Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Oklahoma

Date:

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Code § 340:75-7-12

All applicants must:

  • Be at least age 21
  • Be residing lawfully in the United States
  • Have healthy relationships, whether married, single, separated, or divorced
  • Have the ability to manage personal and household financial needs without relying on the foster care maintenance payment
  • Provide verification that all household members are in sufficiently good physical and mental health to provide for the individual needs of each child placed
  • Demonstrate the basic competencies to:
    • Protect and nurture children who have been abused, emotionally maltreated, or neglected
    • Meet the medical and developmental needs of these children
    • Support relationships between children and their parents, siblings, and kin, as specified by the Department of Human Services
    • Connect children to safe, nurturing relationships
    • Collaborate with the department as a team member
  • Not smoke in the home when a child is placed in the home
  • Not smoke in the automobile when transporting a child placed in the home
  • Have extended family or friends to provide support and child care other than, or in addition to, licensed child care paid by the department
  • Share parenting of the child with the parents, who may have different values and lifestyles
  • Be willing to actively mentor the parent to help improve the parent's ability to safely care for the child
  • Be willing to accept placement of siblings

Training Requirements

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-9-116

Prior to placement of a child in foster placement other than kinship care, each foster parent shall have completed the training approved by the department. A foster parent providing kinship foster care shall, if possible, complete the training for kinship foster care prior to placement. The training must take place no later than 120 days after placement of the child for the kinship foster parent to be eligible to receive any payment for providing foster care services.

Approved training shall require a minimum of 12 hours of study related, but not limited to, the following:

  • Physical care
  • Education and learning disabilities
  • Procedures for accessing necessary professional services
  • Behavioral assessment and modification
  • Transition to successful adulthood skills
  • Procedures for biological parent contact
  • Parental substitute authority
  • The reasonable and prudent parent standard relative to child participation in age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate activities
  • Behavioral management techniques, including, but not limited to, parent-child conflict resolution techniques
  • Stress management

Foster parent training programs may include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Inservice training, workshops, and seminars developed by the State agency
  • Seminars and courses offered through public or private education agencies
  • Workshops, seminars, and courses pertaining to behavioral and developmental disabilities
  • The development of mutual support services for foster parents

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Code § 340:75-7-12

All applicants must:

  • Provide appropriate sleeping arrangements for each child placed
  • Provide a home that is clean and safe
  • Have a house assessment completed

The resource specialist conducts an evaluation of the applicant's residence to assess the location, condition, and capacity to accommodate children in foster care. The department may, at its discretion, grant an exception of specific rules or standards upon the applicant's request. Exceptions may be granted upon a showing by the applicant that adequate standards affording protection for the health, safety, and care of the child exists and will be met in lieu of the exact requirements of the rule or standard in question.

Approval Process

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 340:75-7-15; 340:75-7-18

Background investigations are conducted at the time of application and include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A State criminal history search, including the Sex Offender Registry, of the applicant and any adult living in the applicant's household
  • A national criminal history search, based on the fingerprints of the applicant and any adult members of the household
  • A search of any court involvement
  • A search of the violent offender registry
  • A search of all department records for past confirmation of child maltreatment involving the applicant and any adult living in the household
  • A search of all applicable out-of-State child abuse and neglect registries for any applicant or adult household member who has not lived continuously in Oklahoma for the past 5 years
  • A search of juvenile justice records for any child older than age 13 in the applicant's household

The department conducts a foster parent eligibility assessment of the applicant and each household member's background or other circumstances and conditions to determine if the home is suitable for the child requiring foster care. The applicant must grant permission for the department to contact the applicant's references. Information obtained from the references is confidential.

The applicant must provide verification that he or she can manage personal and household financial needs without relying on the foster care reimbursement.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 340:75-7-15; 340:75-7-18

An application is not approved when the applicant or any person residing in the home of the applicant has a criminal conviction record for any of the following felony offenses:

  • Physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense when the conviction occurs within the 5-year period preceding the application date
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Domestic abuse
  • A crime against a child including, but not limited to, child pornography
  • A crime involving violence, including, but not limited to, rape, sexual assault, or homicide

An application is not approved when the applicant or any person residing in the applicant's home is subject to, living with, or married to a person who is subject to the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act.

Reasons for denying an assessment may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The applicant lacks a stable, adequate income to meet the applicant's own or total family needs or poorly manages available income.
  • The home is inadequate to accommodate the addition of children to the home or presents health or safety concerns.
  • The applicant or any person residing in the home has a history of alleged or confirmed child abuse, neglect, or both.
  • The applicant or any person residing in the home has a history of arrests or convictions per Admin. Code § 340:75-7-15.
  • The health or any other condition of the applicant impedes the applicant's ability to provide appropriate care for a child.
  • Relationships in the household are unstable and unsatisfactory.
  • The mental health of the applicant or other family or household member impedes the applicant's ability to provide appropriate care for a child.
  • References are guarded or have reservations in recommending the applicant.
  • The applicant fails to complete the application, required training, or verifications in a timely manner as requested or provides information that is incomplete, inconsistent, or untruthful.

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-9-106

When a child has been removed from the child's home, the department shall attempt to place the child with a person who has a kinship relationship with the child, if that placement is in the best interests of the child. Priority shall be given to the noncustodial parent of the child, unless that placement is not in the best interests of the child. Otherwise, a person related by blood, marriage, adoption, and by tie or bond to a child, and/or who has a family relationship role with the child's parents or the child, may be eligible for approval as a kinship foster care parent.

Prior to placement, a State criminal records search must be completed for the prospective kinship foster parent or any other adult residing in the home. Following placement, a fingerprint-based national criminal history records search must be completed.

The department shall determine whether the person is able to effectively care for the foster child by:

  • Reviewing personal and professional references
  • Observing during a visit to the home of the kinship foster care family
  • Interviewing the kinship foster care parent

When the kinship foster parent is finally approved by the department, the kinship foster care family shall be eligible to receive payment for the full foster care rate for the care of the child and any other benefits that might be available to foster parents, whether monetary or in services.

Foster to Adopt

Citation: Admin. Code § 340:75-7-19

Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) Bridge resource parents may be jointly approved to provide foster care services to the child in OKDHS custody while approved by other agencies. Joint approval occurs after each agency has conducted an assessment and determines the child's needs can be met in a jointly approved home. While the home is jointly approved, any changes or concerns are shared between each agency involved with the jointly approved home.

Joint use of an adoptive home as a traditional resource foster home occurs after a case-by-case assessment and approval from the resource and adoption supervisors.

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 571

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

The child shall not be sent into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

Links to Resources

State regulations, see title 340, chapter 75, subchapter 7