Placement of Children With Relatives - Mississippi

Date: September 2022

Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Code § 43-15-13

When the Department of Child Protection Services is considering the placement of a child in a foster home and when the department deems it to be in the best interests of the child, the department shall give first priority to one of the child's relatives within the third degree, as computed by the civil law rule.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 43-15-13; 43-15-17

In placing the child in a relative's home, the department may waive any rule, regulation, or policy applicable to placement in foster care that would otherwise require the child to have a separate bed or bedroom or have a bedroom of a certain size if placing the child in a relative's home would be in the best interests of the child and such requirements cannot be met in the relative's home. The court may waive foster care training for a relative only when appropriate.

For a child placed in the care of the child's relative within the third degree by the State or a county department, the department may make monthly payments to defray the relative's expense of furnishing room and board. The department's relative care payment shall be in an amount up to 100 percent of the amount of the foster care board payment. The department may continue to make those payments to the relative after the department relinquishes legal custody of the child to the relative.

Relatives must undergo criminal background checks.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Admin. Code § 18-006-104

A 'sibling' is a child who is related to another child by blood or marriage through at least one parent in common, including whole or half-blood and stepsiblings. Siblings include those who are considered a sibling under State or Tribal law and those who would have been considered a sibling under State or Tribal law, except for termination or disruption of parental rights.

Siblings who enter placement at or near the same time shall be placed together, unless any of the following applies:

  • Placing the siblings together would be harmful to one or more of the siblings.
  • One of the siblings has exceptional needs that can be met only in a specialized program or facility.
  • The size of the sibling group makes such placement impractical, notwithstanding diligent efforts to place the group together.

If a sibling group is separated at initial placement, the caseworker shall make immediate efforts to locate or recruit a family in whose home the siblings can be reunited. These efforts shall be documented and maintained in the case file.

When siblings are not placed together, regular contacts should be maintained unless the case record justifies this is not in the best interests of the children. Siblings not in the same placement setting must have, at minimum, monthly face-to-face visits. The caseworker shall provide the child and siblings with guidance and support before and after visits to learn from issues and assess relationships. Additionally, siblings should be encouraged to maintain contact by phone or in writing.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Code § 43-15-13

A relative is a person related to the child within the third degree, according to civil law.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 93-17-11; 93-17-13

An adoption investigation is not required when the petitioner is a relative or stepparent of the child. A 6-month waiting period for the final decree is not required for an adoption by a relative or a stepparent.