340:75-6-40.5. Court reports
(a) Review by the court. Per 1-4-807 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-4-807) each case regarding a child alleged or adjudicated deprived is reviewed by the court:
(1) at a hearing no later than six months from the date of the child's removal from the home and at least once every six months thereafter until permanency is achieved or the court otherwise terminates jurisdiction;
(2) when Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) documents a compelling reason why a petition to terminate parental rights to a child is not in the best interests of the child, based upon consideration that the child is presently not capable of functioning in a family setting. The court reevaluates the status of the child every 90 calendar days until there is a final determination the child cannot be placed in a family setting;
(A) adjudication date; or
(B) date that is 60 calendar days after the date the child is removed from the home; and
(3) per 10A O.S. 1-4-811, to determine the child's appropriate permanency goal and to order completion of all steps necessary to finalize the permanent plan. A permanency hearing may be held concurrently with a dispositional or review hearing. The permanency hearing is held no later than six months after placing the child in out-of-home placement and every six months thereafter. A child is considered to have entered out-of-home placement on the earlier of the:
(4) thirty calendar days after a determination by the court that reasonable efforts to return a child to either parent are not required.
(b) Purpose of review or permanency hearing reports. Court reports are a component of the case plan. Progress review reports provided to the court, are based in part on information OKDHS obtains from talking with the family and other key case participants, observing the family, and reviewing progress reports from service providers. The information gathered is reported to the court:
(c) Review hearing report requirements. OKDHS prepares a written report concerning each child who is the subject of the review per 10A O.S. § 1-4-808 for each review hearing. The report includes, but is not limited to:
(1) a summary of the child's physical, mental, and emotional condition, the conditions existing in the out-of-home placement where the child was placed, and the child's adjustment thereto;
(2) a report on the child's progress in school and, if the child has been placed outside the child's home, the visitation exercised by the child's parent or other persons authorized by the court;
(3) services provided to the child 16 years of age or older to assist in the transition from out-of-home care or other community placement to independent living;
(A) each parent's progress toward correcting the conditions that caused the child to be adjudicated deprived;
(B) changes that still need to occur and the specific actions each parent must take to make the changes; and
(C) services and assistance that were offered to or provided to each parent since the previous hearing and the services that are needed in the future;
(4) a description of:
(5) a description of the child's placements by number and type with dates of entry and exit, reasons for the placement or change in placement, and a statement about the success or lack of success of each placement;
(6) OKDHS efforts to locate the parent and involve the parent in the planning for the child when the parent is not currently communicating with OKDHS;
(7) compliance by each parent and OKDHS, as applicable, with the court's orders concerning the individualized service plans, previous court orders, and OKDHS recommendations;
(8) whether the current placement is appropriate for the child, its distance from the child's home, and whether it is the least restrictive, most family-like placement available;
(9) a proposed timetable for the child's return to the home or other permanent placement;
(A) trial reunification should be approved by the court;
(B) trial reunification should be continued to a date certain as specified by the court;
(C) the child should remain in or be placed outside of the child's parent or legal guardian's home; or
(D) the child should remain in the current placement when the permanency plan is other than reunification with the child's parent or legal guardian; and
(10) specific recommendations providing reasons whether:
(A) assurances the child's placement considers the appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child was enrolled at the time of placement; and
(B) where appropriate, an assurance that OKDHS has coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies to ensure the child remains in the school in which the child was enrolled at the time of placement; or
(C) if remaining in the school in which the child was enrolled at the time of placement is not in the best interests of the child, assurances by OKDHS and the local educational agencies to provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school with all of the child's educational records provided to the school.
(11) a plan for ensuring the child's educational stability while the child is in out-of-home placement, including:
(12) Pursuant to 10A O.S. § 1-4-807, all service provider progress and critical incident reports are submitted to the court and delivered to the district attorney, the attorney or attorneys representing the parents, the child's attorney, and when applicable the guardian ad litem and relevant tribe or tribes.
(d) Social records. Social records are defined by 10A O.S. § 1-6-101 to mean, "family social histories, medical reports, psychological and psychiatric evaluations or assessments, educational records, or home studies, even if attached to court reports prepared by the Department. 'Social record' shall not include service provider progress reports or critical incident reports as required pursuant to 10A O.S. § 1-4-807."
(1) Social records are submitted to the court, but are not filed in the court file unless ordered by the court.
(2) When filed in the court file, the social records are placed in confidential envelopes in the court file by the court clerk and may only be accessed by the person who is the subject of the records, or the attorney for such person, except as provided by 10A O.S. § 1-6-103. • 6
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF
1. Hearing notice. A foster parent, group home, pre-adoptive parent, or relative providing care for a child in Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) custody has a right to receive a hearing notice of all court proceedings for the child. The child welfare (CW) specialist or the pre-adoptive parent's adoption specialist:
(1) provides KIDS-generated Form 04MP030E, Hearing Notification, to the current foster parent, group home representative, pre-adoptive parent, or relative no later than 15-calendar days after the hearing is set;
(2) when the child moves after the notification was provided, prints Form 04MP030E from the Reports icon and provides it to the current foster parent, group home representative, pre-adoptive parent, or relative no later than 10-business days prior to the hearing;
(3) when the hearing date changes, updates the Court Hearing Detail screen and provides Form 04MP030E to the current foster parent, group home representative, pre-adoptive parent, or relative no later than 10-business days prior to the hearing; and
(4) documents in KIDS Contacts screen when, and how Form 04MP030E was delivered.
2. Hearing report forms.
(1) Hearing report forms are prepared and submitted, per Oklahoma Supreme Court order SCAD-2013-07, January 27, 2014, through secure email by the CW specialist within at least five-judicial days prior to any review hearing; at least five-judicial days prior to any other hearing; and at least three-judicial days prior to any permanency hearing, per Section 1-4-810(B)(1) of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-4-810(B)(1)).
(2) All written reports are sent to the court and all necessary parties including the:
(A) district attorney (DA);
(B) attorney or attorneys representing the parents or group home;
(C) child's attorney;
(E) guardian ad litem, when applicable; and
(F) tribe or tribes, when applicable.
(3) When the CW specialist is informed that the emailed reports were not received, the CW specialist is to ensure the reports are received through an alternate secure email address or delivers the reports by hand.
(4) A copy of the hearing report form is provided to and discussed with the child's parent.
(5) Reports, correspondence, and information provided by other professionals working with the family, including the foster parent, are incorporated into the applicable report to the court.
(6) All service provider progress reports and critical incident reports are submitted to the court, DA, attorney or attorneys representing the parents, child's attorney, and, when applicable, guardian ad litem and the relevant tribe or tribes.
(7) Refer to Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-6-40.5(c) for information statutorily required in review reports.
(A) Form 04KI011E, Pre-adjudication Court Report, is submitted for any court hearing prior to the child's adjudication.
(B) Form 04KI013E, Individualized Service Plan (ISP) Dispositional Report, is submitted for the initial disposition hearing.
(C) Form 04KI014E, Individualized Service Plan (ISP) Progress Report, is submitted for review and permanency hearings.
(D) A letter or template developed by the CW specialist and saved in the KIDS document management system (DMS), may be submitted to the court when:
(i) review or permanency hearings are held according to statutory requirements and a hearing is set to address a specific issue; or
(ii) a report is required for a mental health hearing.
3. Permanency hearing reports. Per 10A O.S. 1-4-811, at the permanency hearing, the court determines or reviews the continued appropriateness of the child's permanency plan and if a change is necessary. The permanency report includes, but is not limited to:
(1) the date the child's permanency goal is scheduled to be achieved;
(2) if the child's current placement continues to be the most suitable for his or her health, safety, and welfare;
(3) evidence submitted by the CW specialist for any child remaining placed in a qualified residential treatment program (QRTP) beyond 60-calendar days from the placement's start that:
(A) demonstrates ongoing assessment of the child's strengths and needs continues to support the determination that:
(i) the child's needs cannot be met through placement in a resource family home;
(ii) placement in a QRTP provides the most effective and appropriate level of care for the child in the least restrictive environment; and
(iii) QRTP is consistent with short- and long-term goals for the child as specified in the child's permanency plan;
(B) documents the child's specific treatment or service needs for QRTP to meet and the length of time needed for the treatment or services; and
(C) details the efforts made to prepare the child for returning home or placement with a resource family, kin caregiver, guardian, or adoptive parent.
(4) the successful adulthood plan when the child is 14 years of age and older;
(5) a recommendation for:
(A) reunification with the parent or child's legal guardian when:
(i) reunification is expected to occur within an established time period;
(ii) reunification is consistent with the child's developmental needs; and
(iii) the child's health, safety, and welfare can be adequately safeguarded when he or she is returned home;
(B) placement for adoption after termination of parental rights or after a petition is filed to terminate parental rights;
(C) placement with a person who will become the child's permanent guardian and who can adequately and appropriately safeguard the child's health, safety, and welfare; or
(D) a planned permanent living arrangement while the child continues in OKDHS custody, provided there are compelling reasons documented by OKDHS and presented to the court that none of the plans in (A) though (C) of this paragraph are appropriate for the child's health, safety, and welfare.
(6) if OKDHS made reasonable efforts to finalize the child's permanency plan and a summary of those efforts;
(7) in the case of an Indian child, if active efforts were made by OKDHS to provide remedial services and rehabilitative programs as required by Section 1912(d) of Title 25 of the United States Code;
(8) if the child's out-of-home placement continues to be appropriate and in the child's best interests, when the child's permanency plan is to remain in out-of-home care; or
(9) if reasonable efforts, in accordance with the child's health, safety, or welfare, were made to:
(A) place siblings, who were removed, together in the same foster care, guardianship, or adoptive placement. Guidance on when siblings may be separated is found in OAC 340:75-6-85; and
(B) provide for frequent family time or other ongoing interaction in the case of siblings who were removed and not placed together.
4. OKDHS recommendations. The CW specialist makes a recommendation regarding disposition of the child's case each time Forms 04KI011E, Pre-adjudication Court Report, 04KI013E, Individualized Service Plan (ISP) Dispositional Report, or 04KI014E, Individualized Service Plan (ISP) Progress Report, are completed. This recommendation includes, but is not limited to:
(1) the child's custody arrangement;
(2) the child's residency status; and
(3) requests for court action or approval.
(A) The recommendation regarding case disposition is:
(i) made after consultation with the CW supervisor;
(ii) based on the parent's progress through assessment of behavioral change and family functioning;
(iii) based on the assessment of current safety threats which are articulated to the court;
(iv) the child's need for permanency; and
(v) not based on the court's anticipated response or receptivity.
(B) A concise explanation is provided to support the reasons for the recommendation that includes behavior change and protective capacity language.
(C) Recommendations made by the specialist are done through positive engagement with court partners by:
(i) following OKDHS dress code including professional business attire;
(ii) arriving early and being respectful of all participants during the hearing; and
(iii) being mindful of confidentiality, facial expressions, and body language.
(D) The role and responsibility of the specialist's supervisor and district director is to support the CW specialist, as needed, when making recommendations to the court through;
(i) regular safety discussions regarding the case;
(ii) assisting in preparation for court hearings and recommendations;
(iii) coaching the specialist to maintain confidence while making recommendations to the court;
(iv) attending court hearings to further support the CW specialist or in the case of adverse rulings; and
(v) meet with court partners on a regular basis to build positive court relationships.
5. Recommended judicial findings. At each dispositional or review hearing, the court makes findings based on the case's circumstances. The recommended findings in KIDS and documentation that is required on Forms 04KI011E, 04KI013E, or 04KI014E for the judicial finding are described in (1) through (5) of this Instruction.
(1) A finding whether active efforts are being made to provide remedial services and rehabilitative programs to prevent the breakup of the Indian family finding. The active efforts finding is requested when the court makes a finding that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) applies. The CW specialist describes the active efforts made by OKDHS to reunite the child and family including, but not limited to, efforts made to:
(A) involve and assist the parent with ISP completion;
(B) encourage and assist the parent with visiting the child; or
(C) encourage and guide the parent's efforts to improve protective capacities and change the behaviors that caused safety threats to the child.
(2) Whether reasonable efforts were made to finalize the permanency plan finding. The CW specialist describes efforts to:
(A) refer to, arrange for, provide, or develop reasonable supportive and rehabilitative services that assist the family in the child's safe reunification;
(B) obtain the parent's compliance, when the parent is not complying with the ISP or permanency plan; or
(C) finalize the child's permanency plan, including the consideration of in-state and out-of-state placement options.
(3) Whether reasonable efforts to reunite the child with the family are not required finding. The CW specialist describes the reasons reasonable efforts are not required to reunite the child with the parent and family based on the statutorily defined reasons, per 10A O.S. § 1-4-809 and OAC 340:75-1-18.4.
(4) Whether succesful adulthood (SA) services are appropriate finding. The CW specialist describes the services provided to the youth, 14 years of age and older who is in out-of-home care that assist in the youth's SA skills development needed to successfully transition into adulthood.
(5) Whether SA services are not appropriate finding. When a youth, 14 years of age and older who is in out-of-home care, is not capable of receiving SA services, the CW specialist describes the basis for the determination.
6. Protecting the placement provider's identification and child's school location when describing the child's situation in the report to the court. When completing information for the Children's Situation section of the report to the court, the CW specialist does not:
(1) identify the placement provider by proper name, but refers to the provider by title, such as relative, foster parent, or trial adoptive parent;
(2) reveal the placement provider's address, phone number, or district of residence; and
(3) provide the name or location of the school the child attends.
7. Psychological evaluation, drug or alcohol testing, treatment, or referral attachments. Upon receipt of an attachment related to a psychological evaluation, drug or alcohol testing, treatment, or referral, the CW specialist:
(1) does not attach to the progress report the entire psychological evaluation, drug or alcohol testing, treatment, or referral that contains the statement: "This information has been disclosed to you from records protected by federal confidentiality rules (42 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Part 2). The federal rules prohibit you from making further disclosure of this information unless further disclosure is expressly permitted by the written consent of the person to whom it pertains or as otherwise permitted by 42 C.F.R. Part 2. A general authorization for the release of medical or other information is NOT sufficient for this purpose. The federal rules restrict any use of the information to criminally investigate or prosecute any alcohol or drug abuse patient";
(2) states in the progress report that the evaluation, testing, or treatment occurred;
(3) attaches a copy of the recommendations page from the psychological evaluation, drug or alcohol testing, treatment, or referral, when applicable;
(4) requests the parent sign a release of information with the provider when the court requires the entire report that complies with 42 C.F.R. Part 2 designating the persons entitled to have the information including, but not limited to:
(A) the court;
(B) the DA;
(C) the child's attorney;
(D) the parent's attorney;
(E) the tribe, when applicable; and
(5) requests the provider supply copies to only the persons designated on the release; and
(6) requests the court's copy be filed under seal so the persons who have statutory access to the legal record, but were not included in the release, may not access the sealed information.
8. Protocol for obtaining information and preparing court report with multiple district assignments.
(1) The CW specialist in the county of jurisdiction emails each assigned CW specialist and CW supervisor, with the exception of facility liaisons, no later than two weeks prior to the court review and includes:
(A) the date of the court review;
(B) notification that the KIDS court report is open; and
(C) a request that each assigned specialist enter all applicable information by a specified date including, but not limited to:
(i) a recommendation regarding the child's permanency;
(ii) services required; and
(iii) family time issues.
(2) When there is not a consensus regarding case-related issues, the CW specialist, not in agreement, consults with his or her supervisor and necessary action is determined by a:
(A) teleconference; or
(B) face-to-face staffing among all assigned CW staff.
(3) Pertinent information entered in the court report is not changed without notification to the CW specialist who entered the information.
9. Court hearing documentation. The CW specialist in the county of jurisdiction enters complete, detailed information in the applicable KIDS Court Hearing screens no later than 15-calendar days after a court hearing is held and enters the order in KIDS DMS.
10. Court hearing documentation and notification protocol for multiple county district assignments. The CW specialist in the county of jurisdiction:
(1) emails all assigned CW specialists and CW supervisors no later than one-business day after a court hearing is held and reports:
(A) any major changes regarding family time, custody status, placement decisions, or service provisions; and
(B) the date of the next court hearing; and
(2) provides a copy of the most recent court order to the CW specialist in the district of service or placement within two-business days of receipt.