Placement of Children With Relatives - District of Columbia

Date:

Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-2320; Code of Municipal Regs. §§ 29-1642.1; 29-6027.3

If a child is found to be neglected, the Family Division of the Superior Court may transfer legal custody of the child to a relative or other individual who is found by the court to be qualified to receive and care for the child. No child shall be ordered placed outside their home unless the court finds the child cannot be protected in the home, and there is an available placement likely to be less damaging to the child than the child's own home.

In regulation: The first priority of the foster care system shall be to maintain a child in their home or that of a relative.

An applicant is kin to a foster child if they are at least age 21 and either of the following apply:

  • The applicant is a relative of the foster child by blood, marriage, or adoption.
  • The applicant is identified by a relative of the child to have close personal or emotional ties with the foster child or the foster child's family, which predate the foster child's placement with the individual.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Code of Municipal Regs. § 29-6027

The Child and Family Services Agency may issue a temporary license to operate a foster home only if the following conditions are met:

  • The applicant is kin to each foster child who would be placed in their home.
  • The applicant applies for a license to operate a foster home.
  • The applicant has done the following:
    • Received a satisfactory criminal records check
    • Complied with requirements concerning a child protection register check
    • Received a satisfactory safety assessment of their home
    • Demonstrated the willingness and ability to provide a safe and secure environment for the child
  • All individuals aged 18 or older residing in the prospective foster home have done the following:
    • Received a satisfactory criminal records check
    • Complied with requirements concerning a child protection register check
  • There are exigent circumstances as set forth below.
  • A certificate has been obtained indicating no risk from lead-based paint for a home in which a foster child under age 6 may be placed.

Exigent circumstances exist if any of the following apply:

  • The child must be removed from their home immediately because of suspected or supported child abuse or neglect.
  • The child must be removed from their current placement immediately.
  • The child has been removed from their home because of child abuse and neglect.

A temporary license permits a foster home to operate prior to issuance of an annual license and while the foster parent attempts to satisfy the requirements for a license. A temporary licensee shall actively and promptly take all steps required for full licensure.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Code of Municipal Regs. § 29-1642.8

The child-placing agency shall place siblings together whenever possible and when it is in the siblings' best interests to do so.

Relatives Who May Adopt

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.