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Library: Policy

340:75-15-84. Adoption application process

• 2 & 3

Revised 9-17-18

(a) Child-focused adoption. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) adoption program is child focused. An adoptive family is selected for the child in DHS custody that is the closest match to the child's long-term best interests and needs.

(1) An application requesting a child of a certain age, race, or characteristic is not generally considered. • 1

(2) An application, including one by a foster parent or relative, does not guarantee a child's placement in the applicant's home.

(3) There are no DHS service fees to applicants applying to adopt a child in DHS custody.

(b) Adoption eligibility. Section 7503-1.1 of Title 10 of the Oklahoma Statutes (10 O.S. § 7503-1.1) states that a person is eligible to adopt a child when he or she is at least 21 years of age, and:

(1) is not married;

(2) married and the husband and wife, as a couple, adopt;

(3) is married, but legally separated from his or her spouse; or

(4) the spouse of the child's parent or relative.

(e) DHS employee applications. DHS employees may apply to adopt children in DHS custody.

(f) Out-of-state applications. DHS does not process applications from out-of-state applicants.

(1) DHS does accept certified resource family assessments from licensed private or public adoption agencies in other states and may consider the approved adoptive family for a child in DHS custody.

(2) The Resource Unit coordinates placement and supervision with the licensed private or public adoption agency in the state where the adoptive family resides.

(3) Each provision of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is followed, per OAC 340:75-15-82 and 340:75-1-86.

(g) Reapplication to adopt. When an adoptive parent applies to DHS to adopt again subsequent to a prior completed adoption, his or her information is updated.  • 4

(h) Application withdrawal or denial.

(1) The applicant may voluntarily withdraw the application.

(2) The application is denied when the applicant does not meet requirements, per OAC 340:75-15-84.

(3) Reasons for denying the application are explained to the applicant and are also stated in a letter to the applicant.  • 5

(4) The applicant desiring to adopt a child of a certain age, race, or other characteristic that DHS reasonably believes may not be available for adoption in the foreseeable future is referred to licensed child-placing agencies that are more likely to place children matching the request.

Revised 8-12-19

1. (a) Response to potential resource applicants. The adoptive applicant is referred to the resource specialist for the district where the applicant lives. The resource specialist responds promptly to the potential applicant and invites the applicant to attend a group orientation meeting or at the applicant's request, an individual intake interview is scheduled. The resource specialist:

(1) plans the intake interview for a location that best meets the applicant's needs, such as:

(A) the local Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) office;

(B) the family's home. When the intake interview is done in the home, Form 04AF004E, House Assessment, is completed as a part of the interview process or when the intake is not done in the home, a separate appointment is scheduled for the house assessment to be completed in the home; or

(C) another site selected by the applicant;

(2) explains the adoption process;

(3) explains the types of children waiting for resource homes;

(4) answers the potential applicant's questions during the intake interview; and

(5) shares non-identifying information about children for whom DHS has adoptive planning responsibility.

(A) The information is general and does not reveal confidential information about the child or the child's biological family.

(B) The information sharing process assists the family in gaining realistic expectations about the children available for adoption and the applicant's ability to parent the children.

(b) Initial screening. When an applicant inquires about adopting a child of a certain age, race, or other characteristic DHS reasonably believes may not be available for adoption in the foreseeable future, the resource specialist:

(1) consults the resource supervisor and the appropriate field manager prior to making a decision to:

(A) not process the application; or

(B) refer the applicant to a licensed child-placing agency;

(2) explains to the applicant the requested type of child is generally:

(A) part of a sibling group;

(B) placed with a relative; or

(C) placed with an existing, approved applicant awaiting adoptive placement of sibling groups;

(3) provides information about the types of children available through DHS and encourages the applicant to consider these children; and

(4) refers the applicant, when indicated after consultation with the appropriate field manager, to licensed child-placing agencies that may be able to place children matching the applicant's request.

2. (a) Adoption application packet. When the applicant chooses to apply, the resource specialist provides an adoption application packet and:

(1) reviews each form and activity required to complete the application process with the applicant; and

(2) explains that the applicant may provide the required documents to complete the application within 20-calendar days of the applicant's signature on Form 04AF001E, Resource Family Application.

(b) Application. An applicant completes Form 04AF001E for consideration as an adoptive parent for a child in DHS custody. When other adults reside in the potential resource home, Form 04AF043E, Resource Family Application Other Adults in the Home, is completed and signed by the other adults.

(1) The application is considered complete when the applicant submits the required documents and completes the actions detailed on Form 04AF001E within 20-calendar days after he or she signs the form.

(2) The required documents and completed actions include:

(A) Form 04AD003E, Request for Background Check, and fingerprint submissions completed by each applicant and each adult household member. All names, including maiden names, used by each applicant and each adult household member must be included on Form 04AD003E;

(B) Form 04AF010E, Resource Family Financial Assessment;

(C) income verification for each applicant;

(D) Form 04AF017E, Resource Parent Health History, for each applicant and each adult household member;

(E) Form 04AF008E, Medical Examination Report, completed for each applicant and each adult household member;

(F) Form 04AF039E, Child(ren)'s Health Statement, for each child in the household who is not in DHS custody and a:

(i) copy of each child's immunization record; or

(ii) Form 08TA017E, Immunization Certificate of Exemption, when the child is not immunized;

(G) copies of each applicant's driver license, state-issued identification card, or current military identification for active military members and spouses;

(H) copies of vehicle insurance verification for each applicant;

(I) copies of each applicant's Social Security Administration card;

(J) a copy of the current marriage license or other evidence of marriage as indicated by the Oklahoma State Courts Network or similar record of another state;

(K) a copy of all divorce, marriage dissolution, legal separation, or annulment documents for each applicant;

(L) a copy of animal vaccination records;

(M) verification of lawful residency when either applicant is not a United States citizen;

(N) copies of each applicant's Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) and tribal membership cards;

(O) copies of each applicant's DD Form 214, Certificate of Release from Active Military Duty;

(P) alternate caregiver contact information; and

(Q) other DHS-requested documents or actions.

(c) Requirements.

(1) A background information search is required for each applicant and adult household member 18 years of age and older, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-15-84.1.

(2) Applicants and adult household members who care for the child are required to complete pre-service training, per OAC 340:75-7-14.

(3) A resource family assessment is completed.

(4) Applicants must provide DHS with copies of any non-DHS assessments or evaluations conducted for, but not limited to, previous adoptive, foster home, relative, divorce child custody, or other custody assessments.

(5) DHS inquires if the applicant applied to be or was an approved foster or adoptive parent in another state or with a tribe. DHS requests, from each applicable state or tribe, any history of child abuse or neglect or criminal history from the appropriate government or tribal agency.

(d) Assessment procedure. The applicant is advised that an area subcontractor will contact the family to begin the resource family assessment (RFA).

3. Evaluating applicant eligibility. To meet eligibility requirements, all adult household members must be fingerprinted, unless a fingerprint exception is granted, per OAC 340:75-15-84.1 Instructions to Staff.

4. Adoption re-application procedures. A person must re-apply to re-open as an adoptive resource.

(1) Upon application receipt, the resource specialist reviews the past resource records to determine the former resource parent's history. The performance review includes, but is not limited to, assessing:

(A) each identified concern or DHS policy violation;

(B) any written plan of compliance outcome and recommendations regarding the resource; and

(C) the training record, ensuring that pre-service and in-service training were completed, as required and documented, per OAC 340:75-7-14.

(2) Within 10-calendar days of the application date, the resource specialist and resource supervisor review and determine whether to deny the application or proceed with the assessment. The field manager is consulted as needed.

(3) When the resource was closed for less than 12 months, the resource may be opened with an approved annual update within 30-calendar days of the disposition date, per OAC 340:75-7-94. When the resource was closed for more than 12 months but less than five years, the resource may be opened with an approved re-assessment within 30-calendar days of the disposition date, per OAC 340:75-7-94.

(4) When the resource was closed for more than five years, a new resource family assessment is completed, per OAC 340:75-15-84 and 340:75-15-87, and training is completed, per OAC 340:75-7-14. The reapplication is processed, and approved or denied, within 60-calendar days of the disposition date.

(5) When the reapplication is denied, the resource specialist phones the applicant about the application's disposition, sends a notice of denial, Form 04FC020E, Notice of Denial to Resource Applicant, and scans it into the File Cabinet.

5. Notice of closure.

(1) The adoption specialist consults with the field manager to determine whether to close an adoptive resource home.

(2) Form 04FC008E, Notice of Closure to DHS Resource Parents, is sent to the adoptive parent stating the reason for closure of the adoptive home. Relevant DHS rules or procedures are cited and attached to the letter.

(3) When possible, the adoption specialist makes face-to-face contact with the adoptive parent to clarify the reason for the adoptive home closure.

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