Placement of Children With Relatives - Alabama

Date: September 2022

Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ala. Code § 38-12-2; Admin. Code r. 660-5-28-.05

When a child has been removed from their home and is in the care, custody, or guardianship of the Department of Human Resources, the department shall attempt to place the child with a relative for kinship foster care. If the relative is approved by the department to provide foster care services, in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the department regarding foster care services, and a placement with the relative is made, the relative may receive payment for the full foster care rate only as provided by Federal law for the care of the child and any other benefits that might be available to foster parents, whether in money or in services.

A relative shall be an individual who is legally related to the child by blood, marriage, or adoption within the fourth degree of kinship, including only a sibling, a parent's sibling, first cousin, grandparent, great-grandparent, great-great-grandparent, a grandparent's sibling, a sibling's child or grandchild, or a stepparent. For the purposes of kinship foster care, the blood relationship will continue to be recognized in defining a relative after termination of parental rights.

In regulation: When substitute care becomes necessary, children should be placed in the least restrictive setting possible. This means the most familylike setting that can provide the environment and services needed to serve the child's best interests and special needs. In substitute care, relative placement should always be given first consideration, after which foster family care, group home care, and institutional care are to be considered in that order.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Ala. Code §§ 38-12-2; 38-12-3; 38-12-14

The kinship foster parent shall be aged 21 or older unless the department provides otherwise by rule to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

The department may waive standards for kinship foster care as provided by department rule and as permitted by other State and Federal law.

A person may become a kinship foster parent only upon the completion of an investigation to ascertain if there is a State or Federal record of criminal history for the prospective kinship foster parent or any other adult residing in the prospective foster parent's home.

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

  • Reviewing personal and professional references
  • Observing the kinship foster parent with household members during a home visit
  • Interviewing the kinship foster parent

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Ala. Code § 12-15-315(e)

If the permanency plan for a child is with a kinship guardian, the individualized service plan must contain the reasons for any separation of siblings during placement.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10A-28

Relatives include grandparents, great-grandparents, siblings of parents or grandparents, siblings, half-siblings, and their respective spouses.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10A-28

The adopted person must have resided for 1 year with the relative. The court may waive this provision.

The relative is exempt from the preplacement investigation required by § 26-10A-19 (that includes a criminal background check) unless one is requested by the court. No report of fees or charges under § 26-10A-23 is required unless ordered by the court.