INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:75-3-10.1
1. (a) Evaluating child safety.
(1) Form 04KI030E, Assessment of Child Safety, is used to evaluate safety by focusing on six key questions in gathering information regarding family functioning to determine whether a child is safe or unsafe.
(2) Critical thinking is used when applying the safety threshold and evaluating protective capacities of the person responsible for the child (PRFC).
(3) The safety threshold is compromised when family behaviors, conditions, or situations are manifested in a way that is not controlled or managed.
(4) Child Protective Services (CPS) history is carefully considered in determining safety.
(5) When present danger exists, an immediate protective action plan is implemented to remove the child from harm while the evidence-based safety assessment, Form 04KI030E, is completed.
(b) Assessment of the six key questions. The purpose of the safety assessment, conducted during an assessment or investigation, is to determine whether CPS intervention is required. Form 04KI030E is used as a guide in gathering information in an effective, organized manner to draw conclusions regarding child safety or impending danger. The information compiled for each of the six key questions provides an indication of how the family functions and assists in making a determination about child safety.
(1) Maltreatment. The Child Welfare (CW) specialist assesses the extent of maltreatment to determine the physical effects on a child and considers what is occurring or has occurred, for example, hitting or injuries. Information gathered in this phase of the safety assessment provides evidence of the presence or absence of maltreatment and includes:
(A) the type of maltreatment;
(B) the severity of the maltreatment;
(C) the history or duration of the maltreatment;
(D) a description of specific events;
(E) a description of emotional and physical symptoms; and
(F) identification of the child and the maltreating PRFC.
(2) Circumstances. The CW specialist assesses the circumstances surrounding the maltreatment and considers the nature of what accompanies or surrounds the maltreatment. This key question addresses what was or is occurring at the time the maltreatment occurs or occurred and includes consideration of the:
(A) PRFC's intent concerning the maltreatment;
(B) PRFC's explanation for the maltreatment and family conditions;
(C) PRFC's acknowledgement and attitude about the maltreatment;
(D) history or pattern of maltreatment of the subject child or others by the PRFC;
(E) PRFC's criminal history; and
(F) presence of other problems occurring in association with the maltreatment.
(3) Child functioning. The CW specialist assesses how the child functions or behaves on a daily basis and considers the child's general behavior, emotions, temperament, and physical capacity.
(A) This key question determines:
(i) if a child's individual needs are being met;
(ii) if there are any unusual child behaviors;
(iii) the child's sense of security;
(iv) the child's physical health;
(v) the vulnerability of the child; and
(vi) signs of positive interaction with PRFCs.
(B) Information gathered in this phase of the safety assessment includes the child's:
(i) capacity for attachment;
(ii) general mood and temperament;
(iii) intellectual functioning;
(iv) communication and social skills;
(v) expressions of emotions and feelings;
(vii) peer relations;
(viii) school performance;
(ix) motor skills;
(x) physical and behavioral health; and
(xi) functioning within cultural norms.
(4) Parenting – discipline. The CW specialist assesses disciplinary approaches, from the child's perspective and each adult's view of their own disciplinary experiences, as a child. The manner in which the PRFC approaches discipline and child guidance and the PRFC's emotional state while disciplining the child is considered. Information gathered in this phase of the safety assessment includes:
(A) disciplinary methods;
(B) concept and purpose of discipline;
(C) context in which discipline occurs; and
(D) how discipline is influenced by culture.
(5) Parenting - general.
(A) The CW specialist assesses parenting practices used by the PRFC determining if the:
(i) PRFC's pervasive parenting practices are developmentally appropriate;
(ii) PRFC expresses empathy for the child; and
(iii) PRFC recognizes danger or threats of danger to the child.
(B) Information gathered in this phase of the safety assessment includes the PRFC's:
(i) reasons for being a parent;
(ii) satisfaction in being a parent;
(iii) knowledge and skill in parenting and child development;
(iv) expectations and empathy for the child;
(v) general parenting style; and
(vi) protective capacities.
(6) Adult functioning. The CW specialist assesses adult functioning considering how the PRFCs feel, think, and act on a daily basis with focus on adult functioning separate from parenting.
(A) This key question determines if the PRFC:
(i) is committed to the safety of the child;
(ii) is willing to do what is necessary and required within the safety plan;
(iii) understands why the child is unsafe; or
(iv) is impeded by behavioral health or substance abuse issues in offering protection to the child.
(B) Information gathered in this phase of the safety assessment includes the PRFC's:
(i) coping and stress management abilities;
(ii) self control in relationships and discipline;
(iii) problem solving abilities;
(iv) judgment and decision-making abilities;
(v) home and financial management;
(vi) employment history;
(vii) substance use;
(viii) behavioral health; and
(ix) physical health and capacity.
(c) Identifying and documenting the presence or absence of safety threats.
(1) The CW specialist completes Section IV of Form 04KI030E, applying the safety threshold to identify safety threats that are:
(D) occurring now or likely to occur within the next few days;
(E) out-of-control; and
(F) applicable to a vulnerable child.
(2) When a child is found unsafe, the CW specialist completes:
(A) Section VI of Form 04KI030E, entitled Protective capacities of the PRFC;
(B) Section VII of Form 04KI030E, entitled Safety intervention; and
(C) Section VIII of Form 04KI030E, entitled Voluntary safety plan, in conjunction with Form 04MP054E, Immediate Protective Action Plan/Voluntary Safety Plan. Refer to OAC 340:75-4-12.1 Instructions to Staff (ITS) # 1 for levels of service.
(3) The CW specialist documents all information gathered during the assessment of child safety on Form 04KI030E.
2. Review of a substantiated finding with a safe determination. The CPS supervisor cautiously reviews the substantiated finding of abuse or neglect when a child has been determined safe. This determination may be made when:
(1) a thorough assessment of child safety has been completed and no safety threats are identified;
(2) patterns and the safety threshold were correctly applied;
(3) the PRFC demonstrates adequate protective capacities to keep the child safe;
(4) an assessment was properly upgraded to an investigation, when applicable; and
(5) the proper substantiation protocol was applied.
3. Joint response system between CW and law enforcement. The system for joint response is utilized when a child has been taken into protective custody by law enforcement and includes:
(1) designating CW staff to serve as contact persons for law enforcement;
(2) CW staff conducting a safety evaluation at the scene where law enforcement has assumed protective custody of a child to determine if the child can be protected through placement with relatives without the need for OKDHS to seek an emergency custody order so that the child can be placed in foster care; or
(3) CW staff conducting a safety evaluation at the designated county-specific reception center for children in protective custody when:
(A) the CW staff is unable to respond to the scene in a reasonable time period;
(B) exigent circumstances exist and law enforcement must act immediately without CW participation; or
(C) there are other circumstances such that it is not feasible or advisable for CW staff to respond to the scene;
(4) a request by CW staff to the district attorney (DA) for application for emergency custody, if the child has not been restored to the custody of the parent, legal guardian, or custodian and the safety evaluation determines the need for emergency custody of the child;
(5) coordination between law enforcement and CW staff for transportation of a child to the home of a relative, kinship care home, an emergency foster care home, a shelter, or any other site at which OKDHS believes the child can be protected when the child cannot be safely left in the home. A shelter is only utilized when the home of a relative, kinship care home, or emergency foster care home is not immediately available or is inappropriate.
4. Restoration of custody to the parent, legal guardian, or custodian when child is in protective custody. When, following a safety evaluation, OKDHS determines the child in protective custody does not face an imminent safety threat, the child is restored to the custody and control of only the child's parent, legal guardian, or custodian.
5. Present danger.
(1) Present danger means an immediate, significant, and clearly observable family condition that is presently occurring and already endangering or threatening to endanger a child. When present danger exists, steps are taken to protect the child from imminent harm by the implementation of a short-term immediate protective action plan. The plan is designed to protect the child while the assessment of child safety is completed, and may be utilized for up to seven business days. Examples of present danger and potential immediate protective action plans include, but are not limited to a child found in:
(A) the street may require an immediate protective action plan to remove the child from the street and identify adequate supervision for the child; or
(B) a home containing a working methamphetamine lab may require an immediate protective action plan for the PRFC to voluntarily place the child in a safe location with relatives for short-term care.
(2) When present danger exists and the immediate protective action plan requires a child's temporary placement outside the child's home, the out-of-home safety planning protocol found in OAC 340:75-3-10.1 ITS # 10 is followed.
(3) When the child's safety is secured, the assessment of child safety is completed to determine if impending danger exists.
6. Impending danger.
(1) Impending danger means the presence of a threatening family condition that is:
(A) specific and observable;
(C) certain to happen in the next several days; and
(D) likely to have a severe effect on a vulnerable child.
(2) Impending danger includes specific threats to a child's safety that:
(A) are harmful but are not immediate, obvious, or active at the onset of CPS intervention;
(B) are identified and understood after fully evaluating individual and family conditions and functioning;
(C) will result in severe harm if safety intervention does not occur and is not sustained; and
(D) require the development of a safety plan implemented through voluntary services to the family or court intervention monitored by CPS until the impending danger is under control.
7. Evaluating need for protective or emergency custody.
(1) Law enforcement may place a child in protective custody. When emergency custody is indicated, OKDHS prepares and presents an affidavit to the district attorney documenting:
(A) the imminent safety threat;
(B) why continuation of the child in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child; and
(C) a request for emergency custody of the child.
(2) The CW specialist consults with the CW supervisor throughout the evaluation process and documents the decision in the case record. The immediate protective action plan or voluntary safety plan is documented on Form 04MP054E, Immediate Protective Action Plan/Voluntary Safety Plan.
(3) Cases of serious abuse or neglect described in (A) through (P) may pose an imminent safety threat to a child and require a recommendation for placement of the child in protective or emergency custody.
(A) The child was assaulted, hit, poisoned, or burned so severely that serious injury resulted or could have resulted. For example, the parent threw an infant against a wall, but the infant was not seriously injured.
(B) An infant has bruising or burns on any part of the body.
(C) The child is three years of age or younger and the PRFC demonstrates no attachment to the child, and has dangerously inappropriate parenting skills.
(D) The child was systematically tortured or inhumanely punished. For example, the child was locked in a closet for long periods, forced to eat unpalatable substances, or forced to squat, stand, or perform other unreasonable acts as a means of torture.
(E) The PRFC's reckless disregard for the child's safety caused or could have caused serious injury. For example, the PRFC left a young child in the care of an obviously irresponsible or dangerous person.
(F) The physical condition of the home is dangerous and poses an immediate threat of serious injury to the child. For example, exposed electrical wiring or other materials create an extreme danger of fire or there are gas leaks in the home.
(G) The child was sexually abused or sexually exploited and the perpetrator has access to the child.
(H) The PRFC purposefully or systematically withheld essential food or nourishment from the child. For example, the child was denied food for extended periods as a form of punishment for real or imagined misbehavior.
(I) The PRFC refuses to obtain or consent to medical or psychiatric care for the child that is immediately required, as documented by medical evaluation, to prevent or treat a serious injury or disease. The child's physical condition shows signs of severe deterioration and the PRFC(s) seems unwilling or unable to respond.
(J) The PRFC appears to suffer from mental illness, mental retardation, or substance abuse so severe that he or she does not provide for the child's basic needs, such as the PRFC who is demonstrably out of touch with reality or significantly intoxicated.
(K) The PRFC has abandoned the child.
(L) There is reason to suspect, based on a history of frequent moves or of hiding the child from outsiders, the PRFC may flee with the child and the child is in danger.
(M) There is specific evidence that the PRFC'S anger and discomfort about the report and subsequent investigation will result in serious retaliation against the child. The information is gained through:
(i) a review of the PRFC'S past behavior;
(ii) the PRFC'S statements and behaviors during the investigative interview; or
(iii) reports from others who know the PRFC and family.
(N) A baby is born to a PRFC who is currently involved in an open permanency planning case and has not successfully completed the court‑ordered individualized service plan or there is a pending motion to terminate parental rights.
(O) The PRFC'S parental rights were terminated to other children and there is harm or significant threat of harm to the children in the PRFC's home.
(P) Any situation that involves a child in a family for which the criteria for the determination that reasonable efforts are not required per OAC 340:75‑1-18 are met.
8. Voluntary safety plan.
(1) When a child is determined unsafe, the CW specialist evaluates the PRFC's protective capacities, available supports such as relatives or community resources, and willingness to collaborate with OKDHS to keep the child safe. When safety threats cannot be managed through a voluntary safety plan or the PRFC does not agree to comply with the voluntary safety plan, protective or emergency custody of the child and court intervention is requested. A voluntary safety plan does not preclude a recommendation for court intervention and supervision by OKDHS to formalize the voluntary service agreement through a court-ordered individualized service plan.
(A) The voluntary safety plan:
(i) is utilized when a child is determined unsafe and court-ordered removal of the child from the home is not requested;
(ii) may replace the immediate protective action plan when the assessment of child safety is completed;
(iii) is completed when the family has agreed to collaborate with OKDHS to control and manage identified safety threats;
(iv) may be utilized with or without court involvement; and
(v) is documented on Form 04KI030E, Assessment of Child Safety, and detailed on Form 04MP054E, Immediate Protective Action Plan/Voluntary Safety Plan.
(B) A voluntary safety plan is developed to control and manage the safety threats while the child remains in the home or while the child temporarily stays in an alternative location outside the home. When OKDHS and the PRFC agree to utilize a voluntary safety plan:
(i) safety plan monitors are identified;
(ii) Form 04MP025E, Voluntary Service Agreement, is completed; and
(iii) protocols for determining service needs are followed per OAC 340:75-4-12.1.
(2) The purpose of a voluntary safety plan is to control safety threats immediately. The safety plan must:
(A) specify what safety threats exist to establish what must be controlled;
(B) identify how the safety threat will be managed and controlled, including by whom, under what circumstances and agreements, within what time frame, and the availability, accessibility, and suitability of those involved; and
(C) include how CPS or others monitor and oversee the plan.
(3) Engaging kin in safety planning creates more options for support and safety planning. The CW specialist:
(A) identifies as many kin as possible to support the family;
(B) engages those who know the child best;
(C) facilitates a family team meeting; and
(D) makes timely decisions, with input from the team, regarding safety, physical, and emotional well-being of the child.
(4) Following the guidelines of OAC 340:75-4-12.1 and related OAC 340:75-4-12.1 ITS, the CW specialist:
(A) assesses the PRFC's reliability, willingness to cooperate, commitment, and alliance to the voluntary safety plan;
(B) ensures all necessary arrangements for the safety plan are made and agreed to by all participants;
(C) contacts, no less than weekly, persons responsible for the safety plan until the safety threats in the family are significantly reduced.
9. Safety plan factors. Questions (1) through (8) are considered when evaluating the relative or non-perpetrator PRFC's protective capacities for adequately protecting the child from the perpetrator.
(1) Does the relative, kin, or PRFC believe that abuse or neglect occurred? If not, has the relative, kin, or PRFC demonstrated behaviors related to protective capacities? If not, adequate protection may not be provided.
(2) Is the non-perpetrator PRFC strongly dependent on the perpetrator for financial or emotional support, or both? If so, it may initially be difficult for the non‑perpetrator PRFC to overcome his or her own needs and protect the child.
(3) Is the non-perpetrator PRFC a victim of domestic violence or emotional abuse by the perpetrator? If so, the non-perpetrator PRFC may be fearful of the perpetrator and unable to protect the child until services begin.
(4) Did the relative, kin, or non-perpetrator PRFC fail to protect the child from abuse or neglect or fail to heed serious warning signs that abuse occurred? If so, the relative or non-perpetrator PRFC may not see a threat to the child if the perpetrator wants contact.
(5) Is the relative, kin, or non-perpetrator PRFC displaying a willingness to control and manage the safety threat(s) or is the agreement to participate in the safety plan only to avoid removal of the child? When there is no willingness to seek help to alleviate the concerns that led to the abuse or neglect, relying on the relative or non-perpetrator PRFC is not an adequate safety plan.
(6) Is the non-perpetrator PRFC planning to seek action in divorce court to change custody? If so, it must be evaluated whether this will adequately protect the child. It is likely that visitation will continue even with a change in custody. An action in divorce court does not ensure that all information regarding the abuse or neglect is heard and considered in custody and visitation decisions.
(7) Does the non-perpetrator PRFC have difficulties due to substance or alcohol abuse? If so, these difficulties may prevent the non‑perpetrator PRFC from adequately protecting the child.
10. Assessing voluntary safety plan participants.
(1) Prior to engaging individuals as safety plan monitors or caregivers, the CW specialist assesses the individual's:
(A) protective capacities;
(B) willingness to collaborate with OKDHS to ensure the child's safety; and
(C) alignment with the safety plan.
(2) When the safety plan includes an arrangement by the PRFC for the child to temporarily stay outside the home, the CW specialist:
(A) reviews CW records to determine if the prospective voluntary safety plan caregiver or any adult residing in the prospective caregiver's home has a history of child abuse or neglect;
(B) completes and submits Form 04AF007E, Records Check, for the prospective voluntary safety plan caregiver and all adult household members;
(C) determines if the prospective voluntary safety plan caregiver or any adult household member:
(i) is subject to the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act and the Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offender Registration Act. Refer to OAC 340:75-7-15 ITS # 1(6) for instructions to access the free website; or
(ii) has convictions for felony offenses involving violence. Refer to OAC 340:75-7-15;
(D) uses Form 04AF004E, House Assessment, as a guide when determining the physical safety of the home;
(E) when the child is under three years of age, completes Section One, Physical Environment, of:
(i) Form 04MP004E, Contact Guide Addendum for Face-to-Face Visit with Newborn(s) and Infant(s) – Age 0 to 12 Months, as applicable; or
(ii) Form 04MP006E, Contact Guide Addendum for Face-to-Face Visit with Toddler(s) – Age 13 through 36 Months, as applicable; and
(F) completes and submits Form 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, for the prospective voluntary safety plan caregiver and all adult household members; or
(G) when needed afterhours, requests a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) check for the prospective voluntary safety plan caregiver and all adult household members;
(H) ensures the voluntary safety plan caregiver and all adult household members submit fingerprints within five business days for submission to the CFSD Fingerprint Processing Section, when an NCIC check is completed prior to the child's placement;
(I) contacts, no later than the next business day, other states in which the voluntary safety plan caregiver or adult household members have resided and requests child welfare history for each adult in the household. When emergency custody of a child is requested, procedures in OAC 340:75-7-15 are followed prior to placement; and
(J) does not utilize individuals convicted of the felony offenses of:
(i) physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense within the preceding five-year period;
(ii) child abuse or neglect;
(iii) domestic abuse;
(iv) a crime against a child, including, but not limited to, child pornography; or
(v) a crime involving violence, including, but not limited to, rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but excluding physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense within the preceding five-year period. Homicide includes manslaughter. A crime involving violence means an offense that:
(I) has an element of the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another; or
(II) by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense; and
(L) reviews all CW and criminal history of the prospective voluntary safety plan caregiver and adult household members with the CW supervisor or county director. The county director may grant exceptions for certain felony convictions but does not grant exceptions for felony convictions or relevant misdemeanors listed in OAC 340:75-7-15(i)(1); and
(M) documents information obtained regarding the assessment of the voluntary safety plan caregiver and household members and other safety plan participants as a Contact in KIDS and files copies of the completed forms in the KK case associated with the CPS investigation.
(3) When a child is placed in protective or emergency custody, the guidelines in OAC 340:75-7-15are followed prior to the child's placement in a kinship home.
11. Safety planning, court involvement, and recommendations to the district attorney (DA). Options in making recommendations to the District Attorney (DA) are found in OAC 340:75-3-11 Instructions to Staff. In serious cases of abuse or neglect the CW specialist ensures:
(1) the family is involved in a court-ordered individualized service plan, when appropriate; and
(2) the safety of the child is monitored.
12. Removal of a child from the home. A decision recommending removal of a child from the home is made after consultation with the CW supervisor. When prior supervisory consultation is not feasible, the case is reviewed with the CW supervisor as soon as possible.
13. Removal of a child not in OKDHS custody. A child who is endangered by his or her surroundings may be removed from the home by law enforcement without a court order. In an emergency situation, the CW specialist contacts appropriate law enforcement officials and recommends that the child be placed in protective custody.
(1) Whether the child is placed in protective custody by law enforcement or emergency custody through a court order, Oklahoma statutes require that each court order removing a child from the home include findings of "Contrary to the welfare" and "Reasonable efforts to prevent removal."
(2) The CW specialist advises the DA that the court order for removal of a child from the home must include a written finding that continuation of the child in the home is contrary to the child's health, safety, or welfare, or language to that effect, such as, "Removal is in the child's best interests." The order must include a finding regarding whether reasonable efforts were made to prevent removal.
(3) When the court does not make and document the finding of "Contrary to the child's health, safety, or welfare" at the time of removal, the state will not be in compliance with Section 671 of Title 42 of the United States Code.
14. Foreign nationals. Removal of a child from the home is based on safety considerations without regard to citizenship or immigration status. When a child who is a foreign national is removed from the home, the CW specialist notifies the foreign consul by completing Form 04MP016E, Notice to Foreign Consul of Child Welfare Proceedings, per OAC 340:75-1-31 Instructions to Staff.
15. OKDHS authority to execute emergency custody order. An order issued by the district court placing a child in the emergency custody of OKDHS is executed and the child taken into custody by a peace officer or employee of the court, except a child may be removed from a hospital, educational, or child care facility by a CW specialist when the criteria in (1) through (5) are met prior to removal.
(1) It is established by the CW specialist and supervisor that the removal is necessary to protect the child from safety threats resulting in a serious abuse or neglect situation.
(2) The CW specialist prepares and submits an affidavit to the DA who obtains a written emergency custody court order that includes a statement that the child may be removed from the hospital, educational, or child care facility by a CW specialist in order to protect the child from safety threats.
(3) A determination is made by the CW supervisor and county director that removal of the child from the facility can occur without disruption to the facility, hostility, or risks or threats to the child or CW specialist.
(4) A copy of the written emergency custody court order is provided by the CW specialist to the hospital, educational, or child care facility at the time of the removal.
(5) The CW specialist notifies the PRFC of the removal the same day and provides the PRFC with a copy of the written emergency custody order immediately, if the PRFC is present, or as soon as possible. If the notification will place the specialist in danger, the assistance of law enforcement is requested.
16. Removal of a child in OKDHS custody. To ensure the safety of the child and CW specialist, assistance from law enforcement is requested when a child in OKDHS custody is removed from the home to foster care to protect the child's health, safety, or welfare. When a child in OKDHS custody is determined unsafe in his or her own home and requires removal, a report of abuse or neglect is made to the Abuse and Neglect Hotline.
17. Protective services alert. A protective services alert is requested by contacting the CFSD CPS Section when:
(1) a report indicates the safety of the child is or will be at risk;
(2) it appears the family has relocated within Oklahoma or to another state; and
(3) the address and whereabouts of the child and family is unknown; or
(4) the child has been abducted from OKDHS custody; or
(5) the CW specialist is aware of a pregnancy involving a mother or father who is a party to an open permanency planning case and the whereabouts of the mother or father is unknown.
18. Child who has left Oklahoma. When a child, for whom emergency custody or a pick-up order has been requested, has left Oklahoma prior to execution of the order, enforcement of the custody order and recognition of Oklahoma's jurisdiction by the other state must occur to have the child returned. Each situation is treated according to the laws and procedures in the state where the child is located.
(1) When the child's location is unknown, the CW specialist contacts CFSD CPS Section to issue a protective service alert.
(2) When the child's location is known, the CW specialist with the information about the allegations and investigation contacts the CPS agency in that county or state and sends a copy of the pick-up or emergency custody order to the CPS agency along with any other requested written documentation. Information may be shared with another CPS agency under these circumstances.
(3) Some CPS agencies, based on the information received, enforce Oklahoma's order by taking the child who is in danger into custody.
(4) When the child is taken into custody, the court of jurisdiction in Oklahoma is notified that, based on the information and order from Oklahoma, the child was taken into custody in the other state or jurisdiction. Oklahoma CW staff secures a court order from the other state or jurisdiction releasing the child to OKDHS custody to return to Oklahoma.
(5) When a CPS agency is unwilling or unable to assist, law enforcement in Oklahoma is contacted and the Oklahoma court order is faxed to the local law enforcement entity where the child is located.
(6) The Oklahoma judge and DA are notified when the CPS agency or law enforcement in the other state or jurisdiction is unwilling or unable to assist. In some circumstances, the judge or DA may contact the court or law enforcement in the other state or jurisdiction for assistance.
19. Preparation for removal. When the decision is made to remove a child from the child's home, the CW specialist makes efforts to reduce the trauma and stress for the child and family by properly preparing all persons involved. Preparing the family as well as the child is crucial when removal occurs.
(1) Preparing the family is facilitated by the CW specialist:
(A) explaining the reasons for removal and placement of the child;
(B) clarifying any question about court procedures;
(C) making clear the intent to reunify the child with the family, when appropriate, as soon as the home is safe for the child;
(D) encouraging the parent, once he or she understands and accepts the reasons for the placement, to help explain the reasons for the placement to the child. This may comfort and reassure the child that the parent will work with the CW specialist to facilitate the return of the child to the home;
(E) asking the parent to provide in-depth information regarding the child's schedule, routines, likes and dislikes, and medical needs to help the placement provider maintain continuity for the child. The CW specialist:
(i) asks the parent to complete Form 04MP012E, Receipt and Release of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medication(s), when the child takes medication or has medical needs or allergies;
(ii) completes Form VS 151, Application for Search and Certified Copy of Birth Certificate, to obtain a full-certified copy of the child's birth certificate, per OAC 340:75-13-9; and
(iii) asks the parent to complete Form 04MP015E, Important People in the Child's Life, to document and maintain the child's ongoing relationships;
(F) acknowledging the parent's anger and grief in response to the loss of his or her child, and expecting the parent to be initially resistant;
(G) encouraging the parent's involvement in all aspects of the planning and placement process;
(H) encouraging the parent, when appropriate, to make recommendations of potential homes in which the child may be placed;
(I) providing to the parent OKDHS Publication No. 99-27, Away From Home, A Parent's Guide to Out-of-Home Placement; and
(J) arranging the initial meeting between the parent and the resource parent(s).
(2) Adequately preparing the child for the placement serves several important purposes.
(A) The CW specialist alleviates many of the child's anxieties and reduces the child's stress by providing the child with information regarding the need for placement and by familiarizing the child with all aspects of the setting to which the child is moving.
(B) When the CW specialist does not know the child well, the CW specialist uses the preparation period to better assess the child's strengths and needs. The information is communicated to the placement provider to assist in receiving the child and making the child's transition into the new setting easier.
(C) Working with the child during the preparation phase helps the child establish a supportive relationship with the CW specialist.
20. (a) Placement considerations. Placement with the non-offending parent, relatives or kin is considered and siblings are placed together in the same home when appropriate and possible. Relative or kinship placements are assessed in terms of the child's safety, per ITS # 9 of this Section, and long-term needs. Relatives or kin are only considered when:
(1) the child will be safe with the relative or kin. The history of the family is explored extensively, with the child's PRFC and the relative or kin considered for placement;
(2) a relative or kin can provide a home that does not pose an obstacle to reunification plans as demonstrated by the relative's or kin's willingness to work with OKDHS and the family toward reunification;
(3) a relative or kin is willing to accept placement of a sibling so that the siblings are not separated or the relative or kin is willing to facilitate contact between the siblings; and
(4) a relative or kin could potentially provide long-term care for the child. The CW specialist considers the abilities and willingness of the relative or kin to meet the day-to-day and individual needs of the child should the placement become long-term.
(b) Family history. When a child has been seriously abused or neglected, the perpetrator may have been a victim of abuse or neglect within his or her own family. The perpetrator's relative may also have been a victim of abuse or neglect or impacted by the abuse or neglect within the family. This kind of family history may place the child in an unsafe situation in the relative's or kin's home.
(c) Placement in foster family care. When a foster family placement is made as an emergency, the placement is evaluated quickly and arrangements are made to make a more appropriate placement as soon as possible. When it is determined that foster family care is the best placement option for the child, considerations include, but are not limited to whether:
(1) the foster parent has the ability and willingness to meet the day-to-day and individual needs of the child, such as providing a stimulating environment and ensuring the child the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities; and
(2) the other child(ren) placed in the foster family home does not pose a safety threat to the child considered for placement; and
(3) the foster family is able to accept placement for a sibling(s) or facilitate contact between the siblings.
(d) Initial placement. The placement made at the time of the child's initial removal from the home has a significant impact on the safety of the child and ultimately the possibility for successful reunification with the family or alternative permanent plans for the child.
(e) Sibling placement. Every reasonable attempt is made to place siblings together when appropriate and possible. When it is not possible to initially place siblings together, efforts begin the next working day and actively continue to place the siblings in the same home.
(f) Adoption dissolution notification. The CW specialist notifies the adoption specialist and the CFSD Post Adoption Services Section of the child's placement in out-of-home care when the child:
(1) receives adoption assistance; or
(2) is placed in, or returned to OKDHS custody due to the dissolution of an OKDHS or other type of adoption.
(g) Placement of an infant who is medically fragile or disabled.
(1) Factors that determine whether an infant in OKDHS custody is medically fragile or disabled include:
(B) history of respiratory distress;
(C) oxygen dependency;
(D) a diagnosis requiring special care beyond routine infant care;
(E) age younger than six weeks; and
(F) medical conditions or illnesses that may result in increased episodes of illness, prolonged hospitalization, and increased cost for care.
(2) An appropriate placement for an infant who is medically fragile or disabled includes an approved foster or kinship family home, health care facility, or children's shelter that meets the criteria in (A) through (C). The placement:
(A) provider for the infant has undergone all necessary training required to meet the medical needs of the infant;
(B) setting has all of the necessary equipment required to meet the medical needs of the infant, the placement provider knows how to use the equipment, and the equipment is in operating condition; and
(C) provider is willing and able to:
(i) follow all medical requirements and orders as given by the infant's physician;
(ii) transport the infant to all medical appointments; and
(iii) keep the infant's CW specialist fully apprised of the infant's condition.
(3) The CW specialist provides to the placement provider, at the time of placement, all medical and other related information about the condition of the infant and updates the placement provider concerning any new information as it occurs.