1. Bridge resource family assessment. The Bridge resource family assessment is completed by Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) or an OKDHS contractor. The written assessment depicts the family based on complete, consistent, and truthful information gathered by the resource specialist or contractor in conjunction with the family.
(1) Initial family assessment. The resource specialist conducts the initial consultation with the family in the family's home to answer questions, explain the mutual assessment process and training requirements, and assess the safety of the home. Observations are documented on Form 04AF004E, House Assessment.
(2) Resource family assessment. The resource specialist or contractor uses Form 04AF002E, Guidelines for Resource Family Assessment – Bridge Family Profile, to obtain information regarding the family. When the resource specialist is completing the resource family assessment, the information is written on Form 04AF003E, Resource Family Assessment – Bridge Family Profile.
(3) Fingerprint addendum. The resource specialist completes Form 04AF033E, National Criminal History Records Search Results – Bridge Resource Family Assessment Addendum, for each adult household member when the results of the national criminal history record check are received.
(A) When there is no record found or the results are the same as the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) name search, the addendum is completed and filed in a manila envelope with the national criminal history record check results based on fingerprints.
(B) When the results are different from the OSBI name search, the resource specialist:
(i) discusses the results with the applicant or adult household member;
(ii) completes Form 04AF033E;
(iii) obtains the applicant or adult household member's signature on the addendum; and
(iv) files the addendum in a manila envelope with the appropriate national criminal history record check results based on fingerprints.
(4) Review of resource assessment forms. During the initial consultation, the resource specialist provides dates for pre-service training and reviews Forms:
(A) 04AF010E, Resource Family Financial Assessment;
(B) 04AF001E, Bridge Resource Family Assessment Application;
(C) 04AF008E, Medical Examination Report, that is received by the resource specialist as soon as possible or prior to the final consultation visit and includes, when applicable, a statement from the family physician for each child in the home to verify that each child is healthy, free from communicable diseases, and current on immunizations;
(D) 04AF017E, Family Health History;
(E) 04AF018E, Child Needs Information List;
(F) 04AF005E, Notice to Bridge Resource Applicants, signed by the applicant;
(G) 04MP001E, Consent for Release of Information, signed by the applicant; and
(H) 08HI003E, Authorization to Disclose Medical Records.
(5) Tribal membership. The resource specialist verifies the applicant's tribal membership or tribal affiliation to identify valid placement resources for the Indian child pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Acts, per OAC 340:75-19.
2. House assessment. The resource specialist or OKDHS contractor conducts an evaluation of the applicant's residence to assess the location, condition, and capacity to accommodate the child requiring foster care per OAC 340:75-7-18(c).
3. Sleeping arrangements for infants. When there is a medical reason, documented by a health professional, that the infant cannot or should not sleep on his or her back, the documentation is maintained by the foster parent and a copy is filed in the CWS case record.
4. Water safety. The resource specialist observes all water structure and water mass within sight of or accessible to the living structure or yard. The water safety plan is:
(1) developed with each Bridge resource applicant;
(2) documented and signed by the resource specialist, each Bridge resource applicant, and the resource supervisor;
(3) filed in the resource file;
(4) provided to the Bridge resource applicant;
(5) updated when a change or an addition of a water structure or water mass occurs to the resource home or property;
(6) reviewed at each Bridge resource re-assessment; and
(7) developed or modified as needed.
5. Animal and household pet safety.
(1) Documentation of current rabies vaccinations administered by a licensed veterinarian for dogs, cats, and other applicable pets is maintained in the resource file.
(2) Inquiry is made regarding whether:
(A) any of the pets have displayed aggressive behavior, bitten anyone, or required restraint due to the animal's nature; or
(B) the dog is of a breed known for aggression or for use as a guard dog such as an American Pit Bull Terrier, German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher, or Rottweiler.
(3) When behaviors or characteristics listed in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (2) are present, the animal's veterinarian is consulted as to whether a child can safely reside with the animal.
(4) The resource specialist contacts the Wildlife Department or the veterinarian of record when the applicant has an exotic animal to determine the safety issues for children related to the animal and documents the information in the KIDS resource case.
6. Checking the applicant's references. The resource specialist solicits and reviews the comments of personal, employer, and school references identified by the applicant regarding the applicant's parenting strategies and skills. The resource specialist:
(1) documents all information provided by voluntary and applicant-specified references. The resource specialist explains program expectations and the needs of children who come into OKDHS care to each person contacted as a reference.
(A) Three personal references are interviewed by phone or in person.
(B) The applicant's current or most recent employer is contacted by letter, phone, or in person. When the applicant is self-employed, a reference is obtained from a customer.
(C) When applicable, school teachers, counselors, or administrators who have recently served the applicant's child are contacted by letter, phone, or in person to assess the applicant's involvement in educational issues.
(D) When the applicant's child is home-schooled by the applicant, a person that has knowledge of the applicant's home-schooling experience is contacted by letter, phone, or in person.
(E) When applicable, each of the applicant's adult children are interviewed by letter, phone, or in person.
(F) The behavioral health professional is contacted by letter when the applicant or applicant's child receives counseling or has received counseling in the past.
(G) The resource specialist obtains additional personal references when the required references do not total at least six;
(2) documents all information provided by voluntary and unsolicited applicant-specified references regarding the applicant. The resource specialist utilizes Forms:
(A) 04AF015E, Resource Family Reference Letter for Adult Children, to document contact by mail, phone, or face-to-face with each of the applicant's adult children, when applicable. The resource specialist requests consultation with the resource supervisor and the field manager to determine the significance of the information provided by an adult child who:
(i) has a history of abuse and neglect;
(ii) disagrees with his or her parent's desire to foster; or
(iii) has other concerns about his or her parent;
(B) 04AF014E, Resource Family Reference for School Personnel, when the applicant has a school-age child, to contact by letter the school principal, counselor, or teacher for each applicant's child;
(C) 04AF025E, Resource Family Reference Letter for Home Schooling, when the applicant's child is home-schooled by the applicant;
(D) 04AF011E, Resource Family Reference Letter for an Employer, to document contact by mail, phone, or face-to-face with the applicant's employer or direct supervisor. The resource specialist assesses the information given by the applicant and the present employer or supervisor and decides whether contact with past employers or supervisors is necessary. When the applicant is self-employed, contact with a customer suffices;
(E) 04AF016E, Resource Family Personal Reference Letter, as a guide to conduct interviews and document phone interviews of personal references. When a reference is not well acquainted with the applicant and cannot provide pertinent information or when the person declines to serve as a reference, the information is documented in the assessment, and the applicant is asked for another reference;
(F) 04AF013E, Resource Family Assessment Reference Letter for Behavioral Health Professionals, when the applicant has received behavioral health services, currently or in the past, to contact the behavioral health professional by letter. The resource specialist uses Form 08HI003E, Authorization to Disclose Medical Records, to obtain the information; and
(G) 04AF012E, Child's Mental Health Reference Letter, when the applicant's child has received behavioral health services, currently or in the past, to contact the behavioral health professional by letter. The resource specialist uses Form 08HI003E to obtain the information.
(3) obtains a copy of DD Form 214, Certificate of Release of Discharge from Active Duty, to determine the type of discharge, when the applicant has been discharged from the armed forces.
(A) Any discharge other than honorable is specifically addressed in the assessment as a consideration in the applicant's ability to attend to the safety and well-being of a child requiring foster care services.
(B) Unless the resource specialist and supervisor have denied the application based on the applicant or adult household member's military history the process as outlined in Instructions to Staff # 9 and # 10 of this Instruction is followed; and
(4) does not deny the continuation of the foster application process based solely on information provided by a reference. When a reference provides information requiring further explanation from the applicant, the resource specialist discusses the nature of the information without revealing the source.
7. Marital and significant relationship history. A copy of the current marriage license, each divorce decree, legal separation, and annulment document, when applicable, is obtained.
(1) When there is a child from a previous marriage, the child's role in the family is discussed and financial and emotional child support, when applicable, is documented.
(2) The ability of the applicant to develop and sustain healthy relationships is assessed and documented in the assessment.
8. Exceptions to assessment guidelines.
(1) The resource specialist submits a written request to the resource supervisor for an exception to the requirements in OAC 340:75-7.
(2) When in agreement with an exception, the supervisor sends the request to the field manager for review.
(3) When in agreement with the exception request, the field manager forwards the request to the Foster Care program administrator who responds in writing with a decision. A copy of the response to the request is retained in the resource and child's record.
(4) The resource specialist documents the request and response in KIDS Resource Contacts screen.
9. (a) Disposition of the Bridge resource family assessment. The Bridge resource family assessment is approved or denied within 40 calendar days after receipt of Form 04AF001E, Bridge Resource Family Assessment Application. The resource specialist:
(1) reviews Forms 04AF002E, Guidelines for Resource Family Assessment – Bridge Family Profile, and 04A003E, Resource Family Assessment – Bridge Family Profile, for content;
(2) shares the resource family assessment with the applicant for the applicant's input prior to the applicant's decision to select in or out of the foster care program;
(3) consults with the resource supervisor, and field manager when needed to determine the assessment disposition; and
(4) provides each decision made concerning the assessment and application in writing to the applicant;
(b) Disposition results. Disposition of the assessment may result in:
(1) voluntary withdrawal of the application. During the assessment, the applicant is advised of any condition that does not conform to the foster home requirements, per OAC 340:75-7. When the applicant and the resource specialist mutually decide to postpone the Bridge resource family assessment process to afford the applicant the opportunity to resolve issues of concern, the applicant withdraws from the foster care program. When the applicant withdraws the application, the resource specialist sends a letter of confirmation documenting the withdrawal;
(2) approval of the Bridge resource family assessment.
(A) The resource specialist reviews and discusses the assessment, except for the verification and reference sections, with the applicant for clarification of content;
(B) The resource specialist, resource supervisor, and applicant sign Form 04AF003E, Resource Family Assessment – Bridge Family Profile, and a copy is provided to the applicant. The home is not considered approved until:
(i) the resource supervisor approves the family assessment in KIDS and signs Form 04AF003E, Resource Family Assessment – Bridge Family Profile;
(ii) the applicant has completed the pre-service training; and
(iii) national criminal history records check results based on fingerprints have been received and reviewed.
(C) Prior to initiation of foster care maintenance payments, the applicant, with the exception of the kinship placement provider, per OAC 340:75-7-24, signs the foster care contract.
(D) The resource specialist provides the family the Resource Parent Handbook.
(E) Each Bridge resource foster parent signs Forms:
(i) 04AF021E, Verification of Receipt of OKDHS Rules; and
(ii) 15GR008E, Notice of Grievance Rights – Foster Parents.
(F) The resource specialist:
(i) copies the KIDS Pre-Resource to a Resource for each approved assessment except when the child in OKDHS custody is in a kinship placement;
(ii) end dates the KIDS Pre-Resource after conversion to a Resource;
(iii) reviews the completed assessment and requests supervisory approval, changing the pending date to the date the approval is requested in KIDS Resource Status screen;
(iv) sends Form 04AF003E, Resource Family Assessment – Bridge Family Profile, to the resource supervisor for approval. The resource supervisor:
(I) approves the Bridge resource family assessment in KIDS Resource Status screen; and
(II) signs Form 04AF003E no more than eight business days from the requested approval date;
(v) scans and files the signed assessment and documentation into the KIDS Resource file cabinet;
(vi) completes the Bridge resource screens in KIDS Resource/Other/Bridge;
(vii) files Form 04AF021E, Verification of Receipt of OKDHS Rules, in the resource record and documents receipt of the Resource Parent Handbook in KIDS Resource Contacts screen;
(viii) provides a signed copy of Form 15GR008E, Notice of Grievance Rights – Foster Parents, to the Bridge resource parent and files the original in the resource record with documentation of the signature in KIDS Resource Contacts screen; and
(ix) sends a copy of the approved family assessment to the Adoption Services Program Unit when the family applicant selects into the Adoption program.
(3) denial of the Bridge resource family assessment.
(A) When denying the Bridge resource family assessment, the resource specialist:
(i) staffs the information with the resource supervisor;
(ii) consults with the field manager when determining whether to deny an application, when needed;
(iv) documents all information obtained in the resource record and KIDS Pre-Resource Contacts screens;
(v) documents the denial of the application in KIDS Pre-Resource or Resource Contacts screen; and
(vi) files a copy of the written summary in the resource record.
(B) When possible, the resource specialist makes face-to-face contact with the Bridge resource applicant to clarify the reason for denying the assessment.
(C) A letter is sent to the Bridge resource applicant stating the reason for denial of the assessment in clear, concise language. Relevant OKDHS rules or procedures are cited in and attached to the letter.
(D) denial of a relative's placement. The resource specialist denying the relative placement:
(i) completes Form 04MP056E, Notice to the Court of Relative Denied Placement;
(ii) submits original Form 04MP056E to the court of jurisdiction;
(iii) files a copy in the child's CWS record; and
(iv) files a copy in the resource file, when applicable.
10. (a) Re-opening a foster home. A person who desires to re-open his or her foster home must re-apply.
(1) The resource specialist reviews the resource record to determine the former Bridge resource parent's OKDHS performance history. The performance review includes assessing:
(A) each OKDHS policy or foster care contract violations or concerns;
(B) the outcome of any written plan of compliance and recommendations regarding continued use of the home; and
(C) the training record, ensuring that pre-service and in-service training was completed as required and documented per OAC 340:75-7-14.
(2) After the review, the resource specialist and supervisor determine the disposition of the re-application within 30 calendar days of the current application date. The field manager is consulted as needed.
(3) When the foster home has been closed more than five years, a new Bridge resource family assessment is completed, processed, and a disposition determined within 40 calendar days of the application date.
(4) When the Bridge resource home has been closed five years or less, was in good standing at the time of closure, the re-assessments were up-to-date, the home may be opened with an approved re-assessment within 30 calendar days of the re-application date.
(5) Re-opening a foster home requires:
(A) completion of:
(i) Form 04AF001E, Bridge Resource Family Assessment Application. When closed six months or less, the previous application is updated, dated, and re-signed;
(ii) Form 04AF004E, House Assessment;
(iii) Forms 04AF008E, Medical Examination Report, and 04AF010E, Resource Family Financial Assessment, unless completed within the last 12 months;
(iv) review the OSCI RapBack information, when applicable, per OAC 340:75-7-15;
(v) Form 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, to conduct a national criminal history record check based on fingerprints for each adult household member, unless completed within the last five years;
(vi) an OKDHS records search utilizing Form 04AF007E, Records Check Documentation Form; and
(vii) Form 04AF003E, Resource Family Assessment - Bridge Family Profile, including an updated recommendation when the home was closed for five years or more.
(B) contact with three current references when the home was closed more than 12 months;
(C) additional references when new reference information is not consistent with previous references or with the requirements per OAC 340:75-7-18;
(D) re-opening the closed resource as pending in KIDS Resource Status screen and entering a new family assessment line for the new assessment or the re-assessment; and
(E) a new contract. Upon approval, the resource specialist:
(i) obtains each applicant's signature on a new contract;
(ii) discusses payment options per OAC 340:75-7-52. When the Bridge resource parent was previously issued a Mastercard debit card, the same card number is used for the new episode; and
(iii) submits the contract to obtain a new contract number.
11. Previous foster care experience. The applicant who has previously served as a foster parent in another state or with a private agency provides or authorizes release of all previous foster home assessments, reports, and training records from the state or agency. The resource specialist:
(1) uses Form 04MP001E, Consent for Release of Information, to request and secure a copy of the applicant's foster home assessment, related information, and training record from other states or agencies, when applicable;
(2) provides the information to the OKDHS contractor, when applicable;
(3) sends the training record via mail or fax to the field manager who determines and documents whether further training requirements are necessary;
(4) obtains verbal verification from the other state when a copy of an out-of-state assessment and training record is presented by the Bridge resource applicant during the application and assessment process in Oklahoma;
(5) documents the verbal verification of the applicant's out-of-state training record in KIDS Pre-Resource or Resource Contacts screens, when applicable; and
(6) utilizes Form 04AF002E, Guidelines for Resource Family Assessment – Bridge Family Profile, and the information obtained from the other state to complete 04AF003E, Resource Family Assessment – Bridge Family Profile, with the supporting documentation.
12. Contract Bridge resource family assessments.
(1) OKDHS may contract with licensed child-placing agencies or qualified persons to provide a range of CW services that include conducting:
(A) Bridge resource family assessments; and
(B) Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) assessments.
(2) OKDHS determines the final disposition of each Bridge resource assessment completed by OKDHS contractors.
(3) The resource specialist obtains a completed Form 04AF001E, Bridge Resource Family Assessment Applicant, from the kinship family and refers the family or ICPC assessment to the OKDHS contractor:
(A) no later than seven calendar days after the child is placed in the kinship Bridge resource home; or
(B) within three calendar days of receipt of the ICPC paperwork.
(4) A complete application packet is provided for each Bridge family assessment referred to the contractor by the adoption or foster care regional designee.
(5) At a minimum, the contractor meets with the foster or kinship applicant twice in the home during the assessment process and at the conclusion of the resource assessment for review and signatures by the applicant. When the contractor identifies issues or concerns during the assessment process, the contactor consults with the resource specialist. Additional meetings with the family may be required.
13. Changes in the Bridge resource household.
(1) The Bridge resource parent notifies the resource specialist within 24 hours of any change in the household, including, but not limited to:
(B) location of the home;
(D) residents; or
(i) When Bridge resource parents divorce, separate, or the relationship is dissolved or has otherwise ended, the person who continues to foster retains the existing resource number and information.
(ii) An addendum is completed and documented in KIDS Resource Contacts screen to reflect the changes in the household.
(iii) A new Form 04AF010E, Resource Family Financial Assessment, is completed to address any change to the financial status of the household.
(iv) The Out-of-House Date and Reason is entered in KIDS Resource Homes screens to reflect the financial assessment information.
(v) When both foster parents wish to continue to foster, the primary foster parent maintains the original KIDS resource number and another resource is opened cross-referencing the original resource number.
(vi) When the primary foster parent does not wish to continue fostering and the designated head of household 2 elects to foster, he or she becomes head of household 1 in the existing KIDS resource. The person wishing to continue to foster signs a new foster care contract, per OAC 340:75-7-52 and a new contract number is assigned.
(vii) When neither foster parent wishes to foster, the KIDS resource is closed.