parent or legal guardian are not required when a court determines that any of the conditions outlined in Section 1-4-809 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes exist;
(2) directing the initiation of termination proceedings prior to the end of the 15th month, when a child was in out-of-home care for 15 of the most recent 22 months; and
(3) a requirement that a permanency hearing is held no later than every 12 months after a child is placed in out-of-home care or 30-calendar days after a court determines that reasonable efforts to return a child to either parent are not required and, every 12 months thereafter.
(c) Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 amended Title IV-B and Title IV-E of the Social Security Act to connect and support relative caregivers, improve outcomes for children in foster care, provide for tribal foster care and adoption access, improve incentives for adoption, and for other purposes.
(d) Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA).
(1) FFPSA amended Titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act to create the Title IV-E Prevention Program to recognize the importance of working with children and families to prevent the need for foster care placement and the trauma of unnecessary parent-child separation. The program is part of a broad vision of strengthening families by preventing:
(A) child maltreatment;
(B) unnecessary removal of children from their families; and
(C) homelessness among youth.
(2) FFPSA authorized new optional Title IV-E funding, limited to up to 12 months, for prevention and treatment services for mental health and substance abuse and in-home parent skill-based programs that include parenting skills training, parent education, and individual and family counseling. The programs must be rated and approved by the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse and identified in the state's five-year Title IV-E Prevention Program Plan for:
(A) a child who is a candidate for foster care;
(B) a pregnant or parenting foster youth; and
(C) the parents and/or kin caregivers of those children and youth.
(3) A candidate for foster care in a Title IV-E prevention plan is identified as a child under 18 years of age at imminent risk of entering foster care, who can remain safely in his or her home or with kin caregivers with receipt of approved Title IV-E prevention services necessary to prevent his or her entry into foster care. A candidate includes, but is not limited to:
(A) a child with a substantiated allegation of abuse or neglect and the home is determined unsafe, but existing safety and risk factors can be mitigated through a Safety Plan, guardianship, non-custodial parent, or court oversight;
(B) a child with a substantiated allegation of abuse or neglect and the home is determined safe, but the family behaviors, conditions, or situations have an "imminent risk" to manifest a threat to the child's safety;
(C) a child with a sibling in foster care and the home's existing safety and risk factors can be mitigated;
(D) a child reunified with his or her family following foster care and existing safety and risk factors, which would result in re-entry to foster care, can be mitigated; and
(E) a child whose adoption or guardianship arrangement is at risk of disruption or dissolution and would result in a foster care placement.
(4) The Title IV-E Prevention Program is administered according to an approved state plan, per FFPSA, Public Law 115-123, Sections 471(e)(1) and 471(e)(5), that meets the child's, parent's, or kin caregiver's needs directly related to the child's safety, permanency, or well-being or to prevent the child from entering foster care. The state's Title IV-E Prevention Program Plan establishes:
(A) a trauma-informed service-delivery framework;
(B) the population served;
(C) the Title IV-E prevention services that are provided, including how;
(i) the services are continuously monitored to ensure fidelity;
(ii) the services are evaluated through a well-designed and rigorous process;
(iii) the specific child and family outcomes are expected to be achieved; and
(iv) monitoring and evaluation are used to refine and improve practices;
(D) the monitoring and oversight of the safety of children who receive Title IV-E prevention services;
(E) the consultation and coordination to:
(i) engage with other state agencies responsible for administering health programs, including mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services, and other public and private agencies with experience in administering child and family services to foster a prevention continuum of care for children and their parents or kin caregivers; and
(ii) ensure the Title IV-E Prevention Program is aligned with other state plans in effect under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act, Subparts 1 and 2;
(F) how OKDHS provides training and supports for a competent, skilled, and professional child welfare (CW) workforce to deliver trauma-informed and evidence-based services, including:
(i) determining eligibility;
(ii) assessing needs;
(iii) developing a child prevention plan;
(iv) linking access and referral to needed services;
(v) overseeing and evaluating progress; and
(vi) monitoring and overseeing the safety of children receiving Title IV-E prevention services;
(G) how the caseload size and type for prevention caseworkers is determined, managed, and overseen; and
(H) assurance that the state Title IV-E Prevention Program reporting, includes the information and data necessary to determine the performance measures.
(5) The trauma-informed, service-delivery framework of the Title IV-E Prevention Program is administered through a hope-centered approach that is a strengths-based organizational structure grounded in the Science of Hope. The framework reflects an understanding and recognition of the widespread impact of trauma, and responds to staff, children, and families through the integration of this knowledge into policies, programs, and practices to strengthen well-being for all. A hope-centered and trauma-informed care approach to service delivery includes:
(A) an awareness and understanding of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their impact on children, families, communities, and those who serve them;
(B) a grounding in and understanding of Hope Theory and its application to buffer the effects of ACEs;
(C) implementing the principles of a trauma-informed approach;
(D) creating and supporting pathways to build and achieve goals, and sustain willpower; and
(E) promoting hope, recovery, and resilience through engagement, empowerment, and collaboration.
(6) Eligibility for the Title IV-E Prevention Program is determined, per OAC 340:75-3-120, 340:75-3-300, and 340:75-3-500, for a child who is a candidate for foster care or is a pregnant or parenting foster youth who has not attained 18 years of age and Title IV-E prevention services are necessary. Eligibility is documented in the child's prevention plan. The child's prevention plan must:
(A) identify the child's foster care prevention strategy so the child may remain safely at home, live temporarily with a kin caregiver until reunification can be safely achieved, or live permanently with a kin caregiver;
(B) list the Title IV-E prevention services to be provided to, or on behalf of, the child to ensure the success of the child's prevention strategy, per OAC 340:75-4-12.1; and
(C) be included in the child's case plan for a youth who is pregnant or a parenting foster youth. For a pregnant foster youth or a foster youth parenting a child:
(i) list the Title IV-E prevention services provided to, or on behalf of, the youth to ensure that he or she is prepared to be a parent; and
(ii) describe the foster care prevention strategy for any child born to the youth, per OAC 340:75-6-85.6, 340:75-6-92, 340:75-11-320, and 340:75-11-321.
(7) The safety of children receiving the Title IV-E prevention services is monitored, per OAC 340:75-4-12.1, 340:75-6-31, and 340:75-6-48.
(8) Administration of the Title IV-E Prevention Program requires CW workforce support and training, per OAC 340:75-1-230 through 232.