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Placement is the twenty-four hour out-of-home care and supervision of a child who has been found to be dependent and who has been placed into the custody of the Children and Youth Agency by the Juvenile Court.
Types of Placement
When a child is placed in out-of-home care by a Children and Youth Agency, the agency must make every effort to place in the most family-like setting, must review potential resources named by the family, and search for a placement which is as close to the child's community as is possible, as long as such a placement would keep the child safe. The agency is also responsible to place with a family which has the potential to be a PERMANENT RESOURCE FAMILY for the child should the parents be unable or unwilling to follow the plan as approved by the court.
When situations require an emergency placement, relatives and family friends who agree to complete a foster home study can be resources for the child, in a formal way, as EMERGENCY CARETAKERS. Prior to the child being placed with the caretaker, the caseworker will briefly discuss the requirements and responsibilities that come with that status and will complete an assessment utilizing pre-set standards approved by the Department of Public Welfare, which includes a check for criminal histories. This status can only continue for a period of sixty (60) days.
Non-parental relatives or family friends who come forward to be EMERGENCY CARETAKERS and desire to have the child remain with them in FORMAL FOSTER CARE, because continued placement is needed, can become KINSHIP FOSTER PARENTS for a child who has already been placed into agency custody. Those who are interested must apply for a regular foster home study to be completed. The home study will determine if the family is able to meet the Department of Public Welfare and Dauphin County standards.
Families are informed immediately if there are any areas that do not meet the requirements so that they can remedy the situation if the family chooses to continue. Families must also be willing to share ongoing, pertinent information, follow the guidelines regarding discipline, and attend training. Following the home study, families are informed, in writing, if they have been approved or disapproved.
EMERGENCY CARETAKERS must be willing to complete a full foster home study by the sixtieth (60th) day following the child's placement into their care, for the child to remain in their home. KINSHIP FOSTER PARENTS who come forward when there is not an emergency have additional time to complete the process, however, it is in the child's best interest for the family members to come forward quickly and complete the home evaluation in an expedited manner (usually within a 90 day period) in order to permit the child to move to a familiar family setting as soon as is possible. If there is more than one family being considered, the Court may become involved in the choice.
When relatives/friends of the family are not available, FORMAL FOSTER CARE, in the home of a stranger, who has already been approved as a foster parent, is available. In these types of placements, attempts are made to match the needs of the child with the strengths of the family and to keep siblings together. If siblings are separated, regular visits must occur.
All persons approved as Kinship or Formal foster parents receive a daily rate to compensate them for the care of the child.
SHELTER CARE may be necessary for adolescents who enter agency custody on an emergency basis and whose behavior is in need of a more structured living situation than can be provided in a family setting. It is also available when adolescents, already in agency custody and placement, need to be replaced on an emergency basis. Placement into this temporary group living setting is utilized for these emergency situations. This type of placement is only meant to continue for a period of thirty (30) days, until a planned match can occur.
For children or adolescents who have severe behavioral, emotional, or drug and alcohol needs, placement may occur in a THERAPEUTIC FOSTER HOME, a GROUP HOME, or an institutional setting also known as a RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM.
For children or adolescents who have a need for a mental health placement, treatment is available in a family-like setting also known as a CRR or in a more structured, therapeutic mental health residential treatment facility known as an RTF, dependent upon the severity of the need.


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