Title 8. Family/Children’s Code
Chapter 14. Foster Care Homes
Title 8. Family/Children’s Code, Chapter 14. Foster Care Homes
SECTION 101. RESPONSIBILITY
It shall be the responsibility of the Tribal Social Services Department to recruit, screen, and license foster homes for children in accordance with this Title.
SECTION 102. THE FOSTER CHILD
(A) The daily routine of a foster child shall be such as to promote good health, rest and play habits.
(B) The responsibility for a child’s health care shall rest with the foster parents. In case of an emergency or a serious sickness or accident to a child, the foster parents shall immediately notify the Foster Care Inspector. The foster parents may consent to surgery or other treatment in a medical emergency.
(C) The foster parents shall not subject the child to verbal abuse, derogatory remarks about the child, the child’s natural parents or relatives, or to threats to expel the child from the foster home. No child shall be deprived of meals, mail or family visits as a method of discipline. When discipline or punishment must be administered, it shall be done with understanding and reason.
SECTION 201. FOSTER CARE INSPECTOR
(A) The Tribal Council shall appoint one or more members of the Tribe as the Foster Home Inspector(s) to inspect the homes of Tribal members and others who reside on the Reservation or within a twenty-five (25) mile radius of the Reservation. Such appointee(s) shall serve a three year appointment, which may be renewed for one more term thereafter. The Foster Home Inspector shall report to the Child Protection Team (CPT).
(B) Upon an inspection of the proposed foster home and an interview with the proposed foster family, the Foster Home Inspector shall submit a recommendation to the Chairperson of the CPT. The CPT shall review the recommendation and act upon it within thirty (30) days, or, if no action is taken, the recommendation of the Foster Home Inspector shall be deemed approved. The Foster Home Inspector shall issue a license for the approved foster home. The foster parent shall file a copy of the foster home license with the Department Health and Human Services.
(C) Except under exceptional circumstances, or in order to preserve a family unit, a foster home may not accept more than four (4) foster children.
(D) Any license issued by the Foster Home Inspector shall apply only to the residence where the family is living at the time application for a license is made. A permanent change of residence automatically terminates the license. The foster parents shall notify the Foster Care Inspector whenever a change of residence is contemplated.
(E) The foster parents shall also notify the Foster Care Inspector whenever a change in the household occurs. For example, if any member of the foster home is accused or is convicted of a crime, or any member of the foster home moves out of the residence, or if any other person moves into the residence, the foster parent shall notify the Foster Care Inspector within forty-eight (48) hours. Failure to report such changes may result in the suspension or revocation of the foster home license.
SECTION 202. FOSTER HOME REQUIREMENTS
(A) The foster home shall be constructed, arranged and maintained so as to provide for the health and safety of all occupants. The Foster Care Inspector may, upon twenty-four (24) hours notice, inspect a foster home.
(B) Heating, ventilation, and light shall be sufficient to provide a comfortable, airy atmosphere. Furnishings and housekeeping shall be adequate to protect the health and comfort of the foster child.
(C) Comfortable beds shall be provided for all members of the family. Sleeping rooms must provide adequate opportunities for rest. All sleeping rooms must have a window of a type that may be readily opened and used for evacuation in case of fire.
(D) Play space shall be available and free from hazards which might be dangerous to the life or health of the child.
SECTION 301. BASIC STANDARDS FOR FOSTER FAMILIES
In considering Indian foster parents the primary consideration should be the parents capacity to provide love and understanding to a child or children in distress.
SECTION 302. THE FOSTER FAMILY
(A) All members of the household shall be in such physical and mental health as will not adversely effect either the health of the child or the quality and manner of his care.
(B) Members of the foster family shall be of good character and standing in the community. They shall never have been convicted of a sex offense and shall not have had any felony convictions within the last five (5) years. Exceptions concerning non-sexual felony convictions may be made provided if adequate information is submitted and reviewed indicating that a significant change of character has occurred.
(C) The foster parents shall be of suitable temperament to care for the foster child, and shall understand the special needs of the child as an Indian person and a member of the Tribal community.
(D) Foster parents shall be at least twenty-one (21) years of age, but there shall be no upper age level, provided that the foster parent has the physical and emotional stamina to deal with the care and guardianship of a Foster child. Foster parents shall be willing, when necessary, to cooperate with the biological parents and shall be willing to help the family re-establish the necessary family ties.
(E) A foster home need not be composed of both a male and female foster parent. The Foster Care Inspector may certify a foster home with a single foster parent provided that the foster parent displays the qualifications necessary to raise a foster child.
(F) The foster parents shall have an income sufficient to care for all members of the foster family. The Foster Care Inspector may take into account any tribal or state benefits when determining the financial ability of the foster parents.
(G) Any time a pre-school foster child is placed in a foster home, there must be at least one (1) foster parent at home full time, unless the foster parent has obligations outside the home that necessitate day care, in which case, the foster parent shall show the ability and availability to provide appropriate day care for the preschool foster child. For school age children, the foster parent must show the child care arrangements which will be made for those periods of time when both foster parents are employed. Infants and young children shall never be left alone without competent supervision.
(H) Except without specific approval by the Child Protection Team, a foster home shall not be licensed whenever any member of the family is mentally ill or on convalescent status or is on parole or probation or is an inmate of a penal or correctional institution.
(I) The standards the Foster Care Inspector shall use in judging the above criteria shall be those of the Tribal community.
SECTION 303. BASIC REQUIREMENTS OF FOSTER FAMILIES
Foster families shall meet the following personal criteria:
(A) The age of foster parent(s) shall be considered only as it affects their physical capability, flexibility, and ability to care for a specific child.
(B) A written statement from a physician, regarding the foster parent(s) and their children’s general health, specific illnesses, or disabilities shall be a routine part of the study-evaluation process. Foster parent(s) and all other adults and the children present in the home shall submit a written report verifying that they have taken tuberculin tests and have been found free of disease; other tests may be required as indicated.
(C) Physical handicaps of foster parent(s) shall be a consideration only as it affects their ability to provide adequate care to foster children or may affect an individual child’s adjustment to the foster family. Cases shall be evaluated on an individual basis with the assistance of a medical consultant when indicated.
SECTION 304. INCOME OF FOSTER FAMILIES
(A) When the agency does not have a plan for paying foster families a salary, it shall determine that the foster family’s income is stable and sufficient for the maintenance of the family and reimbursement for the foster family’s own expenses.
(B) Employment of foster parent(s) outside the home.
(1) In two parent homes it is preferable, in most instances, that both foster parents shall not be employed outside the home so that one parent is available for the parenting that the child requires. The agency shall make decisions regarding such situations on the basis of what is the best interest of the child.
(2) When both parents in a two parent home and when single parents are employed, it is preferable that the home be used for school age children, and only when there are suitable plans (approved by the Agency) for care and supervision of the child after school and during the summer while parent(s) are at work.
SECTION 305. PHYSICAL FACILITIES
(A) Physical facilities of the foster home shall present no hazard to the safety of the foster child.
(B) Foster homes shall meet zoning and housing requirements and/or codes as set by the public safety department for individual family dwellings.
(C) Physical standards for the foster home shall be set according to individual living standards for the community in which the foster home is located; these standards shall be sufficient to assure a degree of comfort which will provide for the well-being of the family and its self-respect in the community in which it resides.
(D) Comfort and privacy:
(1) It is preferable for no more than two children to share sleeping rooms.
(2) The sharing of sleeping rooms by children of opposite sexes is undesirable, especially for foster children who may be experiencing difficulties in the development of their sexual identities attitudes, and behavior.
(3) Children, other than infants and during emergencies (illness), shall not share sleeping quarters with adults in the household.
(4) Individual space shall be provided for the child’s personal possessions.
(5) In all instances when exceptions are necessary, these shall be for children under two years of age or when special cultural, ethnic, or socio-economic circumstances create a situation in which such exceptions will not be to the detriment of the child.
(E) Foster family homes shall be accessible to schools, recreation, churches, other community facilities, and special resources (such as medical clinics) as needed.
(F) If the home is otherwise suitable, the foster family shall be provided with all available assistance in meeting the above requirements, standards, and/or codes.
SECTION 306. FAMILY COMPOSITION
(A) Two parents shall be selected in most cases; however, single parents shall be selected when they can more effectively fulfill the needs of a particular child.
(B) The presence of other children (either own or foster), and other adults (i.e. grandparents, aunts, etc; or unrelated persons) shall be taken into consideration in terms of how they might be effected by or have an effect upon another child.
(C) The number and ages of children in a home (both own and foster) shall be considered on an individual basis, taking into account the foster parents ability to meet the needs of all children present in the home, physical accommodations of the home, and especially the effect which an additional child would have on the family as a unit. It is preferable that:
(1) Foster parent(s) shall care for not more than two infants (under two), including the foster parent(s) own children.
(2) Foster families should not have more than a total of six children, including foster children and foster parent(s) own children, in the foster home. Exceptions shall be made in order to keep siblings together.
(3) The age range of the children in a foster home shall be similar to that in a “normal” family in order to lessen competition and comparisons.
(4) All placement situations shall consider the effect of having some children in the foster home whose parent(s) visit them and other children whose parent(s) do not.
(5) A foster home shall not provide placements for more than one agency at a time without a written agreement delineating the responsibilities of all parties involved.
SECTION 307. PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
Prospective foster parent(s) shall possess personal qualities of maturity, stability, flexibility, ability to cope with stress, capacity to give and receive love, and good moral character. Such characteristics are reflected in the following:
(A) Psycho-social history, including significant childhood relationships and experiences (parent-child, sibling, or other relationships).
(B) Role identification and acceptance.
(C) Reactions to experiences of separation and loss (through death, desertion, etc.)
(D) Education, employment, and patterns of interpersonal relationships.
(E) General social, intellectual and cultural level of the family.
(F) Level of everyday functioning:
(1) Home and money management ability;
(2) Daily routine and habits;
(3) Reactions to stress.
(G) Affect responses (ability to give and receive love, deal with loss, separation and disappointment, etc.)
(H) Moral, ethical, and spiritual qualities of the family.
(I) Religious affiliation and habits.
(J) Hobbies, special interests, skills, and talents.
SECTION 308. FOSTER PARENTING ABILITIES
As assessment of prospective foster parent(s) parenting ability regarding a specific child shall take into account the following:
(A) Motivation for application at this time.
(B) Characteristics and number of children best suited to foster family.
(C) Existing family relationships, attitudes, and expectations regarding own children and parent-child relationships, especially where such existing attitudes and relationships might effect the foster child.
(D) Attitudes of significant members of the extended family regarding child placement.
(E) Ability to accept and love child as he or she is.
(F) Capacity to absorb the child into family life functioning without undue disruption.
(G) Capacity of parent(s) to provide for foster child’s needs while giving proper consideration to own children.
(H) Own children’s attitudes towards accepting foster child.
(I) Realistic assessment of positive and negative aspects of foster parenthood.
(J) Personal characteristics necessary to provide continuity of care throughout child’s need for placement.
(K) Flexibility to meet changing needs over the course of placement.
(L) Ability to accept child’s relationship with own parent(s).
(M) Ability to relate to neglecting and abusing natural parent(s).
(N) Special ability to care for children with special needs (physical handicaps, emotional disturbances, etc.)
(O) Areas in which ongoing social work assistance may be needed.
(P) Ability to help a child return home or be placed for adoption and gain satisfaction for the experience.
SECTION 309. INVESTIGATION
The Foster Care Inspector is authorized to conduct a character investigation to determine the adequacy of the foster home and the competency of the proposed foster parents. The Inspector shall be authorized to interview the potential foster parents and any other person who is familiar with the applicants and with the type of care they provide to their children.