Neb. Admin. Code 7-004
NEBRASKA ADMINISTRATIVE CODE
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SYSTEM
TITLE 390: CHILD WELFARE
CHAPTER 7: OUT-OF-HOME PLACEMENT
7-004 TYPES OF PLACEMENT
7-004.01A DETERMINATION OF PLACEMENT TYPE
The least restrictive placement setting will always be considered first when selecting a placement. Placement selection is further based on the child's:
- placement history, and
- permanency goal.
NOTE: For Native American Children see "Special Considerations for Native American Children" (7-004.07).
The Department will consider placement for non-medical reasons of a child based upon the following order:
- Non-custodial parent;
- Approved relative [FN*];
- Approved home, known to child [FN*];
- Licensed foster home;
- Approved home, not known to child [FN*];
- Agency-based foster care; and
- Group home or child-caring agency.
(See 7-004.04, Restrictive Settings for Access to Psychiatric Settings and YRTCs.)
Note: If an approval study indicates placement is appropriate, children from two or more families who are related to the caregiver can be placed without the caregiver's being licensed to provide foster care.
Placement decisions are based upon the needs of the child, ability of the placement to meet the needs of the child, and the availability of placement resources.
7-004.01B PLACEMENT LEVELS FOR JUVENILE OFFENDERS
There are three levels of placement ("levels of treatment") for juvenile offenders identified by the Department:
* Home (least restrictive):
child is placed in the home of a parent or legal guardian
* Out-Of-Home Placement in the Community:
child may be placed by the Department with a relative home, foster family home, Agency Based Foster Care, Group home, emergency shelter center or home, residential treatment center, treatment group home, or in-patient treatment setting; or
* Self-contained staff-secure residential facility (most restrictive):
Child is placed by the Department in a Youth Rehabilitation Treatment Center (YRTC) or similar setting identified by the Department.
Pursuant to Section 43-408(2), the committing court will order the initial level of placement ("level of treatment") when a juvenile offender is commited to the Department (Office of Juvenile Services), specifically one of three levels set out above. The Department will then designate a suitable placement based upon the level specified in the court order.
See 390 NAC 8-001.10 for court process.
7-004.02 APPROVAL OF UNLICENSED HOMES (NON-EMERGENCY SITUATIONS)
Children may be placed in the home of a relative or friend known to the child before placement, if the home is approved or licensed. The best interest of the child will be considered. In the case of any placement of a child into a unlicensed home of someone known to the child, an approval study will be conducted before the placement.
To assure a home can meet a child's needs and is appropriate for placement of the child, the following will be completed before a placement of a child into an approved home in a non-emergency:
a. A visit to the home to assure adequate housing;
b. All adult household members will be met and their child care practices reviewed;
c. Adult and Child Central Registry and law enforcement records will be checked for all adults and teens in the home to screen for history of child abuse and neglect or assaultive behavior history; and
d. References will be secured and checked from at least three credible, non-relative sources who can provide reliable information as to the person's ability to provide care to the child. (References can be obtained either orally or in writing.)
The worker will assess the above information and decide whether the placement meets the child's need. If the worker decides the placement meets the child's needs based on this process, the home becomes an approved home. The worker will document all contacts, conversations and findings in the child's case file.
7-004.03 APPROVAL OF UNLICENSED HOMES (EMERGENCIES)
In case of an emergency placement in an unlicensed foster care home the following will be completed before placement of a child.
a. Visit the home to assure adequate housing prior to or at the time of placement or the next working day if law enforcement makes the placement choice; and
b. Check Adult and Child Central Registry and law enforcement records, orally or in writing, before the placement for all adults and teens in the home to screen for history of child abuse and neglect or assaultive behavior; and
c. Complete the Approval Process of Unlicensed Homes in Non-emergency Situations in no less than 30 days. (See Out-of-Home Care Guidebook for Approval Study Format.)
NOTE: In an emergency, law enforcement has the discretion to place the child in any setting without the immediate involvement of Department staff.
7-004.04 RESTRICTIVE SETTINGS
Youth in the custody of HHS-OJS adjudicated as a juvenile offender may be held at a locked detention center on a temporary basis.
7-004.04A YOUTH REHABILITATION AND TREATMENT CENTERS
The YRTC can only be used by HHS staff when one of the following conditions are met:
- The youth is between 12 and 18 years of age. (Commitment may occur after age 18 if offense occurred before the youth's 18th birthday,), and
- The youth is adjudicated as a juvenile offender and committed to the custody of HHS-OJS, or
- The youth is referred by court order for a residential evaluation at a YRTC, or
- The youth who is a ward of HHS-OJS is detained for safe-keeping before the hearing process for juvenile offenders, or
- The youth who is a ward of HHS-OJS has his/her condition of liberty (parole) revoked.
The court may order a youth to the YRTC under the following conditions:
- For youth with adjudication of delinquency evaluation between ages of 12 to 18 years of age,
- For safekeeping pending further action.
Youth who are adjudicated as status offenders or abused, neglected or dependent will not be placed at YRTC facilities for "safekeeping."
7-004.04B JAILS AND LOCKED DETENTION CENTERS
Under Nebraska statute, youth may be detained in a locked facility pending an adjudication only through a law enforcement officer or by court order.
If law enforcement places a Department ward in a locked facility, the worker will advocate for a plan to best meet the child's needs. The court may order a youth to the YRTC under the following conditions:
! For youth with adjudication of delinquency evaluation between ages of 12 and 18 years of age,
! For safekeeping pending further action.
Youth who are adjudicated as status offenders or abused, neglected or dependent won't be placed at YRTC facilities for "safekeeping".
Payment for County Detention Centers and Jails
HHS-OJS will pay for the detention of a youth in a county detention center or jail only in the following conditions:
- a youth is picked up by law enforcement because of a Apprehension and Temporary Detention request by HHS-OJS; and
- if law enforcement picks up a juvenile offender on a new allegation of criminal behavior and the HHS-OJS Juvenile Services Officer consents to the detention or requests such detention.
If a juvenile offender is arrested for committing a new crime, law enforcement is responsible for deciding whether to detain the youth. If law enforcement chooses to detain the youth, the law enforcement agency is responsible for payment.
Based on the Nebraska Court of Appeals decision in the David C. case, juvenile courts cannot order a juvenile offender in the custody of HHS-OJS into a detention facility over the objections of HHS-OJS.
7-004.04C OUT-OF-STATE PLACEMENTS
The worker in consultation with supervisory staff will consider an out-of-state placement when:
- There is not an appropriate placement available in Nebraska to meet the child's identified needs and there is one identified in another state; or
- The closest appropriate resource is out of state and the family will be involved in the child's treatment.
An Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children or Interstate Compact for Juvenile must be followed before placement is made. (See 10-000, Interstate Compact for details.)
7-004.04D INPATIENT PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALIZATIONS
Inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations will be used only for psychiatric treatment, care and observation when out-patient psychiatric services will not meet the needs of the child or are not available in the community. The decision to hospitalize a child is made by a psychiatrist. If the child is seeing a psychiatrist, the psychiatrist will be involved during the inpatient admission process. The worker will consult with supervisory staff. The Medical Services Regulations for inpatient service will be followed for admission, payment and review of care and length of stay. (See Service Provision Guidebook for procedure.)
7-004.05 FOSTER CARE PAYMENTS
Foster care payments are made for the care of children in foster family homes, private child care institutions, or public child care institutions accommodating no more than 25 children, which are licensed by the State in which they are situated or have been approved by the agency in such State having responsibility for licensing or approving foster family homes or child care institutions. Federal reimbursement is not available for children who are in detention facilities, forestry camps, training schools or any other facility operated primarily for the detention of delinquent children. 7-004.05
Payment for the care of a Department ward in a foster home without a contract with the Department is based on the child's needs and behaviors. The payment rate is determined by the use of the Foster Care Payment Determination Checklist plus child care, respite care, transportation, and other needs based on the guidelines as found in the Out-of-Home Placement Guidebook.
The foster care payment includes all usual costs of maintaining a child including but not limited to:
- Board and room;
- Personal needs, including recreation and activities;
- School needs, including school trips and graduation expenses;
- Transportation to meet the child's needs;
- Respite care for non-relative approved providers;
- Child care; and
7-004.06 SPECIAL PAYMENT CIRCUMSTANCE
A bedholding fee may be authorized to a child's foster parent, group home or child caring agency when there is a plan for the child to return to the placement and one of the following circumstances applies:
1. The child is on extended, planned stay away from the foster care placement that has been pre-authorized by the child's worker; or
2. The child has run away and the holding of a bed has been authorized by the child's worker.
NOTE: Bedholding will not be authorized when the child's stay away from the foster care facility is a result of the foster care provider's plans.
When there is an existing contract with a foster care home or facility, bedholding may be authorized according to the contract.
7-004.06A1 FOR BEDHOLDING UP TO THIRTY DAYS:
The worker may authorize a bedholding fee equal to the per diem cost of care or current payment level for up to 15 days when the above circumstances exist.
If a child's situation as described above continues after 15 days, the worker may authorize a bedholding fee for up to 30 days. The worker will negotiate a lower rate of care based on the cost to the foster care provider and her/his level of involvement in the child's situation (for example, visits to child, transportation and other costs, participation in treatment, attempts to locate runaway child).
7-004.06A2 FOR BEDHOLDING LONGER THAN THIRTY DAYS:
Bedholding in foster care homes, group homes or child caring facilities beyond 30 days may be authorized only for hospitalization or inpatient psychiatric care when there is a plan for the child to return to the provider in the near future.
The worker will consult with supervisory staff or a team to determine whether to continue a bedhold and, if so, the rate of payment and length of time. The rate of payment will be based on the costs of the foster care provider and that person's involvement.
NOTE: Caution should be used in extending a bedhold beyond 30 days because beds are being used for one child. The limited resources and the needs of other children in the state should be considered. The best interest of the child should be considered but weighed against the needs of other children needing placement.
7-004.07 SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR NATIVE AMERICAN CHILDREN
This only applies to children adjudicated as 43-247 Subdivision 3 or 8.
Before any change in placement of a Native American child, the Department will notify the child's parents or former Indian custodian and the tribal court.
For Native American children, placement will be based upon the following order of preference:
1. Members of the child's extended family specified by the tribe or approved by the Department; then
2. Foster homes licensed, approved or specified by the child's tribe; then
3. A Native American foster home licensed by a non-Indian authorized licensing authority; and finally
4. A child caring agency, institution, or group home for children approved by an Indian tribe or operated by a Native American organization and with a program suitable to meet the child's needs.
If all of the above are unavailable, refer to 390 NAC 7-004, Types of Placement.
The Department may depart from the established order of placement for a Native American child based upon one or more of the following:
1. The request of biological parents or of the child (if the child is age 12 or older) for a specific placement;
2. Extraordinary physical, medical, cultural, educational, or emotional needs of the child, as established through the written report or testimony of a person with the following qualifications:
a. A member of the child's tribe who is recognized by the tribal community as knowledgeable in tribal customs as they pertain to family organizations and child-rearing practices; or
b. A lay person having substantial expertise in delivery of children's and family services to Native Americans, and extensive knowledge of the prevailing social and cultural standards and child-rearing practices within the child's tribe.
3. The unavailability of suitable families for placement after a diligent search completed for families, including at minimum but not limited to:
a. Contacting the child's tribal social service program;
b. Searching of list of all licensed foster homes in the state; and
c. Contacting nationally known Native American programs known to have available placement resources.
In order to use good cause to depart from the placement preference, the Department will fully document the justification in the child's case record.
AUTHORITY AND SOURCE
Statutory Reference: Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, 25 U.S. Code, Title XXV, Section 1901. Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-101.
[FN*]. See "Approval of Unlicensed Home" and "Approval of Emergency Placements in Unlicensed Relative Homes".