16.1 Definition and Purpose
A Relative is a grandparent or any other person related to another by blood or affinity or a person who is not so related to the child but has a close relationship with the child or the child’s family. A foster parent or kinship caregiver with whom a child has resided for nine months or more is a person who has a close relationship with the child. The status of a grandparent shall not be affected by the death or dissolution of the marriage of a son or daughter (RSMo 210.265.2). This designation applies to homes who apply to care for children for whom the agency has legal custody. Relative care is the least restrictive family-like setting for children requiring out-of-home placement.
Regardless of which of the five permanency options; Reunification, Adoption, Guardianship, Placement with Fit and Willing Relative, or Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA), is being considered for a foster youth, relative care is the placement of preference and should, if at all possible, be pursued prior to making any other type of out-of-home placement, unless a court determines that placing a foster youth with a relative is not in the best interest of that foster youth. The court must make specific findings on the record detailing why placement with a relative is not in the best interest of the foster youth.
When out-of-home care is imminent, the Children’s Service Worker should ask the parent and foster youth to identify potential relative providers. After removal of a foster youth from his/her home, a list of potential relative providers should be obtained from the parents at the 72-hour Family Support Team meeting. This list and efforts to locate potential providers should also be documented in the assessment and treatment section of the case record, in Section III of the CS-1, and on the Child/Family Health and Developmental Assessment, CW103.
Factors to consider in identifying potential relative foster care providers are as follows:
- Who would the parent and foster youth most want to care for the foster youth;
- Who does the parent and foster youth most often turn to in time of crisis;
- Who has cared for the foster youth in the past when parents were unable to; and
- With whom does the foster youth have a close relationship with?
Missouri Revised Statute 210.565.4 Specifies that the age of the foster youth’s relatives, shall not be the only factor taken into consideration in placement decision recommendations to the court about placing the foster youth with a relative.
After identifying a potential relative care or kinship care provider, the Children’s Division Worker should ask the family to describe the relationship with that individual/family, to include the following:
- Provider’s relationship to the foster youth and length of involvement with the family;
- Description of the provider’s involvement with the family, i.e., provided care for the foster youth and/or parent, assisted the family through crisis, provided moral support, member of church or community organization, neighbor, etc.; and
- Whether the provider ever resided in the home with the parent or foster youth and, if so, how long and when.
Chapter Memoranda History: (prior to 01-31-07)