Kinship Guardianship as a Permanency Option - Ohio

Date:

Definitions

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 5107.02; 2151.011; 5101.85

'Custodian' means an individual who has legal custody, as defined below, of a minor child.

'Guardian' means an individual who is granted authority by a probate court to exercise parental rights over a minor child to the extent provided in the court's order and subject to residual parental rights of the child's parents.

'Specified relative' means the following individuals who are age 18 or older:

  • The following individuals related by blood or adoption:
    • Grandparents, including grandparents with the prefix 'great,' 'great-great,' or 'great-great-great'
    • Siblings
    • Aunts, uncles, nephews, and nieces, including such relatives with the prefix 'great,' 'great-great,' 'grand,' or 'great-grand'
    • First cousins and first cousins once removed
  • Stepparents and stepsiblings
  • Spouses and former spouses of individuals named above

'Legal custody' means a legal status that vests in the custodian the right to have physical care and control of the child and to assume the responsibilities listed below.

The term 'residual parental rights, privileges, and responsibilities' means those rights, privileges, and responsibilities remaining with the natural parent after the transfer of legal custody of the child, including, but not necessarily limited to, the privilege of reasonable visitation, consent to adoption, the privilege to determine the child's religious affiliation, and the responsibility for support.

'Kinship caregiver' means any of the following who is age 18 or older and is caring for a child in place of the child's parents:

  • Any individual meeting the definitions of 'specified relative' above
  • A legal guardian of the child
  • A legal custodian of the child

Purpose of Guardianship

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

A Guardian's Rights and Responsibilities

Citation: Rev. Code § 2151.011

'Legal custody' means a legal status that vests in the custodian the right and duty:

  • To have physical care and control of the child
  • To determine where and with whom the child shall live
  • To protect, train, and discipline the child
  • To provide the child with food, shelter, education, and medical care

The rights and duties of the custodian are all subject to any residual parental rights, privileges, and responsibilities. An individual granted legal custody shall exercise the rights and responsibilities personally, unless otherwise authorized by any section of the Revised Code or by the court.

Qualifying the Guardian

Citation: Admin. Code § 5101:2-42-18

A public or private children's services agency may approve placement with the following substitute caregivers if the placement is determined to be in the child's best interests and the substitute caregivers are not certified through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services:

  • A relative by blood or marriage who, in accordance with §§ 5103.02 and 5103.03, is exempt from certification and is being considered as a substitute caregiver
  • A nonrelative who has a relationship with the child and/or family and who, in accordance with § 5153.161, is approved by the court

Prior to placing the child with the relative or nonrelative substitute caregiver, the agency shall do the following to approve the placement:

  • Collect identifying information on the prospective caregiver and all household members
  • Ensure that a search of the statewide automated child welfare information system has been completed for the prospective caregiver and adult household members
  • Assess the safety, cleanliness, and suitability of the home
  • Assess the prospective caregiver's ability and willingness to provide care and supervision of the child and to provide a safe and appropriate placement for the child
  • Require all adults in the home to identify any prior agency involvement
  • Collect fingerprints from the prospective caregiver and all adults residing within the home in order to request State and Federal criminal records checks
  • Require the prospective caregiver to submit written notification if a person whom is at least age 12, but less than age 18, residing in the home has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any offenses described in § 5103.0319, or has been adjudicated to be a delinquent child for committing an act that if committed by an adult would have constituted such a violation

Procedures for Establishing Guardianship

Citation: Rev. Code § 2151.353

If a child is adjudicated an abused, neglected, or dependent child, the court may award legal custody of the child to either parent or to any other person who, prior to the dispositional hearing, files a motion requesting legal custody of the child or is identified as a proposed legal custodian in a complaint or motion filed prior to the dispositional hearing by any party to the proceedings. A proposed legal custodian shall be awarded legal custody of the child only if the person signs a statement of understanding for legal custody that contains at least the following provisions:

  • That it is the intent of the person to become the legal custodian of the child and the person is able to assume legal responsibility for the care and supervision of the child
  • That the person understands that legal custody of the child in question is intended to be permanent in nature and that as the custodian the person will be responsible for the child until the child reaches the age of majority
  • That the parents of the child have residual parental rights, privileges, and responsibilities, including, but not limited to, the privilege of reasonable visitation, consent to adoption, the privilege to determine the child's religious affiliation, and the responsibility for support
  • That the person understands that the person must be present in court for the dispositional hearing in order to affirm the person's intention to become legal custodian, to affirm that the person understands the effect of the custodianship before the court, and to answer any questions that the court or any parties to the case may have

Contents of a Guardianship Order

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

Modification/Revocation of Guardianship

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

Kinship Guardianship Assistance

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 5101.802; 5101.851

The purpose of the kinship permanency incentive program is to promote permanency for a minor child in the legal and physical custody of a kinship caregiver. The program shall provide an initial one-time incentive payment to the kinship caregiver to defray the costs of initial placement of the child in the kinship caregiver's home. The program may provide additional permanency incentive payments for the child at 6-month intervals, based on the availability of funds.

A kinship caregiver may participate in the program if all of the following requirements are met:

  • The kinship caregiver applies to a public children services agency in accordance with the application process established in administrative rules.
  • A juvenile court issues an order granting legal custody to the kinship caregiver, or a probate court grants guardianship to the kinship caregiver. A temporary court order is not sufficient to meet this requirement.
  • The kinship caregiver is either the child's custodian or guardian.
  • The child resides with the kinship caregiver pursuant to a placement approved by the agency.
  • Excluding any income excluded under the rules, the gross income of the kinship caregiver's family, including the child, does not exceed 300 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines.

The department may establish a statewide program of kinship care navigators to assist kinship caregivers who are seeking information or assistance in obtaining services and benefits available at the State and local level. The program shall provide to kinship caregivers information and referral services and assistance obtaining support services, including the following:

  • Publicly funded child care
  • Respite care
  • Training for caring for children with special needs
  • A toll-free telephone number that may be called to obtain basic information about the rights of and services available to kinship caregivers
  • Legal services

Links to Agency Policies

Ohio Administrative Code § 5101:2-40-04: Kinship Permanency Incentive (KPI) Program