SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 96-15-107.
Title of Rule: Adopting three new chapters: Child welfare services -- Foster care, chapter 388-25 WAC; Child welfare services -- Adoption and adoption support, chapter 388-27 WAC; and Child welfare services to prevent out-of-home placement and achieve family reconciliation, chapter 388-32 WAC.
Repealing chapter 388-70 WAC and parts of chapter 388-15 WAC.
Purpose: The proposed rules replace chapter 388-70 WAC and parts of chapter 388-15 WAC as part of the department's rule migration and regulatory reform required under EO 97-02. The proposed rules revise child welfare services, adoption, foster care, family reconciliation services, family support services, and add home based services. The proposed rules describe programs and funding requirements to a degree not previously described in rule, with respect to the foster care program.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.13.031.
Statute Being Implemented: Chapters 74.13, 13.32A, and 13.34 RCW.
Summary: Rewrite rules in clear format, to update requirements and benefits, repeal outdated rules.
Reasons Supporting Proposal: The rules are updated to reflect current federal and state law and regulation and to comply with Executive Order 97-02.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting and Implementation: Lonnie Locke/Pam Caird/Sharon Young/Caroline Ford, P.O. Box 45710, Olympia, WA 98504-5710, (360) 902-7932; and Enforcement: Celeste Carey/Pam Caird/Sharon Young/Caroline Ford, P.O. Box 45710, Olympia, WA 98504-5710, (360) 902-7986.
Name of Proponent: Department of Social and Health Services, governmental.
Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.
Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: The rules recodify existing rules in a new chapter, restate the rules in clear writing format and update existing rules to reflect current state and federal law and regulation. The adopted rules will provide clear, concise answers to persons seeking information regarding child welfare services.
Proposal does not change existing rules.
No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. Children's Administration has analyzed the proposed WAC changes and concludes that no new costs will be imposed on the small businesses impacted by these WACs. Preparation of a small business economic impact statement is not required.
RCW 34.05.328 applies to this rule adoption. Children's Administration has determined that the changes to the adoption support program in chapter 388-27 WAC and the home-based services program in chapter 388-32 WAC meet the definition of significant legislative rules. The other parts of this proposal clarify language of existing rules without changing the effect. For information regarding the cost benefit analyses contact: For chapter 388-25 WAC, Child welfare services -- Foster care, Lonnie Locke, (360) 902-7932; for chapter 388-27 WAC, Child welfare services -- Adoption and adoption support, Pam Caird, (360) 902-7968; and for chapter 388-32 WAC, Child welfare services to prevent out-of-home placement and achieve family reconciliation, Sharon Young, (360) 902-7991.
Hearing Location: Lacey Government Center (behind Tokyo Bento Restaurant), 1009 College Street S.E., Room 104-B, Lacey, WA 98503, on October 24, 2000, at 10:00 a.m.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Kelly Cooper, DSHS Rules Coordinator, by October 17, 2000, phone (360) 664-6094, TTY (360) 664-6178, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org [email@example.com].
Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, DSHS Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, fax (360) 664-6185, by October 24, 2000.
Date of Intended Adoption: No sooner than October 25, 2000.
August 23, 2000
Marie Myerchin-Redifer, Manager
Rules and Policies Assistance Unit2824.2
CHILD WELFARE SERVICES
RCW 74.13.020 authorizes the department to provide foster care placement services.
The following definitions are important:
"Alcohol affected infant" means a child age birth through twelve months who was exposed to alcohol in utero and may demonstrate physical, behavioral, or cognitive signs that may be attributed to alcohol exposure.
"Behavior rehabilitation services" (BRS) is a comprehensive program of positive behavioral support and environmental structure in a supervised group or family living setting. Resources are designed to modify a child's behavior or to appropriately care for a child's intensive medical condition. Services are tailored to each client's needs and offered in the least restrictive setting possible.
"Child placing agency" means a private licensed or certified agency that places a child or children for temporary care, continued care, or for adoption.
"Children's administration" (CA) means the cluster of programs within the department of social and health services responsible for the provision of child welfare, child protective, child care licensing, and other services to children and their families.
"Crisis residential center" (CRC) means a secure or semi-secure facility established under chapter 74.13 RCW.
"Department" means the department of social and health services (DSHS).
"Dependency guardian" means the person, nonprofit corporation, or Indian tribe appointed by the court pursuant to RCW 13.34.232 for the limited purpose of assisting the court in the supervision of the dependency.
"Division of children and family services" (DCFS) is the division of children's administration that provides child welfare, child protective, family reconciliation, and support services to children in need of protection and their families.
"Division of licensed resources" (DLR) is the division of children's administration responsible for licensing or certifying child care homes and facilities under the authority of chapter 74.15 RCW.
"Drug affected infant" means a child age birth through twelve months who was exposed to drugs or substances in utero and demonstrates physical, behavioral, or cognitive signs that can be attributed to exposure to drugs or substances.
"Early and periodic screening, diagnosis and treatment" (EPSDT), also known as "healthy kids," is a federal program for preventive health care for children and teens served by Medicaid. The physical/well child examination helps find health problems early and enables the child to receive treatment for concerns identified in the examination.
"Foster care" means twenty-four-hour per day temporary substitute care for the child placed away from the child's parents or guardians and for whom the department or a licensed or certified child placing agency has placement and care responsibility. This includes but is not limited to placements in foster family homes, foster homes of relatives, licensed group homes, emergency shelters, staffed residential facilities, and pre-adoptive homes, regardless of whether the department licenses the home or facility and/or makes payments for care of the child.
"Foster care services" for the department include:
(1) The determination of needs of the child;
(2) The determination of need for foster care;
(3) The placement of the child in the type of foster care setting that best meets the child's needs;
(4) The referral of a child to a private child placement agency or institution to meet the child's specific needs;
(5) Medical services according to the rules of the department's medical program;
(6) Reimbursement for the care of a child in a licensed family foster home;
(7) The purchase of care from a licensed private child placing agency, behavioral rehabilitation services provider, or maternity home;
(8) Supervision of the foster care placement by direct supervision through departmental social work services; or indirect supervision through evaluation of periodic reports from private child placing agencies, rehabilitation services providers, or maternity homes with which the department has contractual arrangements.
"Foster home or foster family home" means person(s) regularly providing care on a twenty-four-hour basis to one or more children in the person's home.
"Group care" means a twenty-four-hour facility licensed or certified under chapter 388-148 WAC for more than six children. The facility provides the basic needs for food, shelter, and supervision. The facility also provides therapeutic services required for the successful reunification of children with the children's family resource or the achievement of an alternate permanent living arrangement.
"Independent living services" means the program services and activities established and implemented by the department to assist youth sixteen years or older in preparing to live on their own after leaving foster care.
"Overpayment" means any money paid by the department for services or goods not rendered, delivered, or authorized or where the department paid too much for services or goods or services rendered, delivered, or authorized.
"Regional support network" is an administrative body which oversees the funding for provision of public mental health services.
"Relative" means a person who is related as defined in RCW 74.15.020 (2)(a).
"Responsible parent" means a birth parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent of a dependent child or a person who has signed an affidavit acknowledging paternity that has been filed with the state office of vital statistics.
"Responsible living skills program" means an agency licensed by the secretary that provides residential and transitional living services to persons ages sixteen to eighteen who are dependent under chapter 13.34 RCW and who have been unable to live in his or her legally authorized residence and, as a result, lives outdoors or in another unsafe location not intended for use as housing.
"Staffed residential home" means a licensed home providing twenty-four-hour care for six or fewer children or expectant mothers. The home may employ staff to care for children or expectant mothers.
"Shelter care" means the legal status of a child at entry in foster care prior to a disposition hearing before the court.
"Vendor" means an individual or corporation that provides goods or services to or for clients of the department and that controls operational decisions.
PART B: PLACEMENT AUTHORIZATION AND PAYMENT
Within the limits of available financial resources, the department provides placement services to children according to the following ordered priorities:
(1) The department must place children who urgently need protection from child abuse or neglect (CA/N) if the department has legal authority for placement consistent with WAC 388-25-0025.
(2) The department may place children whose mental, emotional, behavioral or physical needs present a risk to their safety and resources do not exist within the family to provide for those needs.
Children's administration (CA) social workers must place only those children who meet the criteria for child protective services (CPS), family reconciliation services (FRS), or child welfare services as defined in RCW 74.13.020. Children in situations outlined below do not meet those criteria:
(1) Children whom the CA social worker determines, after assessment, will not be helped in out-of-home care.
(2) Youths ages twelve through seventeen years of age in conflict with their parents and who have not received family reconciliation services, except families receiving adoption support that have already received extensive counseling services.
(3) Youths ages twelve through seventeen years of age whose family has received family reconciliation services and parents are unwilling to have the youths at home solely due to misbehavior.
(4) Youths for whom the primary placement issue is community protection, including sexual predators covered by the sexually aggressive youth (SAY) statute, RCW 74.13.075.
(5) Youths who are unwilling to live in the home of parents who are willing to have them at home, when this is the only presenting problem.
(6) Youths who have a mental illness and are a danger to themselves or others as defined by a mental health professional (see chapter 71.34 RCW).
The department or a child placing agency may place a child in foster care only under the following circumstances:
(1) The child has been placed in temporary residential care after having been taken into custody under chapter 13.32A RCW, Family Reconciliation Act, to alleviate personal or family situations that present an imminent threat to the health or stability of the child or family.
(2) The child, the child's parent(s), or the department has filed a petition requesting out-of-home placement for the child pursuant to RCW 13.32A.120 or 13.32A.140:
(a) Placement has been approved after a fact finding hearing under RCW 13.32A.170; or
(b) A child has been admitted directly to placement in a crisis residential center (CRC), and the parents have been notified of the child's whereabouts, physical and emotional condition, and the circumstances surrounding the child's placement.
(3) A child has been placed in shelter care under one of the following circumstances:
(a) The child has been taken into custody by law enforcement or through a hospital administrative hold and placed in shelter care; or
(b) A petition has been filed with the juvenile court alleging that the child is dependent; that the child's health, safety, and welfare will be seriously endangered if not taken into custody; and the juvenile court enters an order placing the child in shelter care (see RCW 13.34.050 and 13.34.060).
(4) A juvenile court has made a determination of dependency for a child and has issued a disposition order under RCW 13.34.130 that removes the child from the child's home.
(5) A juvenile court has terminated the parent and child relationship as provided in chapter 13.34 RCW and has placed the custody of the child with the department or with a licensed or certified child placing agency.
(6) The child's parent(s) or persons legally responsible to sign a consent for voluntary placement that demonstrates agreement with an out-of-home placement as described in RCW 74.13.031.
(1) The department may serve a child through the behavior rehabilitation services (BRS) program only when the CA social worker has assessed the child's and family's needs and determined that rehabilitative services are necessary and that this is the most appropriate placement for the child.
(2) The department may only provide financial support for a child's BRS placement when the CA social worker has determined this level of care is necessary, the placement is in a licensed or certified home or facility, the provider meets the department's qualifications, and the department has contracted with the provider for that service.
The department has the authority to remove the child after at least seventy-two hours notice to the child care provider. The department may waive notice in emergency situations or when a court has issued an order changing a child's placement.
Within seventy-two hours after a child enters care, a shelter care hearing must be held. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays are excluded in the seventy-two-hour requirement. A court order must be obtained to keep a child in shelter care for longer than thirty days.
(1) If alternative placement resources, including social supports in the family home, have been considered and eliminated; and
(2) The department agrees that the child needs to be placed; then
(3) A child's parent may sign a consent for voluntary placement of a child in foster care (if the child is Native American refer to the Indian Child Welfare Act):
(a) If the child and a parent cannot agree to the child's return home but do agree to the child's placement out of the home; or
(b) When a parent is unable to care for a child.
A child's parent may sign a Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA), DSHS 09-004B(X), to voluntarily place a child in foster care. The consent for voluntary placement must agree with child welfare services as described under RCW 74.13.031. The consent becomes valid when signed by a representative of children's administration.
A voluntary placement must last no longer than one hundred eighty days. By the end of one hundred eighty days, the child must return to the child's parent or guardian unless the juvenile court has made a judicial determination that:
(1) Return to the parent or guardian is contrary to the welfare of the child; and
(2) Continued placement in foster care is in the best interest of the child.
(1) The DCFS regional administrator or the regional administrator's designee may grant exceptions to the one hundred eight-day limit on voluntary placements only:
(a) If the department conducts an administrative review fulfilling the requirements of title 42, United States code (USC), chapter 675, section 475, and the review chairperson recommends continuation of voluntary placement; and
(b) If a specific date within six months is scheduled for the child to return home; or
(c) The child is seventeen years of age or older.
(2) Exceptions which cause the child to remain in care for longer than twelve months require a court review hearing that meets the dispositional and permanency plan hearing requirements of 42 USC 675, section 475.
(1) When a teen parent and infant reside in the same facility, the infant's "home" is considered to be the infant's parent's home. Maintenance payments for the teen parent must be increased to provide for the maintenance of the infant. A legal authorization-to-be-placed is not required in order to include an amount sufficient for the infant's maintenance or to issue medical coupons for the infant.
(2) For protection of the infant, a dependency order placing the child in temporary custody of the department may be appropriate. Even if dependency is established, a legal authorization-to-be placed must be obtained to keep the infant in out-of-home care should the teen parent placement setting change so as not to include the infant.
The CA social worker authorizes foster care payments when:
(1) The CA social worker documents the need for the type and level of foster care; and
(2) The social worker has documentation showing the department's authority for the placement of the child in foster care as required by WAC 388-25-0025.
(1) The department makes foster care payments only to persons and agencies the department has appropriately licensed and approved, or, if not subject to licensing, the department has certified as meeting the department's licensing requirements, or:
(a) If in another state, persons or agencies meeting the requirements of that state; or
(b) If in a tribal program, persons or agencies meeting the requirements of that tribal program.
(2) The department makes payment for out-of-state foster care placements only after approval from the two state offices involved (see WAC 388-25-0440).
(3) The department may make foster care payments to licensed or certified foster parents and to persons granted dependency guardianship, if the dependency guardians are licensed or certified as foster parents (see RCW 13.34.234).
(1) When the child is eligible for foster care payments and Social Security Act, Title XVI, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, or Social Security Act, Title II, Survivor's Benefits, Veterans' Administration (VA) benefits, or other sources of income, the dependency guardian may choose one payment source or the other, but not more than one.
(2) If the dependency guardian chooses to receive foster care payments rather than SSI payments or another source in behalf of the child, the department places SSI benefits or the other cited benefit in an account the department may use to meet the cost of care or special needs of the child in accordance with RCW 74.13.060.
If the dependency guardian has received payment from SSI or another source as well as foster care, an overpayment has occurred. The department must recover the foster care payments made to the dependency guardian for those months for which the dependency guardian also received SSI or other benefits, as well as foster care payments, in behalf of the child.
(1) Foster care providers are responsible for:
(a) Protecting and nurturing children in a safe, healthy environment that provides positive support and supervision for the child in care;
(b) Taking the child to a physician or nurse practitioner to complete an EPSDT (early and periodic screening, diagnosis and treatment) examination. EPSDT exams must be scheduled within one month of initial placement and annually thereafter.
(c) Reporting to the social worker the fact that an EPSDT examination took place and if the examination showed that further treatment is needed.
(d) Observing and sharing information about the child's behavior, school and medical status, response to parental visits, and the child's growth and development with persons designated by the assigned CA social worker (see chapter 388-148 WAC).
(e) Meeting the developmental needs of the child by:
(i) Teaching age appropriate skills;
(ii) Supporting cultural identity;
(iii) Helping the child attach to caring adults;
(iv) Building self esteem;
(v) Encouraging and modeling positive social relationships and responsibilities;
(vi) Supporting intellectual and educational growth;
(f) Supporting the permanent plan for the child;
(g) Participating as a member of the child's treatment team by taking part in the development of the service plan for the child and providing relevant information about the child's progress for court hearings;
(h) Providing assistance to the social worker, when working with the biological parents is part of the service plan, by assisting in family visitation and modeling effective parenting behavior for the family.
(2) Therapeutic foster care and rehabilitative service providers are responsible for additional therapeutic services as defined in their service agreements or contracts with the department.
Foster parent care records may be disclosed upon request in accordance with RCW 42.17.260.
(1) The department pays only for placements and plans the department has approved.
(2) The department has final responsibility for determining initial and ongoing eligibility for financial support.
(3) Payment for children served through the behavior rehabilitation services program is limited to those children who are ages six to eighteen.
(4) The department maintains control and oversight of placements and payments through written agreements with the child placing agencies, quarterly reports, and planning meetings with the agency or facility.
(1) The department begins foster care payment for a child on the date the department or its authorized designee places the child in the licensed foster home.
(2) The department pays for each night a child resides in foster care.
(1) The department ends payment on the day before the child actually leaves the foster home or facility. The department does not pay for the last day that a child is in a foster care home or facility.
(2) The department terminates family foster care payments for children in family foster care effective the date:
(a) The child no longer needs foster care; or
(b) The child no longer resides in foster care except as provided in WAC 388-25-0180; or
(c) The child reaches the age of eighteen. If the child continues to attend, but has not finished, high school or an equivalent educational program at the age of eighteen and has a need for continued family foster care services, the department may continue payments until the date the child completes the high school program or equivalent educational or vocational program. The department must not extend payments for a youth in care beyond age twenty.
(3) The department must terminate foster care payments for children in the behavior rehabilitative services program effective the date:
(a) The child no longer needs rehabilitative services; or
(b) The child is no longer served through contracted rehabilitative services program except as provided in WAC 388-25-0030; or
(c) The child reaches the age of eighteen and continues to attend, but has not finished, high school or an equivalent educational program and has a need for continued rehabilitative treatment services, the department may continue payments until the date the youth completes the high school program or equivalent educational or vocational program. The department must not extend payments for a youth in care beyond age twenty.
(1) The standards of payment explained in WAC 388-25-0120 through 388-25-0215 are the basis for the reimbursement rates the department provides for care of children placed in licensed foster care under the department's direct supervision and those children under the supervision of child placing agencies.
(2) The CA social worker must determine the payment plan for all types of family foster care through a review of the needs and resources of each child and the activities of the foster parent which meet those needs.
(3) The CA social worker must discuss any plan above the basic foster care rate with the foster parent so that the foster parent knows:
(a) The basis for payment;
(b) Any increased expectations of the foster parent for service delivery or participation in the case plan for the child; and
(c) The amount included for each item of the child's care.
(1) The foster care basic rate reimburses the foster parent for costs incurred in the care of the child for room and board, clothing, and personal incidentals. The amount of reimbursement varies according to the age of the child.
(2) The department's children's administration may approve exceptions to the basic rates.
(3) To determine the payment rates, the department considers the child's birth date to be the first day of the month in which the child's birthday occurs.
(4) The standard reimbursement rate allowed is limited to the scheduled rate in existence for the time period(s) in which the child was placed in the foster home.
(5) The department's foster care reimbursement rates are as follows:
|Age||0-5||6-11||12 & Older|
*Schedule will be updated to comply with mandated changes.
**Totals include room and board, clothing allowance, and personal incidentals.
When the department or a contracted child placing agency places a child in foster care or, at other times, the social worker may authorize a clothing allowance to supplement a child's clothing supply, when necessary. This allowance may not exceed two hundred dollars unless authorized by the DCFS regional administrator or the regional administrator's designee. The allowance must be based on the needs of the child and be provided within available funds. Clothing purchased becomes the property of the child and will be sent with the child if placement changes.
The department or a child placing agency uses receiving homes to place a child in a licensed family foster home on a temporary, emergent, or interim basis to provide sufficient time for the development of a plan. This planning includes the involvement of the child, the child's parent(s), and the child's extended family whenever possible.
(1) A DCFS regional administrator must designate family foster homes which are to receive child placements twenty-four hours per day. These homes provide care for children on a temporary, emergent, or interim basis as regular or specialized receiving homes.
(2) If the regional administrator designates a receiving home to be available on a twenty-four-hour basis, the regional administrator must specify this designation in a written agreement with the foster parent. Regular foster homes may also agree to accept children on an emergent basis.
There are two types of receiving homes: Regular and specialized. Each type of home provides the following services:
(1) Regular receiving homes for children age birth through age seventeen; and
(2) Specialized receiving homes for children who require more intensive supervision than normally provided to children in foster care. The child may require more intensive supervision due to behavioral problems, developmental disability, emotional disturbance, erratic and unpredictable behavior or medical condition (not on personal care or medically intensive DDD program).
Each DCFS regional administrator must decide on the number of receiving homes needed for the regional administrators' respective geographical areas.
(1) The department limits a child's maximum length of stay in a receiving home:
(a) Maximum length of stay for regular receiving homes is thirty consecutive days per placement;
(b) Maximum length of stay for specialized receiving homes is fifteen-consecutive days per placement.
(2) The DCFS regional administrator or the administrator's designee may approve extensions of a child's stay in a licensed family foster home paid at a receiving care rate beyond the limits contained in subsection (1) of this section.
The current reimbursement rates, effective July 1, 2000, to receiving homes are:
|Type of Home||Monthly Retention Fee - Per Bed||Daily Rate per Child in Care|
|Regular receiving (all ages)||$51.12||$19.06|
|Special receiving, ages 12-17||$102.99||$26.08|
(1) The DCFS regional administrator or the administrator's designee may authorize payments in excess of the standard for individual child-specific situations. The department may, within available funds, purchase clothing and personal incidentals for the child in receiving home care as needed.
(2) The department does not pay the receiving home rate if the child is expected to stay in this placement for longer than thirty days.
(3) The department may make reimbursement for assessment and interim care through the behavior rehabilitative services program.
(4) The department may, at the direction of the DCFS regional administrator or designee, use qualified, contracted behavior rehabilitative services to provide assessment or interim care for children and youth requiring that level of care as determined by the CA social worker. Unless the department and the provider make an alternate agreement, the department must pay for contracted rehabilitative services at the facility's contracted daily rate for interim or assessment care.
(1) In addition to the basic rate for regular family foster care specified in this chapter, the department may reimburse an additional amount for the specialized care of a child with special needs.
(2) For the child to be eligible for payment above the basic rate, the department's social worker must assess the child's behaviors, intellectual functioning, and/or physical disabilities and determine, with the child's foster parent or prospective foster parent, what services the foster parent will provide to meet the child's special needs.
(1) The department may provide additional support services and reimbursements to meet specific needs of the child in care or of the family foster home provider. The department must approve all services and reimbursement amounts in advance of the service being provided. Services are subject to the availability of funds.
(2) Additional services may include the following:
(a) Receiving home contracted and noncontracted respite - This service for receiving homes includes child care, relief care, extra supervision for special activities, as well as basic respite care. Respite is subject to the availability of respite homes. Respite contracted but not available will be reimbursed to the regular foster parent.
(b) Receiving home transportation - This service reimburses receiving home parents for selected transportation costs, such as demands for training or special appointments for a child in care. The department makes direct payment to the receiving home parent.
(c) Receiving home contracted support services - These services are intended to enhance the capacity of regular and specialized receiving homes by increasing the skills of the provider to provide a stable emergency placement. The services include consultation for obtaining resources, training, case conferences, and visits to a child's parents' home by the receiving home provider.
(d) Receiving home ancillary support services - These services are reimbursements for activities or items enabling receiving homes to provide extra services to youth in care. Examples of such supports include craft items, recreational materials, and tickets to events.
(e) Hourly or daily foster care respite - Respite care by the hour or day for receiving and regular foster homes. The department may reimburse foster parents for relief supervision or additional supervision for special activities. The department defines "day" as either an eight-hour period or a block of time, up to twenty-four hours, paid as an eight-hour day. "Light" is defined as care provision that is not significantly different from that required by a child in the general population. However, the child may require some additional attention or assistance. The appropriate rate is determined after assessing the child's care requirement as either "light" or "heavy." "Heavy" is defined as care that requires the caregiver to provide intensive attention or total assistance. Regular intervention is needed to meet the needs of the child. Children having areas of need that are "light" in one area and "heavy" in another are assessed as "moderate."
(f) Hourly or daily agency foster care respite - Respite care by the hour or day for receiving and ongoing foster homes. Care may be child specific or related to all the children in the foster home. The department reimburses agencies for purchase of relief supervision and additional supervision for special activities.
(g) Foster care clothing and personal incidentals - The monthly rate that the department may reimburse to defray the cost of clothing and personal items for children in selected circumstances when the department is not paying for the child's board and room. The department makes reimbursement to the foster home or facility.
(h) Foster care personal incidentals - An amount to reimburse foster parents for purchase of personal items needed by a child in receiving care.
(i) Foster care medical services - Reimbursement arranged and made for medical services not covered by the department's regular health insurance program (e.g., orthodontia or corrective surgery) for a child in foster care placement.
(j) Foster care physical examination/report - This medical service is used after the decision to place the child has been made and if the child is ineligible for an EPSDT examination or does not have private medical insurance. The service includes arranging and making payment for a physical examination and/or report necessary for a child in or needing foster care placement.
(k) Foster care psychological evaluation and report - The department may arrange for this service and make payment to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other appropriate person for an evaluation of a child, parent, or foster parent. The department authorizes this service to assist in preventing a foster care placement or making an appropriate placement to implement a permanent plan.
(l) Foster care psychological treatment and report - The department arranges this service and makes payment to a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or other appropriate person for treatment of a child and/or parent(s) necessary to assist in preventing out-of-home placement, making an appropriate out-of-home placement, or implementing a permanent plan. This service includes a written report of the treatment goals, progress and outcomes.
(m) Foster care transportation - Reimbursement for the cost of transportation by car and associated expenses incurred by or on behalf of a child in foster care, receiving family reconciliation services (FRS), adoption services, or for return of a runaway. The department makes reimbursement directly to a vendor or to a foster parent.
(n) Foster care business account transportation - Reimbursement for the cost of air and rail transportation and associated expenses incurred by or on behalf of a child in foster care, receiving family reconciliation services (FRS), adoption services, or for return of a runaway. The department makes reimbursement directly to a vendor and charges expenses to the business transportation account (BTA).
(o) Parent-child visitation - Transportation and visitation services for children in out-of-home care. Services include:
(i) Transportation to and from scheduled visits;
(ii) Monitoring and supervision of family visits; and
(iii) Reports regarding the nature and progress of visits and the parent/child interaction.
(4) The rates for the specialized services described in this section are contained in the following table. The rates are effective July 1, 2000.
|Specialized Services and Reimbursement Rates|
|Receiving Care Service||Rating*||Per Hour|
|Receiving home contracted and noncontracted respite||Light
|Receiving home transportation||Amount authorized|
|Receiving home contracted support services||Contracted amount|
|Receiving home ancillary support services||Amount authorized|
|Receiving Foster Care Service||Rating*||Per Hour|
|Hourly foster care respite||Light
|Daily foster care respite||Light
|*To determine rating for child's care requirements in physical/medical and behavior/psychological areas:
Rating of light in both areas = light
Rating of light in one area and heavy in the other area= moderate
Rating of heavy in both areas = heavy
|Foster care clothing/monthly (for children not in a paid placement)||Age
12 & older
|Foster care personal incidentals (one time payment)||Age
12 & older
|Foster care medical services||Amount authorized|
|Foster care physical examination by health care practitioner||$8.50 - $25.00 (one time payment)|
|Foster care psychological evaluation/report||Up to $105.00 per unit of service|
|Foster care transportation||Up to $1,000.00|
|Foster care business transportation account transportation||Up to $1,000.00|
|Foster care psychological treatment/report||Up to $1100.00 per unit of service|
|Parent-child visitation||As contracted|
Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
Under what circumstances may the department provide foster care for educational purposes?
(1) The department may provide licensed foster care for a child with physical or mental disabilities when requested by a school district and in concurrence with the wishes of the parents, in accordance with WAC 388-25-0030.
(2) The department will not make the payment when the only need for foster care arises from the need for an education. The department will only pay the cost of foster care when one of the conditions of WAC 388-25-0030 applies.
(1) When a child is temporarily absent from a foster home or a facility to which the department is paying the cost of placement, the department may pay for the actual number of days absent, if the number of consecutive days of absence does not go over fifteen days within a thirty-day period. The care provider must notify the DCFS social worker of the absence and whether the absence is planned or unplanned.
(2) The following requirements apply to planned absences:
(a) The care provider must notify the DCFS social worker at least three days in advance of any planned absence. The notification must include the following information:
(i) Child's name;
(ii) The address the child will visit;
(iii) The reason for the visit;
(iv) The planned beginning and ending dates of absence; and
(v) A statement as to whether or not the foster care provider will hold the child's unoccupied bed for the child's return to the home or facility.
(b) A private agency must report the frequency, duration, and reasons for visits to the responsible DCFS social worker or local office in the child's quarterly progress report prepared by the private agency.
(c) When there is a planned temporary absence of a child from a foster family home supervised by DCFS, the assigned social worker will participate in the plan.
(3) The following requirements apply to unplanned absence of children from out-of-home care:
(a) The foster care provider must notify the supervising DCFS social worker by the next working day or within eight hours following the child's unplanned absence. Notification may be by a telephone call to the DCFS social worker or the worker's supervisor. The written notification must provide the following information:
(i) Child's name, age, and home address;
(ii) Date and time the child left the premises;
(iii) A statement as to whether the foster care provider is willing to accept the child back into the home or facility; and
(iv) A statement as to whether or not the foster care provider will hold the child's unoccupied bed for the child's return to the home or facility.
(b) If the foster care provider is willing to accept the child back and holds a vacant bed for the child, the department may continue payment for fifteen days from the date of the child's departure.
(c) The foster care provider must notify the DCFS social worker or local office of the date of the child's return.
(4) In addition to the preceding requirements, the department places the following limitations on the payments for temporary absences of children from foster care:
(a) A child's cumulative total of forty-five days of absence within a six-month period is the maximum allowable for payment unless the DCFS regional administrator or the administrator's designee approves an exception request.
(b) The social worker must provide adequate justification of unusual circumstances to support a request for extension of the consecutive fifteen-day and cumulative forty-five-day limitations.
When the department or a child placing agency places a child in foster care with a family receiving public assistance under 42 U.S.C. 601, et seq., the department must not consider payment received by the family for the foster child in determining the family's eligibility for public assistance. The department makes payments, including special or exceptional payments, for the child's board, clothing and personal incidentals.
(1) A relative caregiver, licensed or certified as a family foster home under chapter 74.15 RCW and eligible for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) in behalf of the child, may select either foster care or TANF payments in behalf of the child, but not both.
(2) A relative caretaker who is not related to the specified degree defined in RCW 74.15.020 by blood, marriage, or legal adoption may receive foster care payments in behalf of the child if licensed as a foster family home under chapter 74.15 RCW.
(3) A relative caretaker who is not licensed or certified for foster care may apply for TANF.
(1) A child may join a foster family in a move out of state only if this move supports achieving a permanency goal as outlined in the child's case plan.
(2) The department and the foster parent must follow CA requirements when a foster child and the licensed foster family moves out of state. This may include obtaining permission of the court before the move.
(3) When the foster family moves to another state, the department must arrange with the other state or local social service agency to license and supervise the home and the placement (see chapter 26.34 RCW). The department does not need to make such arrangements for supervision when the family leaves this state during a vacation.
(a) Before the foster family moves from Washington to the new state, the social worker or the foster parent may request a foster home license application from the new state.
(b) If the department and the foster parent are unable to obtain an application for license before the foster family leaves Washington, the foster parent must, upon arrival in the new state of residence, contact the local foster home licensing agency in the new state to apply for a license in that state.
(4) When the foster family moves to another state with a child in the department's custody, the child's DCFS social worker must submit necessary interstate compact on the placement of children (ICPC) application forms to the department's ICPC program manager. The social worker must do this as soon as the foster family has a new residence or address in the new state. The ICPC request must ask that the new state license the family as a foster home and provide ongoing supervision of the child in care.
(5) The department continues payments at the department's current rates until the other state fully licenses the home. After receiving a copy of the foster family home license from the other state, the DCFS supervising social worker authorizes payment at the receiving state's rates (see WAC 388-25-0195).
(1) When the department places a child into a new placement with a family residing and licensed in another state, the DCFS social worker must obtain the payment rates from that state. Following receipt of the other state's rates, the department will pay that state's rates in accordance with ICPC procedures when:
(a) Those rates are higher than Washington's rates; and
(b) The other state identifies its rates to the department.
(2) When the child welfare department in another state places a child, who is a resident of the state of Washington, in foster care the department makes foster care payments at the rate requested by that state.
(3) The CA ICPC program manager must approve out-of-state placement before the department makes payment for foster care.
The department does not include the earnings of a child in out-of-home care when considering if a child is eligible for a particular funding source nor when determining a child's possible participation in the cost of care.
(1) Unearned income includes Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI), veteran's benefits, railroad retirement benefits, inheritances, or any other payments for which the child is eligible, unless specifically exempted by the terms and conditions of the receipt of the income. The department must use income not exempted to cover the child's cost of care, except for resources held in trust for an American Indian child.
(2) Any person, agency or court that receives payments on behalf of a child in out-of-home care must send the payments to the department's division of child support.
PART C: PARENTAL SUPPORT OBLIGATION
Parents of children in foster care must provide financial support for their child in accordance with rules contained in chapter 388-14A WAC.
(1) The department's division of child support determines the amount of parental financial support, except when stated in a superior court order. Chapter 74.20A RCW and chapter 388-14A WAC provide the authority and procedures for the division of child support to collect financial support from the parent to pay for a child in foster care.
(2) Only the division of child support may recommend to the court, on behalf of the department, to establish, raise, lower, release, or forgive support payments for a child placed in foster care. No other agency or staff may make agreements with parent(s) or their representatives regarding this matter.
(1) The DCFS office must refer to the division of child support every foster care placement in which DCFS participates in payment for care, except:
(a) Cases, if any, in which the division of child support has determined it would not be cost effective to pursue collection, including placements of seventy-two hours or less; or
(b) Cases exempt by law from collection action; or
(2) The children's administration must refer to DCS cases in which the department determines that sufficient good cause exists to not pursue collection. The following constitute good cause for requesting that DCS not pursue collection action on foster care cases referred to DCS:
(a) The department's division of developmental disabilities (DDD) has determined that the child is developmentally disabled. DCS still must establish paternity.
(b) The parent or other legally obligated person, or the parent or other person's child, spouse, or spouse's child was the victim of the offense for which the child was committed to the custody of the juvenile rehabilitation administration (JRA) and the child is being placed directly into foster care from a JRA facility until this placement episode closes.
(c) Adoption proceedings for the child are pending in court or the custodial parent is being helped by a private or public agency to decide if the child will be placed for adoption.
(d) The child was conceived as a result of incest or rape and establishing paternity would not be in the child's best interest.
(e) The juvenile or Tribal court in the dependency proceeding finds that the parents will be unable to comply with an agreed reunification plan with the child due to the financial hardship caused by paying child support. The social worker also may determine that financial hardship caused by paying child support will delay or prevent family reunification.
(f) The custodial parent and/or the child may be placed in danger as a result of the presence of or potential for domestic abuse perpetrated by the other parent or responsible person.
Adoption support cases may be referred to DCS. Each case will be reviewed for determination of good cause exemption from collection.
The parents must make all payments for the benefit of the child and/or the costs for a child in out-of-home care to the division of child support, unless a court order directs payment through a clerk of the court. A clerk of the court must send payments, under a court order, to the division of child support.
(1) The department must advise any person or agency having custody of the child that court ordered child support payments are to be received by the department under RCW 74.20A.030 and 74.20A.250.
(2) The person or agency having custody must acknowledge this transferred right to the department by execution of an assignment of judgment and limited power of attorney, which must remain in effect as long as the child receives foster care assistance.
PART D: VETERANS' BENEFITS
By agreement with the regional office of the veterans' administration, the department may receive benefits on behalf of children who have been placed by court order under the department's supervision or custody.
PART E: ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS
The foster care provider, the licensed or certified child placement or care agency, and the parents are not entitled to request an administrative hearing to dispute established rates. Chapter 34.05 and 43.20A RCW, chapter 388-01 and 388-148 WAC, and this chapter provide specific rights to administrative hearings.
(1) RCW 43.20B.675 provides that all vendors have the right to request a hearing if they have a bona fide overpayment dispute. The department must offer a pre-hearing conference to all clients and vendors that request an administrative hearing.
(2) Contracted and noncontracted service providers may seek dispute resolution through these rules, under the Administrative Procedure Act and RCW 43.20B.675, with respect to overpayments. However, the following limitations apply:
(a) The right of vendors to seek an administrative hearing to contest alleged overpayments applies only to overpayments for goods or services provided on or after July 1, 1998.
(b) These procedures do not create a right to a hearing where no dispute right previously existed except as provided in RCW 43.20B.675.
(c) These rules limit disputes for foster family and child day care providers to alleged overpayments. Homes and facilities licensed under chapter 74.15 RCW may appeal adverse licensing actions under the provisions of chapter 388-148 or 388-155 WAC, as applicable.
Adoptive parents who receive assistance through the adoption support program are not vendors within the meaning of the law and do not fall within the scope of this chapter.
There is no time limit on identifying and initiating recovery of overpayments.
Children's administration employees do not have authority to forgive or waive overpayments nor to offset overpayments from future payments. All such authority rests with the department's office of financial recovery (OFR). Designated CA staff may mediate a disputed payment with the vendor, but final approval for any negotiated proposed settlement rests with OFR.
Governmental organizations, including Indian Tribes, with an inter-local agreement with the department do not have the right to an adjudicative hearing through the office of administrative hearings (OAH). The disputes process described in the agreement between the entity and the department governs the resolution process.
A provider or vendor must follow the procedure indicated on the department's Vendor Overpayment Notice, DSHS 18-398A(X), dated 07/1998.
When a vendor files a timely and complete request for an administrative hearing, payment on the overpayment is not due on the amount contested until the office of administrative hearings or its designee makes a final decision about the vendor's liability and any amount due.
The Administrative Procedure Act, chapter 34.05 RCW, chapter 388-02 WAC, and this chapter govern the proceeding. The provisions in this chapter govern if a conflict exists in chapter 388-02 WAC. Chapter 34.05 RCW is the overall governing authority.
(1) Each DCFS regional administrator, division of licensed resources (DLR) regional manager, or CA division director, as applicable, must establish procedures to provide for consistency in the handling of provider or vendor disputes in accordance with the children's administration pre-hearing procedures and this chapter.
(2) Staff at the following organizational levels will handle disputes:
(a) The DCFS regional administrator is responsible for the dispute resolution process for:
(i) All payments authorized by local office social workers;
(ii) All payments authorized under regionally managed contracts and service agreements.
(b) Regional staff are responsible for the following activities to resolve disputes:
(i) Pre-hearing conferences;
(ii) Mediation activities;
(iii) Administrative hearings for payments authorized in local offices; and
(iv) Administrative hearings for regionally-managed contracts.
(c) For CA child care subsidy program payment disputes, DLR office of child care policy (OCCP) headquarters staff is responsible for:
(i) Pre-hearing conferences;
(ii) Mediation activities; and
(iii) Administrative hearings.
(d) Assigned CA division of program and policy development or office of foster care licensing (OFCL) headquarters staff, as applicable, will handle disputes arising from headquarters-managed contracts and service agreements. These staff will handle:
(i) Pre-hearing conferences;
(ii) mediation activities; and
(iii) Administrative hearings.
PART F: FOSTER PARENT LIABILITY FUND
(1) The foster parent liability fund authorized under RCW 74.14B.080 allows for insurance coverage for foster parents licensed under chapter 74.15 RCW. The coverage includes personal injury and property damage caused by foster parents or foster children that occurred while the children were in foster care.
(2) Such insurance covers acts of ordinary negligence but does not cover illegal conduct or bad faith acts taken by foster parents in providing foster care. Monies paid from liability insurance for any claim are limited to the amount by which the claim exceeds the amount available to the claimant from any valid and collectible liability insurance.
Coverage under the foster parent liability fund is for valid claims arising out of occurrences on or after July 1, 1991.
A person eligible for foster parent liability fund coverage must be licensed or certified by the department or a child placing agency under chapter 74.15 RCW to provide foster family care.
The limits of coverage under the foster parent liability are:
(1) Up to twenty-five thousand dollars per occurrence. "Occurrence" means, for purposes of this chapter, the incident which led to the claim.
(2) The claim must be for a third party personal injury or property damage arising from a foster parent's act or omission in the good faith provision of family foster care and supervision of a foster child.
(3) The department must not make a payment of claims from this liability fund if the foster parent is not liable to the third party or the foster child's birth or adoptive parent or guardian because of any:
(b) Limitations; or
(c) Exclusions provided by law.
(5) The foster parent must, first, exhaust all monetary resources available from another valid and collectible liability insurance before seeking payment from this liability fund. Coverage under this foster parent liability fund must be in excess of any other available liability insurance.
Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
The department excludes what claims from coverage under the foster parent liability fund?
The department excludes the following claims from coverage under the foster parent liability fund:
(1) Claims arising as a result of a foster parent's illegal conduct or bad faith acts in providing family foster care. Such conduct or act includes but is not limited to:
(a) Loss arising out of a dishonest, fraudulent, criminal, or intentional act or omission;
(b) Loss arising out of licentious, immoral, or sexual behavior;
(c) Loss occurring because the foster parent provided a foster child with an alcoholic beverage or controlled substance, other than medication prescribed for the foster child in the amounts prescribed by a physician or other licensed or authorized medical practitioner;
(d) A judgment against the foster parent based on alienation of affection.
(2) Claims based on an occurrence not arising from the family foster care relationship. This includes a foster child's act occurring while the child was temporarily assigned outside the jurisdiction of the foster parent.
(3) Claims for a bodily injury or property damage arising out of the operation or use of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or water craft owned by, operated by, rented to, or loaned to any foster parent; or
(4) Claims for an injury or damage from an occurrence before July 1, 1991.
The twenty-five thousand dollar limitation per occurrence must apply regardless of whether there are multiple claims arising from the same occurrence. The department will consider a claim by one or more foster parents occupying the same household a single claim.
(1) If the liability fund pays for a claim, the foster parent must transfer to the department the foster parent's rights of recovery against any person or organization against whom the foster parent may have a legal claim.
(2) The foster parent must sign and deliver to the department any documents necessary to transfer such foster parent's rights to the state.
(1) The department may conduct an investigation of any foster parent liability fund claim.
(2) The foster parent must fully cooperate with the department for any liability fund claims filed against the foster parent.
PART G: FOSTER PARENTS PROPERTY DAMAGE REIMBURSEMENT
(1) Within available funds and subject to the conditions in this chapter, the department must reimburse family foster care providers who incur property damages, losses, and emergency medical treatment expenses that are caused by the foster child or respite care child during placement in the foster family's home.
(2) For occurrences on or after July 25, 1999, the department must reimburse the foster parent for the replacement value of any property covered under and subject to the limitations of this chapter (see RCW 74.13.335).
(3) For occurrences before July 25, 1999, the department will reimburse the depreciated value of any property covered under and subject to the limitations of the this chapter.
Foster parents are eligible for reimbursement if the foster parents are:
(1) Licensed by DSHS or certified by a child-placing agency and licensed by the department under chapter 74.15 RCW; and
(2) Providing approved DSHS-funded foster care to children in the care, custody, and supervision of DSHS or a licensed child placing agency; or
(3) Providing department-approved and funded respite care to children.
The following reimbursement limitations apply for claims:
(1) The PER OCCURRENCE/TOTAL amount the department will pay as the result of any one occurrence must not exceed:
(a) Five thousand dollars for all property damages and losses; or
(b) One thousand dollars for all personal bodily injuries regardless of the number of foster parents or their household members who sustain property damages, losses, or personal bodily injuries.
(2) PROPERTY DAMAGE ITEMS are limited to the repair/cleaning cost or the replacement value. The department pays replacement value if the item cannot be repaired or cleaned as substantiated by a detailed retailer estimate or if the repair cost goes over the replacement value of the item. The department may request the final repair bill from foster parents for payment made from estimates provided for purposes of recovery.
(3) PROPERTY LOSS ITEMS are limited to the replacement value as substantiated by the original purchase receipt, if available, and two replacement estimates or replacement purchase receipt.
(4) PERSONAL BODILY INJURY claims are limited to the costs incurred for receiving emergency medical treatment services that is not payable or required to be provided under workmen's compensation, or disability benefits law, or under any similar law, or provided under a personal/business medical plan.
(5) For POLICY DEDUCTIBLES, foster parents must disclose if their property damages or losses were paid or will be paid under their homeowner, automobile, or other personal/business insurance policy. The department will then limit reimbursement to the policy deductible.
(6) DENTAL EXPENSES are limited to costs not payable under a dental plan. The department will pay comparable replacement of dental appliances up to the maximum per occurrence.
(7) VISION EXPENSES are limited to costs not payable under a medical plan.
(8) LABOR EXPENSES are limited to out-of-pocket costs (materials), incurred by foster parents and substantiated by a retailer. Items requiring installation are to be considered reimbursable expense.
(9) VETERINARY EXPENSES are limited to initial treatment expense incurred immediately following an occurrence up to five hundred dollars. Initial treatment expense is defined as emergent care and diagnosis. The department pays replacement value for a property loss sustained not to exceed the substantiated value of the animal or maximum per occurrence, whichever is less.
The department specifically excludes the following from reimbursement:
(1) Claims resulting from giving alcoholic beverage or other illegal substance, including tobacco products, to a foster child or respite care child for whatever reason.
(2) Claims resulting from violation of any statute, ordinance, or regulation by the foster child or respite care child.
(3) Claims resulting from failure of the foster parent to give directions, instructions, or to provide proper or adequate supervision to the foster child or respite care child.
(4) Claims resulting from the sexual abuse, or licentious, immoral, or other sexual behavior between foster children and/or respite care children or initiated by a foster parent.
(5) Follow-up medical treatment expenses incurred by foster parents or their household member for a personal bodily injury sustained as a result of an action of the foster/respite care child.
(6) Claims for items which belong to the foster child or respite care child.
(7) Claims resulting from acts of foster children that occur while the child is on a temporary planned, unplanned, or voluntary absence from the foster home.
(8) Claims for lost wages.
(9) Claims for property damages, losses, and emergency medical treatment costs arising out of an act of the foster/respite child, with or without the permission of the foster parent, related to the ownership, operation, or maintenance of any owned motor vehicle, including surface, air, or water.
(10) Claims filed by any person other than the foster parent or their household member.
(11) Claims for unsubstantiated property damages or losses alleged to have been caused by the foster child or respite care child.
(12) Claims not received by the department's office of risk management (ORM) within a year after the date of occurrence, regardless of the reason for the delay in filing the claim.
(13) Property damages or loss of items that do not depreciate, including but not limited to antiques, heirlooms, jewelry, figurines, and coin collections.
(1) Within thirty days of an occurrence of property damage, loss, or emergency medical treatment, the foster parent must:
(a) Request from the child's social worker a Foster Parent Reimbursement Plan Claim, DSHS 18-400(X) (Rev. 6/96) to file a claim;
(b) Submit the completed claim with all requested information plus any required substantiating documentation;
(2) The claimant must include a statement documenting the reasons for the delay in filing the claim on claims filed more than thirty days after an occurrence.
The department's office of risk management determines whether a claim will be paid.
Written requests for exceptions to the terms, limitations, and exclusions specified in the foster parent reimbursement plan must be made to the ORM, Risk Management Administrator, P.O. Box 45844, Mail Stop 45844, Olympia, WA 98504-5844. The request must include the justification for the request and alternatives explored. ORM staff will discuss and review requests for exceptions with the CA foster care program manager. Staff in the CA division of program and policy development make final decisions on exceptions.
The department must deny any claim in which any material fact or circumstance of a property damage, loss, or personal bodily injury is misrepresented or willfully concealed by the foster parent. The department is entitled to recover any payments made in these cases. Claims found to be fraudulent involving theft or collusion are subject to criminal investigation.
The foster parent must submit a request for reconsideration in writing within thirty days of the previous decision to the claims program manager, DSHS Office of Risk Management (ORM), P.O. Box 45844, Mail Stop 45844, Olympia, WA 98504-5844. The request must include information or documentation not previously provided. All determinations made by the risk management administrator are final and do not constitute a basis for requesting or obtaining an administrative fair hearing.
The foster parent must permit the department, upon request, to inspect the damaged property. The department retains the authority to have an inspector of its choice make a damage estimate when, and as often, as the department may require.
PART H: FOSTER PARENT TRAINING
See chapter 388-148 WAC for required training for licensed foster parents.
PART I: JUVENILE RECORDS
The department must comply with the requirements of chapter 13.50 RCW for management of juvenile records. The department's responsibilities for management of those records are:
(1) To maintain accurate information and remove or correct false or inaccurate information;
(2) To take reasonable steps to ensure the security of records and to prevent tampering;
(3) To make every effort to ensure the completeness of records, including action taken by other agencies with respect to matters in its files; and
(4) To facilitate inquiries concerning access to records.
Subject to review the department may release records to the following persons:
(1) Other participants in the juvenile justice or care system only when an investigation or case involving the juvenile is being pursued by the other participants or when that participant is assigned the responsibility of supervising the juvenile. "Juvenile justice or care agency" means any of the following: Police, diversion units, court, prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, detention center, attorney general, the legislative children's oversight committee, the office of family and children's ombudsman, the department and its contracting agencies, schools; persons or public or private agencies having children committed to their custody; and any placement oversight committee created under RCW 72.05.415;
(2) A contracting agency or service provider of the department that provides counseling, psychological, psychiatric, or medical services may release to the office of the family and children's ombudsman information or records relating to the provision of services to a juvenile who is dependent under chapter 13.34 RCW. The department may provide these records without the consent of the parent or guardian of the juvenile, or of the juvenile if the juvenile is under the age of thirteen, unless otherwise prohibited by law;
(3) A juvenile, a juvenile's parents, the juvenile's attorney, and the juvenile's parent's attorney;
(4) Any person who has reasonable cause to believe information concerning that person is included in the record;
(5) A clinic, hospital, or agency which has the subject person under care or treatment.
(6) Individuals or agencies engaged in legitimate research for educational, scientific, or public purposes when permission is granted by the court.
The department may withhold the following information unless authorized or ordered by the court:
(1) Information determined by the department to likely cause severe psychological or physical harm to the juvenile or the juvenile's parents;
(2) Information obtained in connection with provision of counseling, psychological, psychiatric, or medical services to the juvenile, when the services have been sought voluntarily by the juvenile, and the juvenile has a legal right to receive those services without the consent of any person or agency. Such information may not be disclosed to the juvenile's parents without the informed consent of the juvenile.
(1) A juvenile or the juvenile's parent may file a motion in juvenile court requesting access to the records.
(2) The person making the motion must give reasonable notice of the motion to all parties.
PART J: CHILD PLACING AGENCIES
(1) The department requires that the child placing agency (CPA) be licensed or certified under chapter 74.15 RCW and have a contract with the department for the provision of child placement and related services.
(2) The CPA must document the services provided in a format described by the department in the contract.
(3) When the department agrees to place a child with a CPA, the licensed or certified agency must maintain the license of the foster family home and provide support services to the foster parents. The department will only place and pay for services with an agency with which the department has a contract. The agency must provide payment to the foster family in accordance with this chapter.
(4) The department requires that private agencies bringing children from other countries for adoption remain financially responsible for the child's placement costs if the adoption is not finalized, disrupts prior to finalization, or until the child reaches age eighteen.
(1) The DCFS social worker follows regionally-designated procedures for accessing services and sharing responsibility for utilizing child placing agency foster homes.
(2) The CPA and the DCFS social worker must sign a DSHS Private Child Placing Agency Agreement/Child in Foster Care, DSHS 15-190(X). The agreement designates which agency is responsible for case management services, support activities, and specific parts of the service plan while the child is placed in the CPA foster home. The agency representative and the department social worker must review and revise the agreement by mutual agreement at the request of either party.
(3) The CPA must provide the assigned DCFS social worker with quarterly progress reports for each child placed in homes certified by the CPA.
The CPA must undertake the following activities to receive payment from the department:
(1) Accept referrals of children and families from the department and negotiate a child-specific written service agreement with the department;
(2) Provide child and family case management and support activities as agreed;
(3) Document the case management and support activities as described in the contract between the department and the CPA;
(4) Provide adequate quarterly progress reports to the assigned social worker for each child whose placement or other services the department financially supports.
(1) The CPA representative must discuss with the department social worker for the child the roles of the agency and the department in the placement, permanency planning, and supervision of the child. The agency representative and the department social worker must also discuss services the department or the agency will provide to the child's parents and extended family.
(2) The CPA must maintain the documentation required by contract to demonstrate all services provided to children in care and for whom the department makes payment.
(3) The department will pay a monthly administrative fee to a CPA if the agency, in addition to supervision of the child, provides services to the child or the child's family.
(4) If the department wants to borrow a CPA-certified home for placement of a child, the department pays the agency for the use of the CPA's foster home with approval of the agency. The department pays the borrowed home fee described in the contract between the department and the agency.
(5) The department will pay a set monthly fee to a child placing agency for a borrowed home if the agency provides supervision services only to the child and no services to the child's family. The department pays this fee only to enable the agency to maintain the foster care license and to provide any related licensing training and support services. This activity includes maintenance of a foster care license for foster parent dependency guardianships in the agency-certified home. The following conditions also apply:
(a) The department may pay for a maximum of two borrowed beds in one foster home.
(b) If one CPA borrows a bed from another CPA, the department will pay only one service fee to one agency for the child. The two private agencies and the department will mutually identify and agree upon the agency the department will pay.
(6) The department may enter into contracts with CPAs to provide intensive treatment and supervision services to children with behavioral, emotional, medical, or developmental disabilities. The department will assess the needs of the child, assign a service level, and pay the rate provided in the contract.
(7) Before making payment for care of a child, the department must determine initial and ongoing eligibility for financial support, approve the placement, and approve the case plan for care of the child and services to the family. The department will document this approval through written agreements, documentary reports, and supervisory conferences with the CPA.
(1) In addition to any sanctions included in the department's contract with the CPA, the DCFS social worker must stop payment of the agency administrative fees in accordance with department procedures if the department does not receive the child's report in the timeframe stipulated in WAC 388-25-0425.
(2) The DCFS social worker must inform the regional licenser and contracts coordinator when there are continuing problems with reports.
PART K: INTERSTATE PLACEMENTS
The department must comply with the interstate compact on the placement of children (ICPC) in the interstate placement of children (see chapter 26.34 RCW).
PART L: RELATIVE PLACEMENT
(1) When the department determines that a child needs to be placed outside the home, the department must search for appropriate relatives to care for the child before considering nonrelative placements. See RCW 74.15.020 for the definition of "relative."
(2) The department reviews and determines the following when selecting a relative placement:
(a) The child would be comfortable living with the relative;
(b) The relative has a potential relationship with the child;
(c) The relative is capable of caring for the child and is willing to cooperate with the permanency plan for the child;
(d) The relative is able to provide a safe home for the child;
(e) Each child has his or her own bed or crib if the child remains in the home beyond thirty days;
(3) The department may consider nonrelated family members as potential resources, if these family members become licensed to provide foster care (see RCW 74.15.030).
The department may exclude relatives who have criminal histories as included in the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) regulations.
(1) If the department finds that, based on a criminal records check, a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the relative or a member of the household has been convicted of a felony involving:
(a) Child abuse or neglect;
(b) Spousal abuse;
(c) A crime against a child or children (including child pornography); or
(d) Crimes involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery.
(2) The department may not approve a relative placement if the department finds the relative, or a member of the household, has, within the last five years, been convicted of a felony involving:
(a) Physical assault;
(b) Battery; or
(c) A drug related offense.
(1) For relatives needing financial support to care for the child, the social worker may assist the family to apply for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) through the department's local community services office (CSO).
(2) Relatives who are licensed as foster parents may choose to receive foster care payments. The relative must not receive TANF benefits in behalf of the child in care while at the same time receiving foster care payments (see RCW 74.15.030).
(3) A relative who is not a licensed foster parent at the time of placement may apply to become a foster parent as described in chapter 388-148 WAC.
(4) The relative caring for the child in out-of-home placement may apply to be the representative payee for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Administration benefits for the related child living with the relative. However, if the child is a dependent of the state of Washington with custody assigned to the department by the court, the department will usually remain the payee in behalf of the child until the dependency is dismissed.
FAMILY SUPPORTS AND RELATIONSHIPS
(1) The department acknowledges a continuing relationship between relatives of specified degree and children who are legally free where the relatives choose to continue a relationship with the child and the continuing relationship is in the best interest of the child (see RCW 74.15.020 for the definition of relative of specified degree).
(2) Relatives of specified degree remain legal relatives when a child becomes legally free if those relatives wish to maintain a relationship with the child and the assigned social worker determines the continuing relationship is in the best interest of the child.
(3) Department staff must treat relatives of specified degree as the department treats all relatives under the rules of ICPC and the foster care and foster family home licensing programs.
The rights of the affected relatives of specified degree do not extend beyond adoption of the child except through an open adoption agreement (see RCW 26.33.295).
The following sections of the Washington Administrative Code are repealed:
|WAC 388-15-150||Child foster care.|
|WAC 388-15-160||Adoption services.|
|WAC 388-15-220||Homemaker services.|
|WAC 388-15-570||Family reconciliation services.|
|WAC 388-70-010||Foster care -- Legal basis.|
|WAC 388-70-012||Foster care -- Definitions.|
|WAC 388-70-013||Authorization for foster care placement.|
|WAC 388-70-022||Payment of foster care.|
|WAC 388-70-024||Payment of foster care -- Effective date.|
|WAC 388-70-031||Foster parent liability fund.|
|WAC 388-70-032||Period of coverage.|
|WAC 388-70-033||Persons eligible for coverage.|
|WAC 388-70-034||Limits of coverage.|
|WAC 388-70-037||Investigation of claims.|
|WAC 388-70-041||Payment standards -- Foster family care.|
|WAC 388-70-042||Payment standards -- Regular foster family care.|
|WAC 388-70-044||Payment standards -- Receiving home care -- Standards for using.|
|WAC 388-70-048||Payment standards -- Specialized rate foster family care -- Child with special needs.|
|WAC 388-70-051||Education related foster care.|
|WAC 388-70-054||Temporary absence of child from foster care.|
|WAC 388-70-058||Reimbursement for damage or loss caused by child in foster family care.|
|WAC 388-70-062||Payment for foster care to family receiving public assistance.|
|WAC 388-70-066||Foster care out-of-state -- Authorization -- Payment.|
|WAC 388-70-068||Earnings of foster child.|
|WAC 388-70-069||Resources and unearned income of foster child.|
|WAC 388-70-075||Parents' obligation to support child in foster care.|
|WAC 388-70-078||Standards for parental participation in cost of foster care -- Minimum scale recommended to court.|
|WAC 388-70-080||Referral of child in foster care to department's office of support enforcement.|
|WAC 388-70-082||Parents' foster care payments to be remitted to department.|
|WAC 388-70-084||Assignment of child support judgment and limited power of attorney.|
|WAC 388-70-170||Veterans' benefits.|
|WAC 388-70-410||Adoption services for children -- Legal basis -- Purpose.|
|WAC 388-70-430||Eligibility for adoption service.|
|WAC 388-70-440||Adoption services for children.|
|WAC 388-70-460||Adoption services for families.|
|WAC 388-70-470||Interstate procedures.|
|WAC 388-70-480||Record confidentiality.|
|WAC 388-70-700||Juvenile records.|
CHILD WELFARE SERVICES-ADOPTION SERVICES AND ADOPTION SUPPORT
(1) Adoption services are included in RCW 74.13.020 as a child welfare service.
(2) The purpose of the department's adoption program is to meet the permanency needs of children who are in the department's care and custody.
(a) The agency that has the responsibility for providing services to the family and makes permanent plans for children.
(b) The permanent plan must include a primary outcome and may also include alternate outcomes (see RCW 13.34.145). Possible permanent plans include:
(i) Return home;
(iv) Permanent legal custody; or
(v) Independent living if the child is over age sixteen.
"Agency" means any public or private association, corporation, or individual licensed or certified by the department as a child placing agency under chapter 74.15 RCW or as an adoption agency.
"Adoptee" means a person who is to be adopted or who has been adopted.
"Adoption" means the legal granting of the adoption decree consistent with chapter 26.33 RCW.
"Adoptive parent" refers to a person or persons who seeks to adopt or who has adopted.
"Alleged father" refers to a person whose parent-child relationship has not been terminated, who is not a presumed father under chapter 26.26 RCW, and who alleges himself or whom a party alleges to be the father of the child. It includes a person whose marriage to the mother was terminated more than three hundred days before the birth of the child or who was separated from the mother more than three hundred days before the birth of the child.
"Approved adoptive home" refers to any person or persons who has been approved for adoption in a pre-placement report completed pursuant to RCW 26.33.190.
"Birth parent" means the biological mother or biological or alleged father of a child, including a presumed father under chapter 26.26 RCW, whether or not a court of competent jurisdiction has terminated the person's parent-child relationship.
"Child placing agency" means an agency licensed by the department to place children for temporary care, continued care, or adoption.
"Children's administration" (CA) means the cluster of programs within the department of social and health services responsible for the provision of child welfare, adoption, child protective, child care licensing, and other services to children and their families.
"Department" means the department of social and health services (DSHS).
"Department placement" refers to the placement of a child for whom the department has placement authority in an approved adoptive home.
"Division of children and family services" (DCFS) is the division of children's administration that provides child welfare, child protective, family reconciliation, and support services to children in need of protection and their families.
"Division of licensed resources" (DLR) is the division of children's administration responsible for licensing or certifying child care homes and facilities under the authority of chapter 74.15 RCW.
"Foster-adopt" refers to families that are interested in adoption who have an approved adoptive home study and who have also been granted a foster home license in accordance with chapter 388-148 WAC.
"Independent placement" refers to the placement of a child in an adoptive home by a doctor, attorney, or other individual acting as a facilitator.
"Inter-country placement" refers to the placement of a child for adoption who is not a resident and/or citizen of the United States.
"Relative" means a person related by blood, marriage, or legal adoption, as defined in RCW 74.15.020.
"Voluntary adoption plan" means an agreement by the birth parent(s) to the termination of parental rights with a specific proposal for adoptive placement for the child.
(1) The department provides adoption services to any child in the department's care and custody:
(a) With an identified permanent plan of adoption; or
(b) When the department considers adoption as an alternate permanent plan; and
(i) The child is in supervised out-of-home care; or
(ii) The child's birth parent(s) request adoption as a permanent plan prior to the child's placement in out-of-home care.
(2) The department considers families who apply for adoption services to be resources for children in the department's care and custody if the potential parent(s) are:
(a) Legally competent;
(b) Eighteen years of age or older; and
(c) Have an approved adoptive home study.
The department provides general adoption services throughout the case planning of any child with an identified primary or alternate permanent plan of adoption until:
(1) Finalization of the adoption; or
(2) Adoption is no longer the identified permanent plan.
(1) The department provides the following general adoption services prior to the finalization of an adoption:
(a) Social work services to birth parents and children to achieve a permanent family for each child;
(b) Use of the courts, legal counsel, and juvenile court specialists for termination of parental rights and granting of adoption petitions;
(c) Obtaining available child and family medical and social background information for disclosure to adoptive families;
(d) Recruitment, study, and approval of adoptive and foster-adopt families;
(e) Assessment of the child and the current caretaker to determine if the placement is an appropriate adoptive placement;
(f) Placement of children with waiting adoptive or foster-adopt family;
(g) Social work services and/or referral of children and families to services after placement to facilitate the adoption;
(h) Development of alternate plans when the planned adoptive placement is not in the best interest of the child and/or the adoptive family; and
(i) Location and exchange, on a state and national basis, of information about children and adoptive families.
(2) The department administers the state's adoption support program on behalf of eligible children adopted through the department or a private child-placing agency (see WAC 388-25-0120 and following).
(3) The department administers the interstate compact on the placement of children (ICPC) and the interstate compact on adoption and medical assistance (ICAMA) and cooperates, upon request, with other state and tribal child welfare agencies in adoptive planning for children.
(1) Washington state is a member of Interstate Compact on Placement of Children (ICPC) and Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA) and must meet all compact requirements (see chapter 26.34 RCW).
(2) The rules of this chapter apply to accepted ICPC cases.
(1) The department's adoption services for children include:
(a) Social work services with birth parents focused on locating a permanent home for the children.
(b) Social work services with children focusing on the child's educational, medical, psychological, and developmental needs;
(c) Petitioning the court for termination of parental rights;
(d) Facilitating voluntary relinquishments when a voluntary adoption is in the child's best interests;
(e) Assessment of children to determine their medical and social needs including, as needed:
(i) Psychiatric evaluations;
(ii) Psychological evaluations;
(iii) Educational evaluations; and
(iv) Medical evaluations;
(f) Evaluating prospective adoptive families through the use of the adoptive home study, also known as the pre-placement report, to determine appropriateness for adoption generally and to determine What specific child characteristics or needs that the family will best be able to meet.
(g) Making adoptive placements that are best able to meet a child's needs, from available resources;
(h) Social work services and/or referral of children and families to services after placement;
(i) The department social worker assigned to finalizing the adoption will assist families complete the adoption support program application for children who may be eligible for the adoption support program;
(j) Provision of post-placement reports and other documents required for finalization to the court for a child when the department:
(i) Conducts the post-placement reports and other documents required for finalization to the court for a child when the department:
(ii) Has custody of the child;
(k) Provision of the consent to the adoption of a child in the department's custody.
(2) Every six months, the department must review and adjust the case plan for children continuing in foster care under department care and supervision. The CA social worker must develop the case plan in accordance with chapter 13.34 RCW to achieve the permanency planning goals for the child.
(3) The department may utilize the following methods to locate an adoptive resource for a child until the child has been placed with an adoptive family:
(a) Ask birth parents to identify a potential adoptive family;
(b) The department prefers to place a child for adoption with a fit and willing relative who is known to the child and with whom the child is comfortable:
(i) Conduct searches for relatives who are fit and willing to adopt the child, who are known to the child and with whom the child is comfortable;
(ii) Ask the relatives to be considered as a potential adoptive family;
(c) Ask current and past foster parents if they wish to be considered as a potential adoptive family;
(d) Consider families that have an approved adoptive home study; and/or
(e) Conduct individualized child specific family recruitment.
(1) For department placements, the department:
(a) Accepts applications from families residing in the state of Washington that are interested in adopting a child who is in the care and custody of the department. Children in the care and custody of the department may have special needs.
(b) Initiates an adoptive home study and achieves one of the following outcomes:
(i) Approves the family for an adoptive placement and registers the family with the contracted adoption resource exchange unless a placement decision has already been made;
(ii) Denies the application to adopt; or
(iii) The family withdraws the application to adopt.
(c) Searches for an appropriate placement for families with an approved adoptive home study;
(d) Obtains the prospective adoptive child's available medical and family background information and discloses the available information to the adoptive family;
(e) Removes a family from the contracted adoption resource exchange for any of the following reasons:
(i) A child has been placed with the family;
(ii) The family decides to receive adoption services through a private agency or an independent placement;
(iii) The department receives additional information that causes the department to revoke the approved status of a family;
(iv) The family and/or social worker determines that adoption is no longer an appropriate plan for the family; and/or
(v) The family re-locates its residence to another state.
(f) Re-evaluates a family's situation at the time of reapplication if a family was removed from the exchange registry and reapplies for adoption services;
(g) Informs families in writing of action the department has taken, according to the rules of this chapter;
(2) The department does not provide adoption or adoption-related services for inter-country adoptions or for independent adoptions.
The department may place a child into a foster-adopt home under the following conditions:
(1) When the identified family has been granted a foster home license in accordance with chapter 388-148 WAC; and
(2) When the identified family has an approved adoptive home study that has been filed with the court in compliance with RCW 26.33.190.
The department may place a child into an adoptive home under the following conditions:
(1) When the identified prospective adoptive family has an approved adoptive home study; and
(2) The adoptive home study has been filed with the court in compliance with RCW 26.33.190.
A voluntary adoption plan (VAP) occurs when a parent(s) has agreed to the termination of parental rights and has proposed a specific adoptive placement for the child.
The department must follow the voluntary plan for adoption if:
(1) The prospective adoptive parents chosen by the parent are properly qualified to adopt in compliance with chapter 26.33 RCW or WAC 388-25-0025; and
(2) The court determines that this adoption is in the best interest of the child; and
(3) The VAP is proposed to the department before a petition for termination of the parent-child relationship has been filed.
If the attorney general's office has filed a termination petition at the request of the department, the department must consider, but is not required to support, an adoptive resource proposed by the parent.
The department must take the following actions to implement a VAP:
(1) The assigned CA social worker must work with the parent to determine whether the parent will identify a preferred adoptive placement by name.
(2) If a parent identifies a preferred placement, the assigned social worker must advise the parent and the proposed adoptive parent(s) that an adoption home study must be completed. CA, a private agency, or a qualified individual may complete the adoptive home study (see RCW 26.33.190).
(3) If the proposed adoptive parent chooses to have an adoptive home study completed by a private agency or qualified individual, CA retains the right to do its own home study if CA has concerns regarding the recommendations contained in the nondepartmental home study.
(4) Using approved procedures for determining suitability to be an adoptive resource, the child's social worker and the social worker for the adoptive family must determine:
(a) That the pre-placement investigation and report, as described in RCW 26.33.190, on the proposed family results in approval of the adoptive placement; and
(b) That this placement is in the best interest of the child.
(1) In accordance with chapter 26.33 RCW all records and information the department obtains in providing adoption services are confidential.
(2) To ensure that the department case file of an adopted child remains confidential, the CA local office must send the child's case file to CA headquarters for archiving upon the issuance of the decree of adoption.
When providing reports or information on the adoptive child to the prospective or actual adoptive parents, the department must not reveal the identity of the birth parents of the child, unless:
(1) There is a written open communication agreement where the identity of the birth parent(s) is known;
(2) The birth parent is already known to the adoptive family; or
(3) The birth parent has selected the adoptive family, and the birth parent's identity has already been established.
(1) The social worker, child placing agency, or another assigned worker must make the following efforts to locate records and information relating to the birth parent and the child:
(a) Ask the birth parents, the child, and relatives, when available, for names of all:
(ii) Treatment agencies for medical, psychological, or educational services that have seen the parent or child for examination, evaluation, or treatment; and
(iii) Schools attended by the child and the parent.
(2) The social worker, contractor, or another assigned worker must contact the children's administration Supplemental Security Income (SSI) facilitator to obtain medical, psychological, or social information gathered during any SSI screen or application process.
(3) The social worker, contractor, or another assigned worker must document efforts, including unsuccessful efforts, made to obtain information by:
(a) Placing the gathered records in the child's case file;
(b) Documenting the information on the child's health and education record;
(c) Documenting on the health and education passport in CAMIS;
(d) Maintaining copies of written requests to service providers for records in the child's case file;
(e) Documenting efforts on the Child's Medical and Family Background Report, DSHS 13-041(X), unless the information is already documented on the health and education passport in CAMIS.
(1) The department or the child placing agency must provide a medical report containing all known and available information concerning the mental, physical, and sensory handicaps of an adopted child, or a child placed for adoption, to the adoptive or prospective adoptive parents under the authority of RCW 26.33.020, 26.33.340, 26.33.343 and 26.33.350.
(2) The department or the child placing agency worker must provide the Child's Medical and Family Background Report, DSHS 13-041(X), to the prospective adoptive parents. This report must include documentation of efforts made to obtain medical and social information on the child and birth parents.
(3) The department must provide a social history report on the child and birth family that includes, at a minimum in accordance with RCW 26.33.380:
(a) Circumstances of the child's birth;
(b) Chronological report of how the child came to be available for adoption;
(c) The child's placement history;
(d) All court reports pertaining to the dependency and custody of the child;
(e) The child's education history, including school reports and records; and
(f) The child's psychological and psychiatric reports and recommendations.
The department or the child placing agency must provide a nonidentifying report on the birth parent(s) that includes any known and available social and medical information on the child's birth parent(s) in accordance with RCW 26.33.380. This information regarding the birth parent(s) must include but is not limited to:
(1) First names only;
(2) Current age of parent(s);
(3) Heritage, including nationality, ethnic background, and race;
(4) General physical appearance, including height, weight, color of hair, eyes, and skin or other information of a similar nature;
(5) Education, including the number of years of school completed at the time of the adoption, and school report (if still attending), but not the name or location of the school;
(6) Religion or religious heritage;
(7) Occupation, but no specific titles or places of employment;
(8) Talents, hobbies, and special interests;
(9) Family history and circumstances leading to the adoption;
(10) Medical and genetic history including:
(a) Available psychiatric, psychological, and substance abuse reports;
(b) Available medical history including any acute or chronic conditions;
(c) Available medical history of the birth and pregnancy, including any known substance abuse by the birth mother while pregnant.
(11) First names other children of birth parents by age and sex;
(12) Available medical histories of other children;
(13) Extended family of birth parents by age and sex;
(14) Medical histories of extended family members, if known;
(15) The fact of the death, age at death, and cause, if known, of a birth parent;
(16) Photographs of child and birth family, if available; and
(17) Name of agency or individual that facilitated the adoption.
The department, private practitioner, or child placing agency must disclose available child and birth family medical and social background information prior to the finalization of an adoption. Disclosure may occur:
(1) Prior to the placement of a child into an adoptive home; or
(2) At the time when a placement is identified as an adoptive placement.
(1) Nonidentifying information about the birth parents, adoptee, or adoptive parent may be shared with persons identified in RCW 26.33.020 and 26.33.340.
(2) If the adoption was facilitated through the department, a request for information must be made in writing to the state office of Children's Administration, P.O. Box 45713, Olympia WA 98504-5713. The state office is the sole source for releasing information from an archived record.
The department complies with the requirements for disclosure of public records in RCW 26.33.340.
ADOPTION SUPPORT PROGRAMPART A: GENERAL
The legal authorities for the program are:
(1) Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 74.13.100 through 74.13.159; and
(2) Chapter 42 United States Code (U.S.C.) 673.
The adoption support program encourages the adoption of special needs children in the legal custody of public or private nonprofit child care agencies who would not be adopted if support for the child was not available.
The following definitions apply to this chapter:
"Adoption" means the granting of an adoption decree consistent with chapter 26.33 RCW.
"Adoption support agreement" means a written contract between the adoptive parent(s) and the department that identifies the specific support available to the adoptive parents(s) and other terms and conditions of the agreement.
"Adoption support cash payment" means basic monthly cash payments paid to the adoptive parent(s)by the department after the child's adoption.
"Adoption support special rate" means monthly cash payments in addition to the basic adoption support rate. The department may authorize payment of these funds only to meet documented exceptional expenses necessary to address the special needs condition of the child.
"Adoption support supplemental cash payment" means cash payments in addition to the adoption support basic monthly cash payments and the adoption support special rate. These supplemental payments enable the special needs child to receive services not funded by the monthly cash support payment or other resources. Note: Only children adopted on or after July 1, 1996 are eligible for supplemental cash payments.
"Applicant" means a person or couple applying for adoption support on behalf of a child the person or couple plans to adopt.
"Child placing agency" means a private nonprofit agency licensed by the department under chapter 74.15 RCW to place children for adoption or foster care.
"Department" means the department of social and health services.
"Extenuating circumstances" means a finding by an administrative law judge or a review judge that one or more certain qualifying conditions or events prevented an otherwise eligible child from being placed on the adoption support program prior to adoption.
"Medical services" means services covered by Medicaid (and administered by the Medical Assistance Administration) unless defined differently in the adoption support agreement. (For a description of Medicaid see chapter 74.09 RCW, chapter 388-86 WAC and chapters 388-500 through 388-540 WAC.)
"Nonrecurring costs" means reasonable, necessary, and directly related adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses the adoptive parent(s) incur when finalizing the adoption of a special needs child. Total reimbursement from the department may not exceed one thousand five hundred dollars.
"Placing agency" means the agency that has the legal authority to place the child for adoption. This may be the department or a private nonprofit child placing agency.
"Program" means the department's adoption support program.
"Reconsideration" means the limited state-funded support available to an eligible child whose adoption was finalized without a valid adoption support agreement in place.
"Resident state" (for purposes of the child's Medicaid eligibility) means the state in which the child physically resides. In some cases this may be different from the state of the parent's legal residence.
"Special needs" means the specific factors or conditions that apply to the child and that may prevent the child from being adopted unless the department provides adoption support services. See WAC 388-25-0140 for a detailed description of the factors or conditions.
PART B: ELIGIBILITY
For a child to be eligible for participation in the adoption support program, the department must first determine that adoption is the most appropriate plan for the child. If the department determines that adoption is in the child's best interest, the child must:
(1) Be less than eighteen years old when the department and the adoptive parents sign the adoption support agreement;
(2) Be legally free for adoption;
(3) Have a "special needs" factor or condition according to the definition in this rule (see WAC 388-25-0140); and
(4) Meet at least one of the following criteria:
(a) Is in state-funded foster care or child caring institution or was determined by the department to be eligible for and likely to be so placed (For a child to be considered "eligible for and likely to be placed in foster care" the department must have opened a case and determined that removal from the home was in the child's best interest.); or
(b) Is eligible for federally funded adoption assistance as defined in Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, the Code of Federal Regulations, and policy issuances by the Department of Health and Human Services.
To be considered a child with special needs the following three statements must be true:
(1) One or more of the following factors or conditions must exist:
(a) The child is of a minority ethnic background;
(b) The child is six years of age or older at the time of application for adoption support;
(c) The child is a member of a sibling group of three or more or of a sibling group in which one or more siblings meets the definition of special needs;
(d) The child is diagnosed with a physical, mental, developmental, cognitive or emotional disability; or
(e) The child is at risk for a diagnosis of a physical, mental, developmental, cognitive or emotional disability due to prenatal exposure to toxins, a history of serious abuse or neglect, or genetic history.
(2) The state has determined that the child cannot or should not be returned to the home of the biological parent; and
(3) The department or child placing agency that placed the child for adoption must document that except where it would be against the best interests of the child the department or child placing agency had made a reasonable but unsuccessful effort to place the child for adoption without adoption support.
Reasonable effort to place a child without adoption support includes:
(1) A child registered for three months with the Washington adoption resource exchange (WARE) without finding an adoptive family; or
(2) A child for whom a documented, formal agency search was conducted for three months, without finding a family who would adopt the child without adoption support services; or
(3) A child for whom the placing agency's selected prospective adoptive family is unable to adopt the child without assistance from the adoption support program.
Searching for a family that could adopt the child without adoption support is against the best interest of the child when:
(1) A foster parent desires to adopt a child who:
(a) Has been in the foster parent's home for six months or more before that child becomes legally free for adoption; and
(b) The child has close emotional ties to the current foster parent which, if severed, may cause emotional damage to the child; and
(c) The foster parent is identified as the adoptive parent of choice by the department or agency staff having responsibility for the child (RCW 26.33.190 and 74.13.109(4)); or
(2) The adoptive parent is a relative of specified degree as defined in RCW 74.15.020(4)(a) and has an approved adoptive home study per RCW 26.33.109 and 74.13.109(4).
(1) A child is not eligible for adoption support program services and payments if the adopting parent is the birth parent or stepparent of the child.
(2) The department must not use the adoptive parents' income as a basis for determining the child's eligibility for the adoption support program.
(3) The department must consider income and other financial circumstances of the adopting family as one factor in determining the amount of any adoption support cash payments to be made. (See WAC 388-25-0230, 388-25-0235, and 388-25-0240 for details.)
PART C: APPLICATION
There are two ways a prospective adoptive parent (applicant) may apply for adoption support services:
(1) An applicant may apply through the social worker of the child to be adopted. The social worker must:
(a) Register the child with the adoption support program; and
(b) Submit the applicant's completed program application.
(2) An applicant may also apply directly to the adoption support program for adoption support services if:
(a) The child does not have an assigned social worker; or
(b) The applicant and the social worker have a dispute regarding the content of the program application.
(1) The application must include a copy of the child's medical and family background report signed by the adoptive parent(s) (DSHS 13-041 minus the attachments). It must also include copies of medical and/or therapist reports that document the child's physical, mental, developmental, cognitive or emotional disability or risk of any such disability.
(2) If the applicant is requesting a cash payment, the applicant and the department must mutually determine both the type and amount according to the requirements of WAC 388-25-0230 and 388-25-0235.
(3) If the applicant is requesting a supplemental cash payment, the applicant and the department must mutually determine the services for which the payment will be used and the expected duration of those services according to the requirements of WAC 388-25-820.
(4) If the applicant is requesting reimbursement of nonrecurring costs, the applicant must include this request in the application. (See WAC 388-25-0380 and 388-25-0385 for the type and amount of expenses the department may reimburse.)
(5) The applicant must furnish a copy of the applicant's most recently filed federal income tax return. If the applicant is not required to file a federal income tax return, the applicant must submit a financial statement with the applicant's adoption support application.
PART D: AGREEMENT
The adoption support agreement is a binding contract between the adoptive parent(s) and the department that identifies the terms and conditions that both parties must follow.
The adoption support agreement must:
(1) State the amount of cash payments (if any) the department must make to the adoptive parent(s) on behalf of the child;
(2) Include an itemized list of the additional services (including Title XIX Medicaid and Title XX social services) for which the child is eligible;
(3) Contain statements that:
(a) Assure that participation in the adoption support program must continue, as long as the child is eligible, regardless of where the adoptive family resides;
(b) Inform the adoptive parent(s) that the agreement must be reviewed (and may be revised) at least once every five years; and
(c) Inform the adoptive parents(s) that the department may suspend a child from the program within thirty days of any changes in circumstances (of the child or family) that affect the child's eligibility for program payments if the adoptive parent has failed to notify the department of the changes.
(d) Define the circumstances under which the agreement may be terminated.
(4) Be signed by all relevant parties before the final adoption decree is issued (45 C.F.R. Sec. 1356.40).
If the adoptive family resides in or moves to another state the child's participation in the adoption support program is affected as follows:
(1) Social services (Title XX) become the responsibility of the new state of residence.
(2) Medical benefits (Title XIX Medicaid) remain the responsibility of Washington state if the child is not eligible for federal Title IV-E adoption assistance. However, Washington state is no longer responsible if the child becomes eligible for the resident state's Title XIX program through the Interstate Compact on Adoption and medical assistance or other eligibility factors.
(3) Title XIX Medicaid benefits become the responsibility of the resident state if the child receives Title IV-E adoption assistance.
(4) Medicaid benefits included in Washington state's Medicaid plan, but not included in the resident state's plan, must remain the responsibility of Washington state and subject to Washington state plan limits.
(5) Washington state remains responsible for any cash payments made to the adoptive parent(s) on behalf of the child or any non-Medicaid counseling that has been pre-authorized by the adoption support program per WAC 388-25-0245.
(1) Unless otherwise stated in the adoption support agreement, an adoption support agreement takes effect on the first day of the month following the month in which the court finalizes the adoption.
(2) If the child to be adopted needs support benefits prior to finalization, the assigned regional adoption support program manager may arrange an early effective date. To be eligible for an early effective date, the applicant must:
(a) Have an adoption support agreement signed by all parties;
(b) Sign the child's medical and family background report (DSHS 13-041) and a statement of the applicant's intention to adopt; and
(c) Have the department's designee sign "an exception to policy" statement.
(1) The adoptive parent(s) may not continue to receive department-funded foster care payments for a child while also receiving adoption support payments for the same child.
(2) If the adoptive parent(s) receive department-funded foster care for the child to be adopted, the department's social worker assigned to the child must terminate that coverage on the last day of the month preceding the month in which the adoption support becomes effective.
(3) Foster care payments are paid after the month of service. Adoption Support payments are paid prior to the month of service.
(4) The adoptive parent(s) may not receive foster care payments and adoption support cash or supplemental payments for the same child for the same month of service.
(5) If the adoptive parent is adopting a relative child and has been receiving a nonneedy relative grant the adoptive parent must notify the community services office financial services specialist that the adoption has been finalized. The adoptive parent may not receive both the grant and adoption support payments for the same month for the same child.
The adoptive parent may submit a written request asking that the department reexamine the benefits offered in the adoption support agreement whenever either the family's economic circumstances or the condition of the child changes.
The department's adoption support program may modify the terms of an adoption support agreement:
(1) At the request of the adoptive parent(s);
(2) When the department loses contact with the adoptive parent(s);
(3) When the child is placed outside of the adoptive parent(s)' home at department expense;
(4) If the adoptive parent is no longer providing for the child's daily care and living expenses; or
(5) If the adoptive parent fails to notify the department's adoption support program within thirty days of a change of circumstance which affects the adopted child's continuing eligibility for adoption support program cash payments or services.
The adoptive parent must inform the department's adoption support program of circumstances that might make the parent and the adoptive child either ineligible for adoption assistance payments or benefits or eligible for adoption assistance payments or benefits in different amounts. Such changes include but are not limited to:
(1) A significant change in the child's condition;
(2) A change in the marital status of the adoptive parent(s);
(3) A change in the legal or physical custody of the child; or
(4) A change in the adoptive family's mailing address.
The adoption support agreement is terminated according to the terms of the agreement or if any one of the following events occurs:
(1) The child reaches eighteen years of age; (If a child is at least eighteen but less than twenty-one years old and is a full-time high school student or working full time toward the completion of a GED (high school equivalency) certificate and continues to receive financial support from the adoptive parent(s), the department may extend the terms of the adoption support agreement until the child completes high school or achieves a GED. Under no circumstances may the department extend the agreement beyond the child's twenty first birthday.) Adoption support benefits will automatically stop on the child's eighteenth birthday unless the parent(s) request continuation per this rule and have provided documentation of the child's continuation in school. To prevent disruption in services the parent should contact the adoption support program at least ninety days prior to the child's eighteenth birthday if continued services are to be requested.
(2) The adoptive parents request termination of the agreement;
(3) The adoptive parents no longer have legal responsibility for the child;
(4) The adoptive parents are no longer providing financial support for the child;
(5) The child dies; or
(6) The adoptive parents die. (A child who met federal Title IV-E eligibility criteria for adoption assistance will be eligible for adoption assistance in a subsequent adoption.)
PART E: SERVICES
The adoption support program may provide one or more of the following benefits:
(1) Reimbursement for nonrecurring adoption finalization costs;
(2) Cash payments;
(3) Supplemental cash payments (only for adoptions finalized on or after July 1, 1996);
(4) Payment for counseling services as pre-authorized (see WAC 388-25-0255 for conditions and terms);
(5) Medical services through the department's Medicaid program; or
(6) Child care as pre-authorized per WAC 388-25-0270 (for children adopted on or after July 1, 1996).
The department bases the amount of support it provides on the child's needs and the family's circumstances, but limits the amount to the rates set by these rules, federal laws and rules, and the state legislature.
Effective July 1, 2000 the maximum basic monthly adoption support rates as established by the state legislature are:
|Age of Child||Maximum Rate|
|Less than six years old||$316.62|
|Six through eleven years old||$390.11|
|Twelve years or older||$462.24|
(1) To determine the amount of basic monthly cash payment to be made, the department considers the child's physical, mental, developmental, cognitive and emotional condition and expenses as well as the adoptive family's:
(a) Size, including the adopted child;
(b) Normal living expenses, including education and childcare expenses;
(c) Exceptional circumstances of any family member;
(e) Resources and savings plans;
(f) Medical care and hospitalization needs;
(g) Ability to purchase or otherwise obtain medical care; and
(h) Additional miscellaneous expenses related to the adopted child.
(2) The department and the adoptive parents will jointly determine the level of adoption support cash payments needed to meet the basic needs of the child without creating a hardship on the family.
(3) Under no circumstances may the amount of the basic adoption support monthly rate the department pays for the child exceed the adoption support rate established by the legislature for a child of that age.
(1) The adoption support program may pay the special rate of up to an additional one hundred forty-seven dollars and ninety-four cents per month for children whose diagnosed condition requires adaptive or specialized support in order for the child to participate in the typical environment to the fullest extent possible.
(2) The department and the adoptive parents will jointly determine the level of adoption support special rate payments (if any) that may be needed to meet the specialized support of the child.
(3) The department will not authorize special rate payments for services available through other departmental or community resources/services.
The department and the adoptive parents will jointly determine the level of adoption support supplemental cash payments.
(1) Supplemental cash payments are to assist the family in purchasing goods and services that are necessary to meet the physical, mental, developmental, cognitive or emotional needs of the child when those goods and services are not otherwise available through other resources.
(2) Supplemental cash payments must not be used to compensate the parent for difficulty of care (i.e., for the parents' time and energy spent caring for the child).
(3) Not all children are eligible to receive supplemental cash payments.
(4) Services necessary to meet the child's physical, mental, developmental cognitive or emotional needs may include:
(a) Special diets;
(b) Minor modifications to the environment to meet the medical needs of the child;
(c) Additional supervision needs required for the safety of the child or others which result from the child's disabilities; or
(d) Other costs to meet the child's needs as mutually agreed upon by the department and the adoptive parent.
(1) If the child was adopted on or after July 1, 1996 the child may be eligible for additional support through supplemental cash payments.
(2) For supplemental cash payments, the department must:
(a) Base the payments upon needs documented and identified by the adoptive parent, the child's social worker, and/or the other professionals who are providing services to the child;
(b) Review payments annually (or as specified in the agreement) to determine the level of continued payments;
(c) Continue or modify payments based upon documented needs and mutual agreement between the adoptive parent(s) and the department.
(3) Under no circumstances may the total amount of payment to the family exceed the amount of the foster care maintenance payment that would be paid for that child if that child were in foster care.
(4) The department will not authorize supplemental cash payments for services available through other departmental or community resources/services.
(1) While an adoption support agreement remains in effect, the department's medical program rules apply to the adopted child.
(2) The department must make all medical payments according to established department procedures and directly to the child's physician(s) or service provider(s).
When the department's adoption support program directly pays for a child's counseling and/or mental health services, the following conditions apply:
(1) The adoptive parent must obtain written authorization from the department's adoption support program before the service is rendered;
(2) The adoptive parents' primary health care coverage must be billed prior to billing the department's adoption support program;
(3) The department will pay the adoption support program's authorized rate minus any payment made by the primary (and other) insurer;
(4) The department may grant verbal authorization for no more than three counseling sessions prior to providing the required written authorization;
(5) The child's therapist or other treatment provider must submit a written treatment plan prior to authorization for continued treatment;
(6) The department may authorize counseling as follows:
(a) Up to six hours of outpatient counseling per month for up to twelve months; or
(b) Up to a total of twenty hours per quarter when critical need warrants;
(7) The department may extend the authorization for counseling (beyond the initial time period authorized) upon receipt of an updated treatment plan and documentation supporting the need for additional treatment from the treatment provider and a parent's request for continuing counseling (DSHS 10-214);
(8) The department may authorize this service for only one provider at a time unless a second provider is required for a different service.
(9) The department encourages adoptive parents to seek an annual assessment of the functioning of the adoptive child within the family to determine if there are mental health services needed to help maintain and/or strengthen the adoptive placement.
(1) The adoption support program must not pay for residential treatment placements. See RCW 74.13.080 and WAC 388-70-013.
(2) If the adoptive parent requests residential treatment services for a child:
(a) For treatment of a mental illness, the department must refer the family to the local regional support network (RSN);
(b) If a diagnosis of physical, mental, developmental, cognitive or emotional disability is present, department staff must refer the child to the division of developmental disabilities (DDD) to determine eligibility of services for which the child might be eligible; or
(c) For reasons other than treatment of mental illness or developmental disabilities, department staff must refer the adoptive parent to the child welfare services intake at the local office of the division of children and family services (DCFS).
(3) The adoption support program manager may assist the adoptive parent in arranging residential service for the child but must not be responsible for the child's placement or for the payment of the residential service.
(1) If a child is on active status with Washington state's adoption support program and the department places the child in foster care, group care, or residential treatment, the department may report to the division of child support that good cause exists for not pursuing collection of support payments.
(2) The department must review the adoption support agreement and must discontinue any cash payments to the adoptive parent during the child's out-of-home placement unless the adoptive parent(s) documents continuing expenses directly related to the child's needs.
For children adopted on or after July 1, 1996 the adoption support program may authorize childcare. The following conditions must exist:
(1) In a two-parent home, both parents must be employed out of the home;
(2) In a single parent home, the parent must be employed out of the home;
(3) The department must make payment directly to the child care provider at the department rate for child care in that geographic area;
(4) The child must be less than twelve years of age;
(5) The childcare facility must have a valid license;
(6) The total (gross) income of the adoptive family must not exceed eighty-five percent of the state median income adjusted for family size (SMIAFS);
(7) The adoptive parent may be expected to participate in the cost of childcare, depending on individual circumstances; and
(8) If the family qualifies for the state childcare program the family must use that program first. The adoption support program may assist the family in making the co-payment to the state childcare program. The adoption support program must determine assistance with the co-payment on an individual case-by-case basis.
PART F: REVIEW
(1) The adoption support program must review an agreement:
(a) At least once every five years; or
(b) When the adoptive parents request a change in the terms of the agreement.
(2) The department may review an adoption support agreement:
(a) Whenever variations in medical opinions, prognosis, or costs warrant a review; or
(b) At the department's request.
(1) The review process provides an opportunity for the adoptive parent to describe any changes in family circumstances or the child's condition and request a change in the terms of the adoption support agreement.
(2) The adoptive parent must provide supporting documentation upon department request.
(3) The department may request a copy of the adoptive parent(s)' most recently filed IRS form 1040. If not required to file a federal tax return the adoptive parent(s) must submit a financial statement upon department request.
(4) The adoptive parent must request that the child's medical provider complete an EPSDT (early periodic screening, diagnosis and treatment) exam and submit a report of the results to the adoption support program.
The adoption support program must initiate a review of the adoption support agreement no later than thirty days after receiving the adoptive parent(s)' request for review of the agreement.
If the department does not respond to an adoptive parent's request for a review of an adoption support agreement within thirty days, the adoptive parent has the right to an administrative hearing (see RCW 74.13.127).
(1) The adoptive parent and the department must negotiate any changes in the agreement that result from a review;
(2) Changes in the terms of the agreement may be retroactive to the date the department received the written request; and
(3) If the department modifies the terms of the agreement, the adoptive parent and the department must sign a new agreement.
If the department proposes service changes without the adoptive parent's consent, the department must give written notification of those changes. In that notice, the department must clearly state the department's reasons for the proposed changes and inform the adoptive parent of the adoptive parent's right to an administrative hearing.
PART G: POST-FINALIZATION REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE
Federal and state laws and rules require that a prospective adoptive parent must apply for adoption assistance prior to adopting a special needs child and that the prospective adoptive parent must have a valid adoption support agreement, signed by all parties, before the adoption is finalized.
However, both state and federal governments have recognized that in some situations there may have been extenuating circumstances that prevented the child from being placed on the adoption support program prior to adoption. For these situations separate remedies have been created depending on which eligibility criteria are met by the child.
For a child who met the Title IV-E eligibility criteria for adoption assistance prior to adoption, federal rules allow for a possible finding of extenuating circumstances through an administrative hearing process. In these situations the adoptive parent must request a review by an administrative law judge or a review judge to obtain an order authorizing the department to enter into a post-adoption agreement to provide adoption support services to a special needs child.
An administrative law judge or a review judge may make a finding of extenuating circumstances if one or more of the following situations exist:
(1) Relevant facts regarding the child, the biological family or child's background were known by the agency placing the child for adoption and not presented to the adoptive parents prior to the legalization of the adoption;
(2) The department denied adoption assistance based upon a means test of the adoptive family;
(3) Erroneous determination or advice by the department or private child placing agency that a child is ineligible for adoption assistance; or
(4) Failure by the placing agency to advise adoptive parents of the availability of adoption assistance.
The effective date of an adoption support agreement the department and the adoptive parent have entered into as a result of a finding of extenuating circumstances may not be before the date the department received the written request from the adoptive parent for participation in the adoption support program. Under no circumstances may the department back date an adoption support agreement more than two years from the date of an order of an administrative law judge or review judge authorizing the department to enter an adoption support agreement after finalization of the adoption.
For children ineligible for federal Title IV-E Adoption Assistance, the department may provide limited support through the state-funded adoption support reconsideration program.
(1) The adoption support reconsideration program allows the department to register an eligible adopted child for limited state-funded support (see RCW 74.13.150).
(2) The reconsideration program provides for payment of medical and counseling services to address the physical, mental, developmental, cognitive, or emotional disability of the child that resulted in the child's eligibility for the program.
(3) There is a twenty thousand dollar per child lifetime cap on this program.
(4) The program requires the adoptive parent and the department to sign an adoption support reconsideration agreement specifying the terms, conditions, and length of time the child will receive limited support.
To be eligible for the adoption support reconsideration program, a child must:
(1) Have resided, immediately prior to adoption finalization, in a department funded pre-adoptive placement or in department funded foster care;
(2) Have a physical or mental handicap or emotional disturbance that existed and was documented before adoption or was at high risk for future physical or mental handicap or emotional disturbance due to conditions to which the child was exposed before adoption;
(3) Reside in Washington state with an adoptive parent who lacks the financial resources to care for the child's special needs; and
(4) Be covered by a primary basic health insurance program.
To apply, the adoptive parent must complete an application for adoption support reconsideration and attach:
(1) A written cost estimate of the child's proposed corrective-rehabilitative services;
(2) A current medical evaluation of the child including the cause(s) of the condition requiring corrective-rehabilitative services;
(3) A written statement explaining the child's current medical and counseling needs;
(4) A written statement giving the department permission to request and review pre-adoption information held by the adoption agency facilitating the child's adoption; and
(5) A copy of the adoptive parent(s)' most recently filed IRS 1040 federal income tax form.
The reconsideration program provides some support for counseling and medical services needed to treat the child's qualifying condition.
(1) The department must authorize, in writing, any services paid by the adoption support reconsideration program before the services are provided.
(2) The department must base the authorized level of service on the child's needs and must limit the level of service to established program rates.
(3) The department must limit medical services to those services that would be available to the child if the child were eligible for Medicaid coverage.
(4) The department must make no cash payments to the family.
(5) The department must make payment directly to the provider of the authorized service.
(6) The adoptive parent(s)' basic health insurance must provide primary coverage and must be used before billing the reconsideration program. The adoption support reconsideration program must be the secondary insurer.
(1) Eligibility for adoption support reconsideration services ends according to the terms of the adoption support reconsideration agreement or when the child:
(a) Reaches eighteen years of age;
(b) Is eligible for the federal Title IV-E adoption assistance program and has been placed on that program;
(c) Has received twenty thousand dollars in department paid medical, dental, and/or counseling services; or
(d) Is no longer the financial responsibility of the adoptive parent(s).
(2) If the parent(s) die, the reconsideration agreement becomes invalid. Neither the agreement nor the child's eligibility for the program are transferable to a subsequent adoption.
(3) The department may suspend services when the child:
(a) Resides outside the adoptive parent(s)' home for more than thirty continuous days; or
(b) Is no longer covered by primary basic health insurance.
If the department no longer has funds available for the program, a child's participation in the program will cease. The department will terminate the adoption support reconsideration agreement.
PART H: APPEAL RIGHTS
(1) An adoptive parent has the right to an administrative hearing to contest the following department actions:
(a) Denial of a child's initial eligibility for the adoption support program or the adoption support reconsideration program;
(b) Failure to respond with reasonable promptness to a written application or request for services;
(c) Denial of a written request to modify the level of payment or service in the agreement;
(d) A decision to increase or decrease the level of the child's adoption support payments without the concurrence of the adoptive parent(s);
(e) Denial of a request for nonrecurring adoption expenses; or
(f) Termination from the program.
(2) The adoptive parent must submit a request for an administrative hearing to the office of administrative hearings within ninety days of receipt of the department's decision to deny a request or failure to respond to a request.
(3) The office of administrative hearings must apply the rules in WAC 388-25-0120 through 388-25-0390 as they pertain to the issues being contested.
Adoption and adoption support files are confidential, and information contained in those files may not be disclosed without the consent of the person who is the subject of the file. By requesting an administrative hearing to challenge a department decision relating to adoption support the adoptive parent is agreeing that the department may release factual information about the case during the course of the proceedings. Actions taken by the department and decisions by administrative law judges or review judges in adoption support cases which do not directly involve the case being heard may not be cited or relied upon in any administrative proceeding (RCW 26.33.340 and 74.04.060).
PART I: NONRECURRING COSTS
The department may agree to reimburse some or all of an adoptive parent's nonrecurring adoption expenses if:
(1) The child has a qualifying factor or condition identified in WAC 388-25-0140(1);
(2) Washington state has determined that the child cannot or should not be returned to the home of the child's biological parent; and
(3) Except where it would be against the best interest of the child, the department or a child placing agency has made a reasonable but unsuccessful effort to place the child with appropriate adoptive parents without the benefit of adoption assistance; and
(4) The child has been placed for adoption according to applicable state and local laws or Tribal laws.
The department may reimburse:
(1) Court costs directly related to finalizing an adoption;
(2) Reasonable and necessary adoption fees;
(3) Reasonable and necessary attorney fees directly related to finalizing an adoption; and
(4) Costs associated with an adoption home study, including:
(a) Health and psychological examination;
(b) Placement supervision before adoption;
(c) Transportation, lodging, and food costs incurred by the adoptive parent(s) and child during pre-placement visits; and
(d) Other costs directly related to finalizing the legal adoption of the child.
Department reimbursement of nonrecurring adoption expenses must not exceed one thousand five hundred dollars per child.
(1) Before the adoption is finalized, the adoptive parent must sign an agreement with the department specifying the nature and amount of nonrecurring adoption expenses. This agreement may be part of an adoption support agreement or it may be a separate agreement specific to the reimbursement for nonrecurring adoption finalization costs. The department will make no reimbursement payments unless such an agreement exists.
(2) Upon finalization of the adoption, the adoptive parent may request reimbursement. A copy of the adoption decree and documentation supporting actual costs incurred must accompany the request for reimbursement.
(3) The department must reimburse documented actual costs or the amount specified in the signed agreement, whichever is less.
(4) The department will not reimburse nonrecurring adoption expenses that are reimbursable from other sources (for example: IRS, military, or the adoptive parent's employer).
The following sections of the Washington Administrative Code are repealed:
|WAC 388-70-510||Adoption support for children -- Legal basis -- Purpose.|
|WAC 388-70-520||Adoption support for children -- Definitions.|
|WAC 388-70-530||Adoption support for children -- Eligible child.|
|WAC 388-70-540||Adoption support for children -- Application.|
|WAC 388-70-550||Adoption support for children -- Types and amounts of payments.|
|WAC 388-70-560||Adoption support for children -- Criteria governing amount of payment.|
|WAC 388-70-570||Adoption support for children -- Agreement for adoption support.|
|WAC 388-70-580||Adoption support for children -- Review of support payment.|
|WAC 388-70-590||Adoption support for children -- Appeal from secretary's decision -- Hearing.|
|WAC 388-70-595||Reimbursement for nonrecurring adoption finalization costs.|
CHILD WELFARE SERVICES TO PREVENT OUT-OF-HOME PLACEMENT AND ACHIEVE FAMILY RECONCILIATION
BY CHILDREN'S ADMINISTRATION
What are home support services?
The department's children's administration (CA) offers home support services (HSS), within available funds, to provide supportive, culturally appropriate, skill-building services in partnership with CA's client families. Only CA staff may provide the services in the family home or other appropriate setting and must provide the services as part of a comprehensive case plan. The department does not contract for this service.
(1) CA typically offers HSS during the normal work week but may provide HSS on weekends and beyond normal working hours.
(2) Child and family resource specialists (CFRS) have primary responsibility to provide HSS, which may include the following services:
(a) Teach and demonstrate basic physical and emotional care of children, including child development and developmentally appropriate child discipline;
(b) Teach homemaking and other life skills, including housekeeping, nutrition and food preparation, personal hygiene, financial budgeting, time management and home organization, with consideration given to the family's cultural environment;
(c) Help families obtain basic needs by networking families with appropriate supportive community resources; e.g., housing, clothing and food banks, health care services, and educational and employment services;
(d) Provide emotional support to families and build self-esteem in family members; aid family members in developing appropriate interpersonal and social skills;
(e) Provide client transportation/supervision of visits on a nonroutine, short-term basis;
(f) Observe family functioning, assisting the social worker to identify family strengths as well as areas needing intervention or improvement, providing reports and assessments to the assigned social worker on the family's progress in skill-building, family functioning, and other areas defined in the case plan;
(g) Participate in child protection teams, multi-disciplinary teams, interagency case staffings, and family intervention meetings;
(h) Provide court testimony when requested by the attorney representing DSHS or when subpoenaed.
Children's administration uses the following criteria to determine eligibility for HSS, within available funding:
(1) The family must be a current recipient of CA services.
(2) The case plan for the family must document the need for teaching, skill-building, community networking, or visitation.
(3) HSS does not provide long-term maintenance for a family, is not a housekeeping service, and is not interchangeable with CHORE services, which are provided by the department's aging and adult services administration.
HOME BASED SERVICES
BY COMMUNITY PROVIDERS
What are home based services and under what circumstances may the department provide the services to the child's parent or relative caregiver?
(1) Home based services (HBS) are designed to prevent or improve conditions that may result in out-of-home placement. Children's administration (CA) provides these services in the context of a comprehensive case plan. CA purchases services from community providers within available funds for this purpose. Services may include:
(a) Basic goods and services; e.g., food, clothing, shelter, furniture, health care, utilities, transportation
(b) Paraprofessional services; e.g., parent aides;
(c) Parent training;
(e) In-home counseling or assistance to prevent out-of-home placement.
(2) For a family or individual to receive HBS, the following conditions must be met:
(a) The client has a case open for child protective services (CPS), child welfare services (CWS), or family reconciliation services (FRS);
(b) The department may provide services to the family of origin, relatives, or foster families when the intent of HBS is to maintain or reunify a permanent or long-term stable home for the child;
(c) The family is willing and able to cooperate with HBS services; and
(d) In the assigned social worker's judgment, the child may be safely maintained in the home or be safely returned to the home within the next three months with provision of HBS.
Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.FAMILY RECONCILIATION SERVICES
What is the purpose of the family reconciliation services program?
(1) The purpose of family reconciliation services (FRS) is to achieve reconciliation between the parent and child, to reunify the family, and to maintain and strengthen the family unit to avoid the necessity of out-of-home placement of children.
(2) The department provides these services, within available funds, to:
(a) Alleviate personal or family situations that present a serious and imminent threat to the health or stability of the child or family and that do not meet the definition of child abuse or neglect; and
(b) Maintain families intact whenever possible.
(1) CA provides FRS to runaways and families in conflict. These populations are defined as follows:
"Families in conflict" means families in which personal or family situations present a serious and imminent threat to the health or stability of the child, which may include an at-risk youth, or family.
"Runaways" means youths who are absent from home for a period of time without parental permission. Services are to actual runaways and not to threatened runaways, unless the threatened runaways meet the definition of families in conflict.
(2) FRS is not provided for the following situations:
(a) Chronic or long-term multi-problem situations requiring long-term interventions;
(b) Custody and marital disputes unless the dispute creates a conflict between the child and parent with physical custody;
(c) Families currently receiving counseling services related to the parent-child conflict/relationship from other agencies;
(d) Child abuse and neglect cases, unless those cases meet the definition of family in conflict;
(e) Youth receiving foster care or group care services or follow up to those services; and
(f) Post-adoption cases still under supervision of an agency, except when those cases meet the definition of families in conflict.
The assigned social worker provides services to develop skills and supports within families to resolve family conflicts, achieve a reconciliation between parent and child, and to avoid out-of-home placement. The services may include, but are not limited to, referral to services for suicide prevention, psychiatric or other medical care, or psychological, financial, legal, educational, or other social services, as appropriate to the needs of the child and family. Typically FRS is limited to a ninety-day period.
(1) The CA social worker provides intake/assessment services (IAS). The social worker must initiate these short-term counseling sessions within forty-eight hours of the family's request for services. These sessions are intended to defuse the immediate potential for violence, assess problems, and explore options leading to problem resolution.
(2) CA or its contractors may provide crisis counseling services for up to thirty days within a ninety-day period.
(3) Families eligible for thirty-day crisis counseling are those who, in the opinion of the family and the CA social worker, require more intensive services than those provided through IAS.
(4) Families must make a commitment to participate in the thirty-day crisis counseling service and must not be receiving similar family counseling services through other agencies or practitioners. At a minimum, there must be a parent and a child willing to participate.
(5) Thirty-day crisis counseling services may not exceed fifteen hours within thirty days. The assigned counselor helps the family develop skills and supports to resolve conflicts. The counselor may refer to resources including medical, legal, ongoing counseling and CPS for problem resolution.
(a) The CA supervisor may extend thirty-day crisis counseling for an additional thirty days and up to fifteen additional hours of service, subject to availability of funds and the family's continued progress toward resolving conflicts.
(b) The thirty-day crisis counseling is available a maximum of twice in a lifetime for any one child within a family.