ENROLLED, An Act,
Relating to the Department of Human Resources; to establish the Foster Parents' Bill of Rights Act.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:
Section 1. There is hereby established and created the "Foster Parents' Bill of Rights Act."
Section 2. The Department of Human Resources shall ensure that each foster parent shall have all of the following rights:
(1) The right to be treated with dignity, respect, trust, value, and consideration as a primary provider of foster care
and a member of the professional team caring for foster children.
(2) The right to receive information concerning the rights enumerated in this act.
(3) The right to a concise written explanation of their role as foster parents in partnership with children and their families,
the department, and other providers, the role of the department, and the rights and role of the members of the birth family
of a child in foster care.
(4) The right to training and support for the purpose of improving skills in providing daily care and meeting the needs
of the child in foster care.
(5) The right to training, consultation, and assistance in evaluating, identifying, and accessing services to meet their
needs related to their role as foster care providers. This includes, but is not limited to, all foster care polices, the Foster
Parent Handbook, Foster Family Homes Minimum Standards, the Therapeutic Foster Care Manual, and a mediation process.
(6) The right to provide input to the department in identifying the types of resources and services that would meet the
needs of children currently in their care and of their families, and advocate for the same without threat of reprisal.
(7) The right to information concerning behavioral problems, health history, educational status, cultural and family background,
and other issues relative to the child which are known to the department at the time the child is placed in foster care prior
to the child's placement with a foster parent or parents. When the department knows such information after placement, the
department shall make that information available to the foster parent as soon as practicable.
(8) The right to a written explanation of the plan concerning the placement of a child in the foster parent's home. For
emergency placements where time does not allow prior preparation of the explanation, the department shall provide such explanation
within 72 hours. Prior to placement, the department shall allow the foster parent to review a written summary of information
concerning the child, including, but not limited to, assessments, evaluations, and case plans, and allow the foster parent
to assist in determining if the child would be a proper placement for the prospective foster family. For emergency placements
where time does not allow prior review of the information, the department shall provide the information within 72 hours of
placement. Confidential information shall be kept confidential by the foster parents, except as determined through the ISP
process to promote the health and welfare of the child.
(9) The right to a staff person representing the department on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the purpose
of aiding the foster parent in receiving departmental assistance.
(10) The right to fair and equitable board payments based on a system of daily board rates and other financial reimbursement
as specified in a plan adopted by the department after consultation with foster parents, subject to the availability of funds.
(11) The right to accept or refuse placement within their home, or to request, upon reasonable notice to the department,
the removal of a child from their home for good cause without threat of reprisal for acting on such good cause.
(12) The right to information of scheduled meetings and appointments concerning the foster child and permission for the
foster parent to actively participate in and provide input to be used by the Individualized Service Plan team in the case
planning and decision-making process regarding the child in foster care, including, but not limited to, individual service
planning meetings, foster care reviews, individual educational planning meetings, and medical appointments.
(13) The right to request that a person or persons serve as volunteer advocate and to be present at all meetings with the
department, including, but not limited to, individualized service planning, administrative hearings, the grievance/mediation
process, the adoption process, and the allegation process where the foster parent is present. All communications received
by the volunteer advocate shall be in strict confidence.
(14) The right to notice and an opportunity to be heard, including timely information concerning all court hearings. This
notification may include, but is not limited to, notice of the date and time of the court hearing, the name of the judge or
hearing officer assigned to the case, the guardian ad litem, the location of the hearing, and the court docket number. The
notification shall be made upon receipt of this information by the department. Although not a party to the case, the foster
parent may attend court hearings at the discretion of the judge.
(15) The right to communication with professionals who work with the foster child, including, but not limited to, therapists,
physicians, and teachers who work directly with the child.
(16) The right to communicate with the child's birth family, other foster parents of the child, and prospective and finalized
adoptive parents of the child with Individualized Service Plan Team approval and without the threat of reprisal.
(17) The right to necessary information on an ongoing basis which is relevant to the care of the child, including timely
information on changes in the case plan or termination of the placement and reasons for the changes or termination of placement
to the foster parent except in the instances of immediate response of child protective service.
(18) The right to first consideration as the resource for a child in a foster parent's home who becomes free for adoption
or another planned permanent living arrangement.
(19) The right to a period of respite upon the request of a foster parent. The foster parent shall provide reasonable notice
of a request for respite.
(20) The right to information, in person and in writing, of any allegations of maltreatment of children in the home of
the foster parent alleged to have been perpetrated by a member of the foster parent's household, the process for disposition
of these allegations, and any review process for reports of indicated child abuse and neglect upon receipt of the allegations.
A written notification of any report in which a finding is not indicated on the county level shall be provided to a foster
parent within five days of the findings.
(21) The right to copies of all information relative to their family and services contained in the personal foster home
(22) The right to mediation procedures that may be developed and adopted by the department and the Alabama Foster and Adoptive
Parent Association Board. The foster parent may request mediation in accordance with any mediation policy adopted by the department
and the Alabama Foster and Adoptive Parent Association Board without threat of reprisal.
(23) The right to appeal the closing of a foster family home by the department in accordance with any appeal procedure
adopted by the department and the Alabama Foster and Adoptive Parent Association Board without threat of reprisal.
Section 3. This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the
Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.