340:75-6-85.4. Permanency plan of adoption
The preferred permanency plan for the child in Oklahoma Department of Human Services custody who cannot return home is adoption with extended family, foster family, or an approved adoptive resource family. In most cases, the adoptive home is the relative, kin, or Bridge family with whom the child is currently placed. • 1
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-6-85.4
1.Protocol for placing the child in an adoptive placement.
(1) When adoption is determined the appropriate plan, the child welfare (CW) specialist prepares the child for adoption while concurrently recruiting when applicable, processing, and approving a qualified family for the child.
(2) Efforts to place a child for adoption begin immediately after the CW specialist determines the plan for reunification is no longer feasible or a poor prognosis is determined after completion of Form 04MP040E, Concurrent Planning Determination Tool.
(3) The CW specialist does not wait for a court hearing, a finding of reasonable efforts have been made and failed, or until parental rights are terminated to begin the process.When the CW specialist and supervisor, and when needed, in consultation with the district director and the Permanency Planning Program Unit, determine the child's permanency plan should be changed to adoption, or when a concurrent plan of adoption is required, the CW specialist:
(A) determines, during the monthly contact with the parent or during a family team meeting (FTM), if the parent is considering relinquishment of parental rights;
(B) makes a recommendation in writing to the district attorney's (DA) office to accept a relinquishment of parental rights when the parent is amenable, or requests a motion or petition to terminate parental rights.The recommendation to terminate parental rights includes:
(i) a brief summary of child welfare history, including reasons for and date of the most current adjudication;
(ii) any previous court involvement;
(iii) the number of months the child has been in Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) custody;
(iv) supporting information for the recommendation to terminate parental rights including, but not limited to:
(I) the parent's failure to correct conditions per the court ordered individualized service plan;
(II) abandonment of the child by the parent; or
(III) whether the child has been in OKDHS custody for 15 of the most recent 22 months;
(C) updates the KIDS/Par Rights/Recommend screen to reflect the termination of parental rights (TPR) request;
(D) facilitates the adoption process by:
(i) documenting the change of the child's permanency plan in KIDS within two business days of the decision to change the permanency plan or concurrent plan to adoption by updating:
(I) Form 04KI014E, Individualized Service Plan (ISP) Progress Report; or
(II) the CasePlan/PermPlan KIDS screen;
(ii) notifying, within two business days of the decision to select adoption as the permanency plan, the adoption specialist or supervisor assigned to the county of jurisdiction, by email, in person, or by phone of the need for an adoption consultation.The notification includes:
(I) the child's name;
(II) date of birth;
(IV) child's legal status, briefly summarized;
(V) whether there is an identified adoptive placement resource for the child;
(iii) participating, within 10 business days after notification of the need for adoption consultation, in an adoption consultation discussing:
(I) the child's legal status and potential plan for TPR;
(II) barriers to TPR, and when the child is not legally free for adoption, the anticipated date the child will be legally free;
(III) siblings, placement of the siblings, and the status of the sibling placement reviews, when applicable;
(IV) results of the diligent search and availability of relative placement;
(V) prospective adoptive caregiver, when applicable;
(VI) date for criteria staffing and persons to invite to the criteria staffing, when applicable.
(4) Until a motion or petition to terminate parental rights is filed, the CW specialist continues to address the child's need for permanency through the facilitation of FTMs in accordance with OAC 340:75-6-31.1 Instructions to Staff (ITS).
(5) When the DA's office files a motion or petition to terminate parental rights the CW specialist documents the date the motion or petition is filed by the DA or child's attorney in the KIDS/Par Rights/Recommend screen.
(6) A criteria staffing is held per OAC 340:75-15-6.The CW specialist is a mandatory participant in the staffing.The CW specialist:
(A) prior to the criteria staffing, prepares Form 04AN020E, Adoptive Placement Criteria Staffing, with the information available to the CW specialist at the time;
(B) notifies required participants of the criteria staffing, including the:
(i) area adoption specialist;
(ii) each assigned CW specialist and supervisor;
(iii) Indian child welfare worker, when applicable; and
(iv) court-appointed special advocate (CASA), when applicable;
(C) invites other persons to the criteria staffing that may assist in planning for the child, including when applicable, but not limited to the:
(i) Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD) case manager;
(ii) therapeutic foster care (TFC) therapist;
(iii) district director;
(iv) SoonerStart representative;
(v) Office of Juvenile Affairs personnel; and
(vi) the OKDHS resource specialist.
(7) When each party is not in agreement with the plan for adoption the criteria staffing is completed in conjunction with a FTM per OAC 340:75-6-31.1 Instructions to Staff.
(8) Each participant in the criteria staffing and the related FTM is required to review and sign Form 04AN020E, even when the person was not present at the criteria staffing.
(9) The CW specialist attaches to Form 04AN020E, Adoptive Placement Criteria Staffing Documentation Form:
(A) the most recently completed Form 04MP046E, Family Team Meeting Report, when the criteria staffing is not completed during a FTM; and
(B) a copy of each court order or court minute issued by the court of jurisdiction referencing the child's adoptive placement.When a court order or court minute is not available for attachment, an action step is identified on Form 04AN020E to obtain the documents.
(10) The CW specialist documents the date the final sibling placement review was completed or identifies the need as an action step on Form 04AN020E, Adoptive Placement Criteria Staffing Documentation Form, when a review is needed.
(11) The CW worker notifies the adoption specialist that the child is anticipated to be legally free within six months.The adoption specialist initiates the home assessment and child profile process.
(12) Within five business days of receipt of the approved adoptive assessments, the CW specialist completes Form 04AN024E, Adoptive Placement Recommendation Worksheet, and submits Form 04AN024E to Adoption Services Program Unit to request authorization of the selected prospective adoptive placement, per OAC 340:75-15-45 when:
(A) all parental rights of adults named as parties in the deprived case have been terminated;
(B) the mother's parental rights have been terminated and the identity of the child's father is unknown;
(C) a termination of parental rights hearing is set to occur within the next 60 calendar days and termination is likely to occur at the hearing;
(D) the child's parent has voluntarily relinquished parental rights to the child; or
(E) the permanency planning supervisor and adoption supervisor determine a request for authorization of the selected prospective adoptive placement is appropriate.
(13) When the prospective adoptive parent is not approved, the CW specialist refers the child to the next Statewide Adoption Staffing available after receipt of the unapproved family assessment, per OAC 340:75-15-14.
(14) When a prospective adoptive parent is not identified during the criteria staffing, the CW specialist refers the child to the next Statewide Adoption Staffing available after receipt of the Child Profile, per OAC 340:75-15-14 provided the child's legal status is as outlined in (12) (A) - (E) of this instruction.
(15) A Statewide Adoption Staffing is held per OAC 340:75-15-42 for the child with no identified prospective adoptive parent provided the child's legal status is as outlined insubparagraphs (A) - (E) of paragraph (12) this instruction.
(A) When a prospective adoptive parent is identified during the statewide adoption staffing, the CW specialist:
(i) reads each resource family assessment no later than ten business days after the staffing when there are 10 or fewer prospective adoptive parents identified, or no later than one month after the staffing when there are more than 10 prospective adoptive parents identified; or
(ii) contacts the area adoption specialist for assistance with screening the families;
(iii) completes Form 04AN025E, Adoptive Placement Recommendation – Supplemental Worksheet, when necessary; and
(iv) initiates authorization of the selected prospective adoptive placement per OAC 340:75-15-45 within five business days after the selection of the prospective adoptive placement.
(B) When no prospective adoptive parent is identified during the statewide adoption staffing, the CW specialist:
(i) refers the child for child-specific targeted recruitment no later than 10 business days after the statewide adoption staffing per OAC 340:75-15-82;
(ii) works diligently to find a prospective adoptive parent for the child;
(iii) presents the child's case again at the next statewide adoption staffing per OAC 340:75-15-42; and
(iv) initiates the authorization process for the selected prospective adoptive placement per OAC 340:75-15-45 no later than five business days after selection of the prospective adoptive parent by review of adoptive assessments received through the recruitment process.
(16) The CW specialist undertakes a series of progressive steps and activities to prepare the child emotionally and psychologically to accept a new family.Others enlisted to assist in the preparation process may include the child's current caregiver, therapist, court-appointed special advocate (CASA), tribal worker, and any other individual deemed appropriate to assist.The CW specialist discusses with the child:
(A) the child's understanding of why the child is in foster care to determine if the child's understanding is based upon accurate information.It is important the child has accurate information that is age or developmentally appropriate to the child's ability to process the information.The CW specialist solicits assistance from professionals when the need is indicated;
(B) what termination of parental rights means for the future and why it was necessary in the child's situation.The specialist presents realistic information when explaining why the child's parent's rights were terminated;
(C) a person's ability to love more than one person and be a part of different kinds of families;
(D) the emotional hurt, loss, and pain the child has experienced and may experience in the future;
(E) what the child would say to the birth parents now if the child could;
(F) other children's situations and feelings as examples to explain separation, loss, and acceptance of a new family when the child will not discuss his or her specific situation or feelings;
(G) the questionnaire, "My Feelings about Adoption," when the child is age 13 years of age or younger;
(H) or OKDHS Publication Number 05-09, "The Adoption Guidebook," when the child is older than 13 years of age or older, with consideration of the child's emotional and maturity levels.Companion books to "My Feelings About Adoption" and "The Adoption Guidebook" are available from the Adoption Services Program Unit to assist the CW specialist when discussing the questionnaires with the child.The CW specialist:
(i) assists the child with completing the "My Feelings About Adoption" questionnaire;
(ii) attaches the completed questionnaire to Form 04AN022E, Child Profile Assessment for Adoption, ensuring availability to the Adoption Selection Committee when the child's case is staffed;
(iii) asks the resource parent or caregiver to complete, when possible, Form 04AN026E, Assessment of Child by Caregiver, and attaches it to Form 04AN022E; and
(iv) solicits assistance and information, as needed, from other professionals, including psychologists, therapists, and others who have seen the child or to whom the child needs to be referred prior to placement;
(H) the child's concerns and fears of the unknown and explains that the new family has fears and concerns too;
(I) that the child will not have to move again if everything goes well and if this is the right family.The CW specialist gives the child reasons to hope for success, but does not use terms like "forever home" and "forever placement";
(J) that there are things the CW specialist cannot personally guarantee, such as visits or contacts with former friends, relatives, resource parents, or siblings, because only the adoptive parent can make those decisions.The CW specialist:
(i) advises the child the adoption specialist will explain the importance of sibling relationships to the adoptive parents;
(ii) provides information about the child's siblings to the adoption specialist; and
(iii) encourages the adoptive parents to make a plan for ongoing sibling contact after the adoption; and
(K) the new family and the transition that will take place.The CW specialist explains the plan for placement, including visits with the adoptive family.
(17) After notification of authorization of the prospective adoptive placement, the CW and adoption specialist begin the steps to transition the child to the trial adoptive placement, per OAC 340:75-15-6 Instructions to Staff (ITS) # 7.
(18) Within five business days after a child has been placed in the authorized trial adoptive placement, the supervisor of the primary CW specialist:
(A) reviews the paper case record and verifies the record contains legal documents for each parent, including the:
(i) initial order placing child in OKDHS emergency custody;
(ii) initial petition and any subsequent amended petitions;
(iii) adjudication orders;
(iv) order placing child in OKDHS temporary custody;
(v) dispositional orders;
(vi) order terminating parental rights;
(vii) relinquishment of parental rights documents, when applicable; and
(viii) order placing the child in OKDHS permanent custody.
(B) completes the appropriate assignment of the biological paper and KIDS case record, per OAC 340:75-15-103.
(19) The CW specialist ensures the child's Lifebook is current.
(20) After authorization of trial adoptive placement, the CW specialist in the county of jurisdiction:
(A) maintains monthly contact with the assigned adoption specialist by phone, email, or in person;
(B) prepares the appropriate court or progress reports;
(C) attends the deprived court hearings;
(D) advises the adoption specialist by phone or email of the date of the deprived court hearing at least 10 business days prior to the hearing to allow the adoption specialist to give notice of the hearing to the adoptive family, per OAC 340:75-6-85, Instructions to Staff # 6;
(E) when the court has retained the right to consent to the adoption, obtains the court's consent and provides the original, signed consent form to the adoption specialist within five business days of notification of the need for the court's consent;
(F) requests dismissal of the deprived court case within five business days of notification by the adoption specialist of the adoption finalization when the finalization is not granted by the same judge with responsibility over the deprived case; and
(G) notifies Oklahoma Child Support Services of the adoption finalization within five business days, when child support was ordered by the court in the deprived case.
(21) In the event of an adoption disruption, the CW specialist re-initiates placement search process as outlined in paragraphs (1) – (19) of this Instruction.