5101:2-5-21 Agency assessment of an initial application for A foster home certificate.

(A) As used in this rule, "family member" means a spouse or significant other, or a parent, child, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or cousin whether through birth or adoption. "Significant other" means a person in a domestic relationship between two or more people living together and sharing a common domestic life but are not joined in any type of legal partnership, marriage or civil union recognized under Ohio law.

(B) The agency shall not discriminate in recommending foster caregivers on the basis of age, color, race, sex, religion, national origin, marital status or disability in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794 and of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C., 1201 et seq. An agency may selectively recruit on the basis of the need for foster homes for specific types of children as specified in the agency's recruitment plan as required by rule 5101:2-5-13 of the Administrative Code.

(C) A public children services agency (PCSA), private child placing agency (PCPA) or private noncustodial agency (PNA) shall not consider the race, color or national origin of a foster caregiver applicant to determine whether that person shall be certified as a foster caregiver.

(1) A PCSA, PCPA, or PNA shall not consider the race, color or national origin of a child, for whom a prospective foster caregiver or a certified foster caregiver indicates an interest in providing foster care, in determining whether the applicant is certified or the child placed with the foster caregiver.

(2) The agency may consider a child's race, color or national origin only in those cases it is determined pursuant to rule 5101:2-42-18.1 of the Administrative Code.

(D) The agency shall document in the record of each applicant that the applicant has been evaluated by an assessor to determine the applicant's compliance with Chapter 5101:2-7 of the Administrative Code and the suitability of the applicant to be certified as a foster caregiver considering all occupants of the caregiver's household and the availability of appropriate accommodations for any foster child placed in the home. The evaluation shall be a completed JFS 01673 "Assessment for Child Placement" (rev. 8/2005). In completing the form, a written narrative shall be compiled and signed by the assessor, indicating the assessor's approval or denial of the application.

(E) In addition to the criteria on either the JFS 01673, an agency may establish a written policy, applicable to all applicants, requiring applicants to submit additional materials or documents and participation in additional assessment activities.

(F) The agency shall begin the assessment required by paragraph (D) of this rule within thirty days of the date the agency receives the JFS 01691, "Application for Child Placement" (rev. 6/2009) and complete the assessment within one hundred eighty days of the date the agency received the application.

(1) If an agency fails to commence an assessment within thirty days or complete the assessment within one hundred eighty days, it shall document the reasons it was unable to meet one or both of these requirements in the foster caregiver's record.

(2) Commencement of a homestudy means, at a minimum, scheduling an appointment to interview the applicant or assuring the applicant is informed of the necessary materials required for the assessor to complete the homestudy. The assessment shall include:

(a) At least one visit by an assessor to the applicant's home ensuring the physical facilities of the home are in compliance with the requirements set forth in Chapter 5101:2-7 of the Administrative Code.

(b) The determination of any placement limitations due to the physical environment of the home.

(G) In order to complete the JFS 01673 the assessor shall interview all members of the household over the age of four years.

(1) The interview may be conducted in conjunction with the visit to the prospective foster home as required by paragraph (F) of this rule, or conducted during a separate visit to the home or held elsewhere.

(2) The interview with all members of the household over the age of four years may be a joint interview or separate individual interviews.

(H) Prior to recommending initial certification of a foster home, the agency shall ensure:

(1) The applicant completes all of the preplacement training requirements for the type of foster home for which the applicant is seeking certification.

(2) The agency receives a signed and fully completed JFS 01691.

(3) A criminal records check is conducted and successfully completed for the applicant(s) and all other adult members of the home.

(4) Personal references are received, satisfactory and verified.

(5) A JFS 01653 "Medical Statement for Foster Care/Adoptive Applicant and All Household Members" (rev. 1/2002) is received indicating the applicant and all household members are free from any physical, emotional, or mental condition that would endanger children or impair the ability of the household to care for a foster child; if determined necessary by the agency, an additional report of an examination by a physician, psychologist or other certified or licensed professional.

(6) A fire safety inspection of the applicant's home is conducted by a state certified fire safety inspector certifying the applicant's home is free from conditions hazardous to the safety of foster children.

(7) An assessor completed a JFS 01673 or JFS 01349, including a written narrative, indicating the assessor's approval of the application and the suitability of the applicant to be certified as a foster caregiver.

(I) The agency shall not place a child or cause a child to be placed in a foster home until:

(1) The initial assessment of the foster home and the JFS 01673 or the JFS 01349 has been completed by an assessor and the assessor recommends the applicant(s) be certified as foster caregiver(s).

(2) The foster caregiver completes the preplacement training required by rule 5101:2-5-33 of the Administrative Code for the type of foster home certification the caregiver is seeking.

(3) An original JFS 01317 "Recommendation for Certification/Recertification of a Foster Home" (rev. 1/2003) recommending certification is submitted to the Ohio department of job and family services (ODJFS).

(4) The date a foster home certificate is issued by ODJFS is effective.

(J) The determination of the specific number, age, and sex of children to be placed in a foster home is the joint responsibility of the foster caregiver and the recommending agency based on the assessor's evaluation of the foster caregiver's capabilities and physical facilities as required by Chapter 5101:2-7 of the Administrative Code.

(K) All placements in a foster home shall conform with the provisions of paragraph (J) of this rule and with the provisions of rule 5101:2-5-32 of the Administrative Code.

(L) To avoid a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest, an assessor shall not conduct or approve a foster care homestudy or homestudy update for any of the following:

(1) Him or her self.

(2) Any family member of the assessor.

(3) Any agency employee the assessor supervises or is supervised by.

(M) The agency administrator and a family member of the agency administrator shall not serve as a foster caregiver for the agency the administrator is employed.

(N) A member of the agency's governing body and a person known to the agency as a family member of the agency's governing body shall not serve as a foster caregiver for the agency the governing body member is associated.

(O) Foster care inquiries from anyone mentioned in paragraphs (M) and (N) of this rule wishing to become certified foster caregivers shall be referred to another recommending agency with no conflict of interest.

(P) An existing foster home certificate of any person referred to in paragraphs (M) and (N) of this rule shall be transferred to another recommending agency except the foster caregiver may maintain the certificate and continue to provide care for any currently placed foster children placed in the home prior to January 1, 2008. The person shall not accept any additional placements of foster children.

(Q) If the agency becomes aware a certified foster caregiver of the agency is a family member of the administrator or a family member of a member of the agency's governing body, it shall take the necessary steps to initiate a transfer of the foster caregiver's foster home certificate. The transfer shall be accomplished within thirty days of the discovery.

Effective: 07/01/2009
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/24/2009 and 07/01/2014
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5103.03 , 3107.033
Rule Amplifies: 5103.02 , 5103.03 , 5103.0324
Prior Effective Dates: 12/30/66; 10/1/86; 7/2/90 (Emer.); 10/1/90; 1/1/91; 9/18/96; 1/1/03; 2/1/05; 12/11/06