Placement of Children With Relatives - Colorado

Date: September 2022

Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-3-403; 19-3-508(b)(I); 19-3-605

When custody of a child is placed with the county Department of Social Services, the child's parent is required to provide a list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of, and any comments concerning the appropriateness of the child's potential placement with, every grandparent, parent's sibling; or the child's sibling, half-sibling, and first cousin. Each parent may suggest an adult relative or relatives whom they believe to be the most appropriate caregiver for the child. If appropriate, the child or children shall be consulted regarding suggested relative caregivers.

Within 30 days following the removal of the child, the department is required to contact all grandparents and other adult relatives and to inform them about placement possibilities for the child.

The court may consider and give preference to giving temporary custody to a child's relative who is appropriate, capable, willing, and available for care if it is in the best interests of the child and if the court finds that there is no suitable birth or adoptive parent available, with due diligence having been exercised in attempting to locate any such birth or adoptive parent.

If the court finds that placement out of the home is necessary and is in the best interests of the child and the community, the court shall place the child with a relative, including the child's grandparent if such placement is in the child's best interests.

Following an order of termination of parental rights, the court shall consider, but shall not be bound by, a request that guardianship and legal custody of the child be placed with a relative of the child. When ordering guardianship and legal custody of the child, the court may give preference to a grandparent; a parent's sibling; or the child's sibling, half-sibling, or first cousin when such relative has made a timely request and the court determines that such placement is in the best interests of the child.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-3-406; 19-3-407

Any time a relative is identified as a potential emergency placement for the child, the local law enforcement agency shall conduct an initial, name-based, criminal history record check of the relative prior to the county department placing the child in the emergency placement.

A county department shall request that a local law enforcement agency conduct the following background checks of kin or any adult who resides at the home prior to placing a child in noncertified kinship care, unless such placement is an emergency placement:

  • A fingerprint-based criminal history record check through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • A check of State Judicial Department records to determine the status or disposition of any pending criminal charges
  • A check of the department's automated database of child abuse or neglect records
  • A check of State and national sex offender registries

A county department shall not place a child in noncertified kinship care if any of the following applies to the kin or any adult who resides with the kin at the home:

  • Has been convicted of any of the following crimes:
    • Child abuse
    • A crime of violence
    • Unlawful sexual behavior
    • A felony act of domestic violence
    • A felony involving physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense within preceding 5 years
    • A pattern of misdemeanor convictions within the preceding 10 years
  • Is a registered sex offender
  • Has been identified as having a finding of child abuse or neglect

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-3-508(1)(c); 19-3-605(2)

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 19-3-605(1) to the contrary, when the child is part of a sibling group and the sibling group is being placed out of the home, if the county department locates an appropriate, capable, willing, and available joint placement for all of the children in the sibling group, the court shall presume that placement of the entire sibling group in the joint placement is in the best interests of the children. Such presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence that placement of the entire sibling group in the joint placement is not in the best interests of a child or of the children.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 19-1-103(92)

A kinship adoption refers to the adoption of a child by a grandparent, sibling, half-sibling, a parent's sibling, or first cousin and the spouses of such relatives.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-1-103; 19-5-208; 19-5-209

The relative is eligible to adopt the child if they have had physical custody of the child for 1 year or more, and the child is not the subject of a pending dependency and neglect proceeding.

The adoption petition shall contain a statement informing the court whether the relative was ever convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in one of the following areas:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Spousal abuse
  • Any crime against a child
  • Domestic violence; violation of a protection order; or any crime involving violence, rape, sexual assault, or homicide
  • Any felony physical assault or battery

The relative must undergo a criminal background check.

In the petition, the relative must state that they have consulted with the appropriate departments to determine eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, subsidized adoption, and other services or public assistance administered by the county department.

A home study is not required to be filed with an adoption petition in the case of a kinship adoption.