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Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma


Juvenile Code

Chapter 4. Alternative Placement

  401. Definitions

  402. Foster Care Placement

  403. Responsibility of Recruiting Foster Care Homes

  404. Approval of Alternative Care Homes

  405. Written Contract

  406. Previous Foster Parent Preferred Placement

  407. Removal from Foster Home

  408. Investigation

  409. Basic Standards for Alternative Care Families

  410. Basic Requirements of Alternative Care Families

  411. Income of Alternative Care Families

  412. Physical Facilities

  413. Family Composition

  414. Personal Characteristics

  415. Alternative Care Parenting Abilities

  401. Definitions

(a) “Foster care” or “alternative care” means continuous twenty-four hour care and supportive services provided for a child in foster placement while the child needs out-of-home placement;

(b) “Foster child” means a child placed in foster placement;

(c) “Foster family” means all persons living in a foster family home, other than a foster child;

(d) “Foster home” or “alternative care home” means a facility for the care of not more than ten (10) children in a family type setting, or approved pursuant to Tribal law, or, if outside the Tribal jurisdiction, by the law of the jurisdiction in which such facility is physically located or both;

(e) “Foster parent” or “foster care provider” means any individual maintaining a foster family home, who is responsible for the care of a foster child;

(f) “Foster placement” means a foster family home providing foster care services;

(g) “Out-of-home placement” means a placement, other than a placement in the home of the parent or guardian from whose custody the Court has removed the child, until the child is reunified with the child's parents or a permanent placement is made; and

(h) “Relative” means a grandparent, great grandparent, brother or sister of whole or half blood, aunt, uncle, or any other person related to the child within the fourth degree of consanguinity.

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  402. Foster Care Placement

Except as otherwise provided in this Chapter, no child in the custody of the Indian Child Welfare Department shall be placed with any foster placement unless the foster placement has a current license or authorization issued by the Indian Child Welfare Department or a license with the State or another Tribal Indian Child Welfare.

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  403. Responsibility of Recruiting Foster Care Homes

It shall be the responsibility of the Indian Child Welfare Department to recruit, screen, and approve alternative care homes for children in accordance with this Chapter. Emphasis should be placed on finding tribal and relative foster care families.

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  404. Approval of Alternative Care Homes

The Indian Child Welfare Department pursuant to rules not inconsistent with this Chapter which it shall develop and file, shall have the authority to approve foster care and other alternative care homes for children.

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  405. Written Contract

(a) The Indian Child Welfare Department shall prior to any out-of-home foster placement, enter into a written contract with the foster care placement provider. The contract shall provide, at a minimum:

(1) That the Indian Child Welfare Department shall have access at all times to the child and to the foster placement;

(2) A listing of any specific requirements, specific duties or restrictions in providing foster care services;

(3) That any foster child shall have access to and be accessible by any court-appointed special advocate for the foster child and the foster child's attorney; and

(4) That the foster care placement provider shall comply with the written rules and regulations established by this Chapter and the Indian Child Welfare Department in their regulation of foster care homes.

(b) The Indian Child Welfare Department shall provide the following information to the foster parents, along with a copy of the written contract required pursuant to subsection (a) of this section:

(1) The names and telephone numbers of the child's case worker, and the case workers' supervisors;

(2) A copy of the grievance procedure established by the Director of the Indian Child Welfare Department;

(3) Information detailing the foster parents' ability to submit written reports to the Court, or to petition the Court direct y for review of a decision by the Indian Child Welfare Department to remove a foster child who has been placed with the foster parent, in accordance with the limitations and requirements of this Chapter; and

(4) A copy of the policies and procedures of the Indian Child Welfare Department which pertain to placement operations of the Department, and which may be necessary to properly in:inform#the out-of-home placement providers of the duties, rights and responsibilities of the out-of-home placement providers and the Indian Child Welfare Department.

(c) The Indian Child Welfare Department shall maintain supervision of all children placed in foster placement and shall maintain supervision of and make regular visits to such foster placement. The Indian Child Welfare Department shall visit each foster placement no less than once every month. After each visit the worker shall prepare and maintain a written report of the findings for each visit.

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  406. Previous Foster Parent Preferred Placement

Unless there is a relative placement available, a foster parent shall be considered as a preferred placement option when the foster child who was formerly placed with the foster parent is to be reentered into foster care at the same level and type of care, if that placement is consistent with the best interests of the child and other children in the foster parent's home.

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  407. Removal from Foster Home

(a) In making placements in foster care the Indian Child Welfare Department shall, if possible, arrange for a preplacement visit for the child with the persons who will be providing foster care.

(b) If a child in the custody of the Indian Child Welfare Department has resided with a foster parent for three (3) or more months, except in an emergency, shall:

(1) give a minimum of five (5) days' advance notice to the foster care family before removing a child from such family's care, and

(2) at the time of such notification, provide the foster family with a written statement of the reasons for removing a child.

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  408. Investigation

(a) The Indian Child Welfare Department shall not place a child in an out-of-home placement unless a criminal background investigation has been completed.

(b) The Indian Child Welfare Department shall conduct a home study of an out-of-home placement, unless the Indian Child Welfare Department has a home study less than one year old on file.

(c) The Indian Child Welfare Department shall insure that the child to be placed in out-of-home placement receives a complete medical examination within thirty (30) days of initial placement, unless there was an examination conducted on the child upon removal of the child and the Court finds no need for further examination.

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  409. Basic Standards for Alternative Care Families

In considering alternative parents the primary consideration should be the capacity to provide love and understanding to a child or children in distress; and maintain reasonable cultural contact.

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  410. Basic Requirements of Alternative Care Families

Alternative care families shall meet the following personal criteria:

(a) The age of alternative parent(s) shall be consideration only if it affects their physical capability, flexibility, and ability to care for a specific child.

(b) A written statement from a physician, regarding alternative care parent(s) and their children's general health, specific illnesses, or disabilities shall be a routine part of the study evaluation process. Alternative care parent(s) and all other adults and the children present in the home shall submit to tuberculin tests and have been found free of disease; other tests may be required as indicated.

(c) Physical handicaps of alternative care parent(s) shall be a consideration only as it affects their ability to provide adequate care to alternative children or may affect an individual child's adjustment to the family. Cases shall be evaluated on an individual basis with the assistance of a medical consultant when indicated.

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  411. Income of Alternative Care Families

(a) When the Indian Child Welfare Department does not have a plan or funds for cost reimbursement for alternative care families, it shall determine that the alternative care family's income is stable and sufficient for the maintenance of the family and the child or children placed with the family.

(b) Employment of alternative care parent(s) outside the home:

(1) Alternative care parents, either or both spouses, may work outside the home as long as the needs of the child can be met.

(2) When both parents in a two parent home and when single parents are employed, it is preferable that the home be used for school age children, and only when there are suitable plans, approved by the Indian Child Welfare Department, for care and supervision of the child after school and during the summer while parent(s) are at work. Alternative care parent(s) must make appropriate and advance plans for the care of children when not personally available.

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  412. Physical Facilities

(a) Physical facilities of the alternative care home shall present no hazard to the safety of the children.

(b) Alternative care homes shall meet Tribal zoning and housing requirements and/or be inspected by the Indian Child Welfare Department.

(c) Physical standards for the alternative care home I be set according to individual living standards for the community in which the alternative care home is located; these standards shall be sufficient to assure a degree of comfort which will provide for the well-being of the family and its self-respect in the community in which it resides. Such standards shall be no more or less stringent than any common cultural morals of Absentee Shawnee citizens.

(d) Comfort and privacy:

(1) It is preferable that children, regardless of the number, be allowed “their own space”, however large or small. Sharing of rooms is appropriate as long as there is sufficient individual space#ace for each child and personal belongings.

(2) The sharing of sleeping rooms by children of opposite sexes is acceptable for small children, but undesirable for children who may be experiencing difficulties in the development of their sexual identities, attitudes, and behavior. Children, other than infants and during emergencies (illness), shall not share sleeping quarters with adults in the household.

(3) Individual space shall be provided for the child's personal belongings.

(e) Alternative care family homes shall be reasonable (accessible to schools, recreation, ceremonial grounds, churches, other community facilities, and special resources, such as medical clinics, as needed).

(f) If the home is otherwise suitable, the alternative care family shall be provided with all available assistance in meeting the above requirements, standards, and/or codes.

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  413. Family Composition

(a) Single or two parent households are appropriate, dependent on the particular needs of a child.

(b) The presence of other children and other adults in the home will be considered in terms of the affect upon another child.

(c) The number and ages of children in a home shall be considered on a case by case basis, taking into account the alternative parent(s) ability to meet the needs of all children present in the home, physical accommodation of the home, and especially the affect which an additional child would have on the family as a unit. It is preferable that:

(1) Alternative care parent(s) shall care for not more than the number of infants it appears they are capable of providing for adequately.

(2) Alternative care families should have sufficient resources for all children in the home. Exceptions shall be made in order to keep siblings together.

(3) The age range of the children in an alternative care home shall be agreed upon by parent(s) and Indian Child Welfare.

(4) All placement situations shall consider the affect of having some children in the home whose parent(s) or custodian(s) visit them and other children whose parent(s) or custodian(s) do not.

(5) Alternative care homes shall not provide placements for more than one agency at a time without written agreement delineating the responsibilities of all parties involved.

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  414. Personal Characteristics

Prospective alternative parent(s) shall possess personal qualities of maturity, stability, flexibility, ability to cope with stress, capacity to give and receive love, and good moral character. Such characteristics are reflected in the following:

(a) Psycho-social history, including significant childhood relationships and experiences, i.e. parent-child, sibling, or other relationships.

(b) Role identification and acceptance.

(c) Reactions to experiences of separation and loss, i.e. through death, desertion, divorce.

(d) Education, employment, and patterns of interpersonal relationships.

(e) General social, intellectual and cultural level of Family.

(f) Level of everyday functioning:

(1) Home and money management ability;

(2) Daily routine and habits;

(3) Reactions to stress.

(g) Affect responses, i.e. ability to give and receive love, deal with loss, separation, and disappointment, etc.

(h) Moral, ethical, and spiritual qualities of the family.

(i) Religious affiliation and habits.

(j) Hobbies, special interests, skills, and talents.

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  415. Alternative Care Parenting Abilities

As assessment of prospective alternative care parent(s) parenting ability regarding a specific child shall take into account the following:

(a) Motivation for application.

(b) Characteristics & number of children best suited to family.

(c) Existing relationships, attitudes, and expectations regarding children and parent-child relationships, especially where such existing attitudes and relationships might affect the child.

(d) Attitudes of members of the extended family regarding child placement.

(e) Ability to accept and love a child as he or she is,

(f) Capacity to absorb the child into family life functioning without undue disruption.

(g) Capacity of parent(s) to provide for child's needs, while giving proper consideration to other children.

(h) Biological children's attitudes towards accepting children.

(i) Realistic assessment of various aspects of parenthood.

(j) Personal characteristics necessary to provide continuity of care throughout child's need for placement.

(k) Flexibility to meet changing needs over the course of placement.

(l) Ability to relate to neglectful and abusive natural parent(s).

(m) Ability to accept child's relationship with own family, including extended family.

(n) Ability, where appropriate, to care for children, with special needs, i.e. physical handicaps, emotional disturbances, etc.

(o) Areas in which on-going social work assistance may be needed.

(p) Ability to help a child return home or be placed for adoption/permanency and gain satisfaction from the experience.

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