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Placement of Children With Relatives- Summary of State Laws

Placement of Children With Relatives- Summary of State Laws

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Published by woodstockwoody
Each State defines “relative” differently, including relatives
through blood, marriage, or adoption ranging from the first to
the fifth degree. Generally, preference is given to the child’s
grandparents, followed by aunts, uncles, adult siblings, and
cousins. For Indian children, six States allow members of the
child’s Tribe to be considered “extended family members” for
placement purposes.
Each State defines “relative” differently, including relatives
through blood, marriage, or adoption ranging from the first to
the fifth degree. Generally, preference is given to the child’s
grandparents, followed by aunts, uncles, adult siblings, and
cousins. For Indian children, six States allow members of the
child’s Tribe to be considered “extended family members” for
placement purposes.

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Published by: woodstockwoody on Jan 29, 2011
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StateStatuteS
U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesAdministration for Children and FamiliesAdministration on Children, Youth and FamiliesChildren’s Bureau
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Children’s Bureau/ACYF1250 Maryland Avenue, SWEighth FloorWashington, DC 20024703.385.7565 or 800.394.3366Email: info@childwelfare.gov
www.childwelfare.gov
Placement of Children WithRelatives: Summaryof State Laws
Current ThroughJanuary 2008 
In order for States to receive Federal payments forfoster care and adoption assistance, Federal lawrequires that they “consider giving preference toan adult relative over a nonrelated caregiver whendetermining placement for a child, provided thatthe relative caregiver meets all relevant State childprotection standards.”
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(Placement refers to theplacing of a child in the home of an individual otherthan a parent or guardian or in a facility other thana youth services center.) Approximately 36 Statesand Puerto Rico give preference or priority to
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42U.S.C.671(a)(19).
Electronic copies of this publicationmay be downloaded atwww.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/placement.cfmTo nd statute information for aparticular State, go towww.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/state/index.cfmTo nd information on all theStates and territories, order a copyof the full‑length PDF by calling800.394.3366 or 703.385.7565, ordownload it atwww.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/placement.pdf 
 
Placement of Children With Relatives: Summary of State Laws
www.childwlfr.gov
2
This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child WelfareInformation Gateway. Available online at www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/placement.cfm
relative placements in their statutes.
2
Approximately six States,Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands donot address the issue of the placement of children for fostercare with relatives in their statutes.
3
The remaining Statesuse statutory language such as “may consider” placementwith relatives.Each State denes “relative” differently, including relativesthrough blood, marriage, or adoption ranging from the rst tothe fth degree. Generally, preference is given to the child’sgrandparents, followed by aunts, uncles, adult siblings, andcousins. For Indian children, six States allow members of thechild’s Tribe to be considered “extended family members” forplacement purposes.
4
The main requirements for placement are that the relative be“t and willing,” able to ensure the child’s safety, and able tomeet the child’s needs. Approximately 23 States and the Districtof Columbia require relatives to undergo a criminal backgroundcheck that may include all adult members of the household.
5
Approximately 14 States and the District of Columbia haveestablished “kinship care” or “relative caregiver” programsby statute to provide relatives with benets to help offset thecost of caring for a placed child.
6
Nine States address fostercare payments for kin caregivers in statute.
7
In these States, if a relative meets the qualications for being a foster parent, he
2
Theword
approximately 
isusedtostressthefactthatStatesfrequentlyamendtheirlaws;thisinformationiscurrentonlythroughJanuary2008.Alabama,Alaska,Arizona,Arkansas,California,Colorado,Delaware,Florida,Georgia,Illinois,Indiana,Kansas,Kentucky,Louisiana,Maine,Maryland,Michigan,Minnesota,Mississippi,Missouri,Montana,Nebraska,Nevada,NewJersey,NewYork,NorthCarolina,Oklahoma,Oregon,Pennsylvania,RhodeIsland,SouthCarolina,Tennessee,Texas,Utah,Virginia,andWashingtonaddresspreferenceforrelativeplacementsintheirstatutes.
3
Hawaii,Idaho,SouthDakota,Vermont,WestVirginia,andWyoming.
4
Minnesota,Nebraska,NewMexico,Oregon,Utah,andWashington.
5
Alabama,Alaska,Arizona,Arkansas,California,Colorado,Connecticut,Illinois,Indiana,Kentucky,Louisiana,Maine,Maryland,Massachusetts,Minnesota,Mississippi,NorthDakota,SouthCarolina,Tennessee,Texas,Utah,Washington,andWisconsin.
6
Alabama,Arizona,Arkansas,Connecticut,Delaware,Florida,Kentucky,Louisiana,Mississippi,Nevada,Oklahoma,Tennessee,Texas,andWisconsin.
7
Alabama,Arizona,Arkansas,Connecticut,Illinois,Louisiana,Pennsylvania,SouthCarolina,andTennessee.
 Preference toRelatives FinancialSupport
 
Placement of Children With Relatives: Summary of State Laws
www.childwlfr.gov
3
This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child WelfareInformation Gateway. Available online at www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/placement.cfm
or she may receive payments at the full foster care rate and anyother benets available to foster parents, whether in moneyor services.Approximately seven States also give preference to relativeswhen making adoptive placements.
8
However, in Tennessee,if the child has been placed in foster care with a nonrelativeand has been living with the same foster parent for 12 monthsor longer when he or she becomes available for adoption, thenonrelative foster parent is given rst preference to adopt.In approximately 29 States, when a parent makes a directplacement of the child with a relative, the laws provide fora streamlined adoption process, such as not requiring apreplacement assessment or home study unless specicallyordered by the court.
9
In 11 States, the child must have residedwith the relative for a period of time or have established asignicant relationship with the relative in some other way.
10
 Approximately 21 States require a criminal records check of theadoptive parents and other adult household members.
11
8
Arkansas,California,Illinois,Minnesota,Nebraska(forIndianchildren),Ohio,andWisconsin.
9
Alabama,Alaska,Arizona,Arkansas,California,Delaware,Kansas,Kentucky,Louisiana,Maine,Maryland,Michigan,Mississippi,Montana,Nevada,NewHampshire,NewJersey,NewMexico,NorthCarolina,NorthDakota,Oklahoma,RhodeIsland,SouthCarolina,Tennessee,Texas,Utah,Vermont,Virginia,andWisconsin.
10
Alabama,Alaska,California,Colorado,Delaware,Florida,Louisiana,NewHampshire,NewMexico,NorthDakota,andVirginia.
11
Arkansas,California,Colorado,Illinois,Iowa,Kentucky,Louisiana,Maine,Massachusetts,Minnesota,Nebraska,NewHampshire,NewJersey,NewMexico,NorthCarolina,NorthDakota,Ohio,RhodeIsland,Texas,Utah,andVermont.
 Adoption byRelatives
This publication is a product of the State Statutes Seriesprepared by Child Welfare Information Gateway. Whileevery attempt has been made to be complete, additionalinformation on these topics may be in other sections of aState’s code as well as in agency regulations, case law, andinformal practices and procedures.

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