340:75-15-82. Adoptive family recruitment
(a) The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) recruits and develops adoptive families for children in DHS custody who are legally-free for adoption and recognizes each child has unique life experiences that require adoption service components to be child focused.
(1) DHS seeks an adoptive parent that meets the child's needs rather than seeking a child that meets the adoptive parent's needs.
(2) Potential adoptive family assessments are completed, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-15-82 through 340:75-15-89.
(b) Recruitment program. Adoptive family recruitment is an ongoing, proactive adoption services component. A comprehensive recruitment plan consisting of general, child-specific, and targeted recruitment is used. • 1
(c) Minority adoption recruitment. As part of the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (MEPA), as amended by the Interethnic Provisions of 1996 (IEP), efforts are made to recruit potential adoptive families who reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of children in DHS custody for whom adoptive families are needed. • 2
(d) Adoptive family recruitment through adoption exchanges. • 4
(1) When funds are available for such purposes, DHS contracts with or joins the Oklahoma Children's Adoption Resource Exchange or other in-state, out-of-state, or national adoption exchange (adoption exchange) for purposes of increasing and promoting the placement and adoption of children in DHS custody, per Section 7510-2.1 of Title 10 of the Oklahoma Statutes (10 O.S. § 7510-2.1).
(2) DHS provides certain, specified information to the adoption exchange.
(1) to the adoption exchange specified by DHS; and
(2) within 90-calendar days of the date the child became legally free for adoption or as otherwise required by the adoption exchange.
(1) 12 years of age and older who choose not to be adopted, per the Oklahoma Adoption Act;
(2) for whom permanent placement plans were made that do not include adoption, such as permanent placement with relatives or long-term foster care;
(3) who, because of medical or psychological reasons as determined by a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or physician, are not ready for adoption;
(4) who is missing from care and whose present location is unknown; and
(g) Child's status change reported to adoption exchange. DHS reports any change in the child's status to an adoption exchange, per 10 O.S. § 7510-2.4 within 20-business days of the change.
(h) Withdrawing a child from an adoption exchange. When a child is placed with an adoptive family, DHS notifies the adoption exchange that the child is no longer available, per 10 O.S. § 7510-2.5.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-15-82
1. (a) Adoptive home recruitment program. Adoptive home recruitment events are ongoing and coordinated in each district. Resource staff participates in the development of district and regional recruitment plans and events. To facilitate the recruitment of resource families, resource specialists and adoption transition specialists:
(1) develop an annual, local recruitment plan in coordination with regional adoption and foster resource staff; and
(2) use a combination of child-specific and more general targeted recruitment strategies.
(b) The comprehensive recruitment plan includes, but is not limited, to:
(1) descriptions of the characteristics of children requiring placement;
(2) specific strategies to reach all parts of the community;
(3) diverse methods of disseminating both general and child-specific information;
(4) strategies for ensuring each potential adoptive parent has access to the assessment process, including location and hours of services that facilitate access by all community members;
(5) strategies for dealing with linguistic barriers; and
(6) procedures for a timely search for potential adoptive parents for the child in Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) custody.
(c) Response by Resource Unit to adoption inquiries. Resource staff responds quickly to the potential adoptive applicant who contacts DHS as a result of recruitment efforts. Resource specialists are prepared to discuss the:
(1) adoption process;
(2) types of children waiting for adoptive homes; and
(3) potential adoptive applicant's questions.
(d) Requests to adopt a specific child.
(1) Requests to adopt a specific child are referred to the child's child welfare (CW) specialist and may be reviewed through a criteria staffing, to assess if this is an appropriate plan for the child.
(2) When an approved resource parent requests to adopt a specific child, the request is communicated and a copy of the approved home assessment is provided to the child's CW specialist.
2. Indian adoptive home recruitment. Per the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), efforts to recruit Indian adoptive homes are coordinated with tribal workers who provide a connection to Indian families.
3. Media recruitment. Media recruitment includes, but is not limited to television, newspapers, and public service announcements (PSA).
(1) Waiting Child television feature.
(A) A child is referred to the Waiting Child television feature program by the applicable regional Resource Unit, when:
(i) a statewide adoption staffing for the child was completed and no recommendations were received from the adoption specialists;
(ii) the child is legally free for adoption; and
(iii) an adoptive resource is not available to meet the child's needs.
(B) Each inquiry received following a Waiting Child broadcast is documented as a KIDS Pre-Resource and transferred to the appropriate resource specialist.
(C) Waiting Child referrals and resulting inquiries are recorded in the child's KIDS Adoption Efforts screen.
(2) Newspaper. Referrals to appear in newspaper features are coordinated with the Resource Unit.
(3) PSAs and the Foster Care and Adoption Support Center at 1-800-376-9729. The Oklahoma family interested in adopting is referred to the applicable resource supervisor and a resource specialist is assigned to contact the family.
4. National adoption recruitment via adoption exchanges. DHS contracts with an adoption exchange providing the best opportunities to identify adoptive resources.
(A) is legally free for adoption; and
(B) was not placed for adoption or for whom no adoptive home was found within 90-calendar days after the termination of parental rights proceeding that made the child eligible for adoption.
(2) Referrals for the child who meets the criteria for placement on www.adoptUSKids.org are submitted to the applicable adoption transition specialist with a recent color photograph and a one-page profile for adoption.
(3) The child's CW specialist discusses the listing with the child and notifies the adoption transition supervisor when the child objects. The child is required to be legally free for adoption prior to being listed on an exchange.
(4) The child's photograph and profile listed on the exchange are updated no less than annually and when any significant change occurs in the child's appearance or general functioning.
5. Website photo listing. DHS maintains an online photo listing of children waiting for adoptive homes. A child is referred to the DHS Adoption Program Information website and www.adoptUSKids.org and www.adoptex.org, when:
(1) a statewide adoption staffing was completed for the child;
(2) an adoptive home was not identified for the child; and
(3) the child does not object to being listed on the Internet or other exchanges. A child who does object is exempt.
6. Exemptions. A child is exempt from listings on the Internet or other exchanges, when the:
(1) child is 12 years of age and older and chooses not to be adopted. The child's decision not to be adopted is addressed on an ongoing basis with the child, with emphasis on providing the child information about the adoption process. Documentation of the child's refusal to be adopted is included in the child's case record each time the issue is discussed with the child or at a minimum every 12 months;
(2) child is missing from care and whose present location is unknown;
(3) child's permanency plan is planned alternative permanent placement and not adoption;
(4) child is not ready for adoption due to medical or psychological reasons as determined by a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or physician;
(5) child is currently in an adoptive placement; or
(6) youth signed Form 04MP069E, Custody Youth's Consent to a Public Release of Information, indicating he or she does not agree with the use of website, photo listings, photo displays, exchanges, and social media for child specific recruitment purposes.