Placement of Children With Relatives - Iowa

Date: September 2022

Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 232.84; 232.2(46A), (52)

Unless the custody of a child is transferred from one of the child's parents to another parent of the child, within 30 days after the entry of an order removing a child from the custody of a parent or parents of the child, the Department of Human Services shall exercise due diligence in identifying and providing notice to the child's grandparents, adult siblings, parents of the child's siblings, the parent's siblings, and adult relatives suggested by the child's parents, subject to exceptions due to the presence of family or domestic violence. The notice content shall include, but is not limited to, all the following:

  • A statement that the child has been or is being removed from the custody of the child's parent or parents
  • An explanation of the options the relative has under Federal, State, and other law to participate in the care and placement of the child on a temporary or permanent basis
  • A description of the requirements for the relative to serve as a foster family home provider or other type of care provider for the child and the additional services, training, and other support available for children receiving such care
  • Information concerning the option to apply for kinship guardianship assistance payments

The options addressed in the notice shall include, but are not limited to, assistance and support options, options for participating in legal proceedings, and any options that may be lost by failure to respond to the notice.

Parents of a sibling are considered relatives to the child for the purposes of placement. The term 'sibling' means an individual who is related to another individual by blood, adoption, or affinity through a common legal or biological parent.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Ann. Code § 232.108

If the court orders the transfer of custody of a child and siblings to the department for placement, the department shall make a reasonable effort to place the child and siblings together whenever possible if such placement is in the best interests of each child. This requirement remains applicable to custody transfer orders made at separate times, provided the requirement will not jeopardize the stability of placements, and applies in addition to efforts made by the department to place the child with an adult relative.

If the siblings are not placed in the same placement together, the child's attorney or guardian ad litem shall explain to the siblings the efforts being made to facilitate placement together, or why making efforts for such placement is not appropriate. Unless visiting or ongoing interaction with siblings is suspended or terminated by the court, the department shall make reasonable efforts to provide for visits or other ongoing interaction between the child and the child's siblings from the time of the child's out-of-home placement until the child returns home or is in a permanent placement.

The department or child-placing agency shall do all the following to facilitate frequent visits or ongoing interaction between the child and siblings when the child is adopted or enters a permanent placement:

  • Include in the training provided to prospective adoptive parents information regarding the importance of sibling relationships to an adopted child and counseling methods for maintaining sibling relationships
  • Provide prospective adoptive parents with information regarding the child's siblings
  • Encourage prospective adoptive parents to plan for facilitating postadoption contact between the child and the child's siblings

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Code § 600.8

A relative within the fourth degree of kinship may adopt the child.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Ann. Code § 600.8

If the prospective adoption petitioner is a relative within the fourth degree of kinship who has assumed custody of a minor person to be adopted, a preplacement investigation of this petitioner and a report of the investigation may be completed at a time established by the court or may be waived as provided below.

The adoption preplacement investigation shall discuss whether the minor adoptee was the subject of a termination of parental rights proceeding pursuant to chapter 232, whether there are siblings who were not placed with the adoptee, and whether, if there are siblings, there is an ongoing relationship between the siblings and the adoptee or a finding by a court that contact between the siblings is in the best interests of each sibling.

Any required investigation and report may be waived by the court if the adoption petitioner is related within the fourth degree of kinship to the person to be adopted. However, if an adoption petitioner discloses a criminal conviction or deferred judgment for an offense other than a simple misdemeanor or founded child abuse report, the petitioner shall notify the court of the inclusion of this information in the petition prior to the final adoption hearing, and the court shall make a specific ruling regarding whether to waive any required investigation or report.