Placement with a relative is used as an alternative to foster care when the agency determines that a child can no longer remain safe in their home. The term “placement with a relative” applies when a child is placed with a relative via a prevention plan or through temporary or permanent custody, given by the court to the relative or the Cabinet. Regardless of how the child came to be placed with the relative, P&P provides case management activities that seek to utilize a least restrictive placement, assist parent/caretakers in reunifying with their child(ren), providing supportive services to the relative and achieving alternative permanency for the child if reunification isn’t possible.
If the Cabinet is granted custody of the child, all applicable OOHC SOPs are utilized. If the child is placed on a prevention plan with a relative or in the custody of the relative, In-Home SOPs are applicable. The following SOP is utilized for any placement with a relative regardless of who has custody.
- Visits the relative home and if placement needs are immediate, conducts an initial placement assessment by completing section I of the DPP-1277 Relative Home Evaluation, which includes:
- An evaluation of the home environment;
- The caretaker relative's willingness and ability to accommodate for the child within the home (e.g. providing for the child's sleeping and eating, maintaining adequate heat and ventilation in the home, using active smoke detectors in home, assuring the child's inaccessibility to medication, alcoholic beverages, poisonous or cleaning materials, ammunition, firearms, and unsupervised contact with the child's birth parent);
- Anticipated Relative Placement Support Benefit (RPSB) needed to provide for the child’s immediate need for clothing, school supplies, additional furniture or a deposit for a larger apartment after local community resources have been exhausted start-up costs (if any);
- Conducts background checks on the relative home members consistent with SOP 4.5.4 Background Checks for Caregivers to include:
- Completion of TWIST check;
- Criminal background check; and
- Sex offender registry address checks;
- Discontinues the home evaluation process, if a negative background check is returned (refer to procedure #3 in SOP 4.5.4);
- Completes section II of the DPP-1277 Relative Home Evaluation, within thirty (30) working days, documenting the following factors:
- The caretaker relative's willingness and ability to protect the child from abuse or neglect and provide full-time care;
- The caretaker relative's willingness and ability to participate in the child's case permanency plan;
- Discussion of resource options with the family through the local support office that may be available to them such as Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (KTAP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) and the family’s ability to provide care for the child if they are not eligible for these benefits;
- The caretaker relative's willingness and ability to access transportation, telephone, medical services, first aid supplies, and the child's school;
- The caretaker relative's willingness and ability to understand the impact that familial abuse, neglect or substance abuse may have on a child and the child's extended family (refer to Substance Use and Abuse Tip Sheet); and
- The results of the criminal background check(s), sex offender registry address check(s) and child abuse and neglect check(s).
- Completes the DPP-1278 Relative Placement Support Benefit Acknowledgment Form with the family and provides them with the Resource Options Relatives Can Explore document;
- Submits to the FSOS, within thirty (30) working days of the placement, the completed DPP-1277 Relative Home Evaluation with attached background check documentation. 1
- The designated regional staff enters each child approved for relative placement in the OOHC screens as described on the Entering a Child Placed with a Relative in TWIST tip sheet and completes the Adding a Relative to the Resource Directory document to submit to the Division for Administrative and Financial Management (DAFM).
- The SSW follows out of state placement guidelines when placing a child with relatives living in another state.
- The SSW informs the individual having physical custody of the child of any history of inappropriate sexual acts or other behaviors of the child that indicates a safety risk for placement as would be the case with any other type of substitute care placement.
- The SSW is mandated to inform the placement resource within seventy-two (72) hours after receiving the information if such information is not known at the time of placement.
- The SSW also considers placement of a child in a relative foster home.
- Relative Placement Support Benefits (RPSB) are provided one (1) time to facilitate the placement of a child with a non-parental relative if it is determined that a child is at risk of being placed in foster care or is in the custody of the Cabinet and residing in foster care due to substantiated abuse or neglect naming the child’s biological or adoptive parent as the perpetrator; or the death of both parents.
- The RPSB is issued by check directly to the vendor providing for the needed service or item. The amount provided for each child is based upon the needs assessed during the relative home evaluation and therefore, is not automatically awarded.
- A Relative Placement Support Benefit (RPSB) is available at the initial relative placement and is not available if the child moves to a subsequent relative placement. Items purchased through RPSB follow the child(ren).
- Relative Placement Support Benefit (RPSB) are not available to relative caregivers who receive children from another state being placed in Kentucky, relatives that move to Kentucky or relatives who live in another state receiving placement from Kentucky.
- It is imperative to make a quality first placement for a child if placing with a relative. This minimizes the number of placement moves for the child.
- When a child is placed in a relative placement, all information remains in the case of origin. A new case is not opened for this purpose. If the relative resides in different county than the primary caregiver, the case will remain where the primary caregiver resides. The case is then shared with the county in which the relative caregiver resides.
- The decision to place the child with a relative is based on the child’s needs and which setting is most suited to meet those needs.
- Criteria for the SSW’s assessment of whether it is appropriate to place a child with relatives may include, but are not limited to the:
- Child’s relationship with the relatives;
- Relative’s ability to meet the child’s basic needs;
- Relative’s ability to meet the child’s medical, emotional, educational, or treatment needs;
- Relative’s understanding of the risk factors that led to the child’s removal and his ability to appropriately protect the child; and
- Possibility of placing siblings together.
- As the DPP-1277 Relative Home Evaluation is completed during the discussion, it is necessary that the document is legible. If being provided to an outside partner such as the Court or Commonwealth Attorney, or if the relative home evaluation is being completed for another state’s child, it is necessary that the document be electronically prepared.