Placement of Children With Relatives - Louisiana

Date: September 2022

Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ch. C. Art. 622; Rev. Stat. § 46:286.1

Unless the best interests of the child requires a different placement, a child who appears to be in need of care and whose immediate removal is necessary shall be placed, pending a continued custody hearing, in accordance with the following priorities of placement:

  • In the home of a suitable relative who is of the age of majority and with whom the child has been living in a stable and safe environment, if the relative is willing and able to continue to offer such an environment for the child pending an adjudication hearing and if they agree to the safety plan
  • In the home of a suitable relative who is of the age of majority, if the relative is willing and able to offer a stable and safe environment for the child pending an adjudication hearing and if they agree to the safety plan
  • In the home of a suitable individual who is of the age of majority, if they are willing and able to offer a stable and safe environment for the child pending an adjudication hearing and if they agree to the safety plan
  • In foster care under the supervision of the department until further orders of the court
  • In a shelter care facility if the child, who is not in the custody of the department, has been the victim of human trafficking or trafficking of children for sexual purposes

The Office of Community Services shall establish eligibility standards for becoming a kinship foster parent, including the following:

  • Relatives within at least the second degree to the parent or stepparent of a child who may be related through blood or marriage may be eligible for approval as a kinship foster parent.
  • The kinship foster parent shall be age 21 or older, or if the spouse or partner of the relative is age 21 or older and living in the home, the relative may be between age 18 and 21.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 46:286.1; 46:283

When a child has been removed from their home and is in the care, custody, or guardianship of the Office of Community Services, the office shall make reasonable attempts to place the child with a relative for kinship foster care. If the relative is approved by the office to provide foster care services, the relative shall be eligible to receive payment for the full foster care rate for the care of the child and any other benefits that might be available to foster parents, whether in money or in service.

A person shall be eligible to become a kinship foster parent only upon the completion of an investigation to ascertain if there is a State or Federal record of criminal history for the prospective kinship foster parent or any other individual residing in the prospective parent's home.

The Office of Community Services shall determine whether the person is able to care effectively for the child by completing all the following:

  • Reviewing personal and professional references
  • Observing the kinship foster parent with household members during a home visit
  • Interviewing the kinship foster parent

In emergency situations, relatives and friends of the foster child who have applied to be foster parents and who appear to meet eligibility criteria for such foster homes may be certified by the department for one 90-day period without training.

The department may establish separate minimum training requirements for relatives of a foster child or foster parents certified to care only for a specific child or children in those homes not open to placement of other children. These minimum requirements shall include 10 hours of preservice training, requirements for a criminal records clearance, participation with the department in periodic home visits and legally mandated status reviews, and annual training as prescribed in the child's service plan at the status review.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Ch. C. Art. 668

Following adjudication, the court may order a predisposition investigation. The investigation shall include the circumstances, needs, and social history of the child and their family and the circumstances surrounding the factual allegations of the petition. It also shall assess whether the child has an established and significant relationship with a parent, grandparent, sibling, or other relative that should be preserved in the best interests of the child. If so, the department shall include in the case plan arrangements for the child's continuing contact with such individuals while the child is in foster care.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Ch. C. Art. 1243

A stepparent, stepgrandparent, great-grandparent, grandparent, or collaterals within the 12th degree may petition to adopt a child.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Ch. C. Art. 1243; 1243.2; 1252

The relative wishing to adopt must meet all the following conditions:

  • The petitioner must be related to the child by blood, adoption, or affinity through the mother of the child or through a father who is filiated to the child in accordance with the Civil Code.
  • The petitioner is a single person over age 18 or a married person whose spouse is a joint petitioner.
  • The petitioner has had legal or physical custody of the child for at least 6 months prior to filing for adoption.

When a petitioner is the grandparent of a child and the petitioner's spouse is the stepgrandparent of the child and that spouse files an authentic act requesting that the blood relative grandparent petitioner be allowed to file or complete the adoption proceedings as the sole petitioner, then any court of competent jurisdiction may grant the adoption in the same manner as if the grandparent was a single petitioner. Any petitioner and stepgrandparent filing a petition pursuant to this paragraph shall be required to undergo the background check provided for in article 1243.2.

The sheriff or the Office of State Police, Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information will conduct a records check for all Federal arrests and convictions and all State arrests and convictions in this and any other State in which either of the prospective adoptive parents has been domiciled.

The Department of Social Services will conduct a records check for validated complaints of child abuse or neglect in this or any other State in which either of the prospective adoptive parents has been domiciled since becoming an adult.

The department shall not investigate the proposed intrafamily adoption except upon order of the court. If the court orders an investigation, it may request any information which it deems relevant and require that the department submit a confidential report of its findings to the court.