Okla. Admin. Code § 340:75-6-85 - Placement considerations for the child in Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) custody
Current through Register Vol. 39, No. 2, October 1, 2021
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340:75-6-85. Placement considerations for the child in Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) custody
(a) Legislative intent for the child placed outside the child's home. Per Section 1-1-102 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-1-102), when a child's placement outside of the home is necessary, per Oklahoma Children's Code, each child is assured care, guidance, and supervision in a permanent home or foster home that serves the child's best interests including, but not limited to, the development of the child's moral, emotional, spiritual, mental, social, educational, and physical well-being. The child is entitled to a permanent home and placement in the least restrictive environment that meets the child's needs.
(b) DHS responsibility for the child's out-of-home placement. DHS has the duty to provide for the care and treatment of each child placed in DHS custody by an order of the court, per 10A O.S. § 1-7-103. DHS:
(1) may place the child in a:
(A) kinship care home or other foster care home;
(B) group home, or children's shelter subject to the Child Welfare Services (CWS) director's or designee's approval; or
(C) any licensed facility established for the care of children when a kinship or foster care home is not available;
(2) gives priority to the child's noncustodial parent unless the placement is not in the child's best interests; and
(3) reviews and assesses the child to determine the type of placement and services consistent with the child's needs in the nearest geographic proximity to the child's home as possible.
(c) DHS authority to determine the child's placement.
(1) DHS has the responsibility to determine if a placement is appropriate for the child in DHS custody and to remove the child from the placement when in the child's best interests, per 10A O.S. § 1-7-103, subject to the provisions of 10A O.S. §§ 1-4-804 and 1-4-805.
(2) A request by a placement provider for immediate removal of the child is examined and assessed to determine if the situation can be resolved to prevent disruption of the child's placement.
(d) Court's authority to approve or disapprove placement. When the court determines it is in the child's best interests, the court may place the child in DHS legal custody. Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-803, when the child is placed in DHS custody, the court may not direct DHS to place the child in a specific home or placement, but may approve or disapprove a specific placement when it does not conform to statutory requirements and the child's best interests.
(e) Determining the appropriate placement.
(1) Per 10A O.S. § 1-7-106, a placement is made that meets the treatment needs of the child and supports the permanency plans for the child and family.
(2) Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-204, when determining the appropriate placement for the child, DHS considers, but does not limit consideration to, the:
(A) person's ability to provide safety for the child including a willingness to cooperate with any restrictions placed on contact between the child and others and to prevent others from influencing the child in regard to allegations of the case;
(B) person's ability to support DHS efforts to implement the permanency plan for the child;
(C) person's ability to meet the child's physical, emotional, and educational needs, including the child's need to continue in the same school or educational placement;
(D) person who has the closest existing personal relationship with the child, when more than one person requests placement;
(E) person's ability to provide a placement for the child's sibling who is in need of placement or continuation in out-of-home care;
(F) wishes of the parent, the relative, and the child when appropriate;
(G) person's ability to care for the child as long as necessary and to provide a permanent home, when needed; and
(H) child's best interests including placement in a non-family-like setting.
(f) Relative placement preference when not with noncustodial parent. Per 10A O.S. §§ 1-4-204 and 1-7-106, when DHS determines that placement with the noncustodial parent is not in the child's best interests, preference is given to relatives and persons who have a kinship relationship with the child, and who are determined to be suitable, capable, and willing to serve as the child's caretakers.
(1) Per 10A O.S. §§ 1-4-204 and 1-7-106, every effort is made to place the child with a suitable relative.
(2) DHS makes efforts to locate the relative, kinship relation, or resource parent who is best able to meet the child's long-term best interests.
(3) Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-204, DHS reports to the court the diligent efforts made to secure the child's placement.
(4) When applicable to the child, DHS complies with Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) placement preferences, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-19-14, and reports to the court the diligent efforts to secure the child's placement.
(5) When a child is not placed with a relative who was considered for placement, DHS must advise the court why the relative was denied listing the reasons on Form 04MP056E, Notice to the Court of Relative Denied Placement. The written reasons are made a part of the court record, per 10A O.S. § 1-4-204, and documented in the CWS case record.
(g) Sibling placement. Per 10A O.S. §§ 1-4-204 and 1-7-107, when two or more siblings are removed and placed in foster care, every reasonable attempt is made to place the siblings together in the same temporary or permanent placement.
(1) When siblings are separated, the siblings are allowed contact or visitation with each other, when safe.
(2) The safety and best interests of each child determine if joint placement, contact, or visitation is allowed.
(3) When the child is a part of a sibling group, it is presumed that placement of the entire sibling group in the same placement is in the best interests of the child and siblings.
(4) Siblings may be separated when the court and DHS find:
(A) one sibling resided in a resource home for six or more months and established a relationship with the resource family;
(B) the siblings never resided in the same resource together;
(C) there is no established relationship between the siblings; or
(D) it is in the child's best interests to remain in the current placement.
(5) In making a permanent placement, siblings are placed in the same permanent home. When the siblings are separated, they are allowed contact or visitation with other siblings, provided that each child's best interests are the standard for determining if the siblings are placed in the same foster placement or permanent placement, or allowed contact or visitation with other siblings.
(h) Placement in nearest geographic proximity to parent or school.
(1) Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-707, unless the child is placed with relatives or in accordance with federal and state ICWA, the child is placed, when possible, in the parent or legal guardian's county of residence to facilitate family reunification.
(A) When an appropriate placement is not available in the parent or legal guardian's county of residence, the child is placed in an appropriate home in the nearest proximity to the parent or legal guardian's county of residence to facilitate family reunification. The child's placement is not intended to correspond in frequency to the parent or legal guardian's change of residence.
(B) When determining if the child is to be moved, DHS considers the potential harmful effects of disrupting the child's placement and the reason the parent or legal guardian changed residences.
(2) When an appropriate placement is not available in the parent or legal guardian's county of residence, the child is placed in an appropriate home in the nearest proximity to the child's school district to ensure his or her educational consistency.
(i) Child's placement preference. Per 10A O.S. § 1-7-110, when determining placement of a deprived child in foster care, DHS is governed by the child's long-term best interests. The child may express a preference as to placement and the preference may be expressed by the child with or without the parents, foster parents, guardians, or any other parties present. DHS determines if the child's long-term best interests are served by the child's preference, but is not bound by the child's preference and may consider other facts when determining placement.
(j) Former foster parent preferred placement. Per 10A O.S. § 1-9-119, the former foster parent has a right to be considered as a preferred placement option when the foster child who was formerly placed with the foster parent reenters foster care at the same level and type of care, when the placement is consistent with the best interests of the child and other children in the foster parent's home.
(k) Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994. DHS follows the provisions of the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 and the Interethnic Provisions of 1996, per OAC 340:75-1-9.
(l) ICWA and placement. DHS follows federal ICWA, Section 1915 of Title 25 of the United States Code, Oklahoma ICWA, 10 O.S. § 40.6, and OAC 340:75-19-14.
(m) Religious consideration in placement decision. Consideration is given to the parent's wishes regarding religious preference in the selection of a placement provider for the child, per OAC 340:75-6-49.
(n) Prescribed requirements for placement provider. Each placement utilized by DHS is approved or licensed by specified procedures and meets prescribed requirements.
(1) The child in DHS custody is not placed in a home prior to the person meeting provider standards, per OAC 340:75-7.
(2) Placement providers must:
(A) provide safety for the child in DHS custody;
(B) have sufficient space in the home to allow the child privacy;
(C) support and participate in the child's permanency plan;
(D) adhere to DHS rules, such as not using physical discipline; and
(E) support the child's preferred religious and cultural choices.
(o) Certain criminal convictions prohibit placement approval. Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-705, DHS does not approve potential foster or adoptive parents for placement when the applicant, or any person residing in the potential applicant's home, has a criminal conviction for any of the felony offenses listed in (1) through (5) of this subsection. The felony offenses are:
(1) physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense within the five-year period preceding the application date;
(2) child abuse or neglect;
(3) domestic abuse;
(4) a crime against a child including, but not limited to, child pornography; or
(5) a crime involving violence including, but not limited to, rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but excluding those crimes specified in (1) of this subsection.
(p) Placement provider's age. Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-705, when a prospective placement provider meets the minimum age required, per OAC 340:75-7-12, DHS may not use the age of an otherwise eligible individual as a reason for placement denial.
(q) Placement providers as essential participants.
(1) As placement providers, 10A O.S. § 1-9-119 and OAC 340:75-7-37 recognize foster parents and group home providers as essential participants in the decisions related to the growth, development, care, protection, and treatment of the child placed in the foster parent's home or in the group home with whom they have established a familial relationship.
(2) Per 10A O.S. §§ 1-4-807 and 1-4-811, a placement provider has the right to be heard in a proceeding concerning the child, although the provider is not considered a party to the proceeding, unless allowed to intervene.
(r) Foster parent rights. A statement of foster parent's rights is given to every foster parent annually and found at 10A O.S. § 1-9-119.
(s) Group home rights. A statement of group home provider rights is attached to the group home contract.
(t) Foster parent eligibility to adopt the child. Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-812, during any permanency hearing when the court determines the child is to be placed for adoption, the court considers the foster parent eligible to adopt when the foster parent meets established eligibility requirements. When the child has resided with the foster parent for at least one year, the court gives great weight to the foster parent in the adoption consideration unless the child has an existing, loving, emotional bond with a relative, by blood or marriage, who is willing, able, and eligible to adopt the child.
[Source: Added at 13 Ok Reg 3669, eff 4-29-96 (emergency); Added at 14 Ok Reg 630, eff 12-12-96 (emergency); Added at 14 Ok Reg 974, eff 1-24-97 (emergency); Added at 14 Ok Reg 2288, eff 6-12-97; Amended at 15 Ok Reg 211, eff 11-1-97 (emergency); Amended at 15 Ok Reg 909, eff 12-16-97 (emergency); Amended at 15 Ok Reg 1663, eff 5-11-98; Amended at 16 Ok Reg 102, eff 10-13-98 (preemptive); Amended at 17 Ok Reg 92, eff 10-1-99 (emergency); Amended at 17 Ok Reg 1311, eff 5-11-00; Amended at 18 Ok Reg 393, eff 12-8-00 (emergency); Amended at 18 Ok Reg 3067, eff 7-12-01; Amended at 19 Ok Reg 402, eff 12-1-01 (emergency); Amended at 19 Ok Reg 2208, eff 6-27-02; Amended at 20 Ok Reg 90, eff 10-16-02 (emergency); Amended at 20 Ok Reg 921, eff 5-12-03; Amended at 23 Ok Reg 1024, eff 5-11-06; Amended at 24 Ok Reg 1044, eff 6-1-07; Amended at 25 Ok Reg 269, eff 11-1-07 (emergency); Amended at 25 Ok Reg 970, eff 5-15-08; Amended at 26 Ok Reg 884, eff 5-15-09; Amended at 27 Ok Reg 1092, eff 3-26-10 (emergency); Amended at 27 Ok Reg 1865, eff 7-1-10; Amended at 30 Ok Reg 1358, eff 7-1-13; Amended at 32 Ok Reg 296, eff 11-17-14 (emergency); Amended at 32 Ok Reg 1904, eff 9-15-15; Amended at 34 Ok Reg 1587, eff 9-15-17; Amended at 35 Ok Reg 451, eff 1-31-18 (emergency); Amended at 35 Ok Reg 1695, eff 9-17-18]