Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

12.3 Foster and Adoptive Home Applicant Assessment

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter:
Chapter 12-Resource Family Recruitment, Certification and Reimbursement
Effective:
8/3/2017
Section:
12.3 Foster and Adoptive Home Applicant Assessment
Version:
2

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Legal Authority/Introduction

LEGAL AUTHORITY:

Recruitment and certification (R&C) staff, regional management and central office staff work to ensure that there is a sufficient number and appropriate type of foster and adoptive homes available to meet the unique needs of Kentucky’s children receiving out of home care services.  CHFS provides for the diligent recruitment of potential foster and adoptive families that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of children for whom foster and adoptive homes are needed. Homes recruited and certified must be willing to accept the types of children in out of home care.

Successful foster and adopting requires knowledge and skills beyond that of parenting one’s own biological children. The foster and adoptive home parent’s role includes intentional, active involvement in advocating for, planning, and providing services to meet the individual needs of children in out of home care, and includes involvement with the child’s birth parents. Foster and adoptive home parents are considered full, participating members of the family’s team and work in partnership with the birth family as well as agency staff and community partners.

Procedure

The R&C Worker: 

  1. Verifies that the foster and adoptive home applicant is at least twenty-one (21) years of age;
  2. Verifies proof of the applicant's United States citizenship or legal immigrant status;
  3. Refers to the Legal Status Documentation for proof of citizenship or legal immigrant status; 1
  4. Obtains verification from the applicant of any previous divorce(s), death of a spouse, and present marriage; 2 
  5. Verifies that a foster and adoptive home parent who drives should:
    1. Possess a valid driver’s license;
    2. Possess a proof of liability insurance; and
    3. Abide by passenger restraint laws;
  6. Completes the FAP TRIS Intake Form and informs the interested applicant when the next information meeting is scheduled;
  7. Completes the Foster and Adoptive Parent (FAP) TRIS Withdrawal Form when an individual is not interested in continuing the preparation process;
  8. Ensures that all applicants attending the information meeting complete the Foster and Adoptive Parent Informational Form and forwards it to TRIS within five (5) working days;
  9. Provides a Foster/Adoptive Applicant packet to all applicants who wish to pursue fostering or adopting a child.  The packet includes: 
    1. The application form;
    2. Informed Consent and Release of Information and Records;
    3. DPP-157 Background checks for Applicants of Foster/Adoptive Parents;
    4. DPP-170 Financial Statement-Foster or Adoptive Parent Applicant;
    5. DPP-107 Health Information Required for Foster or Adoptive Home Parent Applicants or Adult Household Members;
    6. DPP-108 Health Information Required for Foster or Adoptive Home Parent Applicants Regarding Dependent Children;
    7. Foster/Adoptive Checklist; and
    8. DPP-117 Verification of Marriage and Divorce;
  10. Provides the SAFE Questionnaire I after the applicant completes meeting one (1);
  11. Conducts background checks as specified in SOP 12.4 Background Checks for Foster and Adoptive Parents;
  12. Obtains agreement on the decision to foster or adopt a child from each adult member of the applicant’s household;
  13. Ensures the DPP-107 Health Information Required on Foster and Adoptive Home Applicants or Adult Household Member, to the applicant household is completed for: 3
    1. Each foster and adoptive home parent applicant, current within one (1) year, attesting to the:
      1. General health of the parent;
      2. Applicant is free of communicable diseases; and
      3. Medical ability to care for child placed in the applicant's home;
    2. Each adult member of the applicant’s household, stating that the individual is free of:
      1. Communicable or infectious disease; or
      2. A condition that presents a health or safety risk to a child placed in the applicant’s home;
  14. Ensures that a DPP-108 Health Information Required for Foster and Adoptive Home Applicants Regarding Dependent Children, is completed for any child living in the household and current within one year, attesting to the:  
    1. General health of the child;
    2. Child is free of communicable diseases; and
    3. Child is current on immunizations, unless a medical exception is warranted and approved by the Director of DPP or designee;  
  15. Ensures all children in the household are current on immunizations unless:
    1. A medical exemption (whether temporary or permanent) or provisional status has been documented and approved by a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, physician's assistant, pharmicist, local health department administrator, registered nurse or licensed practical nurse designee and there is a copy of the EPID-230 Commonwealth of Kentucky Certificate of Immunization Status in case file for each child's exemption; or
    2. The child's parents are opposed to immunizations based on religious grounds, and there is a copy of the EPID-230A Coomonwealth of Kentucky Parent or Guardian's Declination on Religious Grounds to Required Immunizations in the case file for each child's exemption; or  4
    3. The immunizations has been administered, but another is objected to on religious grounds and there is a copy of the EPID-230A in the case file for each child's exemption. 5
  16. Reviews the completed DPP–107 and DPP-108, to ensure that each adult and child member of the applicant household is free of any illness or condition that would present a health or safety risk to a child placed in the home;
  17. Reviews the completed DSS-170 Financial Statement, and verifies that the foster and adoptive home applicant has a source of income sufficient to meet the applicant's household expenses and to ensure stability of the family unit that is separate from the foster care reimbursement and/or adoption assistance;
  18. Notifies employed applicants that they will be required to have a plan for child care by the time of placement; 
  19. Obtains from the applicant(s):
    1. The names of three (3) personal references who are not related to the applicant(s); and
    2. A current credit report; 6
  20. Utilizes the SAFE Reference letter and interviews the personal references in person or by telephone.  
  21. Interviews the adult children of the foster and adoptive  home applicant who do not live in the home in person or by telephone 7 or the adult children may provide signed and dated letters of reference regarding the applicant’s parenting history; 8
  22. Obtains the following documents from an applicant who does not have custody of his/her children:
    1. A copy of the visitation order;
    2. A copy of the child support order; and
    3. Proof of current payment of child support;
  23. Assesses the family by completing a minimum of three (3) meetings in the home with the applicant(s) as follows:
    1. Home visit one (1) - Introductory get acquainted interview, discussion regarding SAFE Questionnaire I (QI) and home environment requirements;
    2. Home visit two (2) - The R&C worker administers the SAFE Questionnaire II (QII).  QII is never out of the sight of the R&C worker. 9
      1. Observes both applicants or a single parent applicant while completing QII.  The applicant(s) are instructed they may not talk or discuss the questionnaire.
      2. When QII  is completed, the R&C worker immediately interviews each applicant one-on-one, separately and privately. No children or other adults should be in the home when QII is administered.  QII  interviews should be no longer than forty-five (45) minutes each.
    3. Home visit three (3) - Marriage or support interview. The family and others frequently residing in the home can be interviewed at this time.
  24. Following each interview, completes a psychosocial inventory utilizing the SAFE Desk Guide and records a back slash through the rating number (/symbol) for the 1st contact, a front slash (\symbol) through the rating number for the 2nd contact, a horizontal line (- symbol) through the rating number for the 4th contact, a circle around the rating number for the 5th contact and a filled circle over the rating number for the 5th contact;
  25. Upon completion of the psychosocial inventory or within five (5) working days,  consults with the FSOS regarding assigned Desk Guide and mitigation ratings and determines if they can be sustained, reduced or erased;
  26. During interviews assesses: (concurrent with the applicant attending pre-service training as outlined in SOP 12.5 Pre-Service Training):
    1. The applicant's home environment and prerequisites as outlined in SOP 12.13 Home Environment Prerequisites;
    2. Participation of the other household members in the decision to foster or adopt;
    3. Expectations regarding changes or added responsibility; and
    4. Why children do or do not want to add a child to the family;
  27. Along with the applicant foster and adoptive home complete the approval and denial process as outlined in SOP 12.7 Approval and Denial upon completion of the pre-service training process; 10

 

Practice Guidance

  • The Cabinet, may not deny any person the opportunity to become a foster or adoptive parent on basis of race, color or national origin of the person or of the child involved (title IV-E of section 471(a)(18)(A) of the Social Security Act).
  • If a foster and adoptive home applicant is not twenty-one (21), the applicant may be approved as an exception by the SRA or designee if the applicant is:
    • At least age eighteen (18);
    • Related to a child in the custody of the Cabinet;
    • Able to meet the needs of the child; and
    • Able to provide a placement in the best interest of the relative child. 

 

  • Placement considerations for the following vulnerable populations coming into care will be of the utmost importance with regard to assessing risk for health conditions:
    • Children under the age of two (2);
    • Children coming into care without current immunizations; and
    • Children with existing complex health conditions.
  • Children designated or potentially designated, as medically complex, must be placed in foster and adoptive homes where all household members have received vaccinations; and
  • Placement decisions outside of the provisions in the two (2) bulleted points above must be approved by the SRA or designee with the risk assessed to the child in placement, considering with the specific health needs of the child and documented in the child's case record.
  • Foster and adoptive parent applicants will be disqualified if a member of the prospective foster or adoptive parent's home presents a health and safety risk to a child in foster care as assessed by a health care professional and documented on the DPP-107 Health Information for Required Foster or Adoptive Parents, Applicants or Adult Household Members or the DPP-108 Health Information Required for Foster or Adoptive Parents or Applicants Regarding Dependent Children.
  • If there is an epidemic in a given area, the Cabinet may by emergency regulation require the immunization of all persons within the area of epidemic against the disease responsible for the epidemic.
  • Interested foster and adoptive home applicant(s) must attend at least one (1) information meeting.
  • Information meetings are scheduled monthly or at least quarterly in a convenient location for applicants.
  • Following the information meeting, families who express an interest in family foster care or adoption are invited to begin the preparation process. 


 

  • A married, single, or unmarried person may apply to become foster and adoptive home parents. 

 

  • DCBS employees who work in the area of protection and permanency are prohibited from applying as a respite provider or foster and adoptive home parent who fosters a DCBS child, regardless of the child’s residence, unless:
    • The employee was a foster and adoptive home parent or respite provider for the child when they began their DCBS employment; and
    • The DCBS Commissioner approves the employee as a foster care and adoptive home or respite provider as outlined SOP 12.3.1 Foster or Adoptive/Respite Home Parent Applicants- Employees or Former Employees.
  • DCBS employees who work in the area of protection and permanency that wish to apply to adopt a child in the care and custody of DCBS follow procedures outlined in SOP 13.13.4 Employee Adoption or Former Employee Adoption.


 

  • An approved foster and adoptive home is willing to:
    • Provide foster care services for a child placed in out-of-home care by the Cabinet; or
    • Adopt a child:
      • Whose parent’s parental rights have been terminated; and
      • Who is in the custody of the Cabinet;
    • Provide respite care services by caring for a child in the custody of the Cabinet; or
    • Provide any combination of the services described in the above.
 

Footnotes

  1. The R&C worker may refer to the Legal Status Sample Documents for assistance in identifying the different types of identifications.
  2. It is also recommended, but not required, that the SSW obtain information regarding any child fatalities in the family.
  3. The form is completed by the applicant’s primary care physician health care provider.  If a primary care physician is not available, a health professional completes the form. 
  4. Exemptions can only be made on foster parent's dependent children and are not permitted for children in the custody of the Cabinet.
  5. The EPID-230 Commonwealth of Kentucky Certificate of Immunization Status must be issued, marked and approved to designate a "religious objection" to the immunization requirement.
  6. If the foster or adoptive parent applicant does not have a credit report, two (2) credit references will fulfill the requirement.
  7. An exception may be granted if the person is deployed or other circumstances exist that would prevent the adult child from being interviewed.
  8. At the SSW’s or FSOS discretion, additional interviews may be conducted of family members.
  9. Questionnaire I and II must be administered to all applicants.  QII may also be administered to other adults in the home or family when deemed appropriate by the R&C worker.
  10. The Cabinet recruits a foster and adoptive home and approves the foster and adoptive home prior to the placement of a child.

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