340:75-7-24. Kinship placement for the child in Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) custody
(a) Kinship care. Per Section 1-9-106 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-9-106), OKDHS establishes standards for kinship foster care.
(1) Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-204, when determining the placement of a child in OKDHS custody, a preference is given to relatives and persons who have a kinship relationship with the child. OKDHS makes diligent efforts to place the child accordingly and, per 10A O.S. § 1-4-704, reports to the court the efforts made to secure a placement for the child in the least restrictive, most family-like setting, in reasonable proximity to the child's home, and where the child's special needs may be met. ■ 1
(2) When the child is not placed with a relative who was considered for placement, OKDHS notifies the court in writing the reasons the relative was denied placement and becomes part of the court record, per 10A O.S. § 1-4-204. ■ 3
(3) When the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) applies, ICWA placement preferences are followed. The Indian child in foster care is placed in the following order of preference, absent good cause to the contrary, with:
(A) a member of the Indian child's extended family as specified by the child's tribe;
(B) a foster home licensed, approved, or specified by the Indian child's tribe;
(C) an Indian foster home licensed or approved by an authorized non-Indian licensing authority; or
(D) an institution for children approved by an Indian tribe or operated by an Indian organization that has a program suitable to meet the Indian child's needs. If the Indian child's tribe has established by resolution a different order of preference, the tribe's placement preferences must be applied.
(b) Kinship relationships. Kinship relationships are identified in (1) through (5) of this subsection.
(1) Related by blood. Maternal and paternal blood relatives considered as kinship, including half-blood relatives, are:
(B) grandparents including those denoted by prefixes of great and great-great;
(C) aunts and uncles including those denoted by prefixes of great and great-great or by degree of relationship;
(D) nieces and nephews including those denoted by prefixes of grand and great-grand; and
(2) Related by marriage. Relationships created by marriage, as described in (1) of this subsection, whether by common-law or ceremony include:
(A) step-relations; and
(B) the previous relationship designation prior to the termination of the marriage by death or divorce.
(3) Related by adoption. Relatives by adoption as described in (1) and (2) of this subsection are considered kinship.
(4) Related by emotional tie or bond. An emotional tie or bond exists when a child or the child's parent acknowledges and accepts a person as part of the extended family or in the family's close network of friends and relationships. The family or child relationship role must exist prior to the necessity for the child's initial out-of-home placement. Individuals with whom a child in OKDHS custody establishes a relationship after the child's out-of-home placement may be considered as a non-relative kinship placement after an assessment of the child's case and an exception to kinship placement is granted. ■ 2
(A) When the child is in protective or OKDHS emergency custody, OKDHS gives priority to the child's noncustodial parent for placement, unless the placement is not in the child's best interests.
(B) When the child cannot be placed with the noncustodial parent, the child's placement is made, per 10A O.S. § 1-4-204. ■ 3
(5) Parent not considered kinship. A kinship placement does not include:
(A) the child's custodial or noncustodial parent with whom the child is placed or to whom the child is returned; or
(B) a parent whose parental rights are terminated.
(c) Residence requirement for kinship applicants. For kinship applicants or adult household members who have not lived continuously in Oklahoma for the past five years, OKDHS must obtain the child abuse and neglect registry checks from the previous state(s) of residence, when a registry is available, prior to the child's placement in a kinship resource home, per 10A O.S. § 1-7-111.
(d) Initial kinship placement. ■ 4 Per 10A O.S. § 1-9-106, a child may be placed in the kinship resource home prior to completion of the resource family assessment, a national criminal history records search, and pre-service training provided:
(1) Form 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, is completed, signed, and results are received for the applicant and each adult household member, other than a foster child, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-7-15;
(2) an OKDHS records search, including Child Welfare Services records, is completed and documented for the applicant and each adult household member on Form 04AF007E, Records Check Documentation. When an applicant or adult household member has not lived continuously in Oklahoma for the past five years, the resource specialist gathers all child welfare (CW) histories from other states where the applicant or adult household member lived within the past five years. The applicant or adult household member submits fingerprints for a national criminal history records search to expedite the initial placement approval process.
(3) Form 04FC001E, Initial Kinship Placement Agreement, is completed and signed;
(4) Form 04AF001E, Resource Family Application, is completed and signed;
(5) Form 04AF004E, House Assessment, is completed;
(6) Form 04MP061E, Water Safety Agreement, is completed and signed;
(7) Form 04AF021E, Verification of Receipt of OKDHS Rules, is completed and signed;
(8) Form 04AF052E, Initial Kinship Safety Evaluation and Assessment Tool, is completed and signed; and
(9) three personal references, only one of whom is a family member, are interviewed.
(e) Kinship resource applicant criminal history records searches after normal business hours or on holidays. ■ 5 In determining the suitability of the prospective kinship home, OKDHS uses the OKDHS Office of Background Investigations (OBI) to perform a name-based state criminal history records search, per procedures set forth in Section 901 et seq. of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations. When OKDHS OBI is not operational, OKDHS may elect to contract or otherwise collaborate with local law enforcement agencies to perform a name-based state and federal criminal history records search followed by fingerprint verification, per 10A O.S. § 1-7-115.
(f) Kinship maintenance payment option. ■ 6 The kinship applicant may opt for:
(1) an OKDHS foster care maintenance payment; or
(2) a money payment that the child is eligible for, instead of the foster care maintenance payment, when the child lived with the kinship applicant continuously for at least twelve months.
(A) The foster care maintenance payment is reduced by the amount of the money payment when the money payment is less than the foster care maintenance payment. Refer to OAC 340:75-7-52.1 for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits received for a parent who is deceased or disabled.
(B) Payment may include:
(i) other financial resources, per OAC 340:75-13-28; or
(ii) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, per OAC 340:10-9.
(g) Kinship and traditional resource home requirements the same. Each kinship resource home, whether paid or non-paid, meets the same requirements as the traditional non-related resource home.
(h) Kinship start-up and training stipend. ■ 6 The kinship resource family that has not been approved within the preceding five years is entitled to receive, per OKDHS Appendix C-20, Child Welfare Services Rates Schedule, a:
(1) one-time kinship start-up stipend to assist with initial expenditures for each child placed in the home for 14-consecutive days; and
(2) training stipend. Half of the total stipend is paid to the kinship resource family after the kinship resource parent(s) enrolls in the pre-service training and the second half of the total stipend is paid to the kinship parent(s) after the kinship resource parent(s) completes the pre-service training when:
(A) a child is placed and residing in the home at the time the kinship resource parent enrolls in training; and
(B) the child remains in the home until the kinship resource parent completes training.
(i) Foster care maintenance payments begin when requirements satisfied. Per 10A O.S. § 1-9-106, the kinship resource parent is not entitled to any payments for providing foster care until the resource parent receives final approval from OKDHS. Foster care maintenance payments for kinship resource homes begin at the time requirements are met, per OAC 340:75-7-18 and are not retroactive. On a case-by-case basis, the kinship resource parent may be approved for maintenance payments based on an exception to a non-safety requirement, per OAC 340:75-7-10.1. ■ 5
(j) Kinship resource family transfer to a resource family partner (RFP). When a kinship resource family is already approved as a supported foster home or is in the approval process with an RFP, the RFP may request the kinship resource family case be transferred to the RFP agency.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-7-24
1. Kinship. Diligent efforts are made to place a child in a kinship placement. The resource specialist carefully considers the child's physical and emotional health and safety when identifying prospective kin providers.
2. Exception to kinship relationship requirements.
(1) An exception to the requirement for emotional tie or bond for a kinship relationship may be requested from the resource field manager when:
(A) the child welfare (CW) specialist:
(i) completed a diligent search for kinship, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-6-85.2, and documented the search in the child's KIDS case; and
(ii) did not locate an appropriate kinship provider, per OAC 340:75-7-24; and
(B) one of the conditions in (i) through (iv) applies.
(i) A specialized skill is needed to care for the child.
(ii) A youth found placement through a connection in the community.
(iii) A child in permanent custody or long-term placement has a connection in the community.
(iv) Another similar circumstance exists.
(2) The exception is approved on a case-by-case basis by the resource field manager and documented in the KIDS Pre-Resource Contacts.
3. Notification to court of relative denied placement. When the relative considered for placement is denied placement, Form 04MP056E, Notice to the Court of Relative Denied Placement, is submitted, per OAC 340:75-7-18 #11. The resource specialist:
(1) communicates all information regarding the kinship denial with the CW specialist and CW supervisor that initiated the kinship request. The CW specialist conveys the identified safety concerns and diminished protective capacities of the applicant(s) and articulates how it impacted the denial decision; and
(2) must be available to attend any court hearings when requested by either the court or other Child Welfare Services (CWS) programs. The resource specialist maintains confidentiality during court proceedings while still articulating the safety concerns and potential risks to a child. The resource specialist consults with the resource supervisor prior to appearing in court. Prior to the court appearance, the resource supervisor determines with the resource field manager or Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) Legal Services if a higher level staffing is needed.
4. Initial kinship placement. When the CW specialist completes the initial kinship placement, he or she provides the necessary paperwork to the resource specialist by the next business day. The resource specialist:
(A) Form 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, with all required signatures and results received for the applicant and each adult household member, per OAC 340:75-7-15;
(B) OKDHS records search, including CWS records, and documents the applicant and each adult household member on Form 04AF007E, Records Check Documentation. A Juvenile On-line Tracking System (JOLTS) review for any child 13 through 17 years of age living in the home is included, per OAC 340:75-7-15. When an applicant or adult living in the home has not lived continuously in Oklahoma for the past five years, the resource specialist gathers all CW histories from other states where the family lived within the past five years. The applicant and each adult living in the home submit fingerprints for a national criminal history records search to expedite the initial placement approval process. Guidance on the fingerprint process is found in OAC 340:75-7-15;
(C) Form 04FC001E, Initial Kinship Placement Agreement, with all required signatures;
(D) Form 04AF001E, Resource Family Application, with all required signatures;
(E) Form 04AF004E, House Assessment and Form 04MP061E, Water Safety Agreement, with all required signatures;
(F) Form 04AF021E, Verification of Receipt of OKDHS Rules, with all required signatures;
(G); a phone interview with three personal references, only one of whom is a family member. When all other requirements are satisfied and the placement is occurring after 10:00 p.m., the child may be placed and references contacted the next calendar day; and
(H) Form 04AF052E, Initial Kinship Safety Evaluation and Assessment Tool that includes a staffing with his or her resource supervisor prior to the initial kinship placement approval;
(2) copies the KIDS Pre-Resource to a Resource after the child is placed in the kinship resource home and the initial placement requirements are completed, per OAC 340:75-7-24;
(3) documents the kinship applicant's relationship in KIDS Resource General Information screen;
(4) end dates the KIDS Pre-Resource after conversion to a Resource; and
(5) when requesting an out-of-district kinship placement, creates and assigns a KIDS Pre-Resource to the district where the kinship applicant resides.
5. Kinship applicant criminal history records search after normal business hours or on a holiday.
(1) The CW specialist requests a name-based criminal history records search from OKDHS Office of Background Investigations (OBI).
(A) The CW specialist gives OKDHS OBI the name, race, gender, date of birth, and Social Security number of each person 18 years of age and older living in the household considered for the child's emergency placement.
(B) Each adult household member completes and signs Form 04AD003E to initiate the search.
(C) When requested by CWS, OKDHS OBI immediately conducts the requested name-based state criminal history records search, provides a verbal response on each person's criminal history, and if any orders of protection or outstanding warrants exist.
(D) The failure of any adult living in the household to permit a name-based criminal history records search results in denial of placement.
(2) When OKDHS OBI is not operational, the CW specialist asks local law enforcement to conduct a name-based National Crime Information Center (NCIC) criminal history search. With an NCIC history search when a child is placed in the home, fingerprints for the applicant and each adult household member must be provided and submitted to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) within five-business days.
(A) OKDHS gives local law enforcement the name, race, gender, date of birth, and Social Security number of each person, 18 years of age and older, living in the household considered for emergency placement of the child.
(B) Each adult household member completes and signs Form 04AD003E to initiate the search.
(C) When requested by OKDHS, local law enforcement immediately conducts the requested name-based state and federal criminal history records searches, provides a verbal response on each person's criminal history and on any orders of protection or outstanding warrants.
(D) The failure of any adult living in the household to permit a name-based criminal history records search or submit a full set of fingerprints and provide written permission authorizing OKDHS to forward the fingerprints to OSBI for an FBI national criminal history records search within the required five-business days results in denial of placement or the immediate removal of the child from the prospective kinship resource home.
(E) When a child is placed in the home, fingerprints are forwarded to OSBI within 15-calendar days after the results of the preliminary name-based records check are received.
(3) The CW specialist documents the criminal history records search by local law enforcement in the KIDS Resource Contacts and submits signed Form 04AD003E to OKDHS OBI the next business day.
6. Kinship stipend and maintenance payment.
(1) The kinship start-up stipend (KSUS) and training stipend are entered automatically by KIDS.
(A) KIDS generates the KSUS on the 15th day of the child's placement when the child is in the placement for 14-consecutive days.
(B) KIDS allows a date range for automatic payment of the training stipend that includes the kinship applicant:
(i) enrolling in the pre-service training up to seven-calendar days prior to the child's placement; and
(ii) completing the pre-service training up to seven-calendar days after the child leaves the placement.
(2) The resource specialist:
(A) refers the relative kinship applicant to the local OKDHS office to apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits pending completion of the assessment process to become a paid resource family;
(B) to avoid an overpayment, informs the Adult and Family Services worker no later than the next business day after the resource home requirements are completed, and the resource supervisor approved the resource in KIDS;
(C) obtains each kinship applicant's signature on a foster care contract within two-business days of placement, per OAC 340:75-7-52 Instructions to Staff, or when the applicant is a non-paid kinship resource home, on Form 04FC002E, Nonpaid Agreement;
(D) assists each adult applicant and all adult household members to complete the process to obtain fingerprints within five-calendar days;
(E) consults with the resource supervisor on a case-by-case basis to determine if an exception to a non-safety requirement is appropriate; and
(F) requests a one-time 60-calendar day training or home study waiver only after all efforts to expedite training or the resource family assessment (RFA) are exhausted, and the efforts are documented in KIDS Resource Contacts.
(i) A written request and a waiver request on KIDS is submitted by the resource supervisor to the resource field manager who approves or denies the request in KIDS.
(ii) Waiver types include a:
(I) temporary waiver when pre-service training is not available or delays occurred in obtaining the RFA and all other requirements are satisfied; and
(II) permanent training waiver for an incapacitated spouse that is available only after the primary kinship applicant completes the pre-service training.