Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

4.30 Normalcy for Children and Youth in Out of Home Care

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter 4-Out of Home Care Services (OOHC)
4.30 Normalcy for Children and Youth in Out of Home Care

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Legal Authority/Introduction




Normalcy is the right for ALL children and youth in out-of-home care to participate in age appropriate extracurricular, enrichment and social activities.
Normalcy is the opportunity for ALL children and youth in out-of-home care to achieve emotional well-being as well as to develop valuable life-coping skills.

When children participate in extracurricular, enrichment and social activities it allows them an opportunity to gain skills to become independent, and learn about making good decisions. Every child will test boundaries and breaks some rules. However, with oversight and guidance this is how the child can learn about natural consequences and gain an understanding of making positive choices.

Normalcy for children and youth in foster care is achieved when children and youth learn skills, take advantage of opportunities to participate in developmentally age appropriate activities, and develop relationships while growing up in a stable, loving family and a supportive community. Children and youth in care should be afforded the same opportunities and experiences as children and youth who are not in care.  To promote normalcy, the cabinet must be responsive to the needs and voices of children and youth and emerging adults.

The term "reasonable and prudent parent standard" means the standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child, that a caregiver shall use when determining whether to allow a child in foster care under the responsibility of the State to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.  Caregivers are DCBS and PCP foster parents and authorized staff or officials working in a PCC facility.  In some circumstances caregivers are also relatives when DCBS retains custody.

The SSW:

  1. Ensures that children and youth are allowed to engage in age or developmentally-appropriate activities as determined by the child’s caregiver when the caregiver makes decisions using a reasonable and prudent parent standard;
  2. Informs caregivers the normalcy law provides legal protection and requires liability standards for caregivers who make decisions applying the reasonable and prudent parent standard.
  3. Empowers caregivers to unilaterally make routine caregiving decisions without having to get permission first through regional approval;
  4. Is available for consultation and guidance when appropriate; 1 and
  5. Makes caregivers aware of youth’s rights by informing caregivers of the following requirements: 2
    1. Youth age 14 and older receive a list of youth rights;3
    2. Youth age 14 and older are included in case planning and in identification of advisors/advocates;4
    3. Youth age 14 and older are involved in transition planning for successful adulthood;
    4. Judicial review of normalcy is mandated for youth who have a permanency goal of PPLA; and
    5. School age youth be are included in case planning if developmentally appropriate. 

The R&C worker:

  1. Ensures that DCBS foster/adoptive parents receive training on the reasonable and prudent parent standard;
  2. Assures DCBS foster/adoptive parents who receive reasonable and prudent parent standard training are allowed to select short-term babysitters for periods of less than 24 hours for children in their care. 
  3. Requests an exception from the FSOS when circumstances warrant using a babysitter for a period lasting longer than twenty four (24) hours, but not to exceed seventy two (72) hours.
  4. Documents the reason for the exception in the case record. 

Practice Guidance: 

  • PCP Foster parents and PCC authorized officials receive the same training on the reasonable and prudent parent  standard as required by DCBS foster parents;
  • Authorized PCC staff who have been trained on the RPPS are available on site 24 hours a day;
  • PCP staff are available 24 hours a day to foster/adoptive parents for consultation and decision making pertaining to the RPPS.
 Typical Activities  Non-Typical
 Sleepovers  Surgery
 Swimming  Birth parent and sibling visits
 Dating  Court orders
 Hunting  Medications - psychotropic, birth control
 Riding jet skis  Tattoos, body piercings, etc.
 Family camping outings  Return a child to birthparent without court approval
 Obtaining a driver's license  Discipline policy
 Operating power lawn mowers  
  • Caregivers must use the reasonable and prudent parent standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the child’s health, safety and best interest when selecting babysitters.
  • Babysitters must be age 18 or older for youth leveled 3, 4 or 5, designated as care plus or medically complex.
  • Babysitters for medically complex children must be certified in CPR and First Aid for adults, infants and children and receive child specific training.
  • Babysitters for care plus children must also receive child specific training or have training in the mental health treatment of children or their families. 


  1. Birthparents should be consulted when appropriate.
  2. These requirements are outlined in case planning SOP 4.17 and SOP 4.18.
  3. If the youth did not receive a copy of youth rights at the case planning conference, the worker will provide a copy.
  4. The youth may invite up to two (2) people to the case planning conference. The SSW, in consultation with the FSOS, may at any time reject a person selected by the youth if the worker has good cause to believe the individual would not act in the best interests of the child. (Section 475(1)(B) of the Social Security Act)



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