|Action||Adopt new standards for licensed private child-placing agencies.|
|Comment Period||Ends 4/1/2011|
Proposed Chapter 131
Standards For Licensed Child-Placing Agencies
It appears that the revised standards would now require all temporary entrustments directly to LCPAs be subject to court approval—which is a major change from previous standards. It is also unclear as to whether parents are able to place their children in short-term or other care using a parental placement agreement without entrustment, when a local department of social services is not involved with the case. Therefore, a serious, potential obstacle to parents seeking preventative or emergency care is presented in the new standards.
Recommendation - At this time it is the recommendation of Volunteer Families, Lutheran Family Services, and Children, Youth, & Family Services that the new standards should contain a section which outlines the content of a parental placement agreement for short-term care in order to ensure a standard of fairness, ethics and legality among child placing agencies who take direct parent referrals for care. Then, temporary entrustments, authorized by the court should not be required in such cases.
Additional Questions and Recommendations:
Is a separate section of the standards, dedicated solely to short-term foster care, being considered?
Recommendation - At this time it is the recommendation of Volunteer Families, Lutheran Family Services, and Children, Youth, & Family Services to afford short-term care its own section within the standards---solely for the purposes of clarity. We believe there are enough important distinctions between short-term care and other placing activities to warrant an entire section.
What is the VADSS definition of respite, both emergency and planned/ongoing?
Recommendation - At this time it is the recommendation of Volunteer Families, Lutheran Family Services, and Children, Youth, & Family Services, to define the terms “respite,” “crisis respite” and” planned respite” within the definition section of the new standards as follows.
Respite – short-term foster care voluntarily entered into by birth, foster and adoptive parents, in order to provide care to children during a family crisis or during periods of high family stress. Respite does not change the child’s custody status, and the goal is to prevent disruption of their permanent placement.
Crisis Respite – respite that is needed immediately to alleviate a crisis in the child’s home. Crisis respite placements made by LCPAs are subject to the same exceptions as emergency foster care placements made by local DSS.
Planned respite – respite entered into when a family is experiencing chronic stress, but no immediate crisis is present. Planned respite can be scheduled as a single episode, or as a series of ongoing episodes.