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New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual

 

Manual:

CP&P

Child Protection and Permanency

Effective Date:

Volume:

IV

Out of Home Placement

Chapter:

B

Resource Care

2-4-2013

Subchapter:

6

Management of Resource Family Homes

Issuance:

300

Resource Parent Responsibilities

 

 

Areas of Responsibility                                                    12-27-2004

 

General Responsibility -- While a child is in placement, the resource family provides the child with those family life experiences which are essential in promoting normal growth and development. A resource parent functions as the child's substitute parent and is therefore a vital resource in providing physical and emotional care for the child while he or she is separated from his or her own family. CP&P involves the resource parent and considers his or her viewpoint regarding issues and decisions which affect the child's adjustment to resource care, general well-being, and case plans.

 

The resource parent is expected to keep CP&P informed of the child's adjustment, progress, and any significant developments by discussing these issues with the Worker or Resource Family Support Worker and by notifying CP&P immediately of any emergency or critical situations.

 

Daily Expectations of Resource Parent Toward the Child in His or Her Care

 

      General care and supervision

      Discipline

      Medical care

      Personal hygiene

      Psychological care

      Education

      Court proceedings

      Transportation

      Vacations and other recreational activities

      Contacts between the child and his or her birth family according to the case plan

      Life skills preparation for adulthood beginning with the child's placement in resource care, regardless of age

 

This sub-section focuses on the resource parent's role with regard to these service areas. This policy and CP&P-IV-B-8-100 both discuss these and other areas of service provision, presenting overall CP&P policy and guidelines for each area.

 

CP&P's Responsibility to Resource Parents & Basic Responsibility of Resource Parents                         1-5-2009

 

CP&P assumes responsibility for recruiting, studying, and approving resource parent applicants who are capable of meeting the physical and emotional needs of children in placement. Pre-service training for resource parent applicants is offered and administered by CP&P and/or a contracted agency prior to the final approval of the resource parents and the licensing of the home. See CP&P-IV-B-3-100. A resource parent shall have the ability to provide for a child's basic nutritional, developmental, educational, and health needs. The Division representative or contract agency employee shall provide the resource parent with information on nutrition and child health needs through consultation and training. N.J.A.C. 10:122B-4.1(b).

 

Minimum Expectations of Resource Parent –

 

      Accepting the child as a temporary member of his or her family and involving the child in family activities.

 

      Refraining from the use of corporal punishment or words or actions which inflict pain or are emotionally damaging to a child as a form of discipline. N.J.A.C. 10:122C-6.8(a)3.

 

      Arranging to meet the child's health needs, including an annual medical and dental checkup, as agreed to with CP&P. N.J.A.C. 10:122C-7.1(a).

 

      Providing the child with adequate shelter, a well-balanced diet, and appropriate clothing.

 

      Ensuring that each child age three to kindergarten-eligible, in out-of-home placement, is enrolled in and attending a pre-school program with an age appropriate educational component. See CP&P-VII-A-1-600.

 

      Providing the child with a home life that meets his or her emotional needs for acceptance, guidance, stability, and security.

 

      Respecting the child's need for privacy and independence.

 

      Registering the child in school, as negotiated with the Division representative or contract agency employee, and ensuring that the child attends school regularly according to school regulations. In accordance with the Child Welfare Reform Plan, all children in out-of-home placement must be registered for and attending school within 72 hours of initial placement and re-placement.

 

      Encouraging good study habits, being involved with the academic progress of each child in placement, attending school conferences and meeting with school personnel when there are problems or periodic reviews. N.J.A.C. 10:122C-6.3(b).

 

      Helping the child develop and maintain his or her special sense of identity and history by working with the Worker or Resource Family Support Worker on the preparation and ongoing use of a Life Book, which is a psychological bridge between his or her birth family and the resource family.

 

      Being willing to accept the child's relationship with his or her own family, and promoting the positive aspects of such a relationship.

 

      Helping the child to acquire and practice the life skills necessary for adult self-sufficiency.

 

      Supporting and encouraging the child in placement to engage in recreational and social activities appropriate to the age, interests and abilities of the child in placement with assistance from CP&P. N.J.A.C. 10:122B-4.1(d) and 10:122C-6.4.

 

      Ensuring the opportunity for the continuity of the cultural and ethnic growth and education of each child placed in the home. N.J.A.C. 10:122C-6.3(e).

 

      “Cooperate with all activities as specified in the case plan” (N.J.A.C. 10:133D-1, Case Plan), “for the child, such as counseling, therapy, court sessions, visits with the child's family or life skills programs to develop the basic skills needed to succeed in daily living, career planning, housing and money management, when appropriate.” N.J.A.C. 10:122C-5.1(a)3i.

 

      Be knowledgeable about reporting suspected child abuse and neglect to the Statewide Central Registry (SCR).

 

“The Division representative or contract agency employee shall work with the resource parent to provide the child in placement with reasonable opportunities to attend religious activities and services in accordance with the child's preference and the wishes of the child's own parents.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122B-4.1(a)) “The resource family parent shall ensure that the child in placement is afforded the opportunity to attend religious activities and services in the community in accordance with the faith of the child's parents.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-6.5(a))

 

Discipline                                                                             10-9-2012

 

As a result of the disruption of his family, a child receiving resource care often experiences feelings of rejection, isolation, and insecurity. He is often distrustful of adults and uncertain of what is expected of him in the resource home. The resource parent must establish and enforce the limits of acceptable behavior for the child, clarifying the rules and behavioral expectations when the child is first placed in the home. Positive behavior is encouraged and praised. Unacceptable behavior is corrected with calm, firm, and consistent discipline which preserves the child's self-esteem and is appropriate to the behavior.

 

A resource parent must agree to abide by the agency's policy on discipline. “The resource family parent shall use acceptable methods of discipline and control for the child in placement, such as brief time-out; withholding of privileges, such as television, play time, or other activity; early bedtimes, writing a story or an essay; having the child do extra chores that are appropriate to the child's age and ability; or discussing the child's behavior with the child in a supportive manner.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-6.8((a)5)

 

“The resource family parent shall not threaten discipline or administer discipline to a child in placement for the misbehavior of another child.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-6.8(a)2)

 

“The resource family parent shall not use the following types of punishment on a child in placement:

 

a)    Any type of physical hitting, shaking or the use of corporal punishment;

 

b)    Forced physical exercise or forcing the child to take an uncomfortable position;

 

c)    Subjection to verbal abuse, ridicule, humiliation, or to other forms of degradation;

 

d)    Deprivation of meals, sleep, clothing, or communication;

 

e)    Mechanical or chemical restraint;

 

f)     Assignment of overly strenuous work;

 

g)    Exclusion from medical treatment, education or clinical treatment;

 

h)   Locking the child out of the home;

 

i)     Locking the child in a room or area of the home;

 

j)      Withholding or threatening to withhold visits with the child's birth family; or

 

k)    Removing or threatening to remove the child from the home.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-6.8(a)3)

 

“The resource family parent shall not use restrictive behavior management practices to control or modify the behavior of a child in placement.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-6.8(a)4)

 

“The Division representative or contract agency employee shall provide the resource parent with information on...appropriate disciplinary practices.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122B-4.1(b)) The Worker is responsible for supporting the resource parent in his or her efforts to discipline the child and to discuss alternative methods of discipline whenever the resource parent requests, or it otherwise appears necessary.

 

Positive incentives and rewards are preferable to punishment. Discipline must be flexible, with age and personality taken into consideration, and appropriate to the behavior displayed. Serious behavior problems that do not respond to the usual means of discipline may require the assistance of a professional. Make arrangements to seek the help of a mental health professional, if appropriate.

 

Medical/Dental Care                                                          11-15-2004

 

Every child in resource care is entitled to adequate and appropriate medical and dental care. “For each child initially entering out-of-home placement, the Division representative shall obtain a pre-placement assessment at the time of placement” (N.J.A.C. 10:122D-2.5(b)) in order to ensure that the child is free from contagion and to assess the child's health needs. CP&P provides Code 60 or 65 to eligible children to cover the cost of the child's health care. This includes but is not limited to:

 

              preventive health measures,

 

              emergency medical care, and

 

              specialized care, such as orthopedic, neurological, and surgical services.

 

The Division is responsible to assure that a dental examination is scheduled for all children three years of age and older within one month of initial placement into resource care. See CP&P-V-A-1-1200 for information about Comprehensive Health Evaluations for Children (CHEC). “The Division representative shall assure that the child receives a medical examination at least annually after the initial medical  examination performed at the time of placement and a dental examination at least semi-annually for each child age three years and older. The type and frequency of the examinations shall be based on the child's age and medical needs.”

 

(N.J.A.C. 10:122D-2.5(f)) The resource parent is expected to be alert to the child's condition and need for medical attention. “The out-of-home placement provider shall be responsible for arranging and providing care to meet the child's health needs, including, but not limited to, medical and dental examinations, ongoing care, mental/behavorial health services and follow-up care, as agreed to with the Division representative, and shall provide the Division representative with information concerning the child's health care, including mental/behavioral care, and needs.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122D-2.5(g)) The resource parent also is responsible for:

 

      taking the child to participating Medicaid providers only and advising the provider, when appropriate, to bill the child's private insurance plan first;

 

      contacting the Worker immediately whenever emergency care is required, using the emergency SCR telephone number on weekends and after regular working hours; and

 

      consenting to emergency care including hospital admission only when immediate consent is essential to the child's well-being and when CP&P cannot be contacted within the time required; the resource parent must notify CP&P as soon as possible after consenting to such treatment.

 

“The resource family parent's religious practices shall not interfere with a child in placement receiving medical care.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-6.5(d))

 

Psychological Care                                                           11-15-2004

 

When the child demonstrates emotional or behavioral difficulties at home, in school, or in the community, the resource parent is responsible for notifying the Worker. If the need for psychiatric or psychological services is indicated, “the Division representative shall make every reasonable effort to assure that each child in out-of-home placement receives appropriate and necessary health care, including mental/behavioral health services.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122D-2.5(a)) See CP&P-V-A-1-900, Mental Health Therapeutic/Evaluative Services, for policies and procedures related to payment. See CP&P-V-A-1-1200 for information about Comprehensive Health Evaluations for Children (CHEC). The resource parent is expected to support the child's involvement in treatment. The Worker helps the resource parent to understand the nature of the child's behavior and what is required of him to deal with it on a day to day basis, using community resources when necessary.

 

In addition, whenever it is believed to aid in the child's progress in treatment, the resource parent is expected to become actively involved in the process by:

 

      providing any necessary information concerning his observation or knowledge of the child and his behavior;

 

              attending treatment sessions either with the child or separately;

 

              performing suggested activities at home at the direction of the therapist; and

 

      participating in evaluations and conferences with the Worker when requested or required.

 

Education                                                                             2-4-2013

 

In accordance with the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Federal legislation), and pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4C-26b, enacted September 9, 2010, CP&P facilitates efforts to continue the child in his or her current educational setting at the time of placement. CP&P coordinates with local school districts to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement, or, if remaining in the pre-placement school is not in the child's best interest, provides immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school. See CP&P-VII-A-1-700, Education of Children in Out-of-Home Placement, regarding specific information on educational stability in the life of a child in an out-of-home placement setting.

 

The resource parent is responsible for the child’s daily school activities. If a transfer to a new school is necessary based on the best interest of the child (see CP&P-VII-A-1-100, the section entitled Educational Stability), the resource parent is responsible for enrolling the child in school, as negotiated with the Worker. The assigned CP&P Worker or resource parent contacts the local school district to determine how and where to enroll the child.

 

All children in out-of-home placement must be immediately enrolled and attending school within 72 hours of the school placement decision.

 

When first enrolling a child in school, or when transferring a child to a new school based on the best interest of the child, the following documents are required:

 

      Proof that the caregiver (resource parent) resides in the school district (this can be provided via a lease, tax bill, utility bill, driver‘s license, or other document that attaches a specific person to a specific address).

 

              The Resource Parent Identification Letter, CP&P Form 5-49.

 

Point of contact -- When registering the child for school, the resource parent provides his or her home/cellular telephone number, should the school need to contact the child's caregiver for any reason. (Under no circumstances should any school have the CP&P Local Office number as the main point of contact regarding daily school matters.)

 

The following documents are required for a child to attend school:

 

              Evidence of the child’s immunizations.

 

      The child‘s birth certificate or other proof of the child’s identity (required within 30 days of registration). Complete CP&P Form 26-8, Request for NJ Birth/Death/Marriage/Civil Union/Domestic Partnership Certificate, if identification documents are needed.

 

To resolve problems related to a child being enrolled in or attending school, the Worker or resource parent contacts the local County Superintendent of Schools. To identify the appropriate County Superintendent, go to www.state.nj.us/education/index.html and click on the appropriate county.

 

The following documents are needed to determine the appropriate classroom setting for a child in out-of-home placement:

 

              Transfer card from the previous public school or other relevant information.

 

              Individualized Education Program (IEP), for special education, if any.

 

The assigned Worker obtains these documents and gives them to the resource parent at the time of placement or as soon thereafter as possible.

 

The resource parent is also responsible for the following school activities:

 

      Ensuring school-aged children are enrolled in, and regularly attending school or a childhood education program (for children 3-5 years of age);

 

      Notifying the school principal or his or her designee whenever the child will be absent from school, as per "Tabitha's Law," N.J.S.A. § 18A:36-25.4 et seq.;

 

      Ensuring that the child attends school regularly according to school regulations;

 

      Encouraging good study habits;

 

      Being involved with the child‘s academic progress;

 

      Participating in routine conferences with the child’s teachers and meeting with school personnel when there are problems or for periodic reviews;

 

      Signing permission slips and report cards, and consenting to the child‘s participation in school activities and day trips, as well as the voluntary school fingerprint program. See CP&P-III-C-9-100;

 

      Advising CP&P about the child’s academic progress;

 

      Informing CP&P of any significant developments or problems related to the child‘s adjustment in school, and general educational needs;

 

      Ensuring that referrals for early intervention or special education are made and evaluations are received;

 

      Ensuring that tutoring or other educational supports are received, if appropriate;

 

      Requesting that the Worker attend school conferences and other meetings with school personnel when necessary; and ensuring that the child is enrolled in the free school lunch program, if available;

 

      Serving as the "parent" for a student who is or may be a student with a disability, during the classification or individualized education program process when the school district cannot locate the parent and/or the parent is unable or unwilling to participate. See CP&P-VII-A-1-200, the section entitled Surrogate Parent.

 

See N.J.A.C. 10:122C-6.3 and N.J.A.C. 10:122D-2.6. See also CP&P-VII-A-1-500, Attendance at School Free of Charge - N.J.S.A. 18A:38-1.

 

Court Proceedings                                                            3-19-2012

 

CP&P works in conjunction with the courts on behalf of children under supervision in matters related to:

 

              the Child Placement Review Act;

 

              complaints or charges based on status offenses or juvenile delinquency; and

 

              the temporary or permanent custody or guardianship of the child.

 

“The resource family parent shall cooperate with all activities in the case plan for the child in placement, such as ...court sessions...” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-5.1(a)3i)

 

The court experience can be confusing and frightening to the child. The resource parent and the Worker help the child through this experience by explaining the reasons for the court action, the possible outcomes and how they will affect the child, and by providing him with support and acceptance.

 

When the child is in resource care and separated from his own family, the resource parent is the closest source of support and security available to him. In order to provide the child with a sense of consistency and acceptance, CP&P requires the resource parent's involvement during court proceedings, when appropriate. Depending on the nature of the proceedings, the resource parent may be responsible for providing written material or for attending hearings or administrative reviews either with the child or on behalf of the child. The Worker is available to assist the resource parent in this regard.

 

In the case of a Family Court complaint, the Worker works together with the child, the court, and the resource parent to develop and implement a plan to prevent future offenses. The resource parent needs a clear understanding of his responsibility to provide guidance, supervision, and discipline, assisting the child in modifying his behavior.

 

Transportation                                                                    4-23-2012

 

“Each resource family parent shall provide or arrange for the routine transportation needs of each child in placement.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-8.1(a)1)

 

“The Division representative or contract agency employee shall identify with the resource parent a child in placement's special transportation needs, if any, and how they will be met.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122B-4.1(e))

 

“The Division shall reimburse the resource parent for transportation for a child in placement's special needs with prior approval of the office manager. Special needs may include the treatment of physical, emotional, mental or cognitive conditions or to comply with a court summons or court order.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122B-5.5)

 

The Worker refers to the CP&P Form 11-3, Pre-Placement/Re-Placement Assessment, and CP&P Form 11-10, Health Passport and Placement Assessment, to determine if the child has any disabilities which require special transportation. The Worker shares any special transportation needs with the resource parent.

 

If the child is physically disabled and requires special transportation for treatment or general transportation purposes, and has Medicaid coverage, the Worker assists the resource parent in making arrangements with the local Mobility Assistance Transportation (MAV) company for transportation. Contact the Medical Assistance Customer Center for help.  See the list of MACCs at http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dmahs/info/resources/macc/MACC_Directory.pdf.

 

As part of the assessment performance for each foster child, transportation needs are identified on the CP&P Form 5-8, Resource Family Rate Assessment. The routine transportation needs of a foster child, i. e., routine doctor and dental visits, are included in the base level of care rate; and it is expected that a resource parent will provide such transportation. If the resource parent, however, is willing to provide transportation for a foster child with special, ongoing needs, i. e., psychological or physical therapy, parent/child visits, this may result in a higher level of care rate for the resource parent depending on the number of hours spent transporting and providing other extraordinary services for the child.

 

Mileage reimbursement for extraordinary transportation expenses incurred by a resource parent is allowable via the CP&P Form K-100. The current mileage reimbursement rate for extraordinary expenses is $.31 per mile. A response of "B" or higher on the transportation part of the assessment may entitle the resource parent to mileage reimbursement. However, a resource parent should obtain CP&P approval for mileage reimbursement before expending the money unless it is an emergency situation. In situations where immediate reimbursement to the resource parent is necessary, see CP&P-IX-F-1-300, CP&P-IX-F-1-600, and CP&P-IX-F-1-700.

 

Vacations, Other Travel and Events                             7-30-2001

 

The foster child's sense of belonging and security in the resource home is supported by including him in the vacation and/or travel plans of the resource family. See CP&P-III-C-9-100 for vacation and travel policy. “The resource family parent shall notify the child's caseworker of vacation plans in which the resource family parent or child in placement will be absent from the home overnight.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-3.4(f))

 

The base level of care rate includes provisions for vacation, entertainment and special events for a foster child. A resource parent cannot seek additional, special funds for such activities. Therefore, resource parents are encouraged to budget accordingly in order to meet these expenses.

 

Contacts Between Child and Parents                          12-27-2004

 

It is essential that the child in out-of-home placement have frequent planned contact with his or her parent(s). Visits are as frequent and for the longest duration possible, and take place in the least restrictive, most comfortable setting possible. For example, visits may take place in the home of the parents, relatives or friends, or in other suitable locations. See N.J.A.C. 10:122D-1.9(a). Visitation in a community setting is much preferable in terms of environment and convenience for our families and children. Visits serve as an important link between the child and his family, providing the child with a way to maintain his sense of identity or reestablish ties with his family.

 

Responsibility

Action Required

Resource Parents

Contacts are sometimes confusing and disrupting. To help the child deal with these feelings, the resource parents must be involved in:

 

              The process of planning visitations and other contacts

 

              Preparing the child for the visits/contacts

 

              Supporting the child following the visits/contacts

 

      Discussing with the child why he is in placement, the purpose of visits/contacts with his or her parent(s), and his feelings regarding contacts

 

Worker

Discuss the visitation preparation and support offered by the resource parent(s) with the child, if necessary

 

Worker and

Supervisor

In cases where returning the child home is not the permanent plan assess the benefits and risks of contact between child and parent(s) before any visitation plans are made. Visits with the parents may help to achieve the permanent plan in some situations. See CP&P-IV-A-5-100.

 

Resource Parents

You play a vital role in parent/child contacts and are responsible to:

 

      Participate in Family Team Meetings whenever possible

 

      Encourage the child's relationship with his family by supporting the contact/visitation plan

 

      Be available prior to and following visits/contacts, in order to provide consistency and security for the child

 

      Discuss the contact with the child if he or she wishes to do so

 

      Inform CP&P of any change in the child's behavior following contacts or any problems the child is having with regard to the contacts

 

      Transport the child to visits with his parent(s).

 

      Allow visits in the resource home, when this was agreed on as part of the child's Visitation Plan.

 

      Supervise the visits, when this was agreed on as part of the child's Visitation Plan. Visitation with the resource family in attendance is the first choice when visits must be supervised.

 

      Inform the Worker immediately of any unplanned contacts between the child and his parent(s).

 

      Have direct contact with the child's parent(s) only when all parties have agreed to such contact as part of the case plan and it is in the child's best interests.

 

 

Contacts Between Child and Siblings and Interested Relatives   12-10-93

 

Maintaining contact with brothers and sisters supports the child's identity and links him to his past. However, many children in out-of-home placement are not able to be placed with their siblings. In many cases sibling contact helps to maintain an otherwise problematic placement.

 

Handle conflict in a constructive, supportive way. Contacts with parents, siblings and other relatives can be disruptive. If birth family issues are acknowledged and dealt with in a constructive, supportive way, those same issues are less likely to result in disruption at a later period in the child's life. Denying the reality of the child's birth family by ignoring it in everyday practice causes later difficulty and prevents the child from drawing on the strengths of his birth family while acknowledging its weaknesses. Satisfying a child's natural curiosity and identification with his birth family allows the child to better integrate his previous life experience and move on to the future with a sense of whom he is and where he came from.

 

Responsibility

Action Required

Worker

Consider the difficulty for the resource parents in dealing with the birth issues of a child placed in their home. Help the resource parents, as well as the child, approach and deal with the issues in the birth family which resulted in placement and separation of the child.

 

Worker and

Resource Parent

Both have a responsibility to encourage the child's relationship with his siblings and other relatives in the following ways:

 

•     Initiate or reinitiate sibling or other relative contacts.

 

•     Help the child to maintain contact with his siblings and relatives through letters, visits, electronic mail and, where possible, telephone calls.

 

•     Explore with the child his feelings about his family and incidents in his past involving his brothers and sisters and relatives.

 

•     Resolve issues raised by sibling and relative contact in a sensitive and supportive manner.

 

•     Help the child to incorporate the remembrance of his siblings and relatives and his past history into the child's Life Book.

 

•     Consider the resource parents for the placement of any of the child's siblings who subsequently require placement services from the Division.

 

 

Life Book for the Child in Placement                            3-12-93

 

Children who find themselves in out-of-home placement have little, if any, control over their own destiny. They are often confused about why they are in resource care. When changes in placement occur, they do not always understand the reasons for such changes or why they cannot return home. This leads to confusion about the past, which hinders their perception of the present and their ability to plan for the future. All moves are traumatic experiences for a child and repeated moves intensify the trauma, with the resulting lack of continuity in their lives making it exceptionally difficult for them to develop complete, intact personal identities. The information that forms the foundation for the child's knowledge of his identity becomes fragmented or is absent from conscious memory in children who are placed outside their home.

 

Children leaving the resource care system without the facts about their years with their birth family and resource families will find it virtually impossible to integrate those years into their life experience. This is equally true whether the child is returning to his birth family, moves into an adoptive home, remains in a resource home until adulthood or is preparing to become or is already engaged in independent living. It is, therefore, essential to work with children in care on identity issues in order to increase their chances of developing into mature, stable, contributing adults.

 

The Life Book provides a concrete tool that can be of help, not only to children in placement but also to Workers and resource parents. Life Books do not resolve all the problems of children in placement, but they have been invaluable in putting together the pieces of a child's life experience in a tangible manner which helps the child to visualize life experiences, and to establish a sense of his "history" and the "roots" from which he may develop a positive self-image. In order to retain as much information as possible about a child, the Life Book should be started during the first three months of placement. A Life Book is developed by the Worker with input from the birth family, the child, and the resource family. However, the book is primarily the child's and reflects what the child wishes to record and highlight of his life experiences. When possible, the Life Book should remain in the possession of the child.

 

The Life Book helps a child prepare for the future. If he returns to his birth parents, the parent will have concrete knowledge of the child's life when he was in placement and highlights of the child's developmental changes. It will help the parent and child share the placement experience in a positive way, so that the child's memories of placement can be accepted and shared with the parent.

 

If a child moves into a selected adoptive home, the Life Book will provide a history of the transition from birth family to resource family to adoptive family. It allows the child to bring something unique to himself or herself, which supports his sense of personal identity and value, into the adoptive home. The Life Book can be of use in helping the child separate emotionally from his previous homes and to begin to connect or be a vital part of his adoptive family, without having to deny the reality of past life experiences.

 

When a child must remain in care, whether on a boarding basis or through adoption by the resource parents, a Life Book provides the resource parents with a tool for contributing to the positive self-identity of this child who shares a unique relationship with the resource family. For a child who remains in resource care without the security of adoption the possibility that he will experience future changes in placement must be considered. The book can provide continuity to the child's life experiences despite subsequent moves if each move is documented in a way that describes the growth and changes of the child. It provides the child an opportunity to reflect on the many ways that a variety of people have shared a portion of his life and the impact each has had on his life. See CP&P Form 5-32, A Guide to the Preparation of Life Books.

 

If a former foster child never received a Life Book or identity work during his resource care placement, it is likely that critical aspects of his life have been lost or confused. Therefore, the Worker should assist any former foster child who requests assistance in reconstructing his history. The Individual and Family Assessment Outline-Adoption, CP&P Form 26-53c Part B, may be used as a guide in the preparation of a report of non-identifying information.

 

Because much of the information contained in the case record is confidential, a copy of the record cannot be given to the former foster child. See CP&P-IX-G-1-100, Disclosure of Client Information. However, the former foster child is entitled to a comprehensive report regarding his background and resource care experiences.

 

The Worker includes in the reassessments the information that a Life Book was compiled, indicating who (child, birth parents, resource parents, or Worker) has the book. If either a Life Book or a narrative historical report has been prepared for a former foster child, a notation regarding the book or a copy of the report should be filed in the case record.

 

Life Skills for Adult Self-Sufficiency                              12-3-2007

 

See CP&P-VI-B-1-300, Adolescent Services Toward Self-Sufficiency.

 

Procedures Related to Resource Parent Responsibilities 1-5-2009

 

 

Responsibility

Action Required

Resource Parent

 

1.    Accept the child as a member of the family and provide for the child's physical, emotional, cultural, and religious needs.

 

2.    Establish limits of behavior for the child, using firm and appropriate discipline consistent with CP&P policy and regulations, per this policy.

 

Worker

 

3.    “Shall provide the resource parent with information on... appropriate disciplinary practices.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122B-4.1(b)3).

 

Resource Parent

 

4.    Obtain appropriate medical and dental care for the child on a routine and emergency basis, including the required annual physical and dental examination. See CP&P-V-A-3-800, Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT).

 

5.  Support the child's involvement in mental health services/counseling, when appropriate.

 

6.  Ensure that the child's educational needs are met, including remedial work, where necessary.

 

7.  Assume responsibility for the child's daily school activities as described under this policy.

 

8. Provide the child with support and encouragement regarding court matters, and cooperate with court sessions that are part of the case plan.

 

9.   Include the child in family vacations, obtaining appropriate consent through CP&P.

 

Resource Parent/

Worker

10.   Advise each other of any vacation plans, emergencies, unusual occurrences or significant problems involving the foster child.

 

Resource Parent

11.   Encourage and support the child's relationship with his family of origin, by transporting the child for visits or having contacts in the resource home, when appropriate.

 

12.   Be available prior to and following contacts between the child and his birth parent.

 

13.   Discuss with the Worker any changes in the child's behavior following contacts with his birth parents or any unplanned contacts

 

Resource Parent/

Worker/

Birth Parent/

Child

14.   Collect information about the child's life before placement, important events in the child's family, and highlights of the child's development. Begin during the first three months of placement to prepare a Life Book for the child, incorporating information about the child's progress and important life events on an ongoing basis.

 

15.   During the child's 8th grade in school assess his or her level of proficiency in life skills by using the Ansell Casey Life Skills Assessment and resources, available at http://lifeskills.casey.org, or the National Resource Center for Youth Services, at http://www.nrcys.ou.edu/training/certified/newjersey. Make plans before the child enters high school, if the child is a candidate for vocational school or college.

 

16.   Use CP&P Form 5-43, Transitional Plan for Adolescents, to develop with the child a written plan which includes the child's life goals, the skills necessary to attain those goals and a concrete plan of action for developing the skills needed for adult independence.

 

Resource Parent

17.   Function as an adult advisor to the foster child to assist in the development of the plan and the life skills needed by the foster child, as agreed to with the Division.

 

Relationship Between a Resource Parent and the Division          1-5-2009

 

“The resource family parent shall demonstrate reasonable and mature attitudes toward professional figures and institutions, as determined by a review of references and an assessment of the resource family parent's interactions during training and home visits by the Department or contract agency representative.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-5.1(a)3)

 

“The resource family parent shall be bound by the same standards of confidentiality regarding a child in placement, and the child's family, as the Department and its employees.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-3.3(b)) “The Division representative or contract agency employee shall inform the resource parent of the standards of confidentiality contained in N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10a, 45 CFR 205.50 and N.J.A.C. 10:133G.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122B-4.1(i)) See CP&P-IX-G-1-100.

 

“The resource family parent shall notify the child's caseworker of vacation plans in which the resource family parent or child in placement will be absent from the home overnight.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-3.4(f)) “The resource family parent shall immediately notify the Department office or contract agency having supervision of the child, or the State Central Registry if after office hours, of ...injury, accident or illness of a child in placement; the death of a child in placement; a child in placement who has run away or is missing from the home; ...and any unusual incidents that occurred that might indicate possible abuse or neglect involving a child in placement.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-3.4(c)) “The Division representative” (Worker) “or contract agency employee shall provide the resource parent with a means of access to the Division on a 24-hour basis.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122B-4.1(f)) The SCR telephone number is 1-877-652-2873.

 

The resource family parent shall notify the Office of Licensing at least 30 days in advance of relocation to a home not approved by the Office...” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-3.4(e)) “The resource family parent... shall immediately verbally notify the Office of Licensing...after the resource family parent or designee learns of their occurrence, and shall immediately notify the State Central Registry if such changes or events occur after office hours:  any household member added to the resource family...” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-3.4(b)4) See CP&P-IV-B-2-200. “Each new resource family parent added to the home shall complete the pre-service and in-service training specified in N.J.A.C. 10:122C-5.6(a) and (b) within the time frames determined by the Department.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-5.6(c)) Register new household member in NJS.

 

“The resource family parent, or designee if the resource family parent is incapacitated, shall immediately verbally notify the Office of Licensing of the following changes or events after the resource family parent or designee learns of their occurrence, and shall immediately notify the State Central Registry if such changes or events occur after office hours:  injury, accident or illness that results in the admittance of a resource family parent or household member to a hospital: the death of a resource family parent or household member; any current arrests, criminal convictions or guilty pleas of a resource family parent or household member...” (N.J.A.C. 10:122C-3.4(b))

 

“The Division shall comply with the provisions of the agreement between the resource parent and the Division, including the system for payment of reimbursement.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122B-4.1(g))

 

“The Division representative (Worker) or contract agency employee shall establish the resource parent's role in working with the parent to achieve the child's case goal. The Division representative or contract agency employee shall support the resource parent in fulfilling his or her role.” (N.J.A.C. 10:122B-4.1(h))

 

Resource Family Parent Actions in Conflict with CP&P Policy or Licensing Regulation      3-16-2009

 

In the course of a resource family parent's involvement with CP&P, situations may occur in which there is conflict between a resource family parent's action or inaction and CP&P policy. The types of conflict with policy range in severity from minor situations, such as a resource family parent neglecting to inform the Worker about a child's poor report card, to major situations which are licensing violations, such as a resource family parent using corporal punishment with a foster child.

 

The State Central Registry (SCR) Screener documents the intake - conflict with CP&P policy - as "Related Information" (RI) on an active CP&P case. The intake is forwarded in NJ SPIRIT to each CP&P Worker who has a child placed in the home. Secondary Assignments are also made to IAIU, OOL, and the Resource Family Support Unit Supervisor.

 

The investigation of the policy violation is completed by the RFSU within two weeks of assignment from SCR. The Resource Family Support Unit Supervisor consults with any other Supervisor(s) involved with the resource family prior to making a determination.

 

If the conflict with policy concerns use of corporal punishment with a foster child, the action is also a violation of the resource home license; in extreme cases, it is child abuse, reportable to, and investigated by the Department's Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit, IAIU. The licensing violation - administering corporal punishment to a child in placement that does not rise to the level of child abuse - is assigned to the Office of Licensing. The OOL Licensing Inspector works with the RFSU to resolve the reported licensing violation.

 

Although CP&P discourages the use of corporal punishment with any child, and prohibits its use with foster children, the use of corporal punishment by a resource family parent toward his or her own child is not a violation of CP&P policy. The use of such punishment by resource family parents with their own children is subject to the legal restrictions outlined in Title 9. If there is reasonable cause to believe that such punishment has resulted in injuries or harm, CP&P conducts a child abuse investigation.

 

When a violation of policy is not resolved through initial intervention, the RFSU Worker, the child's Permanency Worker, and the OOL Inspector, as applicable, discuss the issue in a face-to-face interview with the appropriate parties, including the resource family parents and the foster child, as necessary and appropriate.

 

When the problem is still not resolved, a determination is made by the RFSU Supervisor about the continued use of the resource family home as a placement resource for that child (see CP&P-IV-B-7-150, section entitled Pre-Disruption Conference), or for any child. OOL makes a determination as to the status of the license. The assigned Worker and Supervisor are consulted. For resource family home closures, the Local Office Manager makes the determination, based upon recommendations from the RFSU Supervisor. See CP&P-IV-B-7-150 regarding removals from resource family homes; see CP&P-IV-B-6-700 regarding closure of resource family homes.

 

The RFSU Worker forwards a summary of all concerns, including the outcome of the investigation, to the resource family parents.

 

The resource family parents are informed of their right to submit their own summary of the matter for the resource family home record. They are also informed of their appeal rights, if IAIU's investigation finding is "substantiated," or to challenge the status of the license.