Governor signs Foster Parents Bill of Rights into law
STATE HOUSE — Legislation formalizing a Foster Parents Bill of Rights that was introduced by Rep. Eileen S. Naughton (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) and Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) was signed into law today by Gov. Gina Raimondo during a ceremonial bill signing at the State House.
The law (2016-H 8207A, 2016-S 2611A) sets forth a formal statement of foster parents’ bill of rights and requires that copies be given to all foster parents at each licensing interval.
The Bill of Rights grants foster parents:
(1) The right to be treated with dignity, respect and consideration as a member of the child welfare treatment team;
(2) The right to be notified of and be given appropriate education and continuing education and training to develop and enhance foster parenting skills;
(3) The right to be informed about ways to contact the department to receive information and assistance to access supportive services for any child in the foster parents’ care;
(4) The right to receive timely financial reimbursement for providing foster care services;
(5) The right to be notified of any costs or expenses which may be eligible for reimbursement by the department;
(6) The right to be provided a clear, written explanation of the individual treatment and service plan concerning the child in the foster parent's home;
(7) The right to receive, at any time during which a child is placed with the foster parent, additional or necessary information that the department has which may be relevant to the care of the child;
(8) The right to be notified of scheduled review meetings, permanency planning meetings, and special staffing concerning the foster child in order to actively participate in the case planning and decision-making process regarding the child;
(9) The right to provide input concerning individual treatment and the services plan for the child and to have that input be given respect and consideration in the same manner as information presented by any other member of the treatment team;
(10) The right to communicate with other professionals who work with the foster child within the context of the treatment team including, but not limited to, therapists, physicians and teachers;
(11) The right to be given, in a timely and consistent manner, information, as allowed by law, regarding the child and the child’s family that is pertinent to the care and needs of the child and to the development of a permanency plan for the child.
(12) The right to be given reasonable notice of any change in or addition to the services provided to the child pursuant to the child’s individual treatment and service plan;
(13) The right to be given written notice, except in emergency circumstances, of the following: (i) Plans to terminate the placement of the child with the foster parent and (ii) The reasons for the changes or termination of the placement.
(14) The right to be notified by the department of court proceedings, to attend hearings and reviews, and to present oral or written reports to the court
(15) The right to be considered as a preferred placement option if a foster child who was formerly placed with the foster parent is to reenter foster care at the same level and type of care, provided that placement is consistent with the best interest of the child and other children in the home of the foster parent and, in the case of a child age 12 or older, that child wants to return to the foster parent;
(16) The right to be provided a fair, timely, and impartial investigation of complaints concerning the licensing of the foster parent;
(17) The right to be provided the opportunity to request and receive a fair and impartial hearing regarding decisions that affect licensing retention;
(18) The right to provide or withhold permission, without prior approval of the caseworker, department, educational advocate or court, to allow a child in their care to participate in normal childhood activities based on a reasonable and prudent parent standard in accordance with the provisions of Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.
(19) The right to have timely access to the appeals process of the department and the right to be free from acts of harassment and retaliation by any other party when exercising the appeal; and
(20) The right to file a grievance and be informed of the process for filing a grievance.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903