74.13.590  <<  74.13.600 >>   74.13.621

Kinship caregiversDefinitionPlacement of children with kin a priorityStrategies.

(1) For the purposes of this section, "kin" means persons eighteen years of age or older to whom the child is related by blood, adoption, or marriage, including marriages that have been dissolved, and means: (a) Any person denoted by the prefix "grand" or "great"; (b) sibling, whether full, half, or step; (c) uncle or aunt; (d) nephew or niece; or (e) first cousin.
(2) The department shall plan, design, and implement strategies to prioritize the placement of children with willing and able kin when out-of-home placement is required.
These strategies must include at least the following:
(a) Development of standardized, statewide procedures to be used when searching for kin of children prior to out-of-home placement. The procedures must include a requirement that documentation be maintained in the child's case record that identifies kin, and documentation that identifies the assessment criteria and procedures that were followed during all kin searches. The procedures must be used when a child is placed in out-of-home care under authority of chapter 13.34 RCW, when a petition is filed under RCW 13.32A.140, or when a child is placed under a voluntary placement agreement. To assist with implementation of the procedures, the department shall request that the juvenile court require parents to disclose to the department all contact information for available and appropriate kin within two weeks of an entered order. For placements under signed voluntary agreements, the department shall encourage the parents to disclose to the department all contact information for available and appropriate kin within two weeks of the date the parent signs the voluntary placement agreement.
(b) Development of procedures for conducting active outreach efforts to identify and locate kin during all searches. The procedures must include at least the following elements:
(i) Reasonable efforts to interview known kin, friends, teachers, and other identified community members who may have knowledge of the child's kin, within sixty days of the child entering out-of-home care;
(ii) Increased use of those procedures determined by research to be the most effective methods of promoting reunification efforts, permanency planning, and placement decisions;
(iii) Contacts with kin identified through outreach efforts and interviews under this subsection as part of permanency planning activities and change of placement discussions;
(iv) Establishment of a process for ongoing contact with kin who express interest in being considered as a placement resource for the child; and
(v) A requirement that when the decision is made to not place the child with any kin, the department provides documentation as part of the child's individual service and safety plan that clearly identifies the rationale for the decision and corrective action or actions the kin must take to be considered as a viable placement option.
(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to create an entitlement to services or to create judicial authority to order the provision of services to any person or family if the services are unavailable or unsuitable or the child or family is not eligible for such services.
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