Foster Placement Is a Temporary Arrangement
Video Transcribed: Grandparents’ Rights: What Is Foster Placement? Hi, I’m Tulsa Grandparents Rights Attorney, Justin Mosteller. Today I’m talking to you about foster placement.
Now, foster placement is a little different from everything else we’ve discussed. When foster placement happens, it’s because DHS has removed the children from the parents because of some safety concern, and the case has entered into what’s called a deprived case.
So, the state has filed a deprived petition alleging that the children are deprived in that the parents have failed to protect or exposed to domestic violence or using drugs, and often all of the above and more.
In that situation, DHS is obligated to work for what’s called a kinship placement, which is placed with the family first. They have to make active efforts to try and place the children with a family member.
And there’s also a statute in Title 43 that actually gives an order of preference as to who should have custody of a child. Obviously, number one is the parents, but number two is the grandparents. So in terms of kinship placement, the perfect spot is a grandparent kinship placement.
Now, when DHS does choose to place the child with you, the child is not in your custody. The child is still in the state’s custody. So, you’ll really need to be diligent about doing what DHS says to do and maintaining compliance with their rules.
For instance, if DHS says no visits with mom or dad that are unsupervised or need to be professionally supervised, then if you bring the parents over and just allow them to visit with the children, at that point, that’s violating the rules.
And DHS doesn’t really wait around for an explanation. They just act. At that point, they can move to remove the child from the foster placement and relocate. Now you do have some rights as a foster parent in the state of Oklahoma.
If the child has been placed with a foster family for more than six months and is being removed and placed with a different foster family, you do have the right to file an objection to that removal and have a hearing before the courts, where DHS has to explain their rationale, and you have a chance to rebut their arguments.
So really, the name of the game in foster placement is it’s a temporary arrangement. The goal in a foster placement is to rehabilitate the parents so that they can regain custody. Now that’s usually the way it goes, but sometimes, they do change the case plan from reunification to termination of parental rights.
At that point, that foster placement may turn into an adoptive placement. But that really does require that you keep a good relationship with DHS throughout this process. DHS really is in control in these types of cases, and the courts generally follow what they suggest without much question.
Now I have seen courts rule against a DHS proposal or removal, but it is rare and difficult. So really, if you can, stay on the good side of DHS, follow those rules. You’ll be in the best position to take care of your grandchildren no matter what happens. Whether it’s reunification or adoption, you’ll be in a good position to be there for the grandchildren.
Hopefully, this has explained what foster placement is like and what it involves. If you have any questions or if you currently have a foster placement and have an issue with DHS, feel free to reach out to a Grandparents Rights Attorney in Tulsa.