Effective Date: 7-2-2021
If a child is in CD custody and placed with a relative who wishes to care for the child long-term, adoption and guardianship should continue to be explored as they offer a stronger permanency option for the child. Placement with a Fit and Willing Relative, without adoption or guardianship, is not a legally secure permanency option. Therefore, the court must continue to hold annual permanency hearings until such time that the court enters a legally final permanency order (reunification, adoption, or guardianship) or the child reaches age 21. The case manager shall continue to schedule regular FST meetings and provide support services as outlined in this section and as identified by the FST.
Efforts should be made to ensure this option is the best plan and that other more permanent options have not been overlooked.
The permanency option of Placement with a Fit and Willing Relative should be selected under these circumstances:
- Return to one or both parents is not safe
- Adoption or guardianship are not options at the present time and the FST believes it is in the best interest of the child not to pursue termination
- All relatives have been considered and there is an identified relative resource who is willing to make a long-term commitment to care for the child
- The relative resource is able to meet the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs
- The child wants to be placed with the relative
- The relative has been fully informed of the legal effect of the placement and all available financial resources, including subsidies
- The parent(s) has been informed about the placement of the child with relative provider
- The out-of-home care provider will make a formal Planned Permanency Agreement with the Division for this purpose
- If the relative plans on continuing contact with the parent from which the child was removed, they are prepared to protect the safety of the child and make good decisions about the child’s contact with this parent