The Kinship Care and Fictive Kin Reform Act
The Kinship Care and Fictive Kin Reform Act
This Act establishes that the Department may approve either “Kinship Care” or “Fictive Kin” as a best interest of the child placement, and an alternative to entering into the Foster Care system when circumstances necessitate out-of-home-placement for a minor child. When children are no longer able to stay in their homes with their parents due to parental death, military deployment, abuse and/or neglect, parental substance abuse, mental illness, incarceration, serious physical illness, and/or disability, this act allows the Department to place the child with a relative or individual not related by birth, adoption, or marriage, but who maintains an emotionally significant relationship with the child.
Section 1. Title.
This Act shall be known as The Kinship Care and Fictive Kin Reform Act.
Section 2. Purpose.
All children need safe homes, nurturing role models and caring relationships to grow and thrive. Sometimes children cannot stay in their homes with their parents for a variety of reasons such as parental death, military deployment, abuse and neglect, parental substance abuse, mental illness, incarceration, serious physical illness, and disability. During these difficult times, relatives or individuals who maintain a significant relationship with the child should be allowed to step in to provide care. Kinship Care and Fictive Kin can be an extremely valuable alternative to a Foster family home, as they allow children to retain strong familial and familiar bonds which provide a sense of positive identity, belonging and security.
Section 3. Definitions.
“Department” means the secretary for the Department of State Health Services or equivalent agency that governs the state Foster Care program;
“Fictive Kin” means an individual who is not related by birth, adoption, or marriage to a child, but who has an emotionally significant relationship with the child;
“Foster family home” means a private home in which children is placed for Foster family care under supervision of the Department or of a licensed child-placing agency;
“Kinship Care” is the raising of children by grandparents, or other extended family members within the fourth degree of kinship.
“Out-of-home placement” means a placement other than in the home of a parent, relative, or guardian, in a boarding home, clinical treatment facility, community-based facility, detention facility, emergency shelter, Fictive Kin home, Foster family home, hospital, non-secure facility, physically secure facility, residential treatment facility, or youth alternative center.
“Public Safety Department” or equivalent Justice Department in a state.
Section 4. The Kinship Care and Fictive Kin Reform Act.
When a child has been removed from his or her home and is in the care, custody, or guardianship of the Department of Health Services, or equivalent, the department shall attempt to place the child with a relative or close family friend such as a God parent. These relationships are referenced as Kinship Care or Fictive Kin.
Requirements for Placement with Relatives, i.e. Kinship Care or Close Family Friends Fictive Kin
- Before an individual/household is approved to provide as Kinship Care or Fictive Kin provider for a child, the Department shall require a criminal background investigation of the applicant and any of the applicant’s adult household members by means of a fingerprint check by the Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation; or
- Request from the Public Safety Department records of all conviction information for the applicant and any of the applicant’s adult household members. The Public Safety Department or equivalent shall furnish the information to the Department governing the state Foster Care program, and shall also send a copy of the information to the applicant.
- The Kinship Foster parent shall be age 21 or older unless the Department provides otherwise by rule to carry out the provisions of this Act.
- If a child is placed and resides in a Kinship Care or Fictive Kin home for more than seventy-two (72) hours, the Department shall take action, including but not limited to the following: (a) Provide information on how to recognize and report child abuse or neglect; and (b) Ensure that, within the first five (5) days of a child under the age of five (5) years old being placed in a Kinship Care or Fictive Kin home, the Fictive Kin has completed a 21 one (1) time training course of one and one-half (1.5) hours of training covering the prevention and recognition of pediatric abusive head trauma.
- The Department shall determine whether the person is able to care effectively for the Foster child by the following methods:
- Reviewing personal and professional references;
- Observing the Kinship or Fictive Foster parent applicant with household members during a home visit;
- Interviewing the Kinship or Fictive Kin Foster applicant.
- If the permanency plan for a child is with a Kinship or Fictive Kin guardian, the individualized service plan must contain the reasons for any separation of siblings during placement.
[Section 5. Repealer Clause]
[Section 6. Severability Clause]
[Section 7. Effective Date]