Placement of Children With Relatives - Idaho

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Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Idaho Code §§ 16-1602; 16-1629; Admin. Code § 16.06.01.401

At any time the Department of Health and Welfare is considering placing a child in out-of-home care, the department shall make a reasonable effort to place the child in the least restrictive environment to the child and in so doing shall consider, consistent with the best interests and special needs of the child, placement priority of the child in the following order:

  • A fit and willing relative
  • A fit and willing nonrelative who has a significant relationship with the child
  • Foster parents and other persons licensed in accordance with title 39, chapter 12 with a significant relationship with the child
  • Foster parents and other persons licensed in accordance with title 39, chapter 12

The term 'relative' means a child's grandparent, great-grandparent, first cousin, sibling, and half-sibling; a parent's sibling and the sibling's spouse; and a grandparent's sibling.

In regulation: The department will make meaningful reasonable attempts, both verbally and in writing, to inform individuals identified below of the potential imminent placement and the requirements for consideration as a placement resource. Ideally, placement priority will be given in the following order:

  • Immediate family
  • Extended family members
  • Nonfamily members with a significant established relationship with the child
  • Other licensed foster parents

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Admin. Code § 16.06.01.401

The department will place children in a safe and trusted environment consistent with the best interests and special needs of the children as required by P.L. 96-272 (Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980), § 475(5).

Upon immediate contact with persons in categories listed above, and after preliminary screening, departmental staff will make reasonable attempts to inform immediate family members of the way to become a placement resource within 72 hours of the decision to place.

In all cases, alternate care placement will include consideration of the following:

  • A family assessment of potential caregivers
  • The ability of potential caregivers to address and be sensitive to the unique and individual needs of the child and their ability to comply with and support the plan for the child and the child's family
  • The involvement of the family in planning and selecting the placement

The department will use a family unity meeting concept in making reasonable efforts to gather immediate and extended family members and other significant supporters to identify family strengths relevant to creating a safe environment for the child.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Idaho Code §§ 16-1615; 16-1619; 16-1622

If a sibling group has been removed from their home, the court shall inquire at the shelter care or adjudicatory hearing about the department's efforts to place the siblings together, or if the department has not placed or will not be placing the siblings together, about a plan to ensure frequent visitation or ongoing interaction among the siblings, unless visitation or ongoing interaction would be contrary to the safety or well-being of one or more of the siblings.

At a hearing for review of the child's case and permanency plan, the court shall review sibling placement. The department shall document their efforts, and the court shall inquire whether siblings were placed together, or if siblings were not placed together, the efforts made to place siblings together, the reasons why siblings were not placed together, and a plan for ensuring frequent visitation or ongoing interaction between the siblings, unless visitation or ongoing interaction would be contrary to the safety or well-being of one or more of the siblings.

Relatives Who May Adopt

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

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1506

In those instances where the prospective adoptive parent is the grandparent of the child to be adopted, a social investigation shall be completed regarding the prospective adoptive parent only upon order of the court.