Appropriate placement matching begins prior to the child’s placement. When a child is unable to be safely placed with a parent, the most appropriate available out-of-home placement must be chosen after considering a variety of factors.
Factors that MUST be considered for placement:
§ Gender expression
§ Sexual orientation
§ Sibling status
§ Special physical, educational, or developmental needs
§ Alleged type of abuse, neglect, or abandonment
§ Community Ties
§ School Placement
§ Ability for potential caregivers to meet the child’s needs
The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 and the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, P.L. 104-188, require that every placement decision for children in the care or custody of the department be made without regard to the race, ethnicity, color, or national origin of the child or the adult with whom the child is to be placed.
A child-placing agency has the obligation to place each child in the most suitable setting according to that child’s individual needs, taking into account maintenance of the child’s school stability and the capacity of the placement to meet the child’s needs, and the needs of any other children already placed in that setting. No child shall be denied services by any child-placing agency or out-of-home caregiver based on race, religion, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
A Placement Assessment must be completed when a child is initially removed. Additional Placement Assessments should be completed as determined by the Community Based Care (CBC) Lead Agency. The Placement Assessment helps determine the level of care needed for each child placed in out-of-home care to ensure the most appropriate placement is selected on behalf of the child. When the needs and preferences of the child are assessed, Child Welfare Professionals are then able to make the BEST possible match for the child.
In determining the best placement setting, assess if the child has any:
─ Medical, developmental, and/or mental health needs
─ DJJ involvement
─ Court order placement requirements
─ Educational needs
─ Placement preference and activities, hobbies, etc., that the child is involved with
The Placement Assessment is designed to determine the level of care, not to determine if the child should be placed with a specific individual. For example, it helps determine if the child can be in a relative/non-relative setting, but it does not determine if a specific relative/non-relative is appropriate. It is the Unified Home Study that assesses if an identified potential caregiver has the ability to safely care and meet the identified needs of the child.