1. Trial home reunification – Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) custody.
(1) Family team meeting (FTM) required prior to reunification recommendation. Per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-6-31.1, a FTM is held prior to a recommendation for trial reunification to identify the supports the parent, legal guardian, or custodian needs from the extended family to enhance child safety.
(2) Court approval for trial reunification. When requesting court approval for the child's reunification with a parent, legal guardian, or custodian the child welfare (CW) specialist recommends on Form 04KI014E, Individualized Service Plan (ISP) Progress Report, that the child remain in Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) custody for up to six months, to continue the child's Title IV-E eligibility. Trial reunification is recommended when:
(A) the child's parent or legal guardian is actively complying with the individualized service plan (ISP); and
(B) there appears to be a good prognosis for successful reunification.
(3) Required national criminal history record check prior to trial home reunification. A criminal background check of any adult, who is not the child's parent, legal guardian, or custodian, residing in the home where trial reunification for the child is considered is conducted prior to the start of the trial reunification.
(A) Section 150.9 of Title 74 of the Oklahoma Statutes (74 O.S. § 150.9) states, "a national criminal history record check means a check of criminal history records entailing the fingerprinting of the individual and submission of the fingerprints to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the purpose of obtaining the national criminal history record of the individual from the FBI. A criminal history record check may be obtained only when a check is authorized or required by state or federal law."
(B) 10A O.S. § 1-1-105 defines a custodian as "an individual other than a parent, legal guardian, or Indian custodian to whom legal custody of the child has been awarded by the court."
(C) When an adult is in the household more than 30 calendar days per year or engages in a pattern of overnight visitation of more than two nights per month, the adult is subject to a national criminal history record check prior to the trial reunification.
(D) When trial reunification does not occur within six months of receipt of the national criminal history search results or is contemplated for a second time in the same household during the pendency of the same deprived case, a new national criminal history search is not required, but a new name-based Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) background check is necessary.
(4) Confidentiality of national criminal history record check obtained in anticipation of trial reunification. Per Section 50.12 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations (28 C.F.R. § 50.12) an individual's national criminal history record check obtained under this Section of law may be used solely for the purpose the criminal records check was requested and the record cannot be disseminated outside DHS unless ordered by the court.
(A) A copy of the FBI report regarding the individual may be provided to the individual who has been fingerprinted. The CW specialist advises the individual that the Individualized Service Plan contains a standard "To-Do" requiring, that upon the court's request, the parent, legal guardian, or custodian coordinate the release of each adult household member's FBI report to the court.
(B) DHS does not provide a copy of the national criminal history record check to:
(i) the child's attorney;
(ii) the district attorney (DA) or any assistant district attorney (ADA);
(iii) the court-appointed special advocate;
(iv) the tribal representative;
(v) the attorney for the parent, legal guardian, or custodian;
(vi) the child's court-appointed guardian ad litem;
(vii) the placement provider;
(viii) the other members of the household where trial reunification occurs; or
(ix) any individual providing services to the family or other household member; or
(x) any other person associated with the deprived case.
(5) OSBI name-based search for the parent, legal guardian, or custodian. OSBI name-based search results may be obtained for the child's parent, legal guardian, or custodian as necessary in circumstances such as, when:
(A) the ISP addresses substance abuse, domestic violence, or other circumstance that may have resulted in a current or past law violation; and
(B) confirmation of Oklahoma criminal history is needed to develop an appropriate ISP to ensure existing criminal history will not negatively impact the child's safety.
(6) Trial reunification supervision and documentation. When the court authorizes trial reunification and the child remains in DHS custody:
(A) DHS supervises the trial reunification placement for a minimum of three months. At any time after the three month period when the child is determined safe, the CW specialist recommends DHS be relieved of legal custody, supervision, or both. An exception to the trial reunification supervision time requirement may be granted by the CW supervisor in consultation with the district director. The exception is documented in KIDS Contacts screen by the CW supervisor.
(B) The CW specialist:
(i) end dates the current KIDS placement episode with the exit reason of Trial Reunification (TR);
(ii) enters a KIDS TR placement episode. The case turns blue in the CW specialist's workload prior to the expiration of the TR episode and remains blue until action is taken to either extend or end date the TR episode. When no action is taken, the TR episode and removal are automatically end dated in KIDS two weeks after the TR end date;
(iii) changes the KIDS case type to Aftercare - permanency planning, effective the date of the court order granting permission to return the child to a parent or legal guardian. When any child of a family with more than one child remains in out-of-home care, the case type is changed to Aftercare - permanency planning, when the last child in the family has returned home or obtained some other form of permanency;
(iv) follows OAC 340:75-6-48 for contact requirements. When case circumstances indicate, contacts are conducted more frequently;
(v) documents changes in the family's household. When changes in the family household occur, the CW specialist documents the pertinent information and obtains an OSBI records check only on the new adult member of the household;
(I) The results of the OSBI records check are reviewed upon receipt.
(II) When child safety threats are indicated, the CW specialist develops a voluntary safety plan or takes appropriate action to remove the child from the home when necessary;
(vi) immediately notifies the court, the DA, and the child's attorney when a change in the family household results in a child-safety concern;
(vii) updates Form 04KI028E, Family Functional Assessment;
(viii) follows OAC 340:75-6-48.3 Instructions to Staff (ITS) when contact cannot be made with the family; and
(ix) prepares Form 04KI014E, Individualized Service Plan (ISP) Progress Report, for review hearings.
2. Trial home reunification protocol - DHS custody successful. At any time during trial reunification, when the reunification process appears successful, the CW specialist asks the court to return legal custody to the parent, legal guardian, or custodian and relieve DHS of legal custody and supervision. The CW specialist:
(1) end dates the KIDS TR episode with the exit reason of Reunification and closes the CW case when DHS is relieved of legal custody, supervision, or both. The removal episode automatically end dates; or
(2) follows OAC 340:75-6-48 for contact requirements when the court orders DHS to continue custody, supervision, or both.
3. Extended trial visit ordered by court prior to receipt of FBI report. When the court extends a trial visit or returns the child to the parent, legal guardian, or custodian's home with no expectation for the child to return to out-of-home care prior to receipt of the national criminal history record check, the CW specialist:
(1) enters a begin date in the KIDS Placement/Trial Visit icon;
(2) notifies the appropriate district personnel who approve the payment of resources, of the begin date of the trial visit to deduct the appropriate trial visit days from the monthly foster care maintenance payment; and
(3) enters an end date in the trial visit icon when the court orders trial reunification or the child returns to care.
4. Re-use of FBI report for trial home reunification purposes. When a child is removed from a trial home reunification episode and is later returned to the same home for a subsequent trial reunification episode, the national criminal history record obtained for each adult in connection with the previous trial reunification along with all OSBI arrest and prosecution (RapBack) information for each individual is reviewed for potential child safety threats by the appropriate CW specialist, per OAC 340:75-6-31.3 Instructions to Staff (ITS) # 9. When OSBI RapBack criminal history information is received, the CW specialist:
(1) discusses the information with the applicable CW supervisor, and consults with the district director, Permanency Planning Program Unit, and DHS Legal Division as needed; and
(2) documents the OSBI open-record information in the Crime Information section in the KIDS Client – General Info. – Other Details tab.
5. Fingerprinting method options. DHS may utilize either the electronic or card submission fingerprinting method for the adult, who is not a parent, legal guardian, or custodian but resides in the home where trial reunification is recommended. When available, the electronic submission method is preferable.
(1) Electronic submission fingerprinting is only available through SAFRAN Morphotrust USA via www.IdentoGO.com. The CW specialist contacts the individual to be fingerprinted by phone or in-person to schedule the fingerprinting appointment because detailed information is required and appointments are scheduled in 30-minute increments.
(A) To schedule a fingerprinting appointment for the adult, the CW specialist:
(i) requests the adult household member sign Form 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, to authorize the OSBI and FBI records searches;
(ii) logs on to www.IdentoGO.com and clicks the Online Scheduling link;
(iii) enters name of the individual to be fingerprinted;
(iv) selects Oklahoma Department of Human Services as the agency name;
(v) clicks on "Go" as the default fingerprint reason is "Trial Unification";
(vi) enters a zip code to determine the closest fingerprinting location or choses the region for the appointment;
(vii) clicks on appointment options and selects an appointment time; and
(viii) enters required applicant information including name, home address, method of contact, identifying information, such as date of birth, gender, height, weight, race, hair color, eye color, place of birth, citizen country, and Social Security number, then clicks on "Send Information."
(B) After the appointment is scheduled, the CW specialist:
(i) faxes completed Form 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, with Form 04PP020E, U.S. Mail Delivery Authorization of National Criminal History Records Search Results, to the Background Checks Program Unit at 405-522-3854. The CW specialist checks "Trial Reunification" as fingerprinted reason and "Electronic Submission" as method on Form 04AD003E. Failure to mark Form 04AD003E correctly delays receipt of the national criminal history records search results;
(ii) files a copy of Form 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, and Form 04PP020E, U.S. Mail Delivery Authorization of National Criminal History Records Search Results, in the paper case record; and
(iii) stores the national criminal history records check report for each individual in a separate manila envelope with the name and permanency KK case number written on the outside of the envelope, in a locked file cabinet.
(2) Card submission fingerprinting is available through local law enforcement and some fingerprinting agency vendors. The CW specialist:
(A) requests that each individual being fingerprinted sign Form 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, to authorize the OSBI and FBI records searches, and Form 04PP020E, U.S. Mail Delivery Authorization of National Criminal History Records Search Results, for mail delivery of fingerprint results;
(B provides two fingerprint cards to each individual;
(C) provides an automated fingerprinting authorization obtained through Finance AS400;
(D) instructs the individual to be fingerprinted to:
(i) take the authorization and fingerprint cards to local law enforcement or a fingerprinting agency for fingerprinting services; and
(ii) return the fingerprint cards to the CW specialist when fingerprinting is completed;
(E) when the fingerprint cards are returned, checks the cards for accuracy and forwards the cards with Form 04AD003E and Form 04PP020E, to the Background Checks Programs Unit for the OSBI records and FBI national criminal history records search. The completed fingerprint cards and Forms 04AD003E and 04PP020E:
(i) are placed in a sealed manila envelope marked confidential; and
(ii) sent via inter-office mail to the Background Checks Program Unit;
(F) files a copy of Forms 04AD003E and 04PP020E in the paper case record;
(G) returns rejected fingerprint cards and instructs the individual to take the cards to the original vendor, who reprints the individual at no additional charge; and
(H) stores the national criminal history record check report for each individual in a separate manila envelope with the name and permanency KK case number written on the outside of the envelope, in a locked file cabinet.
(3) The child welfare specialist, when the fingerprint cards are rejected after the second submission and the rejection is not related to low quality fingerprints due to lack of technological capacity or use of improper techniques, requests approval to use the name-based check in place of the results that would have been obtained through fingerprinting per OAC 340:75-6-31.3 ITS # 1.
(4) Completed Form 04PP021E, In-Person Delivery Acknowledgement of Receipt of National Criminal History Records Search Results, is used in special circumstances such as when an individual has misplaced the fingerprint results or the individual reports the fingerprint results were not received by mail.
(A) A copy of the national criminal history records search results and original Form 04PP021E is delivered in-person to the individual fingerprinted.
(B) A copy of completed form 04PP021E is placed in the paper case record.
6. Exception to fingerprinting procedures.
(1) When the prospective caretaker's fingerprint impressions are rejected by the FBI due to low quality fingerprint characteristics or an individual does not have fingers, an alternate procedure to conduct a name-based check of the National Criminal Information Database (NCID) is conducted by the FBI to obtain a national criminal history record check. The alternative results are used for limited and case-specific situations. The alternative background check results are not acceptable when fingerprint impressions are of low quality due to lack of technological capacity or use of improper techniques.
(A) Individuals without fingers must submit fingerprint cards with the identifying information completed stating the reason the individual does not have fingers.
(B) When the individual has no fingers or has low quality fingerprint characteristics, the Background Checks Program Unit submits a request to the FBI for a name-based check of the NCID.
(C) When the NCID name-based check results are obtained, the Background Checks Program Unit submits a written request for an exception to the fingerprint requirement to the Foster Care Program Unit, designated as the DHS Director's designee for this purpose.
(2) Individuals with a severe disability that prevents the person from caretaking are not required to submit a fingerprint card and a national criminal history records search is not conducted.
(A) The CW or resource specialist submits an email to the Background Checks Program Unit requesting an exception to fingerprinting for the severely disabled non-caretaker.
(B) The Background Checks Program Unit conducts an OSBI criminal history check only and submits the request for an exception to the Foster Care Program Unit for approval.
(C) When the Background Checks Program Unit receives a determination regarding the exception for the prospective caregiver or non-caregiver, the appropriate CW specialist is notified by email and a copy of the document granting the permanent exemption to the fingerprint requirement is mailed to the CW specialist.
(D) The Foster Care Program Unit enters a KIDS contact with the determination.
(E) The CW specialist places the written determination in the paper file.
7. Adult household member's failure to submit to national criminal history record check. When the adult household member fails to submit to a national criminal history record check for purposes of trial reunification, the CW specialist:
(1) attempts to determine the cause for the failure to cooperate;
(2) addresses the barriers, such as transportation, fear, or other concern;
(3) does not request court approval for trial reunification without a national criminal history record check of each adult household member, excluding the parent, legal guardian, or custodian; and
(4) reports the details of the failure to obtain the national criminal history record check in Form 04KI014E, Individual Service Plan (ISP) Progress Report, to the court, DA, and child's attorney for the next scheduled court hearing.
8. Assessment of national criminal history records check report obtained for trial home reunification.
(1) The report of the national criminal history records check regarding each adult in the household, excluding the parent, legal guardian, or custodian is:
(A) reviewed by the CW specialist. When the report contains misdemeanor or felony arrests or convictions, the CW specialist consults with the CW supervisor who consults with the district director, Permanency Planning Program Unit, and the DHS Legal Services as needed to determine whether any potential safety threats are present and whether arrests or convictions are discussed with the adult household member.
(i) Only public records, such as the OSBI report regarding an adult household member is discussed with the parent, legal guardian, or custodian. The results of the adult household member's national criminal history records check is not discussed with the parent, legal guardian, or custodian.
(ii) The national criminal history records check report is discussed in detail with the person who is the subject of the report when necessary, when the nature of the arrest or conviction is for:
(I) child abuse or neglect;
(II) physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense within the five-year period preceding the national criminal history record check;
(III) domestic abuse;
(IV) a crime against a child including, but not limited to, child pornography;
(V) a crime involving violence including, but not limited to, rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but excluding those crimes specified in this unit. Homicide includes manslaughter;
(VI) a criminal offense involving violence that has as an element of the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another or 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; or
(VII) a misdemeanor or felony arrest or conviction that occurred after the child's removal from the home;
(B) prior to discussing the criminal history with the parent or adult household member, evaluated after the CW specialist obtains additional information regarding the criminal history including:
(i) the in or out-of-state police report of the incident;
(ii) whether the out-of-state arrest or conviction is an open record in that state, when applicable by conducting a Clear records search. Clear obtains only criminal records from jurisdictions where the information is publically available; and
(iii) the official disposition of the arrest or conviction from court or police records;
(C) addressed in a report to the court when the results indicate a safety threat or risk to the child with a plan to implement safety measures or a recommendation to modify the individualized service plan when necessary to address the safety concerns;
(D) not used as the sole basis for withholding a trial reunification recommendation unless child safety cannot be resolved; and
(F) not documented in KIDS.
(2) When the decision is made, after consultation with the CW supervisor to discuss the national criminal history records search report of the arrest or conviction with the adult household member, the individual's response to:
(A) information obtained under this or another state's open records is freely documented in the KIDS contact screens and the ISP progress report; and
(B) the confidential information found only in the national criminal history records search report is carefully documented in the KIDS contact screens and in the ISP progress report to not reveal that the information was obtained from the FBI report. The information documented whether from open or confidential records includes:
(i) the individual's explanations of the criminal history; and
(ii) the CW specialist's assessment of the charges detailing any potential child safety threats
(3) When an out-of-state arrest or conviction is determined not to be an open record in the state of occurrence the CW specialist takes care when documenting in the KIDS Contacts screen not to reveal the information recorded is based on the FBI report because:
(A) the FBI report is confidential and may not be disclosed; and
(B) certain persons, who are not authorized to receive the FBI report, are authorized to review DHS records without a court order.
(4) The CW specialist assesses the adult household member's criminal history including, but not limited to, the:
(A) type of crime committed;
(B) time elapsed since the crime or conviction;
(C) length of the deferment or length and type of sentence imposed;
(D) completion date of the sentence;
(E) assignment of a probation or parole officer and the officer's information;
(F) positive changes the individual has made in his or her lifestyle and the individual's description of how and why the changes occurred; and
(G) provisions for the child's safety and well-being in the home due to the criminal history.
9. OSBI RapBack maintained reports. RapBack is a service offered by OSBI to Oklahoma non-criminal justice government agencies for non-criminal justice purposes, such as trial home reunification and Bridge resource parent application decisions.
(1) The RapBack service is not associated with national criminal history and details only subsequent Oklahoma arrests after an individual's fingerprints have been submitted to OSBI and FBI for non-criminal justice purposes.
(2) RapBack reports are received and distributed by the Background Checks Program Unit to the appropriate CW or resource specialist when a trial reunification or resource case is open. The OSBI RapBack program is automated and is not used in place of a new name-based background search.
10. Protocol followed when child must be removed from the home while in trial home reunification status.
(1) When removal of the child from trial home reunification is necessary due to abuse, neglect, or both, the CW specialist completes a referral and investigation, per OAC 340:75-3.
(A) When the child is in DHS custody, the CW specialist completes for the court, prior to or within one business day after the removal of the child, Form 04PP002E, Request for Termination of Trial Reunification, with the reasons trial reunification must be terminated.
(i) The CW specialist requests an ex parte order authorizing DHS to terminate the trial reunification and offers to the court Form 04PP003E, Order Terminating Trial Reunification. Form 04PP003E is utilized at the court's discretion.
(ii) The court's authorization to terminate trial reunification is required for continued eligibility for Title IV-E funding. The CW specialist provides to the custody specialist within five calendar days of the child's removal a copy of the Order Terminating Trial Reunification.
(B) When the child is not in DHS custody, the CW specialist completes Form 04PP002E with the reasons the child must be removed from the home.
(i) The CW specialist presents Form 04PP002E, Request for Termination of Trial Reunification, to the DA who prepares an application for an emergency custody order.
(ii) The DA obtains an emergency custody order with judicial findings of "contrary to the welfare" and "reasonable efforts to prevent removal."
(2) Title IV-E redetermination. After the child is removed from the home, Title IV-E eligibility is re-determined, per OAC 340:75-13-16.