Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

4.9 Initial Placement Considerations

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter:
Chapter 4-Out of Home Care Services (OOHC)
Effective:
8/15/2018
Section:
4.9 Initial Placement Considerations
Version:
8

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Legal Authority/Introduction

LEGAL AUTHORITY: 

Out of home care (OOHC) is one of many protective services offered to children and families.  It consists of the provision for children placed in the custody of the Cabinet to receive supplemental care in an approved placement for a planned period of time when it is necessary for a child to be separated from his or her own parents or relatives.

The Cabinet for Health and Family services assesses and identifies the best placement options for a child.  The social services worker plans for and prepares a child for initial placement, even when that placement is an emergency.  Services are based on the family assessment and case consultation with the family team.  Engaging family members is critical in the placement process.  The family team considers the following factors:

  • The noncustodial parents ability and willingness to care for the child is evaluated before considering other placement options;
  • Placement with appropriate relatives before considering other placement options;
  • Placement with fictive kin;
  • The least restrictive environment available to provide for the child’s individual needs including considerations of the child's current early care and education provider or school;
  • Placement that is in the closest proximity to the family’s home, and within a child’s community that allows a child to remain in the same school district when it is in the child's best interest; 1
  • Placement that is the most culturally competent available, including religious beliefs;
  • Promotes continued contact with the child’s family, friends and other primary connections; and
  • A placement that accommodates siblings being placed together, unless there is a compelling reason that it would not be in the best interest of one or more of the children. 

Procedure

The SSW:

  1. Conducts an absent parent search to locate any noncustodial parents and relatives; 
  2. Requests during the temporary removal hearing when the identity of a parent is unknown:
    1. That the court order the family to reveal the identity of the noncustodial parent or absent parent; and
    2. The court order the family to complete the DPP-1275 Relative Exploration Form (refer to SOP 11.15 Temporary Removal Hearing);
  3. Assists the parent or relative in completing the DPP-1275 Relative Exploration Form when necessary;
  4. Conducts background checks if a noncustodial parent is identified as a potential caretaker; 
  5. Asks the family if the child is a member of or eligible for membership in a Native American Tribe and documents in the assessment (refer to SOP 4.1 Native American Child, Maintaining Cultural Connections);
  6. Determines  if the child is part of a sibling group that needs placement and:
    1. Consults with the Family Services Office Supervisor (FSOS) and uses the Placement Decision Making Matrix as a guide to document legitimate reasons for not placing siblings together in the case record (refer to SOP 4.10 and Placement Decision Making Matrix link);
    2. Develops a visitation plan, that is agreed upon by all parties, if siblings will not be placed together initially, and;
    3. Documents efforts to reunite siblings, who are separated during the initial placement, in the same foster/adoptive home unless exceptional reasons exist that prevent reunification (refer to Placement with Siblings Tip Sheet);
  7. Determines if the child has needs that will impact placement (may consult with the family services office supervisor and regional staff to discuss the needs of the child from information provided on the placement summary request);
  8. Assesses the placement options to determine the most appropriate, least restrictive placement type if a child is initially unable to be placed with a noncustodial parent or a relative; 
  9. Selects the most appropriate placement type for the child from the following options:
    1. Relative placement;
    2. Fictive kin;
    3. DCBS foster/adoptive home (refer to SOP 4.10 Placement in a DCBS Resource Foster/Adoptive Home); 2
    4. PCC foster home (refer to SOP 4.11 Private Child Placing (PCP) or Child Caring (PCC) Agency);
    5. Residential placement; and
    6. Out of state placement (relative, relative foster/adoptive home, or residential placement) (refer to SOP 4.51 Out of State Placement); 3
  10. Prepares for the Five (5) Day Case Planning Conference as outlined in SOP 4.17 Preparation for and Five (5) Day Conference;
  11. Continues to engage family members and evaluate potential relative placements utilizing the DPP-1275 Relative Exploration Form and interviews with the child and family members.
 

Footnotes

  1. Collaborates with the child's school utilizing the Ensuring School Stability Best Interest Determination Tip Sheet.
  2. DCBS foster/adoptive homes must be utilized before seeking placement in a PCC foster home.  Exception requests and regional approval are required for PCC placements for children with a level of care assignment of one (1) or two (2). 
  3. The selected placement shall be the best alternative for the child that is in closest proximity to the child's home county. 

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