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Library: Policy

340:75-14-2. Rights of a child served by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS)

Issued 4-9-19

(a) Rights.Child Welfare Services (CWS) makes reasonable, good-faith efforts to provide the rights in (1) through (5) for a child in DHS custody, when doing so is in the child's best interest, per Section 1-9-119.1 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. §1-9-119.1).

(1) Placement. A child deserves to:

(A) remain in the custody of his or her parent(s) or legal custodian unless and until there is a determination in accordance with state law that removal is appropriate;

(B) be placed in accordance with state law, when circumstances permit and, in (i) through (iv) order of preference, with an approved:

(i) relative;

(ii) kinship placement;

(iii) resource family who previously cared for the child; and

(iv) resource family;

(C) be placed in the nearest geographic proximity to his or her home as possible;

(D)be placed with the child's sibling(s), when the sibling(s) is also placed outside of his or her home, when appropriate;

(E) be placed with a child of his or her own, when appropriate;

(F) be placed with an approved resource family that can and is willing to accommodate the child's communication needs, when possible;

(G) be provided with both information about a resource family or program and, when circumstances permit, an opportunity to meet the resource parent or program staff before placement occurs;

(H)be provided an age-appropriate explanation why he or she is in foster care and what is happening to him or her and to his or her family, including a sibling(s), when possible;

(I) continue in the same school or educational placement with minimal disruption in order to receive an education that fits his or her age and individual needs;

(J) be treated with dignity during placement changes.

(i) Except when a change in placement is due to an emergency, a child and the child's attorney are given five-judicial days' notice before a change in placement.

(ii) Prior to any placement change, the impacted child is consulted when appropriate and advised in an age-appropriate manner of the circumstances and the reason for the placement change.The child's input concerning the placement change is considered, taking the child's age and developmental level into account; and

(K) receive reasonable equipment and assistance to transport personal possessions during placement changes.

(2) Safety.Efforts are made to ensure a child in DHS custody:

(A) lives in a safe, healthy, and comfortable home;

(B) has adequate and appropriate clothing;

(C) receives individualized medical, dental, vision, behavioral health, and other required services by a continuity of providers, when reasonably possible;

(D) is free of unnecessary or excessive medication; and

(E) can report a potential violation of personal rights without fear of punishment, interference, coercion, or other retaliation.

(3) Privacy.A child deserves:

(A) to have an age-appropriate expectation of privacy in accordance with existing law as to his or her person, property, and communications;

(B) to freely exercise his or her own religious beliefs, including the refusal to attend any religious activities and services; and

(C) confidentiality of all of his or her juvenile court records consistent with existing law.

(4) Communications.A child deserves:

(A) written visitation plans with a parent(s) and sibling(s), per 10AO.S. § 1-7-105;

(B) to begin visitation with a parent(s) and sibling(s) in accordance with existing law;

(C) to have safe and reasonable communications with his or her parent(s), sibling(s), extended family and friends, when appropriate;

(D) regular and meaningful access his or her attorney, guardian, and/or court-appointed special advocate;

(E) to communicate, in private when necessary, with any court and the judge with personal jurisdiction of his or her case.This includes informing the court of inadequate representation provided by any attorney or other individual tasked with advocating on his or her behalf;

(F) the opportunity to engage in regular, meaningful, and private communication with his or her assigned child welfare (CW) specialist;

(G)to participate, in a manner consistent with his or her age and developmental level in the development of, and any revision to, the service plan;

(H) to be presented with the service plan for his or her review and signature, when appropriate;

(I) to be notified of, attend, and have the opportunity to be heard in court hearings relating to his or her case and in family meetings, when appropriate; and

(J) to have, in accordance with existing law, all of his or her records available for review by his or her attorney and court-appointed special advocate when such review is necessary.

(5) Personal growth.A child deserves:

(A) to have fair and equal access to all available services, placements, care, treatments and benefits, and to not be subjected to discrimination or harassment, as ensured by existing law;

(B) to engage in reasonable, age-appropriate day-to-day activities, including extracurricular, enrichment and social activities, consistent with the most family- like environment;

(C)to receive independent living and support services and, unless circumstances or existing law requires a document be obtained sooner, be provided identification and permanent documents, including, but not limited to, his or her birth certificate, Social Security card, and health records by 18 years of age, to the extent allowed by federal and state law;

(D) the opportunity to work and develop job skills at an age-appropriate level that is consistent with state law; and

(E) to manage or have managed his or her personal earnings and financial resources in a manner consistent with his or her age and developmental level.

(b)Balancing rights.One or more of the rights in subsection (a) may conflict; therefore, a balanced approach to protect these rights takes into account both the child's unique circumstances and what is in the child's best interest.

(c) Rights notification.A statement of these rights is provided to:

(1) each child upon entering foster care and at annually thereafter; and

(2) any foster parent once a child in DHS custody enters the foster parent’s home and annually thereafter.

(d) Questionsor complaints.A child in DHS custody is encouraged to talk to the assigned CW specialist and/or the foster parent(s) when he or she has questions or wants to talk to someone about his or her rights.When talking with the CW specialist or foster parent(s) is not helpful or the child is uncomfortable, a youth advocate may be contacted at OK Foster Youth Matters at 1-800-522-8014, or a complaint may be filed at

(e) Grievance.

(1) A child in DHS custody has the right to file a grievance about the foster care services provided or received, without fear of reprisal or discrimination.The grievance is filed with the Office of Client Advocacy (OCA).

(2) After exhausting the remedies available through the OCA grievance process, a child in DHS custody may request intervention from the district court with jurisdiction over his or her case to obtain relief.

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