(a) Kinship care.
(1) Per Section 1-9-106 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-9-106
), Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) establishes standards for kinship foster care.
(A) A person related by blood, marriage, adoption, by tie or bond to a child, and to who has been ascribed a family relationship role with the child's parents or the child may be eligible for approval as a kinship foster parent.
(B) When the child is in protective or OKDHS emergency custody, priority is given by OKDHS to the child's noncustodial parent for placement, unless the placement is not in the best interest of the child.
(C) When the child cannot be placed with the noncustodial parent, the child's placement is made in accord with 10A O.S. § 1-4-204.
(2) Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-204
, when determining the placement of a child in OKDHS custody, a preference is given to relatives and persons who have a kinship relationship with the child. OKDHS makes diligent efforts to place the child accordingly and reports to the court the efforts made to secure the placement. When the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) applies, ICWA placement preferences are followed.
(3) When the child is not placed with a relative considered for placement, OKDHS notifies the court in writing the reasons the relative was denied placement and the notice is made a part of the court record per 10A O.S. § 1-4-204
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(b) Kinship relationships. Kinship relationships are identified in paragraphs (1) through (4).
(1) Related by blood. Maternal and paternal blood relatives considered as kinship, including half-blood, are:
(B) grandparents, including those denoted by prefixes of great and great-great;
(C) aunts and uncles, including those denoted by prefixes of great and great-great;
(D) nieces and nephews, including those denoted by prefixes of grand and great-grand; and
(2) Related by marriage. Relationships created by marriage, as described in paragraph (1) of this subsection, whether by common-law or ceremony include:
(3) Related by adoption. Relatives by adoption as described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection are considered kinship.
(4) Related by emotional tie or bond.
An emotional tie or bond exists when a child or the child's parent acknowledges and accepts a person as part of the extended family or in the family's close network of friends and relationships. The family relationship role must exist prior to the necessity for the child's out-of-home placement. • 2
(c) Parent not considered kinship. A kinship placement does not include:
(d) Parent not eligible for foster care maintenance payment. A biological parent, regardless whether parental rights are intact or terminated, cannot be a kinship resource and is not eligible for a foster care maintenance payment when the child is in OKDHS custody and placed in the parent's home. • 3
(e) Initial kinship placement. Per 10A O.S. § 1-7-111, a child may be placed in the kinship foster home prior to completion of the resource family assessment, criminal history records search, child abuse and neglect checks, and pre-service training when the foster parent applicant and each adult residing in the home of the applicant have resided in the State of Oklahoma for at least five years immediately preceding placement, provided:
(1) Form 04FC001E, Initial Kinship Placement Agreement, is completed and signed;
(2) Forms 04AF001E, Bridge Resource Family Assessment Application, and 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, are completed and signed, per OAC 340:75-7-15
(3) an OKDHS records search, including Child Welfare Services (CWS) records, is completed and documented on Form 04AF007E, Records Check Documentation Form;
(4) Form 04AF004E, House Assessment, is completed and approved; and
(5) three personal references, only one of whom is a family member, are interviewed. • 4
(f) Kinship maintenance payment option. The kinship applicant may opt for:
(g) Kinship and traditional foster home requirements the same. Each kinship foster home, whether paid or non-paid, must meet the same requirements as the traditional non-related foster home.
(h) Kinship start-up and training stipend. The kinship foster family that has not been approved within the preceding five years, is entitled to receive, as set out in OKDHS Appendix C-20 (.pdf, 8 pp, 229 KB), Children and Family Services Division Rates Schedule:
(1) a one-time kinship start-up stipend to assist with initial expenditures for each child placed in the home for 14 calendar days; and
(2) a training stipend. Half of the total stipend is paid to the kinship foster family after the kinship foster parent(s) enrolls in the pre-service training and the second half of the total stipend is paid to the kinship foster parent(s) after the kinship foster parent(s) completes the pre-service training when:
(i) Foster care maintenance payments begin when requirements satisfied. Per 10A O.S. § 1-9-106, the kinship foster parent is not entitled to any payments for providing foster care until the foster parent receives final approval from OKDHS. Foster care maintenance payments for paid kinship foster homes begin at the time requirements are met per OAC 340:75-7-18 and are not retroactive. • 5