1. Response to Bridge resource inquiry. When the Bridge resource inquiry is received by the Bridge Resource Support Center, paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection are completed by the support center and the resource specialist proceeds to paragraph (3) of this Instruction. When the Bridge resource inquiry is received by the local Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) office, the resource specialist:
(1) responds within three business days of the inquiry by a mailing a Bridge information packet to the prospective applicant;
(2) documents each inquiry in the KIDS Pre-Resource screen by noting the referral source;
(3) makes face-to-face or telephone contact within five business days after mailing the Bridge information packet and at two week intervals until the applicant's interest is determined;
(4) discusses with each potential applicant the:
(A) basic responsibilities and requirements expected of a foster parent;
(B) children requiring out-of-home placement; and
(C) elements of the application and training process;
(5) discusses with the applicant his or her ability to meet the day-to-day needs of a child, such as providing a stimulating environment and ensuring a child the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities.
(A) When the applicant does not have the ability or willingness to meet the responsibilities and requirements, the resource specialist explains the application may be denied.
(B) When the applicant wishes to make a formal application, the application is accepted and processed;
(6) carefully considers the responses of each potential applicant to the explanation of the focus and goals of OKDHS programs;
(7) obtains information regarding the person's particular circumstances, motivation, and ability to foster a child in OKDHS custody; and
(8) makes referrals to other program units, such as Adoption Services, or other divisions within OKDHS, such as Oklahoma Child Care Services or Office of Volunteerism, when the applicant's needs or expectations may be better met through other sources.
2. Determining applicant's lawful residency. When the applicant is not a United States citizen, lawful residence documentation is required, scanned, and saved in the pre-resource KIDS file cabinet. When questions arise regarding whether the documentation provided is appropriate:
(1) the resource specialist emails the documents to the Foster Care Program Unit for review and consultation; and
(2) the Foster Care Program Unit makes a determination and provides a written response to the resource specialist within three business days of receipt of the documents.
3. Inquiries from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipient. When a TANF recipient inquires about becoming a Bridge resource parent, the assessment process explores the TANF recipient's ability to provide for the child's needs pending receipt of the foster care maintenance payment.
4. OKDHS employee inquiry and assessment to become a Bridge, tribal, or other child-placing agency resource parent. OKDHS employees. An OKDHS employee interested in becoming a Bridge, tribal, or any other child-placing agency resource parent submits a written inquiry to the employee's supervisor. When the employee is assigned to Child Welfare Services (CWS), the written inquiry is also sent to the district director.
(1) Assessment of the request. Each applicant's request requires assessment on a case-by-case basis. The employee's direct supervisor and reviewing supervisor discuss the:
(A) potential for a conflict of interest between the role as an employee and that of an OKDHS Bridge, tribal, or any other child-placing agency resource parent resource parent;
(B) type of leave the employee is required to request when taking the foster child to appointments such as family visits or court; and
(C) employee's understanding that employment with OKDHS is not used as a means to obtain information about the child's case or gain services.
(2) Written request. The reviewing supervisor submits notification of approval in writing to the applicable Foster Care Program Unit, tribe, or child placing agency. The approval documents that a discussion was held between the employee and the reviewing supervisor regarding potential conflict of interest and the separation of job duties as an OKDHS employee and Bridge, tribal, or any other child-placing agency resource parent.
(3) Written approval. After receiving written approval from the reviewing supervisor, the Bridge, tribal, or other child-placing agency family assessment process for the OKDHS employee may proceed. The written approval is scanned to the pre-resource by the Foster Care Program Unit and saved in the paper case record or similarly saved in the tribal or child placing agency records.
(4) Placement considerations. When an OKDHS employee is an approved Bridge resource, tribal, or other child-placing agency foster parent:
(A) a child assigned to the employee's caseload is not placed with the employee for OKDHS, tribal, or other child-placing agency foster care;
(B) a child, assigned to a CW specialist in same district as the employee's work assignment is not placed with the employee except when a kinship relationship between the employee and child exists;
(C) the employee's resource case is assigned to a resource specialist in a district outside the employee's assigned work location; and
(D) the employee's resource and the child's KK case are restricted in KIDS.
5. Foreign exchange students. A Bridge resource parent or applicant cannot accept foreign exchange students while providing care for a child in OKDHS custody.
6. Child abuse or neglect records check request from another state. Requests from another state, agency, or person requesting information from an active or closed resource case is routed to the Foster Care Program Unit for response.
(1) The Foster Care Program Unit requests information from the district, when necessary.
(2) The district office removes all reference information and child abuse and neglect information from the requested resource record before sending the information to the Foster Care Program Unit.
7. Denying the Bridge resource application. When the Bridge resource application is denied:
(1) the specific reason for the denial of the application is provided to the applicant in writing along with a copy of the applicable policy and is documented in the KIDS Pre-Resource screen;
(2) Form 04MP056E, Notice to the Court of Relative Denied Placement, as applicable, is provided to the court per OAC:340-7-18 and
(3) the pre-resource is closed:
(A) within five business days after the decision to deny the application; or
(B) when the applicant has not expressed interest within 45 calendar days.