Pre-placement conferences are not required for foster parent adoptions, as the pre-placement conference may occur at the same time as the adoptive placement agreement is signed for planned foster parent adoptions. Required appropriate procedures are described in SOP 13.13.1 DCBS Foster Parent Adoption and SOP 13.13.2 Private Child-Placing (PCP) Foster Parent Adoption. Adoptive pre-placement conferences are required for all children who are not being adopted by their foster parents. Participation in the conference does not obligate either the Cabinet or the family to proceed with the placement. The adoptive pre-placement conference chairperson is selected from the potential adoptive family's service region. The adoptive pre-placement conference may serve as a periodic review if the agenda includes the appropriate topics, a third party is present and required items are documented.
Placement of foster children into approved adoptive homes prior to termination of parental rights may occur when the petition for termination of parental rights has been filed and there is a likelihood that termination of parental rights will be achieved or in cases where the termination of parental rights is on appeal. Efforts should be made to locate an appropriate concurrent resource in hopes that the first placement can be the only foster care placement.
The Cabinet plays a strategic role during the post placement phase of adoption. The family should continue to receive help in continually assessing their adjustment and their feelings, and to recognize and deal with potential problems. In addition to the support that the Cabinet can provide, the caseworker can link the family with appropriate community providers. Through the use of support services as outlined in 922 KAR 1.400 Supportive Services, the family can identify and manage stress before it reaches crisis proportions, the adoption can often be stabilized and maintained.
The agency in partnership with the family must conscientiously develop a network of post placement service providers in the community and help to link the family with the most appropriate service providers.
Preparing for the pre-placement conference
- The FSOS for the family contacts the designated service region pre-placement chairperson to arrange the earliest possible date for the conference. 1
- The SSW tells the family that they are required to create a "family photo album," to prepare the child for the meeting with his prospective new family. 2
Conducting the pre-placement conference
The conference chairperson:
- Assists in making conference arrangements (scheduling, location, etc.);
- Begins by explaining the following objectives of the conference:
- To discuss the confidentiality of shared information and sign the DPP-171 Notice of Confidentiality;
- To assist the adoptive family in reaching their decision regarding the referral;
- To provide staff the opportunity to share their knowledge of the child; and
- To determine the method of presenting the family to the child;
- Records the conference and prepares the written summary;
- Ensures that all information regarding the child is shared, including the reimbursement of travel expenses and the availability of adoption assistance;
- Ensures that the decision to proceed with the referral is determined through mutual discussion and is ultimately the decision of the Cabinet;
- Distributes the conference summary to all participants, including prospective adoptive parents, and the central office Adoption Specialist; and
- Reviews and provides a copy of the following documents for the adoptive parent(s):
- Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Pre-Placement Visits;
- DSS-194 Adoption Visitation Agreement; and
- DPP-195 Adoptive Placement Agreement.
The SSW provides:
- A copy of the child's presentation summary packet to the prospective adoptive family and discusses the following:
- Background of the child;
- Child’s mental and physical health, history and status;
- Day to day living;
- Development and school functioning;
- Social functioning;
- Services the child now receives;
- Extent of preparation for placement;
- Birth family members and other significant people and their relationship to the child;
- Need for contact with significant others;
- Potential adjustment problems moving from foster home to adoptive home;
- Assessment of personal needs of the child and the availability of adoption assistance;
- Availability of clothing allowance;
- Problems or issues in any of the above areas;
- Specific forms of discipline used by foster parents; and
- The requirement for periodic reviews and permanency hearings until legalization of the adoption;
- A video of the child which is shown following the discussion, when available.
- To ensure that both the resource family and the child are prepared for their initial meeting the SSW: 3
- Prepares the child for the initial visit with the selected family;
- Engages the foster parent or PCC provider in preparing for the introduction of the selected family and child, when appropriate;
- Shares information about the selected family with the child prior to the first visit, including the family album;
- Discusses the anticipated visit with the child, including time, location and length; and
- Prepares the family for the introduction to the child.
- Pre-placement conference participants include the:
- Child’s SSW;
- R&C worker;
- KAPE worker, if applicable;
- Child’s foster parents;
- Prospective adoptive parent(s);
- Workers’ supervisors;
- Therapist, if available;
- Child Focused Recruitment Model (CFRM) recruiter; and
- Chairperson. 4
- When the presentation/discussion is concluded, the chair allows the adoptive family and all conference participants time to process the information, request additional information, or ask for more time to make their decision. If the adoptive parents wish to meet the child and DCBS staff wishes to continue the referral, arrangements for meeting the child are made.
Proceeding with Visitation: 5
- Visitation is an essential phase of the adoptive placement process that is negotiated and revised as needed, then recorded on the visitation agreement. Timing of visitation and placement are determined by the age and needs of the child, as well as the child's and family’s adjustment to becoming a new family. The initial visit (introduction) is held in a location where the child is most comfortable.
- The pre-placement conference participants determine:
- The preliminary visitation schedule and location of the visits.
- Additional visitation may be scheduled as needed;
- The timeframe to prepare the child for the family; The adoptive family gives their "family photo album" to the child’s SSW to use in preparing the child for the first meeting; and
- How the family can best prepare for the visit.