2.1 Mandate And Rationale
Mandate and Rationale that governs licensure of foster home, residential care or child placing agency:
- Section 210.486, RSMo, specifies that:
- No person shall operate or maintain a foster home, residential care facility, or child placing agency without having in full force and effect a valid license issued by the Division or the Department of Health as provided in Section 210.484.
- The Division or the Department of Health as provided in Section 210.484 shall conduct an investigation of all applicants and such investigations shall include examination of the physical facility and of persons responsible for the care of, planning, and services for the children being served.
- Rule 13 CSR 35-60 addresses procedures for approval, denial, or revocation of foster family home licenses.
- Section 453.070, RSMo, specifies that:
- No decree for adoption of a minor child under eighteen years of age shall be entered nor shall transfer of custody of such child to petitioners occur until a full investigation has been made. A report of the findings of the investigation shall include the physical, mental, racial and ethnic conditions and antecedents of the child and whether the petitioner(s) is suitable for the child.
- The court may appoint the Children’s Division or other individuals/ agencies to conduct the investigation. The result of the investigation must be submitted to the court in a written report within ninety (90) days of the request.
- Section 210.660, RSMo, specifies: “Reasonable and prudent parent standard”, the standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child, that a caregiver shall use when determining whether to allow a child in foster care under the responsibility of the state to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.
- Section 210.665, RSMo, specifies that;
- Except as otherwise provided in subsection 8 of this section, the court and all parties to a case under chapter 211 involving a child in care shall defer to the reasonable decisions of the child’s designated caregiver involving the child’s participation in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.
- A caregiver shall use the reasonable and prudent parent standard when making decisions relating to the activity of the child.
- The division or a contracted agency thereof shall designate at least one onsite caregiver who has authority to apply the reasonable and prudent parent standard for each child placed in its custody.
- The caregiver shall consider:
- The child’s age, maturity, and developmental level;
- The overall health and safety of the child;
- Potential risk factors and appropriateness of the activity;
- The best interests of the child;
- Promoting, where safe and as appropriate, normal childhood experiences; and
- Any other relevant factors based on the caregiver’s knowledge of the child
6. Caregivers shall receive training with regard to the reasonable and prudent parent standard as required by the division. The training shall include:
- Knowledge and skills relating to the developmental stages of the cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral capacities of a child;
- Knowledge and skills relating to applying the standard to decisions, including but not limited to whether to allow the child to engage in social, extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities, such as sports, field trips, and overnight activities lasting one or more days; and
- Knowledge and skills relating to decisions, including but not limited to the signing of permission slips and arranging of transportation for the child to and from extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
7. A caregiver shall not be liable for harm caused to a child while participating in an activity chosen by the caregiver, provided the caregiver acted in accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent standard.7. No court shall order the division or a contracted agency thereof to provide funding for activities chosen by the caregiver.
8. A caregiver’s decisions with regard to the child may be overturned by the court only if, upon notice and a hearing, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence the reasonable and prudent parent standard has been violated. The caregiver shall have the right to receive notice, to attend the hearing, and to present evidence at the hearing.