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Library: Policy

340:75-7-38. Discipline for the child in Oklahoma Human Service (OKDHS) custody placed in foster family care

Revised 9-15-2021

(a) Discipline.  "Discipline" means safe practices or methods of teaching and enforcing acceptable patterns of behavior to ensure proper conduct and does not include corporal punishment.  The resource parent assists the child in OKDHS custody placed in the resource home learn behaviors that promote the child's self-regard, personal ability, and socialization skills.  The rules governing these efforts are outlined in Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-7-38(b) through (d).

(b) Positive interactions.  The resource parent and family interactions with a child:

(1) protect and nurture the child's physical and psychological well-being;

(2) advance the child's development;

(3) meet the child's needs;

(4) teach the child ways to prevent and solve problems;

(5) maintain and build the parent and child relationship;

(6) build the child's self-control and responsibility; and

(7) comply with OKDHS rules regarding discipline to provide a safe, nurturing environment that allows the child to experience security and positive self-esteem.

(c) Teaching techniques.

(1) Positive behavior management.  Positive behavior management techniques include, but are not limited to:

(A) rewards.  Rewards may be small gestures of approval, such as treats or toys, and symbols of recognition, such as stickers, stars, happy faces, or money.  Rewards are for the interest, desire, and effort the child displays, not for performance, talent, or ability.  This technique must not be used all the time;

(B) privileges.  Privileges allow the child to experience greater freedom or opportunity and an increased responsibility.  Privileges are used to encourage the child's interest and talents by supporting the child's efforts in pursuing interests; and

(C) praise.  Praise may be communicated by verbal or non-verbal expression of the child's achievements or good qualities.

(2) Self-control.  To promote the child's self-control, the resource parent clearly communicates expectations and provides a structured, safe environment.  The resource parent's use of planning and preparation prevents confrontation, acting-out, and negative behaviors by:

(A) establishing expectations.  The child in out-of-home care experiences varied expectations in each placement setting.  Since each placement setting is different, the resource parent must communicate expectations to the child through setting rules, telling the child what to expect, and modeling.  Clearly communicated expectations provide structure for the child and a structure for building and maintaining self-control; and

(B) modifying the environment.  A structured, safe environment allows the child to succeed at identified tasks.  The resource parent structures the environment by removing negative sources of stimulation for the child and establishing routines and consistency in the child's day-to-day schedule.

(3) Direct intervention.  When the child does not have sufficient self-control to ensure acceptable behavior, the resource parent uses direct intervention and techniques, per OAC 340:75-7-38(c)(1) and (2).  Techniques used are dependent upon the child's developmental needs and anticipated outcomes.  Techniques appropriate for responding to lack of self-control include:

(A) rules.  Rules are established guidelines that:

(i) allow the child to know what can and cannot be done;

(ii) help the child know right from wrong;

(iii) communicate to the child how something is done and help prevent problems; or

(iv) provide a way to respond to a problem;

(B) time out.  Time out provides space between the child and a situation where the child exhibits behavior that is not acceptable or where the situation is dangerous.  Recommended time out is one minute per age of the child.  Time out is typically used for the younger child;

(C) restricting privileges.  Privileges are restricted when a child is not allowed to do something for a specified time period, such as not playing with a particular toy, watching television, playing music or computer games, having phone privileges, or engaging in some other pleasant activity.  Talking to parents or siblings is not included in restricting phone privileges;

(D) grounding.  Grounding involves imposing restrictions on a child's interaction and involvement with friends or activities outside the placement setting, such as restriction to the house or leaving the premises to attend parties, movies, or visit friends.  Grounding is typically used for the older child;

(E) logical consequences.  Logical consequences require the resource parent to impose a response to the child's behavior consistent with and connected to the unacceptable behavior exhibited; and

(F) natural consequences.  Natural consequences occur in response to the child's behavior.  This technique is most appropriately used with adolescents and for the child who tends to get in power struggles.  Natural consequences are never allowed when a child's safety or well-being is in question.

(4) Physical discipline.  OKDHS prohibits the use of any form of physical discipline for the child in OKDHS custody in an out-of-home placement or any act or omission that would emotionally, physically, or psychologically harm the child.

(A) The resource parent contacts the child welfare (CW) or the resource specialist when the resource parent cannot successfully discipline the child.  • 1

(B) OKDHS and the resource parent do not authorize school personnel to administer corporal punishment to the child in OKDHS custody.  The resource parent does not, when requested, authorize corporal punishment by school personnel, but refers school personnel to the CW specialist to establish alternative discipline methods.  • 2

(C) The developmental needs of the child and the desired outcomes define the discipline techniques used to modify the child's behaviors.  Some of the circumstances that may affect the discipline technique used include:

(i) the behavior the child is exhibiting;

(ii) the resource parent's feelings about the behavior;

(iii) the purpose assigned to the behavior;

(iv) where the behavior occurs; and

(v) who is present at the time of the behavior.

(5) Punishment.  Unacceptable behavior management methods and techniques promote negative behavior, are punitive, and do not promote self-control.  Unacceptable behavior management techniques for the child include, but are not limited to:

(A) the use of the hand or any object, such as a board, fly swatter, paddle, belt, switch, electrical cord, hair brush, or wooden spoon, to hit, strike, swat, or physically discipline the child;

(B) deprivation of food or sleep;

(C) deprivation of family visits;

(D) slapping, pinching, shaking, biting, pushing, shoving, thumping, or rough jerking;

(E) cursing or other verbal abuse;

(F) private or public humiliation or any act that degrades;

(G) derogatory remarks about the child, the child's biological family, race, religion, or cultural background;

(H) solitary confinement in areas, such as closets, cellars, and rooms with locked doors;

(I) threatening to move the child from the resource home;

(J) use of any chemical agent, such as mace, sleeping pills, or alcohol;

(K) physical force or threat of physical force;

(L) assuming and maintaining an unnatural position that may include holding arms out-stretched from the body, placing the nose against a wall, or forced squatting;

(M) tying with a rope, cord, or other object;

(N) ordering, allowing, or encouraging physical discipline or hitting by other children or anyone else in the home;

(O) washing the mouth out with soap, eating certain foods that may include peppers, hot sauce, or other food stuff when intended for punishment; and

(P) forced physical exertion, such as running laps and push-ups.

(d) OKDHS rules.  The resource parent must abide by OKDHS rules regarding discipline of the child in OKDHS custody even when there is a difference between OKDHS discipline rules and the methods used to discipline the resource parent's own child. 


Revised 9-15-2021

1.Consultation for the Bridge resource parent regarding non-physical discipline methods.The child welfare (CW) or resource specialist is available to offer assistance with finding non-physical methods of discipline that are effective with the child in Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS).

(1) Consultation with community resources or a mental health professional may assist in the development of appropriate discipline or behavior management techniques.

(2) The CW specialist refers the Bridge resource parent to parent training classes or in-service training, as applicable.

2.  Notification to schools regarding corporal punishment.  When the child in OKDHS custody is enrolled in a school that allows the use of corporal punishment, the CW specialist completes Form 04MP022E, Notification to School Regarding Use of Corporal Punishment, and submits it to the appropriate school official and maintains a copy in the OKDHS record.

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