Placement of Children With Relatives - Georgia

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Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 15-11-2; 15-11-211; 15-11-135

The term 'relative' means a person related to a child by blood, marriage, or adoption, including the spouse of any of those persons, even if the marriage was terminated by death or dissolution.

'Fictive kin' means a person who is not related to the child by blood, marriage, or adoption but who prior to the child's placement in foster care is known to the family, has a substantial and positive relationship with the child, and is willing and able to provide a suitable home for the child.

'Other persons who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to a child' includes fictive kin and other individuals, including, but not limited to, neighbors, teachers, scout masters, caregivers, or parents of friends of the child and with whom the child has resided or had significant contact.

The Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) shall initiate a diligent search at the outset of a case and throughout the duration of a case, when appropriate. After the completion of the diligent search, DFCS shall have a continuing duty to search for relatives or other persons who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to a child and with whom it may be appropriate to place the alleged dependent child until such relatives or persons are found or until such child is placed for adoption, unless the court excuses DFCS from conducting a diligent search.

In any case in which a child is taken into protective custody, DFCS shall give preference for placement to an adult who is a relative or fictive kin over a nonrelated caregiver, provided that such relative or fictive kin has met all requirements for a relative or fictive kin placement and the placement is in the best interests of the child.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Ann. Code § 15-11-211

All adult relatives of the alleged dependent child identified in a diligent search and all parents of a sibling of such child when such parent has legal custody of the sibling, subject to exceptions due to family or domestic violence, shall be provided with notice that includes the following:

  • Specifying that an alleged dependent child has been or is being removed from the parent's custody
  • Explaining the options a relative has to participate in the care and placement of the alleged dependent child and any options that may be lost by failing to respond to the notice
  • Describing the process for becoming an approved foster family home and the additional services and supports available for children placed in approved foster homes
  • Describing any financial assistance for which a relative may be eligible

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 15-11-2; 15-11-135(e)

The term 'sibling' means a person with whom a child shares a genetic parent or one or both parents in common by blood, adoption, or marriage, even if the marriage was terminated by death or dissolution.

In any case in which a child is taken into protective custody, the child shall be placed together with their siblings who are also in protective custody or DFCS shall include a statement in its report and case plan of continuing efforts to place the siblings together or document why such joint placement would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings. If siblings are not placed together, DFCS shall provide for frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction between siblings, unless DFCS documents that such frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-7

A child may be adopted by a relative who is related by blood or marriage to the child as a grandparent, great-grandparent, parent's sibling, grandparent's sibling, or the child's adult sibling and any spouse of such relatives.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-7

Each living parent and guardian of the child to be adopted must voluntarily and in writing surrender to that relative and the relative's spouse all their rights to the child for the purpose of enabling that relative and the relative's spouse to adopt the child.

In the case of a child aged 14 or older, the written consent of the child to their adoption must be given and acknowledged in the presence of the court.