Placement of Children With Relatives - Illinois

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Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 20, § 505/7

When the Department of Child and Family Services first assumes custody of a child, the department shall make reasonable efforts to identify, locate, and provide notice to all grandparents and other adult relatives of the child who are ready, willing, and able to care for the child. The department must document its efforts to identify, locate, and provide notice to such potential relative placements and maintain the documentation in the child's case file.

The term 'relative' includes any person age 21 or older, other than the parent, who is any of the following:

  • Related to the child by blood or adoption, including a grandparent, sibling, great-grandparent, a parent's sibling, first cousin, second cousin, godparent, or a grandparent's sibling
  • The spouse of such a relative
  • The child's stepparent or adult stepsibling
  • A fictive kin

'Relative' also includes a person related in any of the above ways to a sibling of a child, even though the person is not related to the child when the child and their sibling are placed together with that person.

For purposes of this subsection, the term 'fictive kin' means any individual, unrelated by birth or marriage, to whom either of the following applies:

  • Is shown to have close significant and personal or emotional ties with the child or the child's family prior to the child's placement with the individual
  • Is the current foster parent of a child in the custody or guardianship of the department, if the child has been placed in the home for at least 1 year and has established a significant and familylike relationship with the foster parent, and the foster parent has been identified by the department as the child's permanent connection

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 20, § 505/7

The relative must be able to adequately provide for the child's safety and welfare based on the factors set forth in the department's rules governing relative placements. The placement must be consistent with the child's best interests.

The department may not place a child with a relative if the results of a check of the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS) identifies a prior criminal conviction of the relative or any adult member of the relative's household for a criminal offense, including any of the following:

  • Murder, manslaughter, or reckless homicide
  • Homicide of an unborn child
  • Drug-induced homicide or infliction of bodily harm
  • A sex offense
  • Kidnapping or child abduction
  • Heinous battery or aggravated battery with a firearm
  • Tampering with food, drugs, or cosmetics
  • Home or vehicular invasion
  • Criminal transmission of HIV
  • Criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly or disabled person
  • Child abandonment or endangerment
  • Ritualized abuse of a child

A relative with whom a child is placed may, but is not required to, apply for licensure as a foster family home. As of July 1, 1995, foster care payments shall be made only to licensed foster family homes.

A fictive kin with whom a child is placed shall apply for licensure as a foster family home within 6 months of the child's placement with the fictive kin. The department shall not remove a child from the home of a fictive kin on the basis that they fail to apply for licensure within 6 months of the child's placement with them or fail to meet the standard for licensure. All other requirements established under the rules and procedures of the department concerning the placement of a child with a relative shall apply. By June 1, 2015, the department shall promulgate rules establishing criteria and standards for placement, identification, and licensure of fictive kin.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 20, §§ 505/7; 505/7.4

In placing a child under this act, the department shall place the child with the child's sibling or siblings under chapter 20, § 505/7.4, unless the placement is not in each child's best interests or is otherwise not possible under the department's rules. If the child is not placed with a sibling under the department's rules, the department shall consider placements that are likely to develop, preserve, nurture, and support sibling relationships when doing so is in each child's best interests.

The term 'siblings' means children who share at least one parent in common. The sibling relationship continues even after their parent's parental rights are terminated or after a sibling is adopted or placed in private guardianship.

Whenever a child enters care or requires a new placement, the department shall consider the development and preservation of sibling relationships. When a child has siblings who are in the custody of the department, the department shall determine whether it is in the best interests of each of the siblings for the siblings to be placed together. If the department determines that it is in the best interests of each sibling to be placed together, and the sibling's foster parent is able and willing to care for the child needing placement, the department shall place the child needing placement with the sibling.

When the department determines it is not in the best interests of one or more siblings to be placed together, the department shall ensure that the child requiring placement is placed in a home or program where the caregiver is willing and able to be actively involved in supporting the sibling relationship to the extent doing so is in the child's best interests.

When siblings in care are placed in separate placements, the department shall develop a Sibling Contact Support Plan. The plan shall set forth future contact and visits between the siblings to develop or preserve and nurture the siblings' relationships.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 20, § 505/7

A relative is any person, aged 21 or older who is related to the child by blood or adoption, such as a grandparent, sibling, great-grandparent, parent's sibling or the sibling's child, first cousin, second cousin, godparent, grandparent's sibling, and the spouse of any such relative. A relative also may include a stepparent or adult stepsibling.

A relative also includes a person related in any of the above ways to a sibling of a child, even though the person is not related to the child, when the child and their sibling are placed together with that person.

For children who have been in the guardianship of the department, have been adopted, and are subsequently returned to the temporary custody or guardianship of the department, a relative also may include any person who would have qualified as a relative prior to the adoption, but only if the department determines that it would be in the child's best interests to consider this person a relative.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/6; Ch. 20, § 505/7

An investigation shall not be made when the petitioner seeks to adopt a related child unless the court, in its discretion, shall so order.

The relative must be able to adequately provide for the child's safety and welfare based on the factors set forth in the department's rules governing relative placements. The placement must be consistent with the child's best interests.

When the department first assumes custody of a child, the department shall make reasonable efforts to identify and locate a relative who is ready, willing, and able to care for the child.

The department may not place a child with a relative if the results of a LEADS check identifies a prior criminal conviction of the relative or any adult member of the relative's household for a criminal offense, including any of the following:

  • Murder, manslaughter, or reckless homicide
  • Homicide of an unborn child
  • Drug-induced homicide or infliction of bodily harm
  • A sex offense
  • Kidnapping or child abduction
  • Heinous battery or aggravated battery with a firearm
  • Tampering with food, drugs, or cosmetics
  • Home or vehicular invasion
  • Criminal transmission of HIV
  • Criminal abuse or neglect of an elderly or disabled person
  • Child abandonment or endangerment
  • Ritualized abuse of a child