340:75-7-18. Resource family assessment (RFA)
(a) RFA. Per Section 1-7-111 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-7-111), the Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) or RFA contractor conducts an assessment of the applicant's and each household member's background and other circumstances and conditions to determine if the home is suitable and provides a safe environment for the child in OKDHS custody requiring foster care. • 1
(b) Mandate to conduct background information search. 10A O.S. § 1-7-111 and the Oklahoma Child Care Facilities Licensing Act, 10 O.S. §§ 401 et seq. mandate that a national criminal history records search based on the submission of fingerprints and a child abuse and neglect information system check be conducted for each applicant and each household member 18 years of age and older that is not a foster child. The applicant and each adult household member complete and sign Forms 04AF001E, Resource Family Application, and 04AD003E, Request for Background Check to authorize OKDHS to conduct a search into the applicant's and adult household member's criminal history records and OKDHS records.
(c) Form 04AF004E, House assessment. • 2 An in-home evaluation of the applicant's residence is conducted to assess the location, condition, and capacity to accommodate the child in OKDHS custody who requires foster care. Form 04AF004E includes an assessment of (1) through (13) of this subsection.
(1) The home's location. The home is accessible to school, medical, and recreational resources.
(2) The home's and property's condition. The home is clean and safe and any structures on the property that are accessible to a child are in a safe condition. The home and surroundings are evaluated regarding possible safety concerns and addressed with a plan of supervision, when applicable.
(3) Available play space. Adequate and safe indoor and outdoor space for play activities is available. Outdoor recreational equipment on the resource home's grounds, such as swing sets, riding toys, trampolines, or tree houses are clean and are maintained in good repair.
(4) Age-appropriate equipment. Age-appropriate child care equipment, such as beds, high chairs, or toys are available, clean, and in good repair.
(5) Phone communications. An operable phone is available in the home when a child is present.
(A) The applicant:
(i) maintains a vehicle in safe working order that is capable of transporting children and:
(I) carries the statutorily mandated vehicle liability insurance;
(II) possesses a valid driver license; and
(III) has a current, valid vehicle license tag; or
(ii) provides an acceptable transportation plan for the child in OKDHS custody.
(B) The applicant is advised that proper passenger restraints are used at all times when a child in OKDHS custody is riding in a vehicle.
(C) The applicant agrees to transport all children and adults in compliance with applicable state law, per 47 O.S. § 11-1112.
(7) Sleeping arrangements and privacy.
(A) The applicant's home provides a separate bed for each child, with the exception of siblings younger than 6 years of age who exhibit a need for mutual support.
(B) A separate bedroom is provided for a child who acts out sexually.
(C) Preferably, no more than two children share a bedroom. Primary consideration is given to related children according to age and emotional needs.
(D) The applicant's home provides separate bedrooms for children 7 years of age and older of the opposite sex.
(E) A child in OKDHS custody, with the exception of an infant who is younger than 12 months of age, does not share a bedroom with an adult in the household. Under no circumstances is a child of any age authorized to sleep with an adult.
(F) The applicant's home provides space for the child's personal possessions and for a reasonable degree of privacy.
(G) The applicant may not designate a room, such as the living room, utility room, den, dining room, pantry, or unconverted garage as a bedroom for a child in OKDHS custody unless the room is specifically designed as a bedroom.
(8) Infant sleeping arrangements. A crib, port-a-crib, or playpen with a firm, waterproof mattress or pad is used for each child younger than 12 months of age.
(A) Cribs, port-a-cribs, and playpens with more than two and 3/8 inches between slats or between the side and end panels are not allowed.
(B) Cribs with decorative cutout areas in crib-end panels or tall decorative knobs on the corner posts that may entrap a child's head or catch the child's clothing are not allowed.
(C) Cribs with drop-side latches must have the manufacturer-provided kits to lock the crib side in the upright position due to safety hazards.
(D) Mattresses are tight-fitting with no more than one inch between the mattress and crib, port-a-crib, or playpen.
(E) Mattress and crib sheets fit snugly.
(F) Soft sleeping surfaces, such as soft mattresses, waterbeds, sofas, pillows, beanbag chairs, and inflatable mats are prohibited.
(G) Pillows, quilts, comforters and blankets, sheepskins, stuffed toys, bumper pads, breathable bumper pads, and other soft products are not permitted in the infant's crib, port-a-crib, or playpen.
(H) Infants birth through three months of age may be swaddled with an infant-sized, thin fabric, such as a receiving blanket.
(I) When placed for sleeping, items, such as pacifiers, teething necklaces, and bibs, are not attached to the infant or his or her clothing.
(J) An infant is immediately moved to a crib, port-a-crib, or playpen when he or she falls asleep in other equipment.
(K) Mobiles may be securely attached or hung above the crib provided no part of the mobile is within the infant's reach.
(9) Infant sleep positions.
(A) To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the infant younger than 12 months of age is placed on his or her back for sleeping, unless there is a medical reason documented by a health care professional that the infant must not sleep on his or her back. • 3
(B) The infant who is able to turn himself or herself over is placed initially on his or her back for sleeping but is allowed to sleep in the position he or she prefers.
(10) Water safety.
(A) Form 04MP061E, Water Safety Agreement, is completed for all applicants.
(B) The definition of a water structure or water mass includes, but is not limited to:
(i) swimming pools;
(ii) decorative ponds;
(iii) farm ponds or streams;
(v) wading pools;
(vi) hot tubs or spas; and
(C) Any activity that involves a child in OKDHS custody wading or swimming is supervised at all times.
(D) All applicable laws, ordinances, rules and regulations, and insurance requirements for pools are followed.
(E) A hot tub is equipped with a hard cover designed for a hot tub.
(F) The use of portable wading pools is monitored at all times. The wading pool is emptied at the end of each use.
(G) A water safety plan is developed and each adult identified to provide supervision for the child during water activities signs the water safety plan. • 4 The water safety plan includes appropriate measures to ensure the child's safety. Appropriate measures may include, but are not limited to:
(i) fencing. A water structure or water mass is fenced to prevent unsupervised access. There is a sturdy fence:
(I) at least four feet high that cannot be easily climbed; or
(II) that connects to the top of an above-ground pool and extends two feet above the pool or follows other specified safety guidelines;
(ii) pool covers. A child-safety pool cover is placed over the water area each time the pool is not in use. Pool covers are completely removed prior to pool use;
(iii) locked doors. All doors and gates leading to the water structure, are locked;
(iv) pool alarms. Pool alarms are installed and operating when the pool is not in use;
(v) removable ladders. Removable ladders are removed from the water structure when not in use;
(vi) safety devices, such as lifejackets or rings;
(vii) swimming lessons; or
(viii) training, such as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and first aid.
(11) Animal and household pet safety. • 5
(A) Animals are in good health, do not show evidence of carrying disease, and do not present a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of children. Appropriate supervision is required when the child in OKDHS custody is in the presence of the family's animals.
(B) The applicant or parent provides documentation of current rabies vaccinations for applicable animals.
(C) When an animal bites a child, the applicant or parent obtains appropriate and immediate medical treatment and contacts the assigned child welfare (CW) specialist as soon as the child's safety is secured.
(12) Weapon safety.
(A) An applicant or parent is responsible for ensuring the safety of a child in OKDHS custody who comes within close proximity to:
(i) a firearm or other weapon; or
(ii) an individual in possession of a firearm or other weapon.
(B) Any firearm or weapon in the home must be maintained, along with any ammunition, in a secure container, cabinet, or closet or otherwise be inaccessible at all times to children who are in the home.
(C) No firearm or weapon is transported in any vehicle in which a child in OKDHS custody is riding unless the firearm or weapon is safely secured or inaccessible to the child.
(D) A law enforcement official is exempt from (B) and (C) of this paragraph when conditions of employment require ready and immediate access to his or her weapon.
(E) An applicant or parent licensed to carry a handgun, whether concealed or unconcealed, per 21 O.S. §§ 1290.1 et seq., the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, may maintain the firearm in a holster secured to his or her person, per 21 O.S. § 1290.2. When the firearm is not holstered and secured to his or her person, it must be maintained as required in (A) through (C) of this paragraph.
(F) Any activity the child in OKDHS custody participates in that involves a weapon must have appropriate adult supervision at all times. The applicant or parent obtains pre-approval for the child's participation in a weapons activity from the child's assigned CW specialist or CW supervisor. • 6
(13) Disaster plans. Disaster plans are reviewed with each newly-placed child and periodically with all children in the home. The family disaster plan includes:
(A) a list of emergency phone numbers posted in an accessible and conspicuous place. The list includes:
(ii) doctors' names and phone numbers;
(iii) health professionals or clinics;
(iv) fire and police departments;
(v) an ambulance service; and
(vi) the name and phone numbers of the alternate caregiver;
(B) access to a phone at all times when a child in OKDHS custody is present;
(C) an evacuation plan in the event of a fire, tornado, earthquake, flood, ice storm, or other natural, state, or national disaster;
(D) first aid procedures and supplies;
(E) a planned source of available medical care, such as a hospital emergency room, clinic, or health care professional;
(F) a plan of whom to contact when there is an accident, an incident involving the child in OKDHS custody, or he or she runs away or is abducted; and
(G) a plan of whom to contact and community resources to access when the child in OKDHS custody has behavioral problems.
(d) Number of children in the home. OKDHS determines the number and ages of children placed in each resource home.
(1) Maximum number of children allowed to reside in the resource home. The total number of children in OKDHS custody placed in a resource home does not exceed five. The total number of children in the resource home does not exceed six, which includes biological, adoptive, foster, and other children not in OKDHS custody. Approval to exceed these limits may be given to allow:
(A) a parenting youth in foster care to remain with his or her child;
(B) siblings to remain together;
(C) a child with an established meaningful relationship with the family to remain with the family; or
(D) a family with special training or skills to provide care to a child who has a severe disability.
(2) Maximum number of children younger than 2 years of age allowed in a resource home. No more than two children younger than 2 years of age including the resource parent's own children may reside or be placed in the resource home.
(3) Child in OKDHS custody placed in a tribal home. The number of children in OKDHS and tribal custody allowed to reside in a tribal resource home is determined by the applicable tribe. When a child in OKDHS custody is placed in a tribal home and placement exceeds six children, overfill procedures are followed. • 7 An Indian child in OKDHS custody is placed in compliance with the placement preferences of the Indian Child Welfare Act, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-19.
(e) Authorization to check applicant's references. The applicant grants OKDHS and RFA contractors permission to contact the applicant's references by signing Form 04AF001E, Resource Family Application. Information obtained from the references is confidential and can only be released upon order of a court with competent jurisdiction. • 8 & 9
(f) Assessment of applicant's marital and relationship history. The applicant must have stable relationships whether married, single, separated, or divorced. The applicant's ability to develop and sustain stable relationships is assessed and documented. • 10
(g) Household income. The applicant completes Form 04AF010E, Resource Family Financial Assessment, and provides documentation of employment, income, and expenditures as an assessment component. The applicant provides verification that he or she can manage personal and household financial needs without relying on the foster care maintenance payment. The applicant must have sufficient income or community resources to meet the needs of an additional child placed in his or her home until the foster care maintenance payment for the child in OKDHS custody is received.
(h) RFA disposition. • 11 Upon completion of the RFA, a decision regarding approval or denial is made after assessing the information gathered.
(1) The assessment process is completed and the determination regarding approval or denial is made no later than 60-calendar days after receipt of completed Form 04AF001E.
(2) OKDHS may approve or deny an applicant as a resource when the applicant or the home meets or does not meet requirements, per OAC 340:75-7.
(3) OKDHS makes the final determination of application denial, which may occur at any point during the process.
(i) Exceptions to assessment guidelines. • 12 Upon the applicant's or CW specialist's request, exceptions may be granted by OKDHS, provided adequate standards affording protection for the health, safety, and welfare of the child exist, per (1) and (2) of this subsection.
(1) For kinship resource homes only, OKDHS may, at its discretion, grant a waiver of specific rules or standards that do not compromise a child's safety and does not violate federal or state statutes.
(2) For traditional resource homes, OKDHS may, at its discretion, grant a variance of specific rules or standards that do not compromise a child’s safety and does not violate federal or state statutes.
(j) Application denial. When a decision is made to deny an applicant as a resource parent, the applicant is provided an explanation regarding the reasons for the denial. When the denial pertains to a kinship resource home, the child in OKDHS custody is immediately moved from the applicant's home. Reasons for denying an application may include, but are not limited to:
(1) a lack of stable, adequate income to meet the applicant's own or total family needs, or the poor management of available income;
(2) the physical facility is inadequate to accommodate the addition of the child in OKDHS custody into the home, or presents health or safety concerns;
(3) a household member that has a history of alleged or confirmed child abuse, neglect, or both, per OAC 340:75-7-15;
(4) a household member that has a history of arrests or convictions, per OAC 340:75-7-15;
(5) any household member's health, behavioral health, or any condition that impedes the applicant's ability to provide appropriate care for a child;
(6) relationships in the household that are unstable and unsatisfactory;
(7) references that are guarded or have reservations in recommending the applicant;
(8) the applicant fails to complete the application, required training, or verifications in a timely manner as requested, or provides incomplete, inconsistent, or untruthful information;
(9) the home is determined unsuitable for the child requiring placement;
(10) the applicant applied for a child that OKDHS reasonably believes may not be available for placement; or
(11) one or more factors concerning any household member or conditions in the home, as described in the denial letter, renders the applicant or home environment inappropriate as a resource home.
(k) Authority to approve or deny resource home and Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) assessments. OKDHS determines the final disposition of each resource home and ICPC assessment completed by OKDHS or RFA contractors.
(l) Changes in the household. • 13 The applicant or parent must notify the resource specialist or RFA contractor:
(1) immediately of any:
(A) charges, arrests, or any alleged illegal activity committed by the applicant or any household member; and
(B) proceeding for a protective order filed by or against the applicant or any household member; and
(2) within 24 hours of any change in the household including, but not limited to:
(A) the address or the home's location, including emergency home displacement;
(B) any significant change in the home that impacts the family's day-to-day living;
(C) the death or serious illness of a resource parent;
(F) individuals moving in or moving out of the home for any reason; or
(G) new or terminated relationships.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-7-18
1. Resource family assessment (RFA). The RFA is completed by Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) resource specialists or an RFA contractor. The written assessment describes the family based on complete, consistent, and truthful information the resource specialist or RFA contractor gathers in conjunction with the family, following an application review and a background information summary.
(1) Initial visit. The resource specialist or RFA contractor conducts the initial consultation with the family in the family's home to answer questions, explain the mutual assessment process and training requirements, and assess the home's safety. Observations are documented on Form 04AF004E, House Assessment.
(2) Guidelines and form. The resource specialist or RFA contractor uses Form 04AF002E, Guidelines for Resource Family Assessment, to obtain information regarding the family. When the resource specialist or RFA contractor is completing the RFA, the information is written on Form 04AF003E, Resource Family Assessment.
(3) Review of resource assessment forms. The resource specialist or RFA contractor reviews Forms:
(A) 04AF010E, Resource Family Financial Assessment;
(B) 04AF001E, Resource Family Application;
(C) 04AF008E, Medical Examination Report, received by the resource specialist or RFA contractor as soon as possible or prior to the final consultation visit;
(D) 04AF039E, Child(ren)'s Health Statement;
(E) 04AF017E, Resource Parent Health History;
(F) 04AF018E, Child Needs Information List;
(G) 04AF005E, Notice to Resource Applicants;
(H) 04MP001E, Consent for Release of Confidential Information;
(I) 13HI003E, Authorization to Disclose Medical Records;
(J) 04AF021E, Verification of Receipt of OKDHS Rules; and
(K) 04AF043E, Resource Family Application Other Adults in the Home, when applicable.
(4) Tribal membership. The resource specialist verifies the applicant's tribal membership or tribal affiliation by obtaining a copy of the tribal membership card and submitting Form 04TB001E, Resource Family Applicant(s) Letter to Verify Tribal Membership, to the tribe to identify valid placement resources for the Indian child pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Acts, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-19.
3. Infant sleeping arrangements. When there is a medical reason that an infant cannot or may not sleep on his or her back, the resource parent maintains documentation from a health care professional and a copy is filed in the resource file.
4. Water safety. The resource specialist and RFA contractor observe all water structures and masses within sight of, or accessible to, the living structure or yard. Form 04MP061E, Water Safety Agreement, is completed for all applicants. The water safety plan is:
(1) developed with each applicant;
(2) documented and signed by each applicant, adult household member, and resource specialist;
(3) provided to the applicant;
(4) updated when a change or an addition of a water structure or mass occurs to the resource home or property; and
(5) reviewed at each annual update or reassessment.
5. Animal safety.
(1) Documentation of current rabies vaccinations for applicable animals is maintained in the resource file. When animals are vaccinated by someone other than a veterinarian, documentation includes the:
(A) vaccine proof of purchase date;
(B) vaccine lot number and expiration date; and
(C) date the animal was vaccinated.
(2) Inquiry is made regarding when any animal displayed aggressive behavior, bit anyone, or required restraint due to the animal's nature.
(3) To determine the safety issues for children, the resource specialist or RFA contractor contacts the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife or the veterinarian of record when the applicant has an exotic animal and documents the information in the KIDS resource.
6. (a) Weapon or firearm safety.
(1) A weapon includes, but is not limited to, a:
(A) gun, such as a pistol, revolver, shotgun, or rifle from which a projectile is fired by gunpowder, gas, or other means of rocket propulsion;
(B) air-powered BB or pellet gun;
(C) bow and arrow; or
(D) knife, such as a dagger or knife with a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife, with the exception of cooking or eating utensils.
(2) The applicant and the resource specialist discuss in detail the applicant's plan to store and secure weapons and firearms or ensure their inaccessibility at all times to children in the home. Examples of secured weapons or firearms include, but are not limited to, storing items in a locked gun safe, biometric safe, or cabinet; using trigger locks; or removing firing pins from firearms. Weapons security and safety must be addressed during any subsequent home reassessment.
(b) Verification of weapon exemption.
(1) Law enforcement personnel must submit employer-provided documentation that indicates he or she is required to carry a weapon as a condition of employment.
(2) Continuing weapons licensure and law enforcement employment must be verified during any home reassessment.
7. (a) Placement in a resource home. When evaluating placement in a resource home, consideration is given to the number of children and:
(1) each resource parent's capabilities and skills;
(2) the number and ages of the resource parent's own children;
(3) if the home can physically accommodate the children;
(4) the known behavioral patterns of the resource parent's own children, the children in foster care currently residing in the home, and the prospective child;
(5) the presence of additional adult caregivers in the home beyond the approved resource parents; and
(6) the anticipated effect of the placements upon the resource family as a unit. The needs of the child placed in the resource home may restrict the home's capacity regardless of the approved number of foster care beds in the home.
(b) Exception to the number or age limit of children placed in a resource home. A child's placement in a resource home that causes the home to exceed the allowed number or age limit, per OAC 340:75-7-18, requires an exception request and approval prior to placement. Approval is applicable only for the specific placement in the request.
(1) The child welfare (CW) specialist consults with the resource specialist concerning the feasibility of an exception for a traditional or kinship resource to exceed the allowed number or age limit for placements.
(2) The resource specialist submits an exception request to the CW specialist, CW supervisor, and the resource supervisor that includes the:
(A) reason for the request;
(B) search results for an alternate, appropriate placement for the child;
(C) name and resource number of the resource family considered for the exception;
(D) number, gender, and ages of children:
(i) currently approved for the resource home;
(ii) currently placed in the home;
(iii) for whom the request is made; and
(iv) of the resource family;
(E) date and overall results of the last resource home annual update or reassessment including a review of all previous referrals, policy violations, and written plans of compliance on the resource home;
(F) number of in-service training hours the resource family completed in the last contract year;
(G) summary of the behaviors, treatment needs, and placement and permanency plans of each child currently placed, and each child included in the exception request;
(H) specified time requirements for the exception;
(I) effect of the exception on sibling placement, when any;
(J) summary of previous placements and exception requests for each child included in the request;
(K) plan for each child's transportation needs in accordance with state vehicle child safety restraint requirements;
(L) sleeping arrangements for each child in the resource home and the planned sleeping arrangement for the prospective child;
(M) effect the exception may have on the placement of each child currently in the home;
(N) resource specialist's recommendation regarding the exception request; and
(O) identification of, and a plan to provide possible services or supports needed by the children or family, to ensure a safe and stable placement.
(3) The CW specialist documents the exception request and request date in the child's case KIDS Contacts.
(4) When the request is for overfill of a supported home, the resource family partner (RFP) foster care worker sends the documentation to the OKDHS RFP liaison, who documents the exception request and date in the KIDS Resource Contacts.
(5) The resource specialist submits the request and documentation to the resource supervisor for an exception decision and documents the submission date in KIDS Resource Contacts.
(6) When the home will provide care for up to seven children, the resource supervisor forwards the request to the field manager for approval or denial and notifies the resource supervisor of the decision.
(7) In the event the request is for the resource home to care for a total of eight or more children, the field manager reviews the request and, when in agreement, forwards the request to a Foster Care and Adoptions deputy director and the regional deputy director for the child's case for approval. A Foster Care and Adoptions deputy director consults with the regional deputy director for the child's case and notifies the field manager of the decision. The CW and resource supervisors are then notified of the decision.
(8) The specific needs of all children involved, the resource parents, and the family unit as a whole are the basis for consideration of the exception.
(9) The CW and resource supervisors notify the CW and resource specialists of the decision.
(10) The CW and resource specialists or the OKDHS RFP liaison document the decision and plan for additional services and supports in the child's and resource case KIDS Contacts.
(11) When an exception is approved to overfill a resource home, regardless of the number of children placed, the CW specialists assigned to the children placed in the home review and document the plan to provide additional services or supports at the time of the monthly contact.
(12) The resource specialist:
(A) makes phone contact with the family on a monthly basis. At least one in-home visit is required per quarter, unless additional home visits are part of an overfill support plan;
(B) reviews the plan to address any additional needs, services, and supports; and
(C) documents the contacts and plan review in KIDS Resource Contacts.
8. Checking applicant references. Only a trained resource specialist or an RFA contractor solicits and reviews information received from references the applicant provides regarding the applicant's parenting strategies and skills. The applicant must have the three personal references in (1)(A) and the references (1)(B) through (H) of this Instruction to Staff (ITS), when applicable. The resource specialist or RFA contractor:
(1) documents all information provided by voluntary and applicant- provided references. The resource specialist or RFA contractor explains the program's expectations, and the needs of the children who come into OKDHS care, to each person contacted as a reference.
(A) Three personal references are interviewed by phone or in person, only one of whom can be a family member.
(B) When applicable, all adult children are contacted by letter, phone, or in person to complete Form 04AF015E, Resource Family Reference Letter for Adult Children.
(C)The applicant's current or most recent employer is contacted by letter, phone, or in person using Form 04AF011E, Resource Family Reference Letter for an Employer. When the applicant is self-employed, a reference is obtained from a customer.
(D) When applicable, school teachers, counselors, or administrators who have recently served the applicant's child are contacted by letter, phone, or in person using Form 04AF014E, Resource Family Reference Letter for School Personnel, to assess the applicant's involvement in educational issues.
(E) When the applicant homeschools his or her child, a person with knowledge of the applicant's homeschooling experience is contacted by letter, phone, or in person using Form 04AF025E, Resource Family Reference Letter for Homeschooling.
(F) When the applicant currently receives or received behavioral health services in the past 10 years, the behavioral health care professional is contacted using Form 04AF013E, Resource Family Assessment Reference Letter for Behavioral Health Professionals. The resource specialist or RFA contractor uses Form 13HI003E, Authorization to Disclose Medical Records, to obtain permission from the applicant to receive his or her behavioral health information. In addition to Form 04AF013E, the resource specialist requests behavioral records from the behavioral health professional.
(G) When the applicant's child currently receives or received behavioral health services in the past 10 years, the behavioral health care professional is contacted using Form 04AF012E, Child's Behavioral Health Reference Letter. The resource specialist or RFA contractor uses Form 13HI003E to obtain permission from the applicant to receive the child's behavioral health information. In addition to Form 04AF012E, the resource specialist requests behavioral records from the behavioral health professional.
(H) When the required references do not total at least six, the resource specialist obtains additional personal references.
(I) References may be contacted for an interview when the reference fails to respond to the reference letter request or when information contained in the response requires clarification. Additional references are not contacted without the applicant's specific written permission.
(J) When voluntary references contact the resource specialist to provide information, the information is included in the assessment summary.
(K) When guarded reference information is received, the issues are fully explored with the applicant without revealing the source of the information;
(2) obtains a copy of DD Form 214, Certificate of Release of Discharge from Active Duty, to determine the type of discharge, when the applicant was discharged from the armed forces. Any discharge other than honorable is specifically addressed in the assessment as a consideration in the applicant's ability to attend to the safety and well-being of a child requiring foster care services;
(3) does not deny the continuation of the resource application process based solely on information provided by a reference. When a reference provides information requiring further explanation from the applicant, the resource specialist or RFA contractor discusses the nature of the information without revealing the source; and
(4) requests consultation with the resource supervisor and field manager to determine the significance of the information provided by a reference, who:
(A) has a history of abuse, neglect, or both that includes victimization by the applicant;
(B) disagrees with the applicant's desire to foster; or
(C) has other concerns about his or her ability to parent.
9. Checking other adult references. References are obtained for any individual in the home, 21 years of age and older. When there are concerns about a younger adult in the home, references are requested. Only a trained resource specialist or an RFA contractor solicits and reviews information received from references the other adult provides about his or her parenting strategies and skills. The other adult must have the one personal reference in (1)(A) and the references (1)(B) through (E) of this ITS, when applicable. The resource specialist or RFA contractor:
(1) documents all information from voluntary and other provided references. The resource specialist or RFA contractor explains the program's expectations and the needs of children who come into OKDHS care to each person who is contacted as a reference.
(A) One personal reference is interviewed by phone or in person and cannot be a family member.
(B) When applicable, all adult children are contacted by letter, phone, or in person to complete Form 04AF015E, Resource Family Reference Letter for Adult Children.
(C) The current or most recent employer of the other adult in the home is contacted by letter, phone, or in person using Form 04AF011E, Resource Family Reference Letter for an Employer. When the adult is self-employed, a reference is obtained from a customer.
(D) When the other adult currently receives or received behavioral health services in the past 10 years, the behavioral health care professional is contacted using Form 04AF013E, Resource Family Assessment Reference Letter for Behavioral Health Professionals. The resource specialist or RFA contractor uses Form 13HI003E, Authorization to Disclose Medical Records, to obtain permission from the other adult to receive his or her behavioral health information. In addition to Form 04AF013E, the resource specialist requests behavioral records from the behavioral health professional.
(E) When the required references do not total three, the resource specialist obtains additional personal references;
(2) does not deny the continuation of the resource application process based solely on information a reference provides. When a reference provides information requiring further explanation from the other adult, the resource specialist or RFA contractor discusses the nature of the information without revealing the source; and
(3) requests consultation with the resource supervisor and field manager to determine the significance of the information a reference provides, who:
(A) has a history of abuse, neglect, or both that includes victimization by the other adult; or
(B) has other concerns about his or her ability to parent.
10. Marital and significant relationship history. A copy of the current marriage license, each divorce decree, legal separation, and annulment document, when applicable, is obtained. The resource specialist carefully reviews all applicable divorce decrees for custody arrangements and any information that indicates the applicant was not appropriate around children.
(1) When there is a child from a previous marriage, the child's role in the family is discussed, and emotional and financial child support, when applicable, is documented.
(2) The applicant's ability to develop and sustain stable relationships is assessed and documented in the RFA.
11. (a) RFA disposition. The RFA is approved or denied within 60-calendar days after receipt of completed Form 04AF001E, Resource Family Application. The resource specialist:
(1) reviews Forms 04AF002E, Guidelines for Resource Family Assessment, and 04AF003E, Resource Family Assessment, for content;
(2) shares the RFA with the applicant for his or her input prior to the decision to select if he or she is in or out of the resource program; and
(3) consults with his or her resource supervisor and, when necessary, the field manager to determine the assessment disposition.
(b) Disposition results. Disposition of the assessment may result in (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection.
(1) Voluntary withdrawal of the application. During the assessment, the applicant is advised of any condition that does not conform to resource requirements, per OAC 340:75-7 Part 2. When the applicant and resource specialist or RFA contractor mutually decide to postpone the resource family assessment process to afford the applicant the opportunity to resolve issues of concern, the applicant withdraws from the resource program. When the applicant withdraws the application, the resource specialist sends a letter of confirmation documenting the withdrawal.
(2) RFA approval.
(A) The resource specialist or RFA contractor reviews and discusses the assessment, except for the protected information and reference sections, with the applicant for content clarification.
(B) The resource specialist, resource supervisor, and applicant sign Form 04AF003E and a copy, except for the protected information and reference sections, is provided to the applicant. The home is not considered approved until the:
(i) applicant meets training requirements;
(ii) national criminal history records search results based on fingerprints are received and reviewed; and
(iii) resource supervisor reads and signs the RFA.
(C) Prior to the initiation of foster care maintenance payments, the applicant, per OAC 340:75-7-52, signs the foster care contract.
(D) The resource specialist provides the family with the Foster Parent Handbook upon placement or signing the contract and documents receipt in KIDS Resource Contacts.
(E) Each resource parent signs Forms:
(i) 15GR008E, Notice of Grievance Rights Foster Parents; and
(ii) 10CO135E, Vendor Information (Substitute W-9).
(F) The resource specialist:
(i) copies the KIDS Pre-Resource to a Resource for each approved resource home except when the child in OKDHS custody is in a kinship placement, per OAC 340:75-7-24;
(ii) end dates the KIDS Pre-Resource after conversion to a KIDS Resource;
(iii) scans the signed assessment and documentation into the KIDS Resource document management system (DMS); and
(iv) requests approval of the Family Assessment Line in KIDS.
(G) After signing the RFA, the resource supervisor approves the Family Assessment Line in KIDS within two-business days for a kinship resource home and within five-business days for a traditional resource home.
(3) Resource home application denial.
(A) Before the resource home application is denied, the resource specialist:
(i) shares the information with the resource supervisor;
(ii) consults with the field manager when determining whether to deny an application;
(iii) staffs with Permanency Planning when denying a kinship home application;
(iv) documents all information obtained in the resource file and KIDS Pre-Resource or Resource Contacts;
(v) documents and summarizes the reasons for application denial including identification of supporting documentation in KIDS Pre-Resource or Resource Contacts;
(vi) references the contact entry date from (v) in the Application tab of the Results screen comments box in the Pre-Resource or in the Resource closure screen; and
(vii) scans the documentation into the KIDS Pre-Resource or Resource DMS and closes the Pre-Resource or Resource.
(B) When possible, the resource specialist makes face-to-face or phone contact with the applicant to clarify the reason for denying the application.
(C) Form 04FC020E, Notice of Denial to Resource Applicant, is sent to the applicant stating the reason for the application denial. Relevant OKDHS rules or procedures are cited and attached to the letter.
(D) The resource specialist denying the relative placement:
(i) completes Form 04MP056E, Notice to the Court of Relative Denied Placement that includes clear documentation of the safety concerns and risks to a child;
(ii) provides original Form 04MP056E to the requesting CW specialist who is responsible for submitting to the court of jurisdiction the assessment of the relative placement; and
(iii) scans it into the KIDS Pre-Resource or Resource DMS and files a copy in the resource file.
12. Exceptions to assessment guidelines.
(1) The resource specialist submits Form 04AF042E, Request for Exception to Resource Requirements, to the resource supervisor for an exception or variance to the requirements listed in OAC 340:75-7 Part 2.
(2) When in agreement with the request, the resource supervisor sends Form 04AF042E to the field manager for review.
(3) The field manager approves or denies the request and signs Form 04AF042E and a Foster Care and Adoptions deputy director is consulted when needed. Form 04AF042E is scanned into the KIDS Resource DMS.
(4) The resource specialist documents the request and response in KIDS Resource Contacts.
13. Changes in the resource family household.
(1) The resource parent immediately notifies the resource specialist of any:
(A) charges, arrests, or any alleged illegal activity the applicant or any household member commits; and
(B) proceeding for a protective order filed by or against the applicant or any household member.
(2) The resource parent notifies the resource specialist within 24-hours of any household change including, but not limited to:
(A) the address or the home's location, including emergency home displacement;
(B) any significant change in the home that impacts the family's day-to-day living;
(C) the resource parent's death or serious illness;
(D) any household member's health;
(F) individuals moving in or moving out of the home for any reason; or
(G) new or terminated relationships.
(i) When the resource parents divorce, separate, or the relationship ends, the person who continues to foster retains the existing resource number and information.
(ii) An addendum is completed and documented in KIDS Resource Contacts to reflect the household changes.
(iii) A new Form 04AF010E is completed to address any change to the household's financial status.
(iv) The Out-of-House Date and Reason are entered in KIDS Resource Homes screen.
(v) When both resource parents want to continue to foster, the primary resource parent maintains the original KIDS resource number and another resource is opened cross-referencing the original resource number.
(vi) When the primary resource parent does not want to continue fostering and the designated head of household (HOH) 2 elects to foster, he or she becomes HOH 1 in the existing KIDS Resource. The person who wants to continue fostering signs a new foster care contract, per OAC 340:75-7-52, and a new contract number is assigned.
(vii) When neither resource parent wants to foster, the KIDS Resource is closed.
(3) The resource specialist addresses any household changes or serious illnesses with the resource parent within seven-business days of the change or illness, and documents the information. An assessment is completed and conducted in the home regarding the parent's ability to continue providing care for a child in OKDHS custody.
(4) The resource specialist emails a vendor update with a copy of the Social Security card to *STO.Finance.VUR for name changes.
(5) The resource specialist updates address changes in KIDS. A vendor update is not sent for an address change. Address changes made in KIDS automatically update in OKDHS Financial Services.
(6) When a resource parent dies, the resource specialist consults the surviving HOH, when applicable, to determine his or her interest in continuing to foster.
(A) When the surviving HOH wants to continue as a resource parent, a new contract is signed and a new contract number is issued.
(B) When the surviving HOH does not want to continue as a resource parent, he or she may continue to access the debit card or direct deposit funds until reimbursement ceases.
(C) When there is no surviving HOH, the resource specialist obtains the:
(i) estate name;
(ii) documentation showing the estate's personal representative; and
(iii) address where the monies are mailed.
(D) The resource specialist provides needed information to the Resource Unit for submission to Child Welfare Services Finance and Business Operations.