922 KAR 1:210. Alternative to detention: court resource home.

 

      RELATES TO: KRS 199.645

      STATUTORY AUTHORITY: KRS 194A.050, 199.645

      NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: KRS 199.645 requires the cabinet to establish administrative regulations and standards for nonsecure alternatives to detention for children in preadjudicative status. The function of this administrative regulation is to set minimum standards for court resource homes.

 

      Section 1. Definitions. (1) "Administering agency" means the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet which shall be responsible for developing a system of alternatives to detention: court resource homes. The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet may enter into agreements with local agencies for program supervision and monitoring.

      (2) "Applicant" means the adult who has made application to the agency to operate a court resource home in compliance with this administrative regulation.

      (3) "Children" means:

      (a) Those persons under the age of eighteen (18) against whom a status or public offense petition is pending, and who are placed in a court resource home as an alternative to detention; or

      (b) Those persons under the age of eighteen (18) against whom status or public offense petitions may or may not be pending, who require emergency shelter, and are placed in a court resource home by law enforcement personnel as an alternative to detention.

      (4) "Court" means the juvenile session of the district court including the court designated worker, with jurisdiction of children placed in a court resource home.

      (5) "Court resource home" means a private, single-family residence which meets the specifications contained herein and is approved by the agency.

      (6) "House parents" means the adult persons living in the court resource home who meet the qualifications specified herein and are approved by the agency.

      (7) "Local agency" means the agency that approves, administers and monitors on a local level the application of court resource home administrative regulations. This local agency may be:

      (a) The court designated worker;

      (b) A local unit of government; or

      (c) Other responsible person designated by the court who agrees to supervise children prior to the disposition of their case.

 

      Section 2. Scope of Operations and Services. Court resource homes, operated and maintained as alternatives to detention, provide temporary custodial care and supervision on a twenty-four (24) hour basis for children against whom public or status offense petitions are pending, and whose cases are awaiting disposition by district courts. Court resource homes may also be utilized by the court or law enforcement personnel for those children requiring emergency shelter, regardless of whether or not status or public offense petitions are pending against them. Services may include emergency medical or psychological care as required.

 

      Section 3. Qualifications of House Parents. (1) House parents shall be persons of reputable character who possess personal qualities of:

      (a) Maturity;

      (b) Stability;

      (c) Flexibility;

      (d) The ability to cope with stress;

      (e) The ability to give and receive affection relative to the children placed in their court resource home; and

      (f) Being willing and able to cooperate with the local agency and the court in providing proper care and supervision for children.

      (2) Criminal records.

      (a) Applicants and other adults residing in the household shall authorize the release of criminal records to the local agency;

      (b) Applicants and other adults residing in the household shall authorize the release of child and adult abuse registry checks from the Department of Community-Based Services to the local agency;

      (c) Households shall not have an adult family household member who is currently:

      1. In prison;

      2. Charged with a crime; or

      3. On parole or probation, will not be approved by the local agency;

      (d) Applicants with felony convictions as adults shall not be approved by the local agency;

      (e) Applicants with misdemeanor offenses shall not be approved. The local agency may make exceptions to this requirement, provided written documentation is placed in the record as to extenuating circumstances which make the applicant's household appropriate for the care of children; and

      (f) Applicants shall not be approved if children in the home other than children defined in Section 1 of this administrative regulation have petitions pending against them in district court, or if they have a history of involvement with the district court due to dependency, status, or public offense petitions. Exceptions to this requirement may be made by the local agency, provided written documentation is placed in the record as to extenuating circumstances which make the applicants' household appropriate for children.

      (3) Age requirements. House parent applicants shall be at least twenty-one (21) years of age. In studying the applicants, the local agency shall consider their ages as it affects their physical energy, flexibility, and ability to care for children.

      (4) Income and employment.

      (a) Applicants shall have sufficient income for maintaining their own family, to preclude dependence upon income generated by children placed in their home. Exceptions may be made by the local agency, provided documentation justifying the exception is included in the record;

      (b) Applicants shall not at the same time they are functioning as approved house parents:

      1. Care for unrelated adults on a commercial basis; or

      2. Be licensed and accepting children for day care or family foster care; and

      (c) At least one (1) house parent applicant shall not be employed outside the home. The local agency may make exceptions based on:

      1. The ages and behavioral characteristics of the children to be placed;

      2. Hours worked by the applicants; and

      3. The applicants' ability to make suitable alternative plans for the care and supervision of the children to be placed.

      (5) Marital status.

      (a) The local agency may approve single house parents if their circumstances justify approval and written justification is documented in the record;

      (b) Married applicants shall have been married for at least one (1) year prior to their initial application and their relationship shall have been continuous and stable. Exceptions may be made if circumstances permit, and written justification is included in the record;

      (c) Single persons living together, but not married, shall not be approved as house parents. Exceptions may be granted if written justification is included in the record;

      (d) Approved house parents shall notify the local agency of a change in marital status; and

      (e) The local agency, upon receipt of a notification pursuant to paragraph (d) of this subsection, shall conduct a review of the court resource home to determine if it shall continue to be approved for the care and supervision of children.

      (6) Medical status.

      (a) House parent applicants shall provide the local agency:

      1. The health history of each member of the household, including physical and mental health services received; and

      2. Information regarding a household member taking psychotropic medication; and

      (b) Applicants shall provide the local agency with a statement from a licensed physician verifying that each member of the household is free of communicable diseases, specific illnesses, or disabilities which may interfere with the applicant family's capability to care for children. The physician shall have examined members of the applicants' household during the year preceding the date of application.

 

      Section 4. Application Process. (1) Applicants shall provide the local agency with three (3) personal references and one (1) credit reference. Personal references shall attest to the applicants' character and ability to care for children.

      (a) References shall include an immediate neighbor and a current or former employer, if possible; and

      (b) Shall not include more than one (1) personal reference from a relative of the applicant.

      (2) The local agency may require applicants to report:

      (a) A history of child care for unrelated children;

      (b) Association with child caring organizations; and

      (c) Provide the names of individuals who may serve as references regarding these associations.

      (3) The local agency shall conduct telephone or face-to-face interviews with references. If there is a question as to the propriety of applicants, then face-to-face interviews shall be conducted, if possible.

      (4) Adult children of applicants shall be interviewed face-to- face by the local agency if they reside in the community. If they reside outside the community, they may be interviewed by telephone.

 

      Section 5. Selection of House Parents. (1) The local agency shall be responsible for approving the applicants' home based upon a study of the home conducted by planned interviews and home visits.

      (2) Applicants shall provide authorization for release of information to the local agency in regard to a history of reports of child abuse or neglect made regarding family members, or reports of spouse abuse.

      (3) The home study shall include personal interviews with members of the applicants' household.

      (4) Children shall not be placed by the local agency court, or law enforcement personnel in court resource homes which have not received the local agency's prior approval.

 

      Section 6. Agency Contract with Approved House Parents. The local agency shall have a written agreement, signed by the approved house parents and by a designated agency representative, prior to placing a child into the court resource home. The agreement shall delineate the respective responsibilities and expectations of the local agency and the house parents, and shall specify the rate at which the house parents are to be reimbursed by the local agency. This agency agreement shall not preclude the court resource home from developing a contract or written agreement with a fiscal court for funding at an established rate by other sources for other children.

 

      Section 7. Agency Evaluation and Supervision of Approved Court Resource Homes. (1) Approved court resource homes shall be evaluated at least annually by the local agency. The local agency shall maintain the results of these evaluations in files for each approved court resource home. These files shall be available for periodic review by the administering agency.

      (2) The local agency shall maintain continuing supervision of court resource homes and the children placed in them, and shall assure that children are receiving the care, supervision, and services they require.

      (3) When applicants have been approved, a subsequent change in their circumstances shall require the local agency to review the court resource home to determine if it continues to be appropriate for children.

      (4) The local agency shall submit a summary of its findings in regard to the reviews and evaluations required by this section to courts utilizing the court resource homes as alternatives to detention. Reports to the courts shall include information required to keep the court informed as to the status of the court resource homes.

      (5) House parents shall cooperate with the local agency in the agency's ongoing monitoring and supervision of court resource homes, and the children placed in them.

      (6) Court resource homes may be closed at the discretion of the local agency. Reasons for closure may include, but are not limited to:

      (a) Sexual abuse or exploitation;

      (b) Physical or emotional injury or abuse;

      (c) Consistent lack of affection, care, or supervision;

      (d) Court resource home environment not conducive to acceptable standards of child care; and

      (e) Consistent violation of agency court resource home policies.

      (7) The local agency shall conduct a review of a court resource home if there is a:

      (a) Death or disability of a family member;

      (b) Separation, divorce, or marriage of house parent;

      (c) Substantial decrease in, or loss of, income;

      (d) Birth of a child; or

      (e) Allegation of abuse or neglect of a child.

      (8) Courts utilizing the court resource homes as an alternative to detention shall be notified by the local agency of the closure or of other circumstances which may affect the judges' use of the home.

 

      Section 8. House Parent Reimbursement. The local agency shall devise policies and procedures which provide for timely payment of house parents by the local agency at the rate specified in the written agreement required by Section 6 of this administrative regulation, including special payments for children's clothing and personal toilet and grooming articles.

 

      Section 9. Physical Facilities. (1) The court resource homes shall not present hazards to the safety of children. Physical standards shall be sufficient to assure the safety and well-being of occupants.

      (2) Court resource homes shall be accessible to schools, recreational facilities, medical facilities and other resources required by children.

      (3) Court resource homes shall be comparable in condition and style to other homes in the area in which they are located.

      (4) Court resource homes shall have functioning and maintained plumbing, including at least:

      (a) One (1) flush toilet;

      (b) One (1) wash basin with running water; and

      (c) One (1) bath or shower with hot and cold running water, which affords privacy.

      (5) Court resource homes shall have at least two (2) doors which provide unrestricted exits in case of fire emergency. Occupied bedrooms shall not be locked from the outside.

      (6) House parents shall develop fire emergency procedures, approved by the local agency, including unrestricted egress. House parents shall brief children on the emergency fire procedures and the identified means of egress.

      (7) Court resource homes shall have sufficient living or family room space, comfortably furnished and accessible to family members, including children placed in the home.

      (8) The bedroom or sleeping areas of children placed in the court resource homes shall not be in an attic or basement, unless the attic or basement has been renovated, and the house parents or their natural children have a bedroom in these areas. The local agency may make exceptions to this requirement, with documentation in the record as to the rationale for granting the exception.

      (9) The court resource home shall have sufficient bedroom or sleeping space to allow children adequate living space. More than four (4) children shall share a bedroom. Children sharing a bedroom shall be of the same gender.

      (10) Each child placed in the court resource home shall have his individual place to sleep that is appropriate to his height and weight, including bedding, which shall be maintained in a state of repair and cleanliness.

      (11) House parents shall have a bedroom separate from those of children placed in their home, but not so far removed as to prevent adequate supervision of children.

 

      Section 10. Sanitation and Hygiene. (1) Housekeeping and cleanliness standards of the court resource home shall be acceptable to the local agency.

      (2) Physical standards of court resource homes shall be those which are accepted as necessary for occupants' health and safety, including:

      (a) A continuous supply of clean safe drinking water;

      (b) An adequate supply of hot water for bathing and dishwashing purposes; and

      (c) A premises free of rodents, insects, and other vermin.

      (3) House parents shall provide children placed in their homes with items necessary for personal hygiene and grooming.

      (4) Court resource homes shall be well-ventilated and heated, with provisions for cooling in summer months, either with air conditioners, fans or other means of providing circulation of fresh air.

 

      Section 11. Safety and Emergency Requirements. (1) The house parents shall have a maintained and functioning telephone, and shall post the following emergency telephone numbers in a visible location near the telephone:

      (a) Fire and police departments;

      (b) Ambulance and rescue services;

      (c) Designated local agency staff; and

      (d) Poison control centers.

      (2) Poisonous chemicals, cleaning materials, and other dangerous materials, shall be stored out of reach of children.

      (3) Firearms and ammunition shall be kept in separate locked locations accessible only to the house parents or other responsible adults in the household.

      (4) First aid supplies shall be available and stored in a location accessible to occupants of the court resource home.

      (5) The court resource home shall be free from fire hazards.

      (6) Court resource homes shall have operating:

      (a) Smoke alarms within ten (10) feet of each bedroom or sleeping area; and

      (b) A Class ABC fire extinguisher in the cooking area.

      (7) Combustible items shall be stored away from sources of heat.

      (8) Mobile homes shall be anchored to assure their structural integrity in high winds.

      (9) Vehicles used to transport children shall be maintained and operated in a manner in compliance with applicable motor vehicle laws. Drivers of vehicles shall have a valid driver's license, including insurance coverage.

      (10) House parents shall notify the local agency which shall notify the judge with jurisdiction of the child of:

      (a) Illness;

      (b) Accidents;

      (c) Injury; or

      (d) Unusual circumstances affecting the health, safety, physical and emotional well-being of children placed in their home.

 

      Section 12. Food Service. (1) House parents shall provide children with meals adequate to meet their daily nutritional requirements.

      (2) House parents shall provide for special dietary needs of a child placed in their homes.

 

      Section 13. Training of House Parents. Ongoing preservice and in-service training programs for court resource homes shall be provided by the local agency, or if available, by the administering agency. Training shall be designed to teach house parents to care for and supervise children from diverse backgrounds and races, and with varying problems, on a short-term basis, and shall include training in first aid procedures and techniques. Records of preservice and in-service training shall be maintained for each house parent.

 

      Section 14. Medical and Health Services. (1) Upon admission of a child to a court resource home, the house parents shall:

      (a) Complete a health screening procedure as specified by the local agency; and

      (b) Notify the local agency or court of serious health problems identified.

      (2) Within one (1) week of placement the local agency shall cause the child to be examined by a licensed physician, if indicated.

      (3) House parents shall report to the local agency encounters of children placed in their homes with medical providers and corrective or follow-up medical or dental care required.

      (4) House parents shall give medications to children placed in their homes only with a physician's prescription or authorization and shall dispense only the exact amount of medications prescribed or authorized.

      (5) House parents shall keep medications, locked in a location accessible only to responsible adults in the household.

 

      Section 15. Recordkeeping. (1) The local agency shall keep a written record of the findings of its court resource home study and the evidence upon which these findings are based.

      (2) The local agency shall maintain records of evaluations and reevaluations of its court resource homes, including nonroutine reviews of specific court resource homes.

      (3) The local agency shall maintain records on each child placed in court resource homes. Copies of correspondence relating to children placed in court resource homes shall also be maintained by the local agency.

      (4) The date of discharge of children from court resource homes, and the name and address of the person or organization to which the children are released shall be recorded and maintained by the local agency, or the house parents.

      (5) The local agency shall maintain the confidentiality of case records as governed by KRS 194.060 and 610.340.

      (6) House parents and members of their households shall treat personal information regarding children placed in their home and these children's natural families in a confidential manner.

      (7) House parents shall maintain records, in accordance with local agency requirements, on the children placed in their home. The records shall include information specified by the local agency.

 

      Section 16. Admissions and Intake Procedures. (1) Placement of a child in a court resource home approved by the local agency shall require the prior approval of the local agency or a court of competent jurisdiction, except that court or law enforcement personnel may place children requiring emergency shelter into a court resource home without prior approval. When these placements, the house parents shall notify the court or local agency of the placement no later than the next working day, if the child was placed on a holiday or weekend.

      (2) Approval of house parent applicants by the local agency shall not guarantee the placement of a child in their court resource home.

      (3) The total number of children in a court resource home shall, including the house parents' own children, not exceed six (6).

      (4) The actual number of children placed in a court resource home shall be determined by:

      (a) Stamina;

      (b) Capacities;

      (c) Skills of the house parents;

      (d) The home's physical accommodations; and

      (e) The effect of a child's placement upon the stability of the court resource home.

 

      Section 17. Programs and Services. (1) House parents, in collaboration with the local agency, shall arrange for the provision of services required by children placed in court resource homes.

      (2) House parents may assign chores to children placed in their home which are appropriate for their ages and abilities and which are commensurate with chores assigned to their own children.

      (3) Children shall be supervised by a house parent or other responsible adult in the court resource home unless the child is:

      (a) At school;

      (b) With local agency staff; or

      (c) Under the direct supervision of some other responsible adult. The local agency may grant exceptions to this requirement in regard to specific children. The reason for the exception shall be in writing and shall be maintained in the child's record.

      (4) The local agency and the house parents shall cooperate in assuring the continuity of children's education to the extent practicable.

 

      Section 18. Communication: Mail, Visitation, and Telephone. (1) Visitation between children placed in court resource homes and their families and appropriate others, and telephone contacts, are permitted at recommended hours ordered by a court.

      (2) Written correspondence to or from children placed in court resource homes shall not be opened, read, or withheld from them, except on the basis of a court order.

      (3) House parents shall cooperate with children's Cabinet for Health and Family Services representatives, authorized treatment agencies, and with attorneys in arranging for interviews at reasonable times and in locations with a reasonable degree of privacy.

 

      Section 19. Rights. (1) The rights and best interests of children shall be paramount, with due regard for the interests of the community.

      (2) An applicant for house parent status or a child needing a court resource home as an alternative to detention shall not be denied approval or placement on the basis of age, race, sex, marital status, religion, or national origin, except as provided herein.

      (3) The local agency shall assure that the rights of children placed in court resource homes, their natural parents, and house parents are protected.

      (4) Natural parents have the following rights:

      (a) To maintain meaningful contact with their children through visitation, phone calls, and letters;

      (b) To provide and consent to medical care for their children;

      (c) To file formal complaints with the agency; and

      (d) To receive protection of confidentiality in their personal affairs.

      (5) Children have the following rights:

      (a) Adequate food, clothing, and shelter; and

      (b) To be free from physical, sexual, and emotional injury, exploitation and abuse.

      (6) Personal belongings.

      (a) House parents shall allow children to bring and acquire appropriate personal belongings and shall send personal belongings with children when they depart the court resource home; and

      (b) House parents shall not accept part of a child's earned or unearned income without prior written agreement of the local agency and the child placed in their home.

      (7) Religious and ethnic heritage.

      (a) House parents shall respect children's religious beliefs and shall not coerce them to participate in religious activities; and

      (b) House parents shall demonstrate respect for children's natural families and their ethnic heritage.

 

      Section 20. Rules and Discipline. (1) House parents shall establish well-defined and consistently enforced rules, which set expectations and limits to the behavior of children.

      (2) Discipline and guidance of children shall emphasize praise and encouragement for proper behaviors, as opposed to punishment for undesirable behaviors.

      (3) House parents shall not subject the children placed in their home to:

      (a) Verbal abuse;

      (b) Derogatory remarks about themselves or their natural families; or

      (c) Threats of removal from the court resource home.

      (4) Children shall not be isolated from others for undue periods of time and shall not be placed in locked areas in the court resource home. House parents may place them apart from other family members for brief "cooling off" periods, but shall remain near to facilitate supervision.

      (5) House parents shall not administer the following forms of discipline:

      (a) Cruel, severe, bizarre, or humiliating actions;

      (b) Denial of food, clothing, or shelter;

      (c) Denial of visits, telephone usage, or written contacts with members of the natural family and appropriate others; and

      (d) Assignment of exercise or work as punishment.

      (6) House parents shall not punish children placed in their home for bedwetting.

      (7) House parents shall not permit children to discipline other children. (14 Ky.R. 394; eff. 9-10-87; Am. 18 Ky.R. 1603; eff. 1-10-92; 20 Ky.R. 2409; eff. 3-23-94; Recodified from 905 KAR 1:210, 10-30-98.)