340:75-7-10.1. Resource parent framework
(a) General.The requirements in Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:110-5 serve as the framework for families and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) in the mutual assessment process used to select the most suitable home for the child in DHS custody in need of foster care.Each child in DHS custody has the right to a safe, affirming, and family-like placement.As a result, resource parents:
(1) are responsible, mature, healthy adults capable of meeting the needs of the children in DHS custody;
(2) apply the reasonable and prudent parent standard;
(3) demonstrate a capacity for setting realistic expectations for behavior and performance based on the ages, abilities, and unique needs of the children;
(4) have stable relationships and a living arrangement whether married, single, separated, or divorced; and
(5) ensure all members of the household are informed of and agree to accept the child into the home.
(b) Age.A resource parent must be at least 21 years of age.Per Section 1-4-705 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-4-705), when a potential resource parent meets the minimum age required per this Section, DHS may not use the age of an otherwise eligible individual as a reason for denial of placement.
(c) Income and employment.Resource parents must have sufficient income to meet their needs and ensure the security and stability of the household without relying on the foster care maintenance payment.
(d) Foster principles.A resource parent commits to demonstrating to each child in DHS custody basic fostering principles that include:
(1) understanding and meeting the child's unique needs;
(2) actively supporting each child's connections and ongoing relationships with family, kin, culture, and community;
(3) understanding the impact of separation, grief, loss, and trauma the child has suffered;
(4) partnering with the child's professional team to focus on his or her safety, permanency, and well-being;
(5) recognizing that foster care is a planned, temporary placement for a child whose goal is family reunification or other permanency plan;
(6) actively mentoring the parent to help improve the parent's ability to safely care for the child, when safe to do so; and
(7) recognizing the impact of secondary traumatic stress and the importance of the resource parent's self-care.
(e) Relationship with DHS.The resource parent acknowledges, cooperates, and agrees to abide by applicable statutes and DHS rules regarding the child in care that include, but are not limited to:
(1) DHS, as the legal custodian of the child, has the right to move any child from any resource home at any time, when in the child's best interests and, per statutes governing movement of the child in DHS custody;
(2) the necessity to maintain and respect the confidential nature of all information regarding a child placed in the resource home.A breach of confidentiality may be grounds for resource home closure and termination of the foster care contract; and
(3) the requirement that DHS investigate, in the same manner as any other abuse or neglect investigation conducted by DHS, allegations of abuse, neglect, or maltreatment of any child in DHS custody placed in an approved resource home;
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-7-10.1
1. Response by resource recruitment and Foster Care and Adoption Support Center staff to resource parent inquiries.
(1) When Child Welfare Services (CWS) staff receives an inquiry from a person interested in being a resource parent, he or she:
(A) obtains the potential applicant's name and phone number, provides him or her with the contact information for the regional resource recruitment specialist and regional resource recruitment supervisor; and
(B) emails his or her contact information to the regional resource recruitment specialist and regional resource recruitment supervisor for follow-up.
(2) All general inquiries are referred to the Foster Care and Adoption Support Center.
(3) CWS resource recruitment or Foster Care and Adoption Support Center staff:
(A) documents each inquiry in the KIDS Pre-Resource by noting the referral source;
(B) discusses with the potential applicant, the:
(i) basic responsibilities and requirements expected of a resource parent;
(ii) children in Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) custody requiring out-of-home placement; and
(iii) elements of the application and training process;
(C) responds within two-business days of the inquiry by sending an information packet to the potential applicant; and
(D) makes phone contact within five-business days after sending the information packet and, at two-week intervals, until the potential applicant's interest is determined.
2. (a) Application. Any person who is at least 21 years of age may apply to become a resource parent by completing Form 04AF001E, Resource Family Application. When other adults reside in the potential resource home, each adult completes and signs Form 04AF043E, Resource Family Application Other Adults in the Home.
(1) The application is considered complete when the applicant submits the required documents and completes the actions as detailed on Form 04AF001E, within 20-calendar days after he or she signs the form.
(2) The required documents include:
(A) Form 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, and fingerprint submissions completed by each applicant and each adult household member. All names, including maiden names, used by the applicant and each adult household member is documented on Form 04AD003E;
(B) Form 04AF010E, Resource Family Financial Assessment;
(C) income verification;
(D) Form 04AF017E, Resource Parent Health History, completed for the applicant and each adult household member;
(E) Form 04AF008E, Medical Examination Report, completed for the applicant and each adult household member;
(F) Form 04AF039E, Child(ren)'s Health Statement, for each child in the household who is not in OKDHS custody, and a:
(i) copy of each child's immunization record; or
(ii) Form 08TA017E, Immunization Certificate of Exemption, when the child is not immunized;
(G) copies of each applicant's driver license, state-issued identification card, or current military identification for active military members and spouses;
(H) copies of vehicle insurance verification;
(I) copies of each applicant's Social Security Administration card;
(J) a copy of a current marriage license or other evidence of marriage as indicated by the Oklahoma State Courts Network (OSCN) or similar network of another state;
(K) a copy of all divorce, marriage dissolution, legal separation, or annulment documents for each applicant;
(L) a copy of animal vaccination records;
(M) copies of the Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) card and tribal membership cards;
(N) a copy of DD Form 214, Certificate of Release from Active Military Duty, for each applicant, when applicable;
(O) alternate caregiver contact information; and
(P) other OKDHS-requested documents or actions.
(3) Denial of the application may occur at any point during the process. When denied, the reasons for denial are discussed with the applicant. OKDHS sends Form 04FC020E, Notice of Denial to Resource Applicant, to an applicant setting out the basis of the denial. OKDHS makes the final determination of application denial.
(b) Resource parent requirements. Each applicant must:
(1) agree when he or she becomes a resource parent that he or she will not accept a child into the resource home from any other source without OKDHS CWS resource staff or the resource family partner (RFP) approval;
(2) provide appropriate sleeping arrangements for each child placed;
(3) provide verification all household members are in sufficiently good physical and mental health to provide for the individual needs of each child placed;
(4) submit to a search of all OKDHS records, including child welfare records;
(5) ensure each household member, 18 years of age and older at the time of application, and when a household member becomes 18 years of age, submits fingerprints for state and national criminal history records searches;
(6) submit to a Juvenile On-line Tracking System (JOLTS) records search for any child of the applicant or child of an adult household member, who is 13 through 17 years of age, at the time of application;
(7) not allow a person with a conviction for any sexual offense to reside in the household;
(8) immediately notify OKDHS when the applicant or any household member is, or becomes, the subject of any:
(A) criminal charges, criminal investigations, arrests, or illegal or alleged illegal activity; or
(B) proceeding for a protective order filed by, or against the applicant, or any household member;
(9) notify the resource specialist 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) health of any household member;
(E) new or terminated relationships; or
(F) individuals moving into, or out of, the home for any reason;
(10) participate in the resource family assessment;
(11) agree not to use tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or electronic smoking devices that include, but are not limited to, e-cigarettes, vape pens, or vaporizers in:
(A) the resource home when a child in OKDHS custody is placed in the home; and
(B) a vehicle when transporting a child in OKDHS custody;
(12) provide references;
(13) complete pre-service training;
(14) agree to complete 12 hours of in-service training for each year of service, when approved as a resource parent;
(15) provide a clean and safe home;
(16) cooperate in the completion of a house assessment;
(17) identify an alternate caregiver to provide support and child care for the child in OKDHS custody other than, or in addition to, OKDHS-paid, licensed child care;
(18) submit verification of employment or participation in formal education or training when requesting OKDHS-paid, licensed child care services for the child in foster care;
(19) agree that as an applicant, and when becoming a resource parent, to notify OKDHS when any member of the resource family is seriously ill or hospitalized;
(20) agree to provide a physician's statement, when approved as a resource parent:
(A) regarding any hospital stay;
(B) regarding ongoing outpatient medical or behavioral health care, including psychological counseling; or
(C) upon request from the resource specialist;
(21) agree to work with OKDHS staff as a member of the child's professional team to develop a permanency plan for each child placed in the resource home;
(22) agree to participate in an initial meeting with each child's parent, when requested;
(23) agree to share parenting of the child in OKDHS custody with the child's parent, who may have different values and lifestyles than the applicant;
(24) be willing to actively mentor the parent to help improve the parent's ability to safely care for the child, when safe to do so;
(25) agree to maintain all information regarding the child and family as confidential, only sharing information necessary to obtain services for the child;
(26) be willing to accept sibling placements;
(27) agree to participate in the development of an effective parent and child visitation plan, when safe to do so, including contact with the siblings when siblings are separated;
(28) agree to comply with OKDHS rules regarding discipline of children;
(29) agree to meet and maintain requirements necessary for continued approval as a resource including annual updates and reassessments;
(30) agree to participate in the evaluation of CWS programs and services;
(31) agree to utilize the foster care maintenance payment for the care and maintenance of the child's basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, incidentals, non-prescription medications, special activity fees, allowances, and recreational opportunities;
(32) agree to comply with all statutes relating to the care and support of minors that prohibit the use of tobacco, alcohol, and sharing medications not prescribed to the child; and
(33) agree to use the reasonable and prudent parent standard and to consider the child's age, maturity, and development level when making decisions about the child's participation in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.
3. Exceptions to requirements. Upon the applicant's or resource specialist's request, OKDHS may, at its discretion, grant an exception of specific rules or standards that do not compromise a child's safety and does not violate federal or state statutes, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-7-18.
(1) The resource specialist submits Form 04AF042E, Request for Exception to Resource Requirements, to the resource supervisor for an exception to the requirements listed in OAC 340:75-7 Part 2.
(2) When the resource supervisor agrees with the exception request, he or she sends Form 04AF042E to the field manager for review.
(3) The field manager approves or denies the exception request and signs Form 04AF042E. A Foster Care and Adoptions deputy director is consulted when needed. Form 04AF042E is scanned into KIDS Resource document management system (DMS).
(4) The resource specialist documents the request and response in KIDS Resource Contacts.
4. Evaluating applicant eligibility. To meet eligibility requirements, all adult household members must be fingerprinted, unless a fingerprint exception is granted, per OAC 340:75-7-15 Instructions to Staff.
5. Special circumstances for consideration.
(1) Foreign exchange students. Approval is required for an applicant or a resource family to host foreign exchange students while providing care for a child in OKDHS custody. The applicant or resource family provides the resource specialist with the foreign exchange student's packet that includes all background information provided to the family by the student's sponsoring agency. When a foreign exchange student will reside in the home in excess of 30-calendar days, the foreign exchange student is required to have all applicable background information searches including:
(A) JOLTS; and
(B) when 18 years of age and older:
(i) an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation name-based search; and
(ii) fingerprints completed, per OAC 340:75-7-15.
(2) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients. When a TANF recipient inquires about becoming a resource parent, the assessment process includes a determination of the TANF recipient's ability to provide for the child's needs pending, and during receipt of, the foster care maintenance payment.
(3) OKDHS employees. An OKDHS employee interested in becoming a kinship or traditional resource parent submits Form 04FC019E, OKDHS Employee Request to be a Resource Family, to his or her supervisor. When the employee is assigned to CWS, Form 04FC019E is sent to the reviewing CWS supervisor.
(A) Request review. Each request is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The employee's direct supervisor and reviewing supervisor discuss the:
(i) employee's role as an OKDHS employee and as a resource parent and the potential for a conflict of interest;
(ii) types of leave the employee is required to request when taking the child in OKDHS custody to appointments, such as family visits or court;
(iii) employee's understanding that OKDHS employment is not used as a means to obtain information about the child's case or to gain services; and
(iv) employee's understanding that he or she is required to work with an RFP agency, unless the employee is providing kinship care.
(B) Written request. The reviewing supervisor submits a copy of Form 04FC019E to the applicable RFP documenting the discussion and places a copy in the employee's personnel file.
(C) Assessment. The RFP may proceed with the family assessment process after receiving Form 04FC019E from the reviewing supervisor.
(D) Placement considerations. When an OKDHS employee is approved as a resource parent:
(i) a child currently assigned to the employee's caseload is not placed with the employee for foster care;
(ii) a child, currently assigned to a child welfare specialist in the same county as the employee's work assignment, is not placed with the employee except when there is a kinship relationship;
(iii) his or her resource case is assigned to a resource specialist in a district outside of his or her assigned work location; and
(iv) the employee's resource and the child's case are restricted in KIDS.
6. Previous non- OKDHS foster care experience with a tribe, private child-placing agency, or another state. The applicant who previously served as a foster parent with a tribe, private child-placing agency, or in another state, must provide or authorize release of all previous foster home records including, but not limited to, home studies, foster home assessments, reports, and training records from a tribe, private child-placing agency, or another state for consideration as an OKDHS resource parent. The resource specialist:
(1) uses Form 04MP001E, Consent for Release of Confidential Information, to request and secure a copy of the applicant's foster home assessment, related information, and training record from a tribe, private child-placing agency, or another state, when applicable, per OAC 340:75-7-14;
(2) provides the information to the resource family assessment (RFA) contractor, when applicable; and
(3) utilizes Form 04AF002E, Guidelines for Resource Family Assessment, and the information obtained from the tribe, private child-placing agency, or another state to complete Form 04AF003E, Resource Family Assessment, with the supporting documentation.
7. Re-opening a resource. A person must re-apply to re-open as a resource.
(1) Upon application receipt, the resource specialist reviews the past resource records to determine the former resource parent's history. The performance review includes, but is not limited to, assessing:
(A) each identified concern or OKDHS policy or contract violation;
(B) any written plan of compliance outcome and recommendations regarding continued use of the resource; and
(C) the training record, ensuring pre-service and in-service training were completed, as required and documented, per OAC 340:75-7-14.
(2) Within 10-calendar days of the application date, the resource specialist and resource supervisor review and determine whether to deny the application or proceed with the assessment. The field manager is consulted as needed.
(3) When the resource is closed for less than 12 months, the resource may be opened with an approved annual update within 30-calendar days of the disposition date, per OAC 340:75-7-94. When the resource is closed for more than 12 months but less than five years, the resource may be opened with an approved reassessment within 30-calendar days of the disposition date, per OAC 340:75-7-94.
(4) When the resource is closed for more than five years, a new RFA is completed, processed, and approved or denied within 60-calendar days of the disposition date.
(5) Re-opening a resource requires:
(A) re-opening as:
(i) the same type of resource, such as a traditional resource re-opening as a traditional resource. The closed resource is re-opened as pending in the KIDS Resource Status screen and a final resource approval line for the reassessment or annual update is entered; or
(ii) a different type of resource, such as a kinship resource re-opening as a traditional resource. A new resource is opened as pending in the KIDS Resource Status screen and a final resource approval line for the reassessment or annual update is entered; and
(B) a new contract. Upon approval, the resource specialist:
(i) obtains each applicant's signature on the new contract;
(ii) attaches copies of each applicant's current driver license or state identification card and Social Security card to the new contract;
(iii) discusses payment options, per OAC 340:75-7-52. When the resource parent was previously issued a debit card, the same card number is used; and
(iv) submits the contract to obtain the new contract number.
(6) When the resource is denied, the resource specialist phones the applicant about the application's disposition, sends a notice of denial, Form 04FC020E, Notice of Denial to Resource Applicant, and scans it into the DMS, and when the resource is a relative, files with the court Form 04MP056E, Notice to the Court of Relative Denied Placement.