Placement of Children With Relatives - West Virginia

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Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-4-601a

When a child is removed from their home, placement preference is to be given to relatives or fictive kin of the child. If a child requires out-of-home care, placement of a child with a relative is the least restrictive alternative living arrangement. The Department of Health and Human Resources must diligently search for relatives of the child and fictive kin within the first days of a child's removal and must identify and provide notice of the child's need for a placement to relatives and fictive kin who are willing to act as a foster or kinship parent.

After a petition alleging abuse and neglect of a child is filed, the department shall commence a search for every relative and fictive kin of the child. No later than 7 calendar days after the petition for removal has been filed, the department shall file with the court a list of all the relatives and fictive kin of the child known to the department at the time of the filing, whether those persons have expressed a willingness to take custody of the child.

Within 7 days after the department files the list described in this section, any party to the case may file with the court their own list containing names and addresses of relatives and fictive kin of the child.

The department shall investigate and determine whether any of the persons identified in the lists filed pursuant to this section are willing and able to act as foster or kinship parents to the child. The department shall file its determinations with the court within 45 days from the filing of the petition alleging abuse or neglect of a child.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-4-111

When a child is in foster care or becomes eligible for adoption, and a sibling has previously been placed in foster care or been adopted, the department shall notify the foster or adoptive parents of the sibling of the child's availability for foster placement or adoption to determine if the foster or adoptive parents want to seek a foster placement or adoption of the child.

When a child is in foster care and is living separately from a sibling who is in another foster home or who has been adopted by another family, and the parents with whom the sibling resides want to adopt or provide foster care so that the child may be reunited with a sibling, the department shall place the child in the household with the sibling upon a determination of the fitness of all household members and if the placement is in the best interests of the children. If, however, the department finds that residing in the same home would have a harmful physical, mental, or psychological effect on one or more of the siblings; the child has a physical or mental disability that the existing foster home can better accommodate; or if the department can document that the reunification of the siblings would not be in the best interests of any of the children, the department may petition the court to allow the separation of the siblings to continue. If the child is age 12 or older, the department shall provide the child the option of remaining in the existing foster care placement if remaining is in the best interests of the child.

When two or more siblings are in separate foster care placements and the foster parents of the siblings have applied to provide foster care for a sibling not in their home or two or more adoptive parents seek to adopt a sibling of a child they have previously adopted, the department's determination as to placing the child in a foster or adoptive home shall be based solely upon the best interests of the siblings.

Relatives Who May Adopt

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.