Placement of Children With Relatives - Oklahoma

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Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, §§ 1-1-105; 1-4-204

'Kinship relation' or 'kinship relationship' means relatives, stepparents, or other responsible adults who have a bond or tie with a child and/or to whom has been ascribed a family relationship role with the child's parents or the child. In cases in which the Indian Child Welfare Act applies, the definitions contained in 25 U.S.C. § 1903 shall control.

When awarding custody or determining the placement of a child, a preference shall be given to relatives and persons who have a kinship relationship with the child. The Department of Human Services shall make diligent efforts to place the child with such persons and shall report to the court the efforts made to secure that placement. In cases where the Indian Child Welfare Act applies, the placement preferences of the act shall be followed. The department shall verify applicability of the Indian Child Welfare Act within 3 months of the child being taken into custody.

The department shall consider placement with a relative without delay and shall identify relatives of the child and notify them of the need for temporary placement and the possibility of the need for a permanent out-of-home placement of the child. The relative search shall be reasonable and comprehensive in scope and may continue until a fit and willing relative is identified. A nationwide relative search shall be conducted by the department within 3 months of the child being taken into custody.

The provisions of this section shall apply to all custody or placement proceedings that concern a child alleged or adjudicated to be deprived, including, but not limited to, guardianship and adoption proceedings.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-4-204

In determining the appropriate custodian or placement for a child, the court and the department shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:

  • The ability of the person to provide safety for the child, including a willingness to cooperate with any restrictions placed on contact with the child
  • The ability of the person to support efforts to implement the permanent plan for the child
  • The ability of the person to meet the child's physical, emotional, and educational needs, including the child's need to continue in the same school
  • The person who has the closest existing personal relationship with the child if more than one person requests placement of the child
  • The ability of the person to provide a placement for the child's sibling who also is in need of placement
  • The wishes of the parent, the relative, and the child, if appropriate
  • The ability of the person to care for the child as long as is necessary and to provide a permanent home, if necessary
  • The best interests of the child

The relatives shall be notified of the need to keep the department informed of their current address to receive notice when a permanent out-of-home placement is being sought for the child. A relative who fails to provide a current address may forfeit the right to be considered for the child's permanent placement.

A decision by a relative not to participate in the child's placement planning at the beginning of the case may affect whether that relative will be considered for permanent placement of the child if the child cannot be returned safely to the home of the child's parents.

Following an initial placement with a relative, whenever a new placement of the child is made, consideration for placement shall again be given to approved relatives who will fulfill the case plan requirements of the child. The department shall consider whether the relative has established and maintained a relationship with the child.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-4-204

When two or more children are siblings, every reasonable attempt shall be made to place the siblings in the same home. In making a permanent placement, siblings shall be placed in the same permanent home or, if the siblings are separated, shall be allowed contact or visits with each other. However, the best interests of each sibling shall be the standard for determining the appropriate custodian or placement as well as the contact and visiting rights with the other siblings.

Siblings may be separated if the court and the department find that placement of siblings together would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings, and any of the following are true:

  • One sibling has resided in a foster family home for 6 or more months and has established a relationship with the foster family.
  • The siblings have never resided in the same home together.
  • There is no established relationship between the siblings.
  • It is in the best interests of the child to remain in the current foster family home placement.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-1-105

The term 'relative' means a grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling of whole-blood or half-blood, a parent's sibling, or any other person related to the child.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10, § 7505-5.1

A preplacement home study is not required if a parent or guardian places the child directly with a relative for purposes of adoption, but a home study of the relative is required during the pendency of a proceeding for adoption.