§6 ch3: Resource Family Assessment and Licensing Process
Attachment A: Guide for Conducting Resource Provider Family Assessments
Beginning the Assessment
The agency has a responsibility:
- To provide enough information so that applicants can make a knowledgeabledecision about becoming foster parents;
- To interpret the assessment process as one in which together the Divisionand the prospective resource providers parents can determine potentialfor successful foster parenting;
- To convey information to the applicants so that they may learn aboutthe kinds of children they can best serve;
- To exchange information in such a way that the agency and applicantscan mutually determine whether or not it is desirable that the home assessment becontinued;
- To convey to applicants that a portion of the licensing record is amatter of public record and therefore open to review. Information thatis protected by law and requires a court order or written consent of theapplicants/resource parents before disclosure includes: social securitynumber; juvenile records and arrest records; personally identifiable informationregarding mental illness and other medical conditions and treatment. Includedin this would be substance abuse, HIV and AIDS, and other information onpersonal health;
- To share the importance of gaining training for the job of foster parenting,just as anyone would for any other job;
- To assure compliance with licensing regulations, beginning with sharinga copy of it with applicants.
- To provide a copy of the Foster Parent Bill of Rights and Responsibilities,RSMo 210.566.
- To review the Resource Parent Acknowledgement of Home Assessment & CaseFile Information Access, CD-128, and obtain signature(s).
- To review the Safe Sleep Practices Form, CD-117. Explain to applicantthat they must agree to the practices and sign the form.
- To review the Resource Provider Discipline Agreement, CD-119. Explainto the applicant that they must agree to the practices and sign the form.
- To provide a copy of the HIPAA Information for Resource Parents, CD-194, and obtain signature(s).
The home assessment must be completed within 120 days of receipt of the application and shall consist of:
- Joint and separate interviews with the applicants; children, and allothers in the home. There shall be a minimum of four separate in-home consultationsduring the pre-service training. The total number of hours spent conductingvisits shall consist of at least ten hours.
- Compliance with the physical aspects of licensing regulations must bedetermined.
- A minimum of three references, returned;
- A completed Foster Family Profile, CD-56;
- Review of Family Support Division (FSD) screens. The county should beginthe review by using the following screens:
- SCLR - Department of Social Services (DSS) data base (access with name, sex, and date of birth),
- IPAR FSD information (accessed by DCN),
- FMPX – FSD participation screen (accessed by DCN or SSN),
- OVCI - Claims and Restitution (CARS) information (accessed by DCN),
When information is found regarding an applicant, the system inquirer should continue using other pertinent screens to gather as much data as possible to assist in the decision-making process.
- Review FACES screens regarding history with the Division. Start withCall/Case Prior History Search.
- Review appropriate screens to verify prior history of licensure and/orcontracting as a resource provider.
Steps to be Followed for Licensure
The following steps shall be completed for every applicant and adult household member (age 17 and older). Supporting documentation of each step is to be filed in the licensing record. The same steps are to be followed in the completion of any ICPC assessment as are followed for licensure as referenced in Memorandums CD04-63 and CD07-44.
- The Children’s Service Worker will conduct child abuse and neglectbackground checks in every state where each household member 17 years ofage and older has resided since the age of 17. The search can be conductedby going to the web site, http://ccld.ca.gov/adamwalshi_2609.htm .This web site is maintained by the California Department of Social Services.It lists the contacts for every state to request Child Abuse and Neglectbackground checks. The list includes contact names, addresses, phone numbersand email addresses. It also includes specific forms if required and ifthe state requires a fee. Information regarding states that charge a feeis located in memo CD08-102.Department Vendor Numbers for those states that charge a fee are listedon the Other State Child Abuse Registry list located in the ResourceDevelopment section of the Children’s Division Intranet homepage.
- Each household member 17 years of age and older must register with theFamily Care Safety Registry (FCSR). The registry is maintained by the Departmentof Health and Senior Services (DHSS). It will search the following systems:
- CA/N records (findings of ”Preponderance of Evidence” court adjudicated”, or prior to August 28, 2004, “Probable Cause“ findings),
- Employee Disqualification List, maintained by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS),
- Child-care facility licensing records maintained by DHSS,
- Residential living facility and nursing home records, maintained by DHSS,
- Employee Disqualification Registry maintained by Department of Mental Health;
- Foster parent licensing records, maintained by the Children’s Division (CD); and
- Sex Offender Registry information maintained by the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP).
- The Children's Service Worker will provide the applicant with instructions regarding the process for each adult in the household to register with the FCSR on the Internet. The employee access only instructions are available on the Children's Division intranet.
- Instruct the applicant to register as quickly as possible
- The worker may assist the applicant with the on-line registration
- If no social security card is available, the only acceptable substitute is a driver’s license (if the SSN is used as the ID number); a military ID; a MO HealtlhNet card; or the Social Security Administration (SSA) statement provided when application is made for a replacement card (as long as it has the SSN identified, the name appears on the statement and it is initialed or signed by a SSA representative).
An exception can be made for families who do not have Social Security numbers due to their religious practices (i.e. Amish). They are not required to register with the FCSR. However, a note regarding this should be documented in their record and home assessment.
Registrants (and all their adult household members) who are foster parents, respite providers, or are applying to provide those services must check the foster parent box in Section A to avoid having to pay the registration fee.
- The Children’s Service Worker may telephone the FCSR at 1-866-422-6872 to make a background screening request. Generally information will be available within two weeks. An oral report will be given at the time of the call and will be followed with a written report to both the requestor and the registrant within 48 hours.
- Registration with the FCSR is only required once.
- When completing a background screening for re-licensure, the Children’s Service Worker can do one of the following:
- Access the FCSR on-line with the assigned ID and password (preferred), or
- Call the FCSR at 1-866-422-6872
The Children’s Service Worker obtains on-line access to the FCSR by doing the following:
- Go to the FCSR home page, www.dhss.mo.gov/fcsr;
- Click on the Forms link;
- Click on the How to Become a FCSR Internet User link;
- Click on the Internet Background Screening Access/Security Request.
- Return the completed document by Fax to 573-522-6981, or by mail to:
DHSS/Family Care Safety Registry
PO Box 570
Jefferson City, MO 65102
In response the FCSR will assign a USER ID number to the Children’s Service Worker to be used exclusively for access to the FCSR. The USER ID and instructions on how to do the password and how to run a background screening will be faxed to the worker. This ID and password are autonomous from the worker’s current ID and passwords used for logging on to the state computer system, FACES and PROD. The password is on a 30-day expiration cycle and the worker will have to update it every thirty (30) days, just as with the PROD password.
- State and national criminal record checks will be completed for eachhousehold member age 17 or older, or any person under the age of 17 whohas been certified as an adult. These checks are completed by the submissionof fingerprints by the applicants and required household members. The MissouriState Highway Patrol, MSHP, will complete a state criminal record checkand then electronically send the fingerprint images to the FBI for a nationalsearch of criminal records. The MSHP collects the fingerprints using acontracted electronic fingerprint vendor.
Applicants must register with MSHP Missouri Automated Criminal History Search, MACHS, in order to schedule their fingerprinting appointment. The Children's Service Worker provides the appropriate authorization letter to the applicant which indicates whether the applicant is being fingerprinted for all resource services, CD-26a, adoption services only, CD-26d, or as the biological parent, CD-26b. It is the responsibility of the Children's Service Worker to explain the registration process. The worker may assist the applicant with registration process.
The electronic scan method is the preferred method of obtaining criminal background checks. However, the card and ink method will still be available in special circumstances. Staff should be aware that this method will result in delays in receiving the criminal history. No one may be licensed or have their license renewed until criminal background results have been received. The Missouri State Highway Patrol public window is not an option for having fingerprints completed. Staff should not refer applicants or providers to the Highway Patrol to have prints completed.
The Division cannot pay for criminal background checks completed on biological parents or for court ordered studies on private adoptions and guardianships. The Children’s Service Worker will provide authorization letter CD-26b to those individuals that must pay for their fingerprinting.
The completed reports will be sent to the Children’s Division Background Screening and Investigation Unit, BSIU, and then forwarded to the local CD office. The correct local office is determined by the OCA Code. The MSHP response will be received first. After the FBI has completed its search, any results will be forwarded to the MSHP, who will then forward the results to BSIU.
The criminal record check may reveal open and closed record information on individuals consisting of arrests, prosecutor and court actions, correctional supervision, and release. All felony and serious misdemeanor arrests including sexual offender registration information as defined under 589.400, RSMo. All alcohol and drug related traffic offenses are considered reportable criminal offenses.
BSIU will maintain a log of all criminal background checks completed on alternative care providers and applicants.
- The address of residence of the resource home will be entered at theMissouri State Highway Patrol’s sexual offender list located on theweb at: http://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/MSHPWeb/Root/l.The search will determine if a sexual offender is registered as residingat the address of the resource home.
Per FBI guidelines, FBI reports can be released to local county offices and made available in court. FBI rap sheets cannot be released to contractors or to private entities. Even if a contractor has requested the information to complete an assessment, they are not allowed access to the report. The local office will have the responsibility to convey to the contractor one of the following:
- The report is clear; proceed with the assessment, or
- The report revealed something that must be explored. The contractor willthen be requested to refer the family to the local office before continuingthe assessment. Local office staff will then meet with the applicant anddetermine whether the applicant will be allowed to proceed with the application.If the applicant is selected out, the local office staff must inform thefamily in writing and notify the contractor.
- There is a delayed fingerprinting process that will be followed in the cases of the emergency placement or exigent circumstances involving a child. If there is a need to complete a Purpose Code "X" screening for emergency placement or exigent circumstances, staff should adhere to the following process:
The Children’s Service Worker or juvenile officer must request local law enforcement to search the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System (MULES) for anyone 17 years old or older residing in the household. MULES is an electronic communication system strictly used for law enforcement purposes, but permission has been granted to allow the Division access to the information in cases of emergency protective custody, where children are placed in the care and custody of CD. In accordance with Section 210.482.2 RSMo, a child should be immediately removed from the home in which he/she has been placed if anyone 17 years old or older refuses to provide fingerprints.
The FBI has approved law enforcement to conduct Purpose Code "X" background screenings with a time-limited delay in fingerprinting due to placing a child as a result of an emergency situation. However, fingerprints must be submitted to the FBI within 15 days of the MULES check. To meet that deadline, the Children’s Service Worker must provide the placement provider with information to schedule their screening with the contracted electronic fingerprint vendor. When a court or Children’s Service Worker approaches a law enforcement agency about providing this type of check, the law enforcement agency is not responsible for ensuring the legitimacy of the request. Law enforcement is required to ensure the requestor is an authorized representative, and upon verification, the inquiry should be performed. Local offices should work with their multidisciplinary teams to establish protocols to fulfill the required verification process.
Local offices should document and maintain the Purpose Code X Request log, CD-153. If the Children’s Division fails to keep an accurate and up to date log to account for subsequent delayed fingerprinting, or a reason that fingerprints will not be submitted (e.g., due to a disqualifying criminal history), the Division could lose the right to delay fingerprinting in the future.
- Examine Case net, the Missouri State Courts Automated Case Management System, for any reference to Orders of Protection filed, either for a child or adult. There are limits to the use of Case.net. Case.net is not yet statewide so will not include all county circuit courts. Also, at this time public view does not include identifiers such as social security and birth dates; so, it is difficult to determine whether the individual you are searching is the same as one found in Case.net.
- In locations where Case.net is not yet available, check with the circuit court for any pertinent information, including a record of Orders of Protection filed, both for a child or an adult. Additional circuit courts may need to be contacted if there is reason for concern. Any fee charged by the circuit court will be paid by the applicant.
- There is a delayed fingerprinting process that will be followed in the cases of the emergency placement or exigent circumstances involving a child. If there is a need to complete a Purpose Code "X" screening for emergency placement or exigent circumstances, staff should adhere to the following process:
Except for the specific felony convictions listed below, a criminal history, child abuse/neglect history, or other review information does not automatically preclude licensure. Staff should determine the relevance of all such findings to child caring responsibilities, and should seek guidance from supervisors. A supervisor must review and evaluate the background information if there is a record of conviction (other than those listed below) and/or child abuse and if the decision is to approve the home assessment. The supervisor’s review and decision to approve/disapprove must be documented.
Staff may not approve the application of any person in which a record check reveals that a felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, a crime against children (including child pornography), or a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery was determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Staff may also not approve the application of any person who in the past five years has had a court of competent jurisdiction determine a felony conviction for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense.
For the purpose of this policy, a "felony conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction" is defined as a criminal court conviction for a felony offense as defined by law in the jurisdiction that the offense took place.
In the unlikely event that it is determined that the best interest of a child would be served by placement in this setting, written approval must be obtained through supervisory lines to the Regional Office. The Regional Office must review the request and, if in agreement, forward with their recommendation to the Deputy Director for Children’s Division for final consideration. Written requests should include a thorough description of the applicant’s situation and why it would be in the child’s best interest for an exception to be granted. If approved by the Deputy Director, IV-E funding may not be used and the Children’s Service Worker will be responsible for notifying the Eligibility Specialist who will ensure that state only funds are used.
Unless a new conviction occurs, this will not affect the status of any currently licensed or certified parents, however, federal funds may not be used for foster care maintenance or adoption assistance payments if any of the aforementioned conditions exist. It is imperative that in those circumstances the Children’s Service Worker notifies the Eligibility Specialist who will enter the correct fund code for state only funding.
The Assessment Process Includes:
Orientation to agency and foster care program, as contained in Pre-Service Training and given through individual interviews. Completion of 27 hours of Pre-Service Training is required of each adult desiring licensure prior to issuance of a license. All adults in the household who will have child care responsibility will be required to attend state approved foster parent training.
Obtain photograph from family of the household members, including pets, if applicable, in front of their home. As this will be used in helping prepare a child for placement, include as much detail as possible. This photograph is to be placed with the Foster Family Profile, CD-56 under separate cover sheet and placed in the front of the Resource Provider record. The family’s photograph and the Foster Family Profile, CD-56 will serve as the Foster Family Profile.
The following forms are to be reviewed with the applicant(s), agreed to by the applicant(s), signed by the applicant(s), placed in the forms section of the resource provider case record, and presented at each re-licensure to be signed and agreed to again.
- Resource Parent Acknowledgement of Home Assessment & Case File InformationAccess, CD-128
- Safe Sleep Practices Form, CD-117
- Resource Parent Discipline Agreement, CD-119
A copy of The Foster Parent Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, RSMo 210.566 is also to be provided to the applicant.
An exchange of information should occur between the Children’s Service Worker and applicant that will promote discussion to determine if the applicant is able to parent children who have different cultural needs than the applicant. This is to be done with all applicants and should not be used to discourage an applicant from parenting trans-culturally. Record all information in the assessment.
Determination of Capacity for Foster Parenting
Assessment of Motivation and Attitudes, including:
- How and why the applicants became interested in becoming foster parentsand why they are applying now;
- Are applicants interested in adoption;
- What are applicants' experiences with children;
- Reactions of applicants to abusing or neglecting parents;
- Do they understand the significance of the biological parents to thechildren? Are they willing to work with the child’s biological parentsand siblings;
- Are applicants comfortable in accepting both their own and the children’spositive and negative feelings;
- Are children allowed to participate in problem solving in matters concerningtheir own behavior?
- The reason they are interested in parenting culturally diverse childrenand the impact of their decision on their family, extended family, friends,and neighbors.
- Assess applicant’s life style, the ability to teach a child copingskills for their cultural heritage and give a child sense of cultural knowledge,pride, and identity.
- Is the applicant family financially stable.
Physical and Personality Description, Observations of Applicants' Family and Individual Functioning
Life history, including:
- Past relationships with parents, siblings, extended family;
- Significant events, both positive and negative, as described by applicant;
- Prior marital relationships, if applicable. When completing ICPC assessments/homestudies, and the applicant is a birth parent, determine if an ex parteorder or dissolution of marriage order exists which limits or denies custodyor visitation rights. If such an order exists, it must be followed by theagency in planning for the child. Determine if the parent or relative/kinhas had a criminal conviction of a felony violation of Chapter 566 (SexualOffenses) or Chapter 568 (Offenses Against the Family) when that childwas the victim (courts may not award custody or visitation to a parentwho has such a conviction in a proceeding for marriage dissolution, legalseparation, or child support).
- Their own nationality and sense of cultural identity, knowledge of otheridentities, cultures, and the significance of these inter-relationships.
- What is the applicant’s life style practices, including sexualorientation, culture, and leisure activities;
- Discuss family interaction, including husband and wife, children, andextended family; stability of marriage;
- Discuss family interaction with the community, including school, neighborhood,and larger community;
- What support systems are available to applicants;
- Evaluate the cultural composition of the neighborhoods, including schools,churches, child care centers, and other organizations with which the childwould interact. Evaluate with applicants how these resources can be usedto benefit the child’s diverse cultural needs;
- Relative or kinship provider ability to protect the child from the parent,and ability to maintain contact with the parent, where appropriate.
- Discuss family pets and the importance of pets to the child.
Discuss family interaction with the Community, Including School, Neighborhood, and Larger Community:
- What support systems are available to the applicants?
- Evaluate the cultural composition of the neighborhoods, including schools,churches, child care centers, and other organizations with which the childwould interact. Evaluate with the applicants how these resources can beused to benefit the child’s diverse cultural needs.
The Foster Child as a Family Member:
- What is of most importance to the applicants in the maintenance of theirhousehold routines?
- What behavior in a child is intolerable to them?
- Can applicants set limits but at the same time remain flexible? (Somechildren respond best to highly structured environments and others needmore freedom.)
- What are the applicants' expectations of a child? (Include personality,achievement and affect-based, response.)
- For how many children do the applicants want to provide care? More ifsiblings? (Keep in mind the six children limit for foster homes; seven- twelve children for foster family group homes.)
- If there are birth or adopted children, how do they feel about theirparents providing care to foster children, and has this been discussedthoroughly with them? (At least one interview with children already livingin the home is required and should be conducted separate from the parents.)Documentation of this interview should include with whom the worker spokeand where.
- How do grandparents view the addition of foster children?
- Determine applicant’s understanding and knowledge of the developmentand behavior of children through a discussion of the following generalparenting skills:
- Parent structures environment so that it is safe and healthy for the child;
- Parent expresses positive feelings toward the child verbally and physically;
- Parent recognizes and responds appropriately to the child’s verbal and physical expressions of needs and wants;
- Parent consistently uses basic behavior management techniques in dealing with the child;
- Parent consistently uses appropriate techniques to discipline the child and refrains from corporal punishment;
- Parent guides child toward increasing independence; and
- Parent behaves in a way that recognizes the immaturity of the child.
- How were applicants disciplined as children and by whom? Have the applicantsrecall some of their feelings about these methods of discipline.
- Is the discipline they now use the same as they themselves received?Have they changed their methods, and if so, how and why?
- Do the applicants understand corporal punishment is not allowed?
- How do the applicants manage their money?
- What are the family members' roles in management?
- Do they have income sufficient to support all members of the family?
- What are the applicants' attitudes toward medical care and good healthpractices?
- If there are health problems, how do the family members cope with them?If there is a disability, how do other family members compensate?
- Secure from their physician a health statement for each member of thefamily on the prescribed form.
- History of hospitalization for either physical or emotional problems.
- History of treatment for any psychiatric problem.
- History of treatment for any form of substance abuse.
Pursuant to section 210.496 RSMo., disability or disease of an individual cannot be the basis for a determination that an applicant is unfit or not suitable to be a foster parent without a specific showing that the disability or disease causes a substantial and significant risk of harm to a child or an inability to be a foster parent.
- Discuss employment with applicants.
- If both are employed, what are the child care plans for foster and naturalchildren?
- Secure from employer a statement verifying employment and job performance,using The Employee Reference Questionnaire, CS-101c.
- What are the applicants' religious preferences, practices and attitudes?
- Would children placed in the home be allowed to pursue their own religiousbeliefs?
Children in the Home:
- What is the applicant’s educational preference (i.e. public school,home-schooling, private schooling)?
- What is the school history of each child in the home?
- What are the applicant’s thoughts on the importance of educationon a child’s future?
- What is the development and adjustment of each?
The Home and Community:
- Describe the home, adequacy of space, type of furnishings, state of repair,housekeeping conditions, the surroundings and the neighborhood. Utilizeinformation obtained on Resource Home and Safety Checklist (CS-45).
- Describe the room intended for a foster child and its furnishings andsize.
- Give a brief description of the community. (Consider economic level,moral influence, housing standards, health conditions, recreation, school,and church.)
- Is there access to special resources such as diagnostic clinics, therapists,and special medical facilities?
- For Foster Family Group Homes, complete and submit forms Request forFire and Safety Inspection, CS-101i and when necessary, Request for SanitationInspection, CS-101j, to respective agencies.
- References should be contacted late in the home assessment process toavoid unnecessary embarrassment for the applicant in case of early disapproval.
- At least three references unrelated to the applicant must be providedwith the Personal Reference Questionnaire, CS-101f. If the family has children,provide a School Reference Request, CS-101e to each child’s teacher.
- How long have they known the family and in what capacity?
- What are the reference’s opinion of the applicants' relationshipwith each other and the stability of their marriage?
- What is the reference’s opinion of the applicants' ability to parenttheir own children, as well as a foster child?
- If names for adult children no longer residing in the home were submittedin Section II on the Foster/Adopt Home Assessment Application, CS-42, theworker may mail each one a CS-101f to provide an opportunity for comment.
Using the statements of the applicants, the statements of the references and your own observations, assess and summarize whether these applicants are capable of meeting the needs of and providing opportunities for the healthy growth and development of a child(ren) coming into the custody of the Division.
Assess and summarize applicants' strengths and weaknesses such as:
- Their capacity to make a child a part of the family;
- Their capacity to work with biological parents;
- Their capacity to understand and handle problems; and
- Their warmth, love, understanding and ability to foster a FAMILY, notjust a child.
Assess and summarize the family, the physical environment and other issues that assure compliance with foster family home licensing rules.
- Selected In as a resource provider for the Children’s Division:
Explain to the applicant the recommendation of their home to be a resource home regarding the number, age and sex of child or children the applicants could best serve to prospective foster parent.
- Selected Out as a resource provider for the Children’s Division:
Explain recommendation if it is to deny an individual or family as applicants, remembering that such a decision should not be a surprise to the applicants. Such a recommendation can be made any time during the home assessment process. Also, remember that the worker should be honest with the applicant regarding the decision, recognizing the applicant’s sensitivity and tolerance.
Selection out of foster parenting services requires the Children’sService Worker to be prepared to provide documentation of facts that supportthe applicant(s) is not in compliance with Statute, Rule and Policy ifthe applicant(s) should request a fair hearing to pursue a grievance ofthe decision.
Chapter Memoranda History: (prior to 1/31/07)