340:75-3-300. Child safety evaluation
(a) Evaluating child safety. Evaluating child safety is a primary child protective services (CPS) function. Safety refers to the child's present security and well-being when the child is assessed to be at risk of abuse or neglect. The safety evaluation is an adaptable and continuous process that is not complete until the child is safe and the case is closed.
(b) Determining the need for protective or emergency custody. Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) evaluates whether to recommend emergency OKDHS custody of a child based on the seriousness of the child's abuse or neglect and if the child is in need of immediate protection due to an imminent safety threat. A child taken into protective custody by law enforcement is not considered in OKDHS emergency custody. A child cannot be placed in OKDHS emergency custody, per Section 1-4-201 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-4-201) until:
(1) the court issues a child-specific emergency custody order; or
(2) OKDHS completes a safety evaluation, concludes the child faces an imminent safety threat, and the court issues a child-specific emergency custody order.
(c) Protective custody for victims of human trafficking. Any peace officer, district court, juvenile bureau, or Office of Juvenile Affairs employee, who has reasonable suspicion that a minor may be a victim of human trafficking and is in need of immediate protection, assumes protective custody over the minor and immediately notifies OKDHS. A child believed to be a victim of human trafficking is not considered in OKDHS emergency custody solely upon identification, but is transferred to OKDHS emergency custody, per 10A O.S. § 1-4-201.
(d) Child safety meeting. A child safety meeting is a collaborative decision-making process conducted to address each child's needs related to safety and to determine if the child's condition warrants a safety intervention including, but not limited to, a change in placement, and:
(1) includes, at a minimum, appropriate OKDHS staff, the child's parents and, when the parent requests, an advocate or representative, as participants; and
(2) to protect the safety of those involved and to promote efficiency, OKDHS may limit participants as determined to be in the child's best interests.
(e) Alternatives to protective or emergency custody in cases of serious abuse or neglect. When an alternative to protective or emergency custody is determined appropriate in circumstances where serious neglect or abuse is documented, an OKDHS form for a Safety Plan, is completed and implemented when the person responsible for the child's (PRFC) health, safety, or welfare agrees to cooperate with OKDHS efforts to ensure the child's safety. The Safety Plan describes the present danger the child welfare (CW) specialist identifies and addresses actions to take to ensure the child's safety until a thorough safety evaluation is completed. The PRFC and identified safety monitors sign the Safety Plan and agree to cooperate with OKDHS oversight to ensure the child's safety.
(f) Safety planning without court involvement in cases of serious abuse or neglect. In circumstances where serious neglect or abuse is documented, upon completion of a thorough safety evaluation, and when an alternative to OKDHS custody is appropriate, an OKDHS form for a Safety Plan is completed and implemented, when the PRFC agrees to cooperate with OKDHS efforts to ensure the child's safety.
(1) The Safety Plan is developed and implemented by agreement without court intervention and describes the impending danger the CW specialist identified and addresses actions to take to control or eliminate any identified safety threat.
(2) The implementation of a short-term Safety Plan does not preclude OKDHS from recommending court involvement.
(3) When the parent of a child in a Safety Plan is unavailable, the Safety Plan monitor may authorize medical or dental treatment or examinations if necessary for the child's well-being, per 10A O.S. § 1-3-104.
(g) Removal of a child from the home. A recommendation to remove a child from the home is made when, upon evaluating relevant conditions, a determination is made that:
(1) in-home safety responses are not available or acceptable;
(2) the PRFC appears unable or unwilling to protect the child;
(3) an emergency exists that prohibits the timely arrangement of resources or services to reduce risk and threats of abuse or neglect, or such resources or services are unavailable; or
(4) continued placement in the home is contrary to the child's health, safety, and welfare.
(h) Placement considerations when the child is removed from the home. When a child is removed from his or her home, placement preference is given to relatives and persons who have a kinship relationship with the child, per 10A O.S. § 1-4-204.
(1) Siblings are placed together in the same home when appropriate and possible.
(2) Placement decisions are made with the child's long-term best interests in mind.
(i) Restoration of custody to the parent, legal guardian, or custodian when the child is in protective custody. When the OKDHS safety evaluation indicates the child does not face an imminent safety threat, OKDHS restores the child to the custody and control of the parent, legal guardian, or custodian, per 10A O.S. § 1-4-201. Specific county procedures are followed with a request to release the child from protective custody.
(j) Emergency removal of a child not in OKDHS custody.
(1) Reasonable efforts are made to prevent the pre-petition removal of a child from the home unless a documented emergency exists that requires immediate removal. Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-201 and Section 671 of Title 42 of the United States Code, a child is removed from the home prior to filing a petition only when there is reasonable suspicion the:
(A) child is in need of immediate protection due to an imminent safety threat; or
(B) child's circumstances or surroundings are such that continuation in the child's home or in the care or custody of the parent, legal guardian, or custodian would present an imminent safety threat to the child and is contrary to his or her welfare.
(2) Law enforcement may remove a child from the home without a court order when the child is in surroundings that pose an immediate threat to the child. When law enforcement declines to remove the child, or when OKDHS is responding to a referral without law enforcement involvement, and the child is believed to be in need of immediate protection due to an imminent safety threat, OKDHS prepares an affidavit to present to the district attorney (DA) to request that the DA consider filing an application with the court to obtain an emergency custody order, per 10A O.S. § 1-4-201.
(k) OKDHS authority to execute a pre-petition emergency custody order. Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-201, when the district court issues a pre-petition order placing the child in OKDHS emergency custody pending further hearing, an OKDHS employee may execute the emergency order and physically take the child into custody in limited circumstances, when:
(1) the child is located in a hospital, school, or child care program; and
(2) it is believed assuming custody of the child from the hospital, school, or child care program can occur without risk to the child or the OKDHS employee.
(l) Medical care for child in protective custody.
(1) When the child in protective custody is in need of emergency medical care prior to the emergency custody hearing, a peace officer, court employee, or the court may authorize such treatment as necessary to safeguard the child's health or life, when the:
(A) treatment is related to the suspected abuse or neglect; or
(B) parent or legal guardian is unavailable or unwilling to consent to physician-recommended treatment. Before a peace officer, court employee, or the court authorizes treatment based on the unavailability of the parent or legal guardian, law enforcement exercises diligence to locate the parent or guardian, when known, per 10A O.S. § 1-3-102.
(2) When law enforcement, the parent, or guardian is unwilling to consent to emergency medical care, the DA is contacted to obtain a court order for the child's treatment.
(m) Notification, disposition, and release of the child in pre-petition emergency custody.
(1) The court may provide for the disposition of the child taken into custody and notification to the court of the assumption of custody in an administrative order or rule issued, per 10A O.S. § 1-4-201. The administrative order or rule may include a process for the child's release prior to an emergency custody hearing. Specific county procedures are followed when the child is released from emergency custody prior to the emergency hearing.
(2) The court may order the child released to the parent, legal guardian, custodian, or to any responsible adult without conditions or under conditions the court finds necessary to ensure the child's safety, health, or welfare.
(n) Post-petition removal of the child in OKDHS custody. OKDHS may remove the child in OKDHS custody directly from the child's home when continued placement in the home is contrary to the child's health, safety, or welfare. OKDHS notifies the court prior to removal, or when an emergency exists, as soon as possible, following the child's removal.
(1) To ensure the safety of the child and the OKDHS employee, law enforcement assistance is requested in these situations.
(2) Refer to 10A O.S. § 1-4-806 when the child is in trial reunification status.
(o) Child who left Oklahoma. When the child who is the subject of an emergency custody or a pick-up order left Oklahoma prior to the order's execution, the other state enforces the emergency custody or pick-up order and recognizes Oklahoma's jurisdiction to return the child to Oklahoma. Each circumstance is managed according to the laws and procedures in the state where the child is located.
(p) Standardized assessment. Every child taken into OKDHS custody is given a standardized assessment evaluating his or her physical, developmental, medical, mental health, and educational needs within 21-calendar days of entering OKDHS custody, per 10A O.S. § 1-4-208. The assessment is updated on a consistent basis and is considered when making placement and service plans.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-3-300
1. (a) Evaluating child safety.
(1) Form 04KI030E, Assessment of Child Safety, is the tool used to document the safety evaluation. Form 04KI030E focuses on six key questions to gather information regarding family functioning to determine if a child is safe or unsafe and whether Child Protective Services (CPS) intervention is required.
(A) Maltreatment. The child welfare (CW) specialist assesses the extent of the alleged maltreatment to determine if the child was abused or neglected. The CW specialist considers what is occurring or occurred, such as hitting or injuries. Information gathered in Section I, Six Key Questions Used in Gathering Information, Form 04KI030E, provides evidence to support or rule out the child maltreatment allegations. The information gathered includes:
(i) the maltreatment type;
(ii) the maltreatment severity;
(iii) the maltreatment history or duration;
(iv) a description of specific events;
(v) a description of emotional and physical symptoms;
(vi) identification of the child and the maltreating person responsible for the child's (PRFC) health, safety, and welfare;
(vii) the child victim's explanation of the maltreatment; and
(viii) collateral knowledge of the maltreatment.
(B) Circumstances. The CW specialist assesses the circumstances surrounding the alleged maltreatment and considers the nature of what behaviors or conditions surround the maltreatment. This key question addresses what is or was occurring at the time the maltreatment occurs or occurred and, includes the:
(i) PRFC's intent concerning the maltreatment;
(ii) PRFC's explanation of family conditions;
(iii) PRFC's acknowledgement of and attitude about the maltreatment;
(iv) PRFC's history or pattern of maltreatment of the subject child or others;
(v) PRFC's criminal history;
(vi) presence of other problems occurring in association with the maltreatment, such as PRFC's substance use or abuse or behavioral health;
(vii) PRFC's and the subject child's sibling's explanation of the maltreatment;
(viii) collateral information related to the circumstances and history; and
(ix) any prior or current court involvement.
(C) Child functioning. The CW specialist assesses the child's well-being, how the child functions or behaves on a daily basis, and the child's role in the family. The CW specialist considers the child's general behavior, emotions, temperament, and physical capacity.
(i) This key question determines:
(I) if the child's individual needs are being met;
(II) if there are any unusual child behaviors;
(III) the child's sense of security;
(IV) the child's physical health and medical needs;
(V) the child's vulnerability;
(VI) if there are signs of positive interaction with PRFC(s); and
(VII) if there is any collateral information related to child functioning.
(ii) Information gathered in this phase of the safety assessment includes the child's:
(I) capacity for attachment;
(II) general mood and temperament;
(III) intellectual functioning;
(IV) communication and social skills;
(V) expressions of emotions and feelings;
(VII) peer relations;
(VIII) school performance and educational needs;
(IX) motor skills;
(X) physical and behavioral health;
(XI) functioning within cultural norms;
(XII) developmental functioning; and
(XIII) gender identity and sexual orientation.
(iii) The child's functioning, including physical, developmental, medical, behavioral health, and educational needs, is evaluated regularly and is considered when making the child's placement and service plans.
(D) Parenting – discipline. The CW specialist assesses the disciplinary approaches the PRFC uses and the circumstances for using the discipline. Information gathered in this phase of the safety assessment includes:
(i) the discipline methods the PRFC uses and their frequency;
(ii) the PRFC's concept and purpose of discipline, such as providing direction, managing behavior, or teaching;
(iii) the context in which discipline occurs;
(iv) the PRFC's emotional state when disciplining;
(v) if the PRFCs agree on the type and use of discipline;
(vi) the PRFC's perception of the effectiveness of utilized disciplinary approaches;
(vii) the PRFC's view of his or her own discipline experience as a child;
(viii) if the PRFC's discipline is based on reasonable expectations of the child;
(ix) the influence of cultural practices on discipline;
(x) the child's perception of the discipline methods; and
(xi) collateral information obtained related to family discipline.
(E) Parenting - general. The CW specialist gathers information to evaluate the overall family values and cultural influences within the family.
(i) The CW specialist assesses PRFC's parenting practices to determine if the:
(I) PRFC's primary parenting practices are developmentally appropriate;
(II) PRFC expresses empathy for the child; and
(III) PRFC recognizes danger or threats of danger to the child.
(ii) Information gathered in this phase of the safety assessment includes the PRFC's:
(I) reasons for being a parent;
(II) satisfaction in being a parent;
(III) knowledge and skill in parenting and child development;
(IV) expectations and empathy for the child;
(V) general parenting style;
(VI) protective capacities; and
(VII) collateral information related to parenting.
(F) Adult functioning. The CW specialist assesses adult functioning by considering how the PRFC feels, thinks, and acts on a daily basis, with a focus on adult functioning and coping skills.
(i) This key question determines if the PRFC:
(I) is committed to the child's safety;
(II) is willing to do what is necessary and required within the Safety Plan;
(III) understands why the child is unsafe; or
(IV) is impeded by behavioral health or substance use or abuse issues in offering protection to the child.
(ii) Information gathered in this phase of the safety assessment includes the PRFC's:
(I) coping and stress management abilities;
(II) self-control in relationships and discipline;
(III) problem-solving abilities;
(IV) judgment and decision-making abilities;
(V) home and financial management;
(VI) employment history;
(VII) domestic violence or substance use or abuse histories;
(VIII) behavioral health;
(IX) physical health and capacity; and
(X) collateral information related to adult functioning.
(2) Critical thinking is used when applying the safety threshold and evaluating the PRFC's protective capacities.
(3) The CW specialist completes Section II of Form 04KI030E, entitled Protective Capacities of the PRFC, on the assigned report.
(4) The safety threshold is compromised when family behaviors, conditions, or situations manifest in a way that is not controlled or managed.
(5) CPS history is considered when determining safety.
(6) When present danger exists, a Safety Plan is implemented to remove the child from harm using Form 04MP078E, Family Service Agreement (FSA)/Safety Plan, while the safety evaluation is completed.
(i) The CW specialist completes Form 04MP078E, Part B, Safety Intervention Identified Safety Threats, applying the safety threshold to identify safety threats that are:
(IV) occurring now or likely to occur in the near future;
(V) out-of-control; and
(VI) applicable to a vulnerable child.
(ii) When a child is found unsafe, the CW specialist completes:
(I) Form 04KI030E Sections IV, Safety Decision, and V, Safety Threat Intervention; and
(II) Form 04MP078E, or Form 04CP008E, Child Protective Services Affidavit, when an alternative to emergency custody is not possible.
2. Review of a substantiated finding with a safe determination. The CPS supervisor reviews the substantiated finding of abuse or neglect when the child is determined safe. The determination is made when:
(1) an assessment of child safety is completed and no safety threats were identified;
(2) the safety threshold was correctly applied;
(3) the PRFC demonstrates adequate protective capacities to keep the child safe;
(4) an assessment was properly upgraded to an investigation, when applicable;
(5) the proper substantiation protocol was applied; and
(6) a safe determination is not made solely as a result of a guardianship or a power of attorney with a relative or non-relative caregiver.
3. Present danger.
(1) Present danger means an immediate, significant, and clearly observable family condition is occurring and is endangering, or threatening to endanger a child.
(A) When present danger exists, steps are taken to protect the child by implementing a short-term Safety Plan.
(B) The Safety Plan is designed to protect the child while the safety evaluation is completed.
(C) Present danger includes, but is not limited to, circumstances, such as when a child is found in:
(i) the street and a PRFC cannot be located, thus requiring a Safety Plan to identify adequate supervision for the child; or
(ii) an unsanitary home infested with vermin, the PRFC may choose to use a Safety Plan to voluntarily place the child in a safe location with relatives for short-term care.
(2) When present danger exists and the Safety Plan requires a child's temporary placement outside of the child's home, out-of-home safety planning protocol, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-3-300 Instructions to Staff (ITS) # 7 through # 9 are followed.
(3) When the child's safety is secured, the safety evaluation is completed to determine if impending danger exists. When impending danger exists, the Safety Plan is modified as necessary.
(4) Upon the safety evaluation's completion, the Safety Plan is dissolved when present and impending danger no longer exist.
4. Impending danger.
(1) Impending danger means the presence of a threatening family condition that is:
(D) occurring now or likely to occur within the next few days;
(E) out-of-control; and
(F) applicable to a vulnerable child.
(2) Impending danger includes specific threats to the child's safety that:
(A) are harmful, but are not immediate, obvious, or active at the onset of CPS intervention;
(B) are identified and understood after evaluating individual and family conditions and functioning;
(C) result in severe harm if a safety intervention does not occur and is not sustained; and
(D) require the development of a Safety Plan implemented through services to the family or court intervention monitored by CPS until the impending danger is under control.
(3) Neither a guardianship nor a power of attorney is considered an adequate control for impending danger and the processes in (2)(D) of this ITS may be required.
5. Child safety meeting (CSM). A CSM is a collaborative decision-making process for determining the child's needs and the best intervention strategy to meet the child's safety needs.
(1) Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) makes reasonable efforts to provide a trained facilitator to guide the decision-making process.
(2) Any determination that a CSM is not possible or is unnecessary requires a district director's approval and the reasons supporting the decision are documented in the KIDS Referral Contact screen.
(3) The CSM occurs prior to the emergency (show cause) hearing, but no later than two-business days from the intervention date. When the CSM occurs after two-business days, it is documented as a family meeting and not as a CSM.
(4) A CSM is held any time the child's current safety condition warrants consideration of a safety intervention by moving a child, having a parent leave the home, or having a monitor move in.
(5) The CSM's goal is to reach consensus about what steps will be taken to ensure child safety; however, Child Welfare Services (CWS) maintains legal responsibility for child safety and must make a decision when the full team cannot reach consensus.
(6) The CW specialist explains the CSM's purpose to the parent(s) and encourages inviting others, such as relatives, friends, or neighbors, who care about the child or could help keep the child safe.
(7) The CSM aims to determine the least-restrictive, least-intrusive intervention to ensure the child is safe.
(8) A child 12 years of age and older is expected to participate in parts of the CSM, at least. For a child younger than 12 years of age, participation is considered and, when not attending the meeting, the CPS specialist develops a plan for eliciting the child's point of view and brings the child's point of view to the CSM.
(9) When the participants at the CSM cannot come to a consensus regarding the safety decision, the facilitator asks the assigned CPS specialist and supervisor to make the decision. When the facilitator or any other OKDHS staff participant does not feel the decision made is in the child's best interest, a request is then made for the district director to review the CSM decision.
(10) When domestic violence is a concern, two separate CSMs are held, one with the alleged batterer and one with the adult domestic violence victim. These meetings occur at a time and location where it is unlikely the alleged batterer and adult victim will make contact.
(11) In most cases, a guardianship is not an appropriate plan to secure a child(ren)'s safety.
(12) The Safety Plan implemented when present danger was found can be modified during the CSM as necessary to secure the child's safety.
(13) The CSM facilitator documents the CSM summary and outcome in a KIDS Case Contact.
6. Evaluating need for protective or emergency custody.
(1) Law enforcement may place a child in protective custody.
(2) When emergency custody is indicated, OKDHS staff prepares and presents Form 04CP008E, Child Protective Services Affidavit, to the district attorney (DA) documenting:
(A) the imminent safety threat;
(B) why continuation of the child in the home is contrary to his or her welfare; and
(C) a request for emergency custody of the child.
(3) When Form 04CP008E is presented to the DA and declined, the CW supervisor requests to meet with the DA the same day to further articulate the imminent safety threat, reasonable efforts made to prevent removal, and why the child's continuation in the home is contrary to his or her welfare.
(A) After the CW supervisor meets with the DA, if the DA continues to deny the request for emergency custody of the child, the district director requests to speak to the DA regarding the request.
(B) When the DA continues to deny the request after being contacted by the district director, the CW specialist, supervisor, district director, and regional director staff the case to determine further case planning. Poor prognosis indicators as outlined in OAC 340:75-4-12.1 are considered. The staffing is documented in a KIDS Case Contact.
(C) When the DA denies a request for emergency custody, and the safety threat is determined to be manageable through a Safety Plan and family-centered services (FCS), the CW specialist attempts to engage the family in a Safety Plan and FCS.
(D) When it is not possible to engage the family in a Safety Plan and FCS due to either an unmanageable safety threat or the family's unwillingness, the CW specialist completes Form 04KI003E, Report to District Attorney, within five-calendar days requesting court intervention by recommending a deprived petition. When court intervention is requested, the CW specialist documents the DA's comments on Form 04KI003E in a KIDS Case Contact.
(E) When Form 04KI003E requests court intervention by recommending a deprived petition, the DA denies the request, and OKDHS is unable to work the case preventatively, the DA is notified in writing that OKDHS is closing CW involvement with the court intervention recommendation, and no longer engages with the family on an ongoing basis.
(F) When closing the case, OKDHS provides the PRFCs with all necessary contact and referral information for pertinent service providers. The service recommendations are documented in a KIDS Case Contact.
(4) A law enforcement entity, or district court, juvenile bureau, or Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) employee may place a child that is believed to be a victim of human trafficking in protective custody. Upon notification from the agency assuming protective custody, OKDHS immediately begins conducting a safety analysis and prepares and presents Form 04CP008E to the DA within 23 hours of the notification requesting emergency custody of the child.
(A) An emergency custody (show cause) hearing is conducted, per Section 1-4-203 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes and OAC 340:75-3-300.
(B) A joint investigation is conducted with law enforcement, per OAC 340:75-3-110, and may involve coordination with other states when the child is not an Oklahoma resident.
(C) OKDHS staff works jointly with the entity that assumed protective custody to determine the child's safest placement option. OKDHS staff considers the safety of the victim and other children and the victim's behavioral needs.
(i) The child can be in OKDHS emergency custody and in the parent's or legal guardian's physical care when there is no reason to suspect the parent or legal guardian contributed to the exploitation or other abuse, neglect, or both.
(ii) A National Crime Information Center (NCIC) search is requested for every child that is recovered.
(iii) A child who is not an Oklahoma resident may remain in detention as a runaway child until arrangements are made for the state of residence to pick up the child.
(D) The child is provided a medical evaluation and behavioral health services while in emergency custody.
(E) Notification is sent to the CPS Programs Unit.
(F) OKDHS staff may release the child from OKDHS emergency custody to a parent or legal guardian after an investigation, when it is determined a safety threat is not present including, but not limited to, further exploitation. Written permission from the court of jurisdiction is required.
(G) When it is determined the child warrants continued OKDHS custody, protocol related to human trafficking victims is followed, per OAC 340:75-3-400.
(H) When the final determination confirms the child is a victim of human trafficking, OKDHS staff notifies the law enforcement entity, or district court, juvenile bureau, or OJA employee who assumed protective custody of the child.
(5) The CW specialist consults with the CW supervisor throughout the evaluation process and documents the decision in the case record.
(6) The CW specialist considers poor prognosis indicators as outlined in OAC 340:75-4-12 ITS.
(7) Cases of serious abuse or neglect described in (A) through (Q) may pose an imminent safety threat to a child and require a recommendation for placement of the child in protective or emergency custody.
(A) The child was assaulted, hit, poisoned, or burned so severely that serious injury resulted, or could have resulted.
(B) An infant has bruising or burns on any part of the body and the injuries are suspicious for, or consistent with, child abuse or neglect.
(C) The child is 5 years of age and younger and the PRFC demonstrates no attachment to the child and has dangerously inappropriate parenting skills.
(D) The child was systematically tortured or inhumanely punished. For example, the child was locked in a closet for long periods, forced to eat unpalatable substances, or forced to squat, stand, or perform other unreasonable acts as a means of torture.
(E) The PRFC's reckless disregard for the child's safety caused or could have caused serious injury. For example, the PRFC left a young child in the care of an obviously irresponsible or dangerous person.
(F) The home's physical condition is dangerous and poses an immediate threat of serious injury to the child. For example, exposed electrical wiring or other materials create an extreme danger of fire or there are gas leaks in the home.
(G) The child was sexually abused or sexually exploited and the perpetrator has access to the child.
(H) The PRFC purposefully or systematically withheld essential food or nourishment from the child. For example, the child was denied food for extended periods as a form of punishment for real or imagined misbehavior.
(I) The PRFC refuses to obtain or consent to medical or psychiatric care that is immediately required for the child, as documented by medical evaluation, to prevent or treat a serious injury or disease. The child's physical condition shows signs of severe deterioration and the PRFC seems unwilling or unable to respond.
(J) The PRFC appears to suffer from mental illness, intellectual disability, or substance use or abuse so severe that he or she does not provide for the child's basic needs, such as the PRFC who is demonstrably out of touch with reality or significantly intoxicated.
(K) The PRFC abandoned the child and made no safe and appropriate plans for the child's care.
(L) There is reason to suspect, based on a history of frequent moves or of hiding the child from outsiders, the PRFC may flee with the child and the child is in danger.
(M) There is specific evidence the PRFC's anger and discomfort about the report and subsequent investigation will result in serious retaliation against the child. The information is gained through:
(i) a review of the PRFC's past behavior;
(ii) the PRFC's statements and behaviors during the investigative interview; or
(iii) reports from others who know the PRFC and family.
(N) A baby is born to the PRFC who is currently involved in an open permanency planning case and has not successfully corrected conditions that resulted in court intervention or there is a pending motion to terminate parental rights.
(O) The PRFC's parental rights to other children were terminated and there is harm or significant threat of harm to the child in the PRFC's home.
(P) The child has a developmental or physical disability and the PRFC demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to address the child's special needs. For example, the PRFC does not:
(i) apply for or follow through with appropriate developmental services or resources for the child and the child is negatively impacted;
(ii) seek routine, on-going, or follow-up medical care for the child's specific disability; or
(iii) consistently or adequately maintain the child's physical care needs, such as hygiene or nutrition that impacts the child's well-being.
(Q) The PRFC routinely fails to seek all needed or recommended medical or behavioral health treatment for a child with a diagnosed chronic condition requiring routine follow-up. For example, the PRFC does not:
(i) provide the child with preventative asthma medications and the child has multiple hospitalizations for asthma exacerbation;
(ii) provide consistent oversight of a child with diabetes blood sugar levels and ensure the child takes the prescribed medication to control the disease; or
(iii) ensure that a child with a history of behavioral health issues has consistent access to a licensed practitioner to address the child's needs and his or her functioning is adversely effected.
7. Safety Plan.
(1) When a child is determined unsafe, the CW specialist evaluates the PRFC's protective capacities, available supports, such as relatives or community resources, and the PRFC's willingness to collaborate with OKDHS to keep the child safe.
(A) When safety threats cannot be managed through a Safety Plan, or the PRFC does not agree to comply with the Safety Plan, protective or emergency custody of the child and court intervention is requested.
(B) A Safety Plan does not preclude OKDHS recommending court intervention and supervision.
(C) The Safety Plan:
(i) is utilized when the child is determined unsafe and court-ordered removal of the child from the home is not requested;
(ii) is utilized when the safety evaluation is completed and present, impending danger is identified, or both;
(iii) is completed when the family agrees to collaborate with OKDHS to control and manage identified safety threats;
(iv) may be utilized with or without court involvement; and
(v) is documented on Form 04KI030E and detailed on Form 04MP078E.
(D) A Safety Plan is developed to control and manage the safety threats while the child remains in the home or while the child temporarily stays in an alternative location outside of the home. When OKDHS and the PRFC agree to utilize a Safety Plan:
(i) a monitor is identified;
(ii) Form 04MP078E, Family Service Agreement (FSA)/Safety Plan, is completed; and
(iii) protocols for determining service needs are followed, per OAC 340:75-4-12.1.
(2) A Safety Plan's purpose is to control safety threats immediately. The Safety Plan:
(A) specifies what safety threats exist to establish what must be controlled;
(B) identifies how the safety threat will be managed and controlled, including:
(i) by whom;
(ii) under what circumstances and agreements;
(iii) within what time frame; and
(iv) the availability, accessibility, and suitability of those involved; and
(C) includes how CPS or others monitor and oversee the plan.
(3) Engaging kin in safety planning creates more options for support. The CW specialist:
(A) identifies as many kin as possible to support the family;
(B) engages those who know the child best; and
(C) facilitates a CSM.
(4) When safety planning, decisions are made at the CSM with the family's input regarding the child's safety including his or her physical and emotional well-being.
(A) assesses the PRFC's reliability, willingness to cooperate, commitment, and alliance to the Safety Plan;
(B) ensures all necessary arrangements for the Safety Plan are made and agreed to by each participant;
(C) contacts, no less than weekly, persons responsible for the Safety Plan until the safety threats in the family are significantly reduced.
8. Safety Plan factors. Questions (1) through (7) of this Instruction are considered when evaluating the relative's, kinship monitor's, or non-perpetrator PRFC's protective capacities for adequately protecting the child from the perpetrator.
(1) Does the relative, kin, or non-perpetrator PRFC believe that abuse or neglect occurred? If not, has the relative, kin, or non-perpetrator PRFC demonstrated behaviors related to protective capacities? If not, adequate protection may not be provided.
(2) Is the non-perpetrator PRFC strongly dependent on the perpetrator for financial and emotional support for the child? If so, it may initially be difficult for the non-perpetrator PRFC to overcome his or her own needs and protect the child.
(3) Is the non-perpetrator PRFC a victim of domestic violence or emotional abuse by the perpetrator? If so, the non-perpetrator PRFC may be fearful of the perpetrator and unable to protect the child until services begin.
(4) Did the relative, kin, or non-perpetrator PRFC fail to protect the child from abuse or neglect or fail to heed serious warning signs that abuse occurred? If so, the relative, kin, or non-perpetrator PRFC may not see a threat to the child when the perpetrator wants unauthorized contact with the child.
(5) Does the relative, kin, or non-perpetrator PRFC display a willingness to control and manage the safety threats; or is his or her agreement to participate in the Safety Plan only to avoid the child's removal? When there is no willingness to seek help to alleviate the concerns that led to the abuse or neglect, relying on the relative, kin, or non-perpetrator PRFC is not an adequate Safety Plan.
(6) Is the non-perpetrator PRFC planning to seek action in civil court to change custody? If so, custody change must be evaluated to determine if it will adequately protect the child. It is likely that family time will continue even with a change in custody. An action in civil court does not ensure that all information regarding the abuse or neglect is heard and considered in custody and family time decisions.
(7) Does the relative, kin, or non-perpetrator PRFC have difficulties due to substance use or abuse? If so, these difficulties may prevent the relative, kin, or non-perpetrator PRFC from adequately protecting the child.
9. Assessing Safety Plan participants.
(1) Prior to engaging individuals as Safety Plan monitors or caregivers, the CW specialist assesses the individual's:
(A) protective capacities;
(B) willingness to collaborate with OKDHS to ensure the child's safety; and
(C) alignment with the Safety Plan.
(2) When a Safety Plan is implemented, checks must be completed on an in-home or out-of-home Safety Plan or caregiver. The CW specialist:
(A) uses Form 04AF007E, Record Check Documentation, as a guide to review CWS records to determine if the prospective Safety Plan monitor or any adult residing in the prospective monitor's home has a history of child abuse or neglect;
(B) completes and submits Form 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, to the OKDHS Office of Background Investigations (OBI) to request a name-based criminal history records search for the prospective Safety Plan monitor and each adult household member;
(C) determines if the prospective Safety Plan monitor or caregiver and any adult household member:
(i) is subject to the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act, the Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offender Registration Act, or both. Refer to OAC 340:75-7-15 ITS;
(ii) has convictions for specified felony offenses. Refer to OAC 340:75-7-15;
(iii) is or was a party in any court action by searching the Oklahoma State Courts Network including Oklahoma District Court Records; and
(iv) is subject to the Restricted Registry, also called Joshua's List. Refer to OAC 340:110-1-10.1;
(D) does not utilize individuals convicted of the felony offenses of:
(i) physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense within the preceding five-year period;
(ii) child abuse or neglect;
(iii) domestic abuse;
(iv) a crime against a child including, but not limited to, child pornography or child exploitation; or
(v) a crime involving violence including, but not limited to, rape, sexual assault, or homicide. Homicide includes manslaughter. A crime involving violence means an offense that:
(I) has an element of the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another; or
(II) by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense;
(E) does not utilize an individual who is a registrant on the Restricted Registry;
(F) conducts a search, no later than the next business day, to see if the Safety Plan monitor is subject to the:
(i) Community Services Worker Registry: https://cswrpublic.okdhs.org/cswrpublic/; or
(G) performs a Juvenile Online Tracking System (JOLTS) check on any child in the prospective home who is 13 through 17 years of age;
(H) uses Form 04AF004E, House Assessment, as a guide when determining the home's physical safety on an out-of-home Safety Plan;
(I) contacts, no later than the next business day, other states in which the Safety Plan monitor or adult household members resided, and requests CW history for each adult in the household;
(J) may preliminarily approve an individual(s) with any criminal or CW history found in his or her background search, such as protective order petitions, police reports, or judgements and sentences, as a Safety Plan monitor with the district director's approval. The individual(s) is only preliminarily approved when the criminal or CW history occurred more than five years prior to the assessment date as a monitor and the individual(s) resided in Oklahoma for the past five-consecutive years. The CW specialist begins obtaining copies of all records the next business day after preliminary approval;
(K) reviews the CW and criminal history of the prospective Safety Plan monitor and each adult household member with the CW supervisor or district director. The district director may grant exceptions for certain felony convictions but does not grant exceptions for felony convictions, relevant misdemeanors, or registrants on Restricted Registry, per OAC 340:75-7-15;
(L) when the Safety Plan monitor is approved, ensures that each adult household member submits fingerprints to OBI within five-business days of running the name-based criminal history records search through OBI, regardless of the type of background search requested. OBI is notified when the Safety Plan monitor is denied; and
(M) documents information obtained regarding the assessment of the Safety Plan monitor, household members, and other Safety Plan participants as a Contact in KIDS and files copies of the completed forms in the KK case file associated with the CPS investigation. Records are not stored in the document management system.
(3) When a child is placed in protective or emergency custody, the guidelines in OAC 340:75-7-15 are followed prior to the child's placement in a kinship home.
(4) A Safety Plan monitor may seek medical or dental treatment for a child placed in a Safety Plan when:
(A) the medical or dental care is in the best interest of the child's well-being; and
(B) the CW specialist made diligent, good faith efforts to locate and obtain consent from the biological and legal parents or guardians, and one of the conditions (i) through (v) is present. The child's parent or guardian:
(i) is incapacitated due to a health condition or cognition functioning and is unable to provide consent;
(ii) is incarcerated and the CW specialist is unable to obtain the parent's or guardian's consent after diligent good faith attempts with the penal institution;
(iii) was admitted to inpatient treatment and after diligent, good faith attempts, the CW specialist is unable to obtain consent;
(iv) abandoned the child with the Safety Plan monitor; or
(v) is deceased.
10. OKDHS authority to execute an emergency custody order. An order issued by the district court placing a child in OKDHS emergency custody is executed and the child is taken into custody by law enforcement or a court employee; however, a CW specialist may remove a child may from a hospital, educational facility, or a child care program when the criteria in (1) through (5) of this Instruction are met prior to removal.
(1) The CW specialist and supervisor establish that the removal is necessary to protect the child from safety threats resulting in serious abuse or neglect.
(2) The CW specialist prepares and submits Form 04CP008E to the DA who obtains a written emergency custody court order that includes a statement that the child may be removed from the hospital, educational facility, or a child care program by the CW specialist to protect the child from safety threats.
(3) The CW supervisor and district director determine that the child's removal from the hospital, educational facility, or child care program can occur without disruption to the facility or program; or hostility, risks, or threats to the child or CW specialist.
(4) The CW specialist provides a copy of the written emergency custody court order to the hospital, educational facility, or child care program at the time of the removal.
(5) The CW specialist notifies the PRFC of the removal the same day and immediately provides the PRFC with a copy of the written emergency custody order, either when the PRFC is present or as soon as possible. When the notification will place the specialist in danger, law enforcement assistance is requested.
(6) Following execution of a court order to remove the child, the child's removal and placement are entered in KIDS as soon as possible, but no later than two-business days after the child was physically placed in OKDHS custody.
11. Preparation for removal. When the decision is made to remove a child from the child's home, the CW specialist makes efforts to reduce the trauma and stress for the child and family by properly preparing all persons involved. Preparing the family as well as the child is crucial when removal occurs.
(1) The CW specialist prepares the family by:
(A) explaining the reasons for the child's removal and placement;
(B) answering questions about court procedures;
(C) making clear the intent is to reunify the child with the family, when appropriate, as soon as the home is safe for the child;
(D) encouraging the parent, once he or she understands and accepts the reasons for the placement, to help explain the reasons for the placement to the child. This may comfort and reassure the child that the parent will work with the CW specialist to facilitate the child's return to the home;
(E) asking the parent to provide in-depth information regarding the child's schedule, routines, likes and dislikes, and medical needs to help the placement provider maintain continuity for the child. The CW specialist:
(i) completes Form 04MP012E, Receipt and Release of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medication(s), with the parent when the child takes medication or has medical needs or allergies;
(ii) asks the parent to provide a copy of the child's birth certificate or to bring it to the next court appearance. When the parent fails to provide a copy within 20-calendar days, the CW specialist completes Application for Search and Certified Copy of Birth Certificate to obtain a full-certified copy of the child's birth certificate and submits the form to Child Welfare Services Finance and Business Operations (FBO) for a certified copy, per OAC 340:75-13-9. This form is located on the OKDHS InfoNet under Non-OKDHS forms and is available at the Oklahoma State Department of Health Division of Vital Records website.
(iii) asks the parent to complete Form 04MP015E, Important People in the Child's Life, to document and maintain the child's ongoing relationships; and
(iv) enters information obtained from Form 04MP015E or other sources into the Family/Kinship Connections screen in KIDS. Form 04MP015E is scanned and saved into KIDS DMS;
(F) acknowledging the parent's anger and grief in response to the loss of his or her child, and expecting the parent to be initially resistant;
(G) encouraging the parent's involvement in all aspects of the planning and placement process;
(H) encouraging the parent, when appropriate, to make recommendations of potential homes where the child may be placed;
(I) providing OKDHS Publication No. 99-27, A Parent's Guide to Working with Child Welfare, to the parent; and
(J) arranging the initial meeting between the parent and the foster parent.
(2) Adequately preparing the child for the placement serves several important purposes.
(A) The CW specialist alleviates many of the child's anxieties and reduces the child's stress by providing the child with information regarding the need for placement and by familiarizing the child with aspects of the setting where the child is moving.
(B) When the CW specialist does not know the child well, the CW specialist uses the preparation period to better assess the child's strengths and needs. The information is communicated to the placement provider to assist the provider receiving the child and making his or her transition into the new setting easier.
(C) Working with the child during the preparation phase helps the child establish a supportive relationship with the CW specialist.
12. (a) Placement considerations.
(1) The child's functioning including physical, developmental, medical, behavioral health, and educational needs is evaluated regularly and is considered when making the child's placement and service plans.
(2) Placement with the non-perpetrating parent, relatives, or kin is considered and siblings are placed together in the same home when appropriate and possible. Per ITS # 8 of this Section, relative or kinship placements are assessed in terms of the child's safety and long-term needs. Relatives or kin are only considered, when the:
(A) child will be safe with the relative or kin. The family's history is explored extensively with the child's PRFC and the relative or kin considered for placement;
(B) relative or kin:
(i) can provide a home that does not pose an obstacle to reunification plans as demonstrated by the relative's or kin's willingness to work with OKDHS and the family toward reunification;
(ii) is willing to accept placement of a sibling so the siblings are not separated or the relative or kin is willing to facilitate contact between the siblings; and
(iii) could potentially provide long-term care for the child. The CW specialist considers the relative's or kin's abilities and willingness to meet the child's day-to-day, individual needs if the placement becomes long-term.
(3) When a child was seriously abused or neglected, the perpetrator may have been a victim of abuse or neglect within his or her own family. His or her relatives or kin may have been victims of or impacted by abuse or neglect within the family. This kind of family history may place the child in an unsafe situation in the relative's or kin's home.
(b) Placement in foster family care. When an emergency foster family placement is made, the placement is evaluated quickly and arrangements are made to make a more appropriate placement as soon as possible. When it is determined that foster family care is the best placement option for the child, considerations include, but are not limited to, if the:
(1) foster parent has the ability and willingness to meet the child's day-to-day and individual needs, such as providing a stimulating environment and ensuring the child the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities;
(2) other children placed in the foster family home pose a safety threat to the child considered for placement; and
(3) foster family is able to accept sibling placement or facilitate contact between the siblings.
(c) Initial placement. The placement made at the time of the child's initial removal from the home has a significant impact on the child's safety and ultimately the possibility for successful reunification with the family or alternative permanent plans for the child.
(d) Sibling placement. Every reasonable attempt is made to place siblings together when appropriate and possible. When it is not possible to place siblings together initially, efforts begin the next business day and actively continue to place the siblings in the same home.
(e) Adoption dissolution notification. The CW specialist notifies the adoption specialist and the Post-Adoption Services staff of the child's placement in out-of-home care when the child:
(1) receives adoption assistance; or
(2) is placed in, or returned to, OKDHS custody due to the dissolution of an OKDHS - or other type of adoption.
(f) Placement of a medically fragile or disabled infant.
(1) Factors that determine if an infant in OKDHS custody is medically fragile or disabled include:
(B) a history of respiratory distress;
(C) oxygen dependency;
(D) a diagnosis requiring special care beyond routine infant care;
(E) being 6 weeks of age and younger; and
(F) medical conditions or illnesses that may result in increased episodes of illness, prolonged hospitalization, and increased cost for care.
(2) An appropriate placement for an infant who is medically fragile or disabled includes an approved foster or kinship home, health care facility, or shelter that meets the criteria in (A) through (C) of this paragraph. The placement:
(A) provider for the infant has undergone all necessary training required to meet the infant's medical needs;
(B) setting has all of the necessary equipment required to meet the infant's medical needs, the placement provider knows how to use the equipment, and the equipment is in operating condition; and
(C) provider is willing and able to:
(i) follow all medical requirements and orders as given by the infant's physician;
(ii) transport the infant to all medical appointments; and
(iii) keep the infant's CW specialist fully apprised of the infant's condition.
(3) The CW specialist at the time of placement gives the placement provider all medical and other related information about the infant's condition and updates the placement provider concerning any new information as it occurs.
13. Foreign nationals. A child's removal from the home is based on safety considerations without regard to citizenship or immigration status. When the child who is a foreign national is removed from the home, the CW specialist notifies the foreign consul by completing Form 04MP016E, Notice to Foreign Consul of Child Welfare Proceedings, per OAC 340:75-1-31 ITS. A copy of Form 04MP016E is forwarded to OKDHS Legal Services.
14. Protective services alert. A protective services alert is requested by contacting the CPS Programs Unit after diligent, yet unsuccessful efforts were made to locate the family, when:
(1) a report indicates the child's safety is or will be at risk;
(2) it appears the family relocated within Oklahoma or to another state; and
(3) the child and family's address and whereabouts are unknown; or
(4) the child was abducted from OKDHS custody; or
(5) the CW specialist is aware of a pregnancy involving a mother or father who is a party to an open permanency planning case and the whereabouts of the mother or father are unknown.
15. Child who left Oklahoma. When a child, for whom emergency custody or a pick-up order was requested, left Oklahoma prior to the order's execution, the other state enforces the custody order and recognizes Oklahoma's jurisdiction to have the child returned. Each situation is treated according to the laws and procedures of the state where the child is located.
(1) When the child's location is unknown, the:
(A) CW specialist:
(i) contacts the CPS Programs Unit to issue a protective service alert;
(ii) immediately staffs with the CW supervisor to determine if national search efforts will be initiated;
(iii) when it is decided that a national search will be initiated, completes Form 04MP026E, Abducted Child Report, within one- business day of the staffing with his or her supervisor. An incomplete form delays the report to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC);
(iv) immediately emails completed Form 04MP026E to the CW supervisor for review and approval. Upon approval, the CW supervisor emails Form 04MP026E to the district director to report the missing child; and
(v) follows the National Center Information Center reporting guidance, per OAC 340:75-6-48.3; and
(B) district director reports the missing child to NCMEC.
(2) When the child's location is known, the CW specialist with the information about the allegations and investigation contacts the CPS agency in the county or state where the child is located, and sends a copy of the pick-up or emergency custody order to the CPS agency along with other requested written documentation. Information may be shared with another CPS agency under these circumstances.
(3) Some CPS agencies, based on the information received, will enforce Oklahoma's order by taking the child who is in danger into custody.
(4) When the child is taken into custody, the court of jurisdiction in Oklahoma is notified that based on the information and Oklahoma's order, the child was taken into custody in the other state or jurisdiction. Oklahoma CWS staff secures a court order from the other state or jurisdiction releasing the child to OKDHS custody in order to return him or her to Oklahoma.
(5) When a CPS agency is unwilling or unable to assist, Oklahoma law enforcement is contacted and the Oklahoma court order is faxed to the law enforcement entity where the child is located.
(6) The Oklahoma judge and DA are notified when the CPS agency or law enforcement in the other state or jurisdiction is unwilling or unable to assist. In some circumstances, the judge or DA may contact the court or law enforcement in the other state or jurisdiction for assistance.