Placement of Children With Relatives - Vermont

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Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, §§ 5307; 5308

At a temporary care hearing, the Department for Children and Families shall provide to the court information about the identity and location of a noncustodial parent, a relative, or person with a significant relationship with the child known to the department who may be appropriate, capable, willing, and available to assume temporary legal custody of the child. If the noncustodial parent cannot be located, the department shall provide to the court a summary of the efforts made to locate the parent.

The department shall provide information to relatives and others with a significant relationship with the child about options to take custody or participate in the care and placement of the child, about the advantages and disadvantages of the options, and about the range of available services and supports.

At the temporary custody hearing, the court may issue orders related to the legal custody of the child as it deems necessary and sufficient to protect the welfare and safety of the child, including the following:

  • A conditional custody order returning or granting legal custody of the child to the custodial parent, guardian, custodian, noncustodial parent, relative, or a person with a significant relationship with the child, subject to such conditions and limitations as the court may deem necessary and sufficient
  • An order transferring temporary legal custody of the child to a noncustodial parent or to a relative
  • An order transferring temporary legal custody of the child to a person with a significant relationship with the child
  • An order transferring temporary legal custody of the child to the commissioner

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, §§ 5307; 5308; 5318

With respect to any person who the department has identified as a potential placement for a child pursuant to this subdivision, the department shall conduct an assessment of the suitability of the person to care for the child. The assessment shall include consideration of the person's ability to care for the child's needs, a criminal history record, and a check of allegations of prior child abuse or neglect by the person or by other adults in the person's home.

In considering the suitability of a relative, the court may order the department to conduct an investigation and file a written report of its findings with the court. The court may place the child in the temporary custody of the department, pending such investigation.

Whenever the court orders the transfer of legal custody to a noncustodial parent, a relative, or a person with a significant relationship with the child, such orders shall be supported by findings regarding the suitability of that person to assume legal custody of the child and the safety and appropriateness of the placement.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 5319

Upon motion of the child's attorney, the court may order contact between the child and the child's siblings, an adult relative with whom the child has a significant relationship, or an adult friend with whom the child has a significant relationship.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 1-101

A relative is a grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, first cousin, a parent's or grandparent's sibling, or the child of the parent's sibling, whether related to the person by the whole-blood or the half-blood, affinity, or adoption. The term does not include a person's stepparent.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, §§ 2-201; 2-203

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

The evaluation shall indicate whether any of the following applies to the person:

  • They have been subject to an abuse prevention order.
  • They have been charged with or convicted of domestic assault.
  • They have been the subject of a substantiated complaint filed with the department.
  • They have been subject to a court order restricting the person's parental rights and responsibilities or parent-child contact with a child.
  • They have been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation.