Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Kentucky

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:310

The applicant must:

  • Be age 21 or older, unless an exception is granted
  • Have U.S. citizenship or legal immigrant status
  • Be free of any communicable or infectious disease and any illness or condition that would present a health or safety risk to a child placed in his or her home
  • Verify that he or she has a source of income separate from foster care reimbursement

Training Requirements

Citation: Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:310

A child-placing agency shall develop and maintain an orientation and preparation curriculum that provides a minimum of 24 hours of orientation and preparation to a prospective foster parent, to include the following:

  • Child-placing agency program description with mission statement
  • Information about the rights and responsibilities of the home
  • Background information about the foster child and the child's family
  • An example of an actual experience from a foster parent that has fostered a child
  • Information regarding:
    • The stages of grief
    • Identification of the behavior linked to each stage
    • The long-term effect of separation and loss on a child
    • Permanency planning for a child, including independent living services
    • The importance of attachment on a child's growth and development and how a child may maintain or develop a healthy attachment
    • Family functioning, values, and expectations of a foster home
    • Cultural competency
    • How a child enters and experiences foster care, and the importance of achieving permanency
    • The importance of birth family and culture and helping children leave foster care
  • Identification of changes that may occur in the home if a placement occurs, to include:
    • Family adjustment and disruption
    • Identity issues
    • Discipline issues and child behavior management
  • Specific requirements and responsibilities of a foster parent

The agency must maintain an ongoing foster home preparation and training program that provides a minimum of 6 hours of foster home training annually.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:310

The applicant's home must:

  • Not present a hazard to the health and safety of a child
  • Be well-heated and ventilated
  • Comply with State and local health requirements regarding water and sanitation
  • Provide indoor or outdoor recreation space appropriate to the developmental needs of a child placed in the applicant's home

No more than four children, including the applicant's own children, shall share a bedroom. A foster parent shall not share a bedroom with a child in the custody of a State agency unless prior approval is obtained from the State agency. Each child must be provided his or her age- and size-appropriate bed.

Alcoholic beverages, poisonous or hazardous materials, ammunition and firearms, an animal that presents a danger to a child, and medication must be kept inaccessible to a child. Any household animal must be vaccinated in accordance with statute.

The applicant must possess first aid supplies with unexpired dates that are stored in an easily accessible place. The home must have a working telephone and a working smoke alarm within 10 feet of each bedroom. A working carbon monoxide detector must be installed in a home with gas heating or appliances.

Approval Process

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.462; Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:310

Before an applicant is approved to provide foster care, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services shall require a criminal background investigation of the applicant and any adult household members by means of a fingerprint check by the Department of Kentucky State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In regulation: A child-placing agency shall complete a home study and approve the foster family home prior to the placement of a child. Documentation of the home study shall include the following:

  • A minimum of two home visits for the purpose of conducting personal interviews with each member of the applicant's household
  • Documentation of references, including three personal references who are not related to the applicant and two credit references
  • A statement from a health professional that verifies that no member of the applicant's household has an illness or condition that would present a health or safety risk to a child
  • Verification that the applicant's financial stability has been assessed and approved in accordance with the agency's written policies and procedures
  • Proof that the agency performed background checks on the applicant and any member of the applicant's household
  • Documentation that the applicant has access to transportation that meets the child's needs, including restraint requirements
  • If an applicant or household member will be transporting a foster child, proof that the individual possesses a valid driver's license and has automobile or driver's insurance coverage>
  • Documentation that the applicant's home meets the minimum standards for a foster family home

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:490

An applicant shall not be approved if:

  • A criminal records check reveals that the applicant or adult member of the household has a:
    • Felony conviction involving the following:
      • A spouse, a child, sexual violence, or death
      • Physical abuse, battery, a drug, or alcohol within the 5-year period prior to application
    • Criminal conviction relating to child abuse or neglect
    • Civil judicial determination related to child abuse or neglect
  • A child abuse or neglect check reveals that the applicant, adolescent member of the household, or adult member of the household, has been found to have:
    • Committed sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child
    • Been responsible for a child fatality or near fatality related to abuse or neglect
    • Had parental rights terminated involuntarily
  • An address check of the Sex Offender Registry and supporting documentation confirm that a sex offender resides at the applicant's home address.

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 199.462

Before an applicant is approved to provide foster care or relative caregiver services to a child or be considered a fictive kin placement for a child, the cabinet shall request either of the following:

  • 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 of Kentucky State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Records of all conviction information for the applicant and any of the applicant's adult household members from the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet

If a child is placed and resides in a fictive kin home for more than 72 hours, the cabinet shall take action, including, but not limited to, both of the following:

  • Provide information on how to recognize and report child abuse or neglect
  • Ensure that, within the first 5 days of a child younger than age 5 being placed in a fictive kin home, the fictive kin has completed a one-time course of 1.5 hours of training covering the prevention and recognition of pediatric abusive head trauma, as defined in § 620.020

Foster to Adopt

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Admin. Regs. Tit. 922, § 1:370

Children in the custody of the cabinet may be placed in out-of-State facilities after a thorough in-State facility search, documented in the case record, is unsuccessful in finding placement that serves the needs of the child. The out-of-State placement shall take into consideration the following circumstances:

  • The facility's ability to meet the child's needs
  • The facility's location in relation to the parent's home
  • The parent's involvement with the child and their means of transportation
  • The permanency goal for the child
  • The cost of services is comparable to similar in-State services, when available

No child shall be placed in an out-of-State facility until the agency staff verify the following:

  • The facility is licensed by and in good standing with licensing authorities in the State in which the facility is located.
  • Contact is made with the social service personnel in the State where the facility is located to assess the facility's reputation and the quality of care.
  • The commissioner shall approve the placement of children in out-of-State facilities.
  • The placement of children in out-of-State facilities shall comply with the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children (ICPC).

Through the ICPC, the Department for Community-Based Services shall request courtesy supervision for each child placed in an out-of-State facility. The department also shall request a report every 6 months as a result of the courtesy supervision. Individuals designated by the facility where the child is placed shall be invited to participate in the case-planning conferences, either in person or by telephone conferencing. The permanency hearing for the child shall assess whether the out-of-State placement continues to meet the needs of the child according to the established case plan.

Links to Resources

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