Notice for Proposed Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards, 37495-37500 [2018-16380]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 148 / Wednesday, August 1, 2018 / Notices did not contain any material misrepresentations by the registered entities. Dated: July 25, 2018. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2018–16398 Filed 7–31–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP18–531–000] sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC; Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization Take notice that on July 19, 2018, Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC (FGT), 1300 Main St., Houston, Texas 77002, filed in the above referenced docket, a prior notice request pursuant to sections 157.205, 157.208, 157.210, and 157.211 of the Commission’s regulations under the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and Columbia’s blanket certificate issued in Docket No. CP82–553–000, for authorization to (1) construct, install, own, maintain and operate, certain natural gas pipeline facilities (including 3.4 miles of mainline looping) and appurtenant facilities in Hillsborough and Polk Counties, Florida and (2) install an interconnection and appurtenant facilities for gas delivery to a new Meter and Regulation station to be constructed/owned/operated by Florida Public Utilities (FPU) in Martin County, Florida. The approximate cost of the Okeechobee Expansion Project is approximately $19,500,000. This Project will enable FGT to provide additional capacity of 12,000 million British thermal units per day (MMBtu/d) of available firm transportation service to the proposed interconnection with FPU in Martin County, Florida, all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection. The filing may also be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov using the ‘‘eLibrary’’ link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or toll free at (866) 208–3676, or TTY, contact (202) 502–8659. Any questions regarding this application may be directed to Blair Lichtenwalter, Senior Director of Certificates, Florida Gas Transmission VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:07 Jul 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 37495 Company, LLC, 1300 Main St., Houston, Texas 77002, at (713) 989–2605 or fax (713) 989–1205 or Blair.Lichtenwalter@ energytransfer.com. Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission’s rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either: Complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission’s public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding; or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff’s issuance of the EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission’s public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff’s EA. Any person may, within 60 days after the issuance of the instant notice by the Commission, file pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission’s Procedural Rules (18 CFR 385.214) a motion to intervene or notice of intervention. Any person filing to intervene or the Commission’s staff may, pursuant to section 157.205 of the Commission’s Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.205) file a protest to the request. If no protest is filed within the time allowed therefore, the proposed activity shall be deemed to be authorized effective the day after the time allowed for protest. If a protest is filed and not withdrawn within 30 days after the time allowed for filing a protest, the instant request shall be treated as an application for authorization pursuant to section 7 of the NGA. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, protests, and interventions via the internet in lieu of paper. See 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission’s website (www.ferc.gov) under the ‘‘e-Filing’’ link. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Dated: July 26, 2018. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: BILLING CODE 6717–01–P Frm 00037 Fmt 4703 Notice for Proposed Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards Administration for Children and Families, HHS. AGENCY: ACTION: Notice; Request for Comments. The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify ‘‘reputable model licensing standards with respect to the licensing of foster family homes. In response to this directive, the Children’s Bureau (CB) solicits comments on the proposed National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards. SUMMARY: Submit comments on or before October 1, 2018. DATES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. All comments received will be posted without change to https:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. • Email: CBComments@acf.hhs.gov. Include [docket number and/or RIN number] in subject line of the message. • Mail: Submit written comments to Kathleen McHugh, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Director, Policy Division, 330 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20024. Please be aware that mail may take an additional 3 to 4 days to process due to security screening of mail. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathleen McHugh, Director, Policy Division, Children’s Bureau, 330 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20201. Email address: cbcomments@ acf.hhs.gov. Deaf and hearing impaired individuals may call the Federal Dual Party Relay Service at 1–800–877–8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Table of Contents [FR Doc. 2018–16461 Filed 7–31–18; 8:45 am] PO 00000 Administration for Children and Families Sfmt 4703 I. Background II. Overview of the Proposed National Model Family Foster Home Licensing III. Standards Summary of the Proposed National Model Foster Care Licensing Standards E:\FR\FM\01AUN1.SGM 01AUN1 37496 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 148 / Wednesday, August 1, 2018 / Notices We are proposing one set of standards for comment to apply to relatives and non-relatives, as well as state and tribal title IV–E agencies. Prior to drafting these standards, CB: • Reviewed several state and tribal foster family licensing standards that represented a mix of population densities, state and county administered states, and a range of geographic locations; • examined the ‘‘Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards’’ published by the National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA Standards); • reviewed the ‘‘Development and Implementation of Tribal Foster Care Standards’’ published by the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA); and • consulted guidelines, recommendations, and best practices for foster care services including the following: • Council on Accreditation Family Foster Care and Kinship Care Program Accreditation Guidelines; and • Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) Standards of Excellence for Family Foster Care Services. The CB relied heavily upon the NARA standards in drafting the proposed National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards. The NARA standards were developed by attorneys at Generations United and the American Bar Association who researched family foster care licensing standards in state codes, regulations, and policies for each state and the District of Columbia.1 The current NARA standards use model language from state licensing standards and language from the CWLA and the Council on Accreditation with the goal to create reasonable and achievable safety standards for family foster home licensing. NICWA assisted the Council on Accreditation with developing foster care and kinship care standards used to accredit public and private agencies that address the unique needs of Native children and account for the protections of the Indian Child Welfare Act. CB assessed whether these materials shared purposes, standards, and categories to support the conclusion that the NARA standards were appropriate to use as a main source for the National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards. Through this review, CB determined that while it is important for standards to be flexible for title IV–E agency implementation, overall, the standards reviewed shared many commonalities. Further, the NARA standards are based in significant research and input from experts in the field; therefore, we consider them the best available resource to base a federal standard on, and reasonably flexible for title IV–E agency implementation. 1 For the research results, please see: http:// www.grandfamilies.org/Portals/0/Improving (1) Legislative Context The President signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, Public Law (Pub. L.) 115–123 into law on February 9, 2018. Public Law 115–123 includes the FFPSA in Division E, Title VII. Section 50731 of the FFPSA directs HHS to ‘‘identify reputable model licensing standards with respect to the licensing of foster family homes (as defined in section 472(c)(1) of the Social Security Act).’’ By April 1, 2019, title IV–E agencies, which include all states and 12 tribes, must provide the HHS specific and detailed information about: Æ Whether the state or tribal agency foster family home licensing standards are consistent with the model licensing standards identified by HHS, and if not, the reason; and Æ Whether the state or tribal agency waives non-safety licensing standards for relative foster family homes (pursuant to waiver authority provided by section 471(a)(10)(D) of the Act), and if so, how caseworkers are trained to use the waiver authority and whether the agency has developed a process or provided tools to assist caseworkers in waiving these non-safety standards to quickly place children with relatives. States and tribes have a long history of developing and implementing their own foster family home licensing standards. These standards are typically included in statutes, codes, or regulations, but may also be included in policy documents or guidance. In reference to the title IV–E program, section 471(a)(10) of the Act requires title IV–E agencies to develop plans that provide for the establishment and maintaining of standards for foster family homes and child care institutions. These standards must be reasonably in accord with related standards developed by national organizations, including standards related to admission policies, safety, sanitation, protection of civil rights, and permit the use of the reasonable prudent parent standard. (2) Reviewing Foster Family Home Licensing Standards sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES CB did not examine the following subject areas because this was outside the scope of the legislative requirement: • Foster home licensing procedures; • Emergency placement procedures; • Re-licensure procedures; • Procedures for pre-service training; • Care of children after placement in a licensed foster home; and • Post-licensing requirements, such as foster parent recordkeeping and reporting. %20Foster%20Care%20Licensing% 20Standards.pdf. I. Background VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:07 Jul 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 II. Overview of the Proposed National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards The proposed standards are categorized into eight categories that closely resemble the NARA standards: A. Foster Home Eligibility a. Threshold Requirements b. Physical and Mental Health c. Background Checks d. Home Study B. Foster Family Home Health and Safety a. Living Space b. Condition of Home C. Foster Home Capacity D. Foster Home Sleeping Arrangements E. Emergency Preparedness, Fire Safety, and Evacuation Plans F. Transportation G. Training H. Foster Parent Assurances These categories cover the essential components of licensing a foster family in terms of ensuring the applicant’s capacity to care for a child in foster care, and also provide parameters for licensing the physical home of the family to ensure it is appropriate and safe for a child in foster care. The National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards, based on the NARA Standards, are designed to be broad and flexible enough to respond to individual circumstances, state and tribal jurisdictions, and help ensure children in out-of-home care have safe and appropriate homes. The standards do not include the many other agency practices for how to conduct assessments, good practice standards, guidelines on re-licensing, or other requirements that must be undertaken with licensing foster family homes. In addition, there are numerous state and federal laws that agencies must consider when licensing foster family homes that we did not address. We encourage agencies to utilize best practices, such as engaging tribal communities or others as appropriate in licensing families; however, these standards do not address such practices. E:\FR\FM\01AUN1.SGM 01AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 148 / Wednesday, August 1, 2018 / Notices 37497 III. Summary of the Proposed National Model Foster Care Licensing Standards Subject standard Standard and summary Foster Home Eligibility ........................................ A. Foster Home Eligibility: A family foster home license includes the following: a. Threshold Requirements: i. Applicants must be age 18 or older. ii. Applicants must have income or resources to make timely payments for shelter, food, utility costs, clothing, and other household expenses prior to the addition of a child or children in foster care. iii. Applicants must be able to communicate with the child in the child’s own language and applicants must be able to communicate with the title IV–E agency, health care providers, and other service providers. iv. At least one applicant in the home must have functional literacy, such as having the ability to read medication labels. The proposed eligibility standards provide threshold requirements for a family foster home license to establish a first step in assessing the applicant’s age, financial stability, and ability to communicate with the child and agency. We propose that adult applicants are financially stable to meet their family’s needs prior to placing a child in the home. We proposed communication standards which are flexible for both the applicant and agency in that applicants must be able to follow agency and service provider instructions as well as communicate directly with a child. The proposed standards do not include requirements for English literacy so as not to dissuade potential foster family applicants. However, we propose functional literacy to ensure at least one of the applicants has the ability to read and write at the level necessary to participate effectively in the community in which they live. b. Physical and Mental Health: All applicants must have recent (conducted within the prior 12 months) physical exams from a licensed health care professional that indicate that the applicants are capable of caring for an additional child or children. i. All household members must disclose current mental health and/or substance abuse issues. ii. All household members must provide information on their physical and mental health history, including any history of drug or alcohol abuse or treatment. iii. The title IV–E agency may require further documentation and/or evaluation to determine the suitability of the home. iv. All children who are household members must be up to date on immunizations consistent with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, unless the immunization is contrary to the child’s health as documented by a licensed health care professional. The proposed physical and mental health standards ensure each applicant is physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of caring for an additional child or children through a required physical exam. We are not requiring that household members undergo a physical exam, however, they must provide a health history, including any history of drug or alcohol abuse or treatment. c. Background Checks: i. Applicants must submit to criminal record and child abuse and neglect registry checks as required in section 471(a)(20) of the Social Security Act (the Act). The proposed background check standards mirror the requirements under section 471(a)(20) of the Act which requires title IV–E agencies to perform criminal and child abuse and neglect registry background checks as part of meeting the IV–E requirements. The state or tribe must not grant final approval to the applicant if a record check reveals a felony conviction for: • Child abuse or neglect; • Spousal abuse; • A crime against children (including child pornography); • A crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery; • Physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense within the last five (5) years; and Title IV–E agencies must check any child abuse and neglect registry maintained by the state or tribe for information on any applicant and on any other adult living in the prospective foster home. Further, title IV–E agencies must request any other state or tribe in which any such applicant or other adult has resided in the preceding five (5) years. d. Home Study: Applicant must have completed an agency home study, which is a written comprehensive family assessment in collaboration with the applicants to include the following elements: Summary—Foster Home Eligibility ..................... Foster Home Eligibility—Physical and Mental Health. Summary—Foster Home and Mental Health. Eligibility—Physical Foster Home Eligibility—Background Checks .... sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Summary—Foster ground Checks. Home Eligibility—Back- Home Study ........................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:07 Jul 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\01AUN1.SGM 01AUN1 37498 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 148 / Wednesday, August 1, 2018 / Notices Subject standard Standard and summary Summary—Home Study ..................................... Foster Family Home Health and Safety ............. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Summary—Foster Family Home Health and Safety. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:07 Jul 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 i. At least one scheduled on-site visit to assess the home to ensure that it meets the state, tribal and/or local standards applicable to the safety and care of the home. ii. At least one scheduled in home interview for each household member to observe family functioning and assess the family’s capacity to meet the needs of a child or children in foster care. iii. The title IV–E agency has discretion on whether to interview or observe each household member based on his or her age and development. iv. Multiple applicant references that attest to the capability of the applicant to care for the child, including at least one from a relative and one from a non-relative. We propose a broad home study standard that requires the title IV–E agency to conduct inperson and on-site interviews and obtain references for all applicants. Most states have home study requirements in law and regulation which include explicit home study and interview standards. B. Foster Family Home Health and Safety: a. Living Space: The home must be a house, mobile home, housing unit or apartment occupied by an individual or a family. The home, grounds, and all structures on the grounds of the property must in a reasonable state of repair within community standards. The home must have: i. A continuous supply of safe drinking water. ii. A properly operating kitchen with a sink, refrigerator, stove, and oven; iii. At least one properly operating bathroom with a toilet, sink and tub or shower. iv. Heating and/or cooling as required by the geographic area, consistent with accepted community standards and in safe operating condition. v. A working phone or access to a working phone in close walking proximity. b. Condition of the Home: The applicants’ home, grounds, and all structures on the grounds of the property must be properly maintained in a clean, safe, and sanitary condition and in a reasonable state of repair within community standards. The interior and exterior must be free from dangerous objects and conditions, and from hazardous materials. The home must meet the following requirements: i. Have adequate lighting, ventilation and proper trash and recycling disposal. ii. Be free from rodents and insect infestation. iii. Proper water heater temperature. iv. Weapons and ammunition (separately) stored, locked, unloaded, and inaccessible to children. v. Pets are vaccinated in accordance with state, tribal and/or local law. vi. Swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas must meet the following to ensure they are safe and hazard free (and additionally must meet all state, tribal and/or local safety requirements): 1. Swimming pools must have a barrier on all sides. 2. Swimming pools must have their methods of access through the barrier equipped with a safety device, such as a bolt lock. 3. Swimming pools must be equipped with a life saving device, such as a ring buoy. 4. If the swimming pool cannot be emptied after each use, the pool must have a working pump and filtering system. 5. Hot tubs and spas must have safety covers that are locked when not in use. vii. Prevent the child’s access, as appropriate for his or her age and development, to all medications, poisonous materials, cleaning supplies, other hazardous materials, and alcoholic beverages. The title IV–E agency may include other specific standards as appropriate to their jurisdiction. Foster Family Home Health and Safety—These proposed standards apply to the foster family home itself, which includes the grounds and all structures found on the grounds. These proposed standards are written broadly to: (1) Address the large amount of variance in home hazards across jurisdictions; and (2) prevent potential biases against rural or urban families. These standards are divided into two sections: Living space and condition of the home. The NARA standards as well as the state standards reviewed include specific requirements to address jurisdictional and geographical concerns. For example, requirements around water hazards such as swimming pools may not be a priority in all jurisdictions. a. Living Space—The proposed living space standards are flexible in order to determine that a home includes basic essentials such as safe drinking water (which may include water from a municipal drinking source, a private well, or other source), proper kitchen and bath facilities and such. This ensures that the home is a suitable and safe foster family home, and allows potential foster families to reside in a variety of types of homes and locations, such as low-income or rural areas, may qualify as foster parents. A key factor is whether the home, grounds, and all structures on the grounds of the property are in a reasonable state of repair within community standards taking into account neighborhood norms while being mindful of any potential health and safety risks. b. Condition of the Home—The proposed condition of the home standards, address the overall condition and safety of the home to ensure the home is safe and in a reasonable state of repair considering the community where the home is located. Housing and living arrangements must be safe and clean, and hazardous conditions mitigated. The proposed standards include specific safety requirements for pools, hot tubs and spas as these pose a particular preventable danger to children. PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\01AUN1.SGM 01AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 148 / Wednesday, August 1, 2018 / Notices 37499 Subject standard Standard and summary Foster Home Capacity ........................................ C. Foster Home Capacity: The total number of children in foster care in a family foster home, must not exceed six (6) consistent with section 472(c)(1)(A)(ii)(III) of the Act. Per section 472(c)(1)(B) of the Act, the number of foster children cared for in a foster family home may exceed this numerical limitation at the option of the title IV–E agency for any of the following reasons: a. To allow a parenting youth in foster care to remain with the child of the parenting youth. b. To allow siblings to remain together. c. To allow a child with an established meaningful relationship with the family to remain with the family. d. To allow a family with special training or skills to provide care to a child who has a severe disability. Foster Home Capacity—The proposed foster home capacity standards mirror the requirements section 472(c)(1)(A)(ii)(III) that the total number of children in a foster family home, must not exceed six (6). Per section 472(c)(1)(B) of the Act, the title IV–E agency may make an exception to this numerical limitation for the following reasons: • To allow a parenting youth in foster care to remain with the child of the parenting youth. • To allow siblings to remain together. • To allow a child with an established meaningful relationship with the family to remain with the family. • To allow a family with special training or skills to provide care to a child who has a severe disability. D. Foster Home Sleeping Arrangements: Applicants must provide a safe sleeping space including sleeping supplies, such as mattress and linens, for each individual child, as appropriate for the child’s needs and age and similar to other household members. Foster parents must not co-sleep or bed-share with infants. The proposed sleeping arrangement standard ensures children in foster care sleep in safe and comfortable sleeping spaces with appropriate furnishings to meet their basic needs and ensure privacy. All children in the home must be treated equitably. For example, children in foster care should not sleep in public living spaces if other children have their own bedrooms. Further, sleeping arrangements should be age and developmentally appropriate for the children who are placed in the home. Co-sleeping or bed-sharing, when a parent(s) and infant share a sleeping surface (such as a bed, sofa or chair), is prohibited. We included this prohibition because approximately 3,500 infants (children under 12 months of age) die annually in the United States from sleep-related causes, such as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.2 Both bed sharing with infants and sleeping with infants sleeping on couches or armchairs increase the risk of infant death, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), entrapment, and suffocation. Room-sharing, i.e., when an infant shares a room with a parent(s), but sleeps on a separate sleeping surface is not prohibited as it is considered a safe sleep practice that is linked to a reduced risk of SIDS.3 E. Emergency Preparedness, Fire Safety, and Evacuation Plans: The applicant must have emergency preparedness plans and items in place as appropriate for the home’s geographic location. The applicants’ home must meet the following fire safety and emergency planning requirements: a. Have at least one smoke detector on each level of occupancy of the home and at least one near all sleeping areas. b. Have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of occupancy of the home and at least one near all sleeping areas. c. Have at least one operable fire extinguisher that is readily accessible. d. Be free of obvious fire hazards, such as defective heating equipment or improperly stored flammable materials. e. Have a written emergency evacuation plan to be reviewed with the child and posted in a prominent place in the home. f. Maintain a comprehensive list of emergency telephone numbers, including poison control, and post those numbers in a prominent place in the home. g. Maintain first aid supplies. Emergency Preparedness, Fire Safety, and Evacuation Plans—The proposed standards help protect children and household members from harm in the event of an emergency, a fire, or a need to evacuate. The proposed standards are written broadly allowing them to be tailored to unique emergencies, such as natural disasters, that may occur in specific jurisdictions. Safety procedures and emergency plans, and the communication thereof, increase the probability of safety and injury prevention for household members. Emergency readiness information provided by the Department of Homeland Security is available at http:// www.ready.gov. F. Transportation: Applicants must ensure that the family has reliable, legal and safe transportation with safety restraints, as appropriate for the child. Reliable transportation would include a properly maintained vehicle or access to reliable public transportation, if one is owned; legal transportation would include having a valid driving license, insurance and registration as appropriate and safe transportation would include safety restraints and only adults in the home having a driving record in good standing transport the child. Summary—Foster Home Capacity ..................... Foster Home Sleeping Arrangements ................ Summary—Foster ments. Home Sleeping Arrange- Emergency Preparedness, Fire Safety, and Evacuation Plans. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Summary—Emergency Preparedness, Safety, and Evacuation Plans. Fire Transportation ..................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:07 Jul 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\01AUN1.SGM 01AUN1 37500 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 148 / Wednesday, August 1, 2018 / Notices Subject standard Standard and summary Summary—Transportation Standards ................ The proposed transportation standards focus broadly on the applicant having a reliable, legal, and safe mode of transportation for a child in foster care to attend appointments, visitation, and meetings. We also propose that only adults in the home be permitted to transport children in foster care and only those having a driving record in good standing. We specifically avoid proposing standards that could impact a foster parent based on geographic location and income. For example, some states require foster parents to have their own vehicle. However, applicants in states with a high urban population may not have access to or need a vehicle. Rather, they rely upon public transportation. G. Training: a. Applicants must complete pre-licensing training on the following topics: legal rights, roles, responsibilities and expectations of foster parents; agency structure, purpose, policies, and services; laws and regulations; the impact of childhood trauma; managing child behaviors; first aid (including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for the ages of the children in placement) and medication administration; and the importance of maintaining meaningful connections between the child and parents, including regular visitation. Foster parents must participate in ongoing training to receive instruction to support their parental roles and ensure the parent is up to date with agency requirements. Further, this training may also include child-specific training and/or may address issues relevant to the general population of children in foster care. The proposed training standards include both pre-licensing and ongoing training and include mandatory training topics. The purpose of the pre-licensing training standards is to provide information to applicants so they can make an informed decision about their commitment to foster a child. In addition, the pre-service training is to prepare the applicant to be licensed as a foster parent. This includes training on the reasonable and prudent parent standard per section 471(a)(24) of the Act. The ongoing training is to ensure the parent receives ongoing instruction to support their parental roles and remain up to date on policies, requirements, and services. Therefore, there are no mandatory topics, as these depend on agency priorities and specific individual needs. H. Foster Parent Assurances: Applicants must agree to comply with their roles and responsibilities as discussed with the title IV–E agency once a child is placed in their care. The title IV–E agency must require assurances including: a. Applicants will not use corporal or degrading punishment b. Applicants will not use any illegal substances, abuse alcohol by consuming it in excess amounts, or abuse legal prescription and/or nonprescription drugs by consuming them in excess amounts or using them contrary to as indicated. b. Applicants and their guests will not smoke in the family foster home, in any vehicle used to transport the child, or in the presence of the child in foster care. c. Applicants will adhere to the title IV–E agency’s reasonable and prudent parent standard per section 472(c)(1)(A)(ii)(I) of the Act. There are four proposed foster parent assurances are broadly written to apply across title IV– E jurisdictions which cover corporal punishment, alcohol and drug use, the reasonable and prudent parent standard and smoking. Assurances help potential foster family to have a clear understanding of expectations prior to approval as a foster home, cover behaviors which cannot be verified as part of the home study and typically are expectations after a home is licensed. Title IV–E agencies may wish to develop additional assurances as appropriate to their jurisdiction. Training ............................................................... Summary—Training ............................................ Foster Parent Assurances .................................. Summary—Foster Parent Assurances ............... Dated: July 24, 2018. Steven Wagner, Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES [FR Doc. 2018–16380 Filed 7–31–18; 8:45 am] [Docket No. FDA–2017–N–0007] BILLING CODE 4148–25–P Food and Drug Administration Outsourcing Facility Fee Rates for Fiscal Year 2019 AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, HHS. ACTION: Notice. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the fiscal year (FY) 2019 rates for the establishment and re-inspection fees related to entities that compound human drugs and elect to register as outsourcing facilities under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act). The FD&C Act authorizes FDA to assess and collect an annual establishment fee from outsourcing sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: 2 Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. ‘‘SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment.’’ Pediatrics, 138, no. 5 (2016): 1, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/ content/138/5/e20162938. 3 Ibid., 2–4. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:07 Jul 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 facilities, as well as a re-inspection fee for each re-inspection of an outsourcing facility. This document establishes the FY 2019 rates for the small business establishment fee ($5,461), the nonsmall business establishment fee ($18,375), and the re-inspection fee ($16,382) for outsourcing facilities; provides information on how the fees for FY 2019 were determined; and describes the payment procedures outsourcing facilities should follow. These fee rates are effective October 1, 2018, and will remain in effect through September 30, 2019. For more information on human drug compounding and outsourcing facility fees: Visit FDAs website at: https:// www.fda.gov/Drugs/Guidance ComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ PharmacyCompounding/default.htm. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: E:\FR\FM\01AUN1.SGM 01AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 148 (Wednesday, August 1, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 37495-37500]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-16380]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Administration for Children and Families


Notice for Proposed Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards

AGENCY: Administration for Children and Families, HHS.

ACTION: Notice; Request for Comments.

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SUMMARY: The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) directs the 
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify 
``reputable model licensing standards with respect to the licensing of 
foster family homes. In response to this directive, the Children's 
Bureau (CB) solicits comments on the proposed National Model Family 
Foster Home Licensing Standards.

DATES: Submit comments on or before October 1, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments. All comments received 
will be posted without change to https://www.regulations.gov, including 
any personal information provided.
     Email: [email protected]. Include [docket number and/
or RIN number] in subject line of the message.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Kathleen McHugh, United 
States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for 
Children and Families, Director, Policy Division, 330 C Street SW, 
Washington, DC 20024. Please be aware that mail may take an additional 
3 to 4 days to process due to security screening of mail.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathleen McHugh, Director, Policy 
Division, Children's Bureau, 330 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20201. 
Email address: [email protected] Deaf and hearing impaired 
individuals may call the Federal Dual Party Relay Service at 1-800-877-
8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. Background
II. Overview of the Proposed National Model Family Foster Home 
Licensing
III. Standards Summary of the Proposed National Model Foster Care 
Licensing Standards

[[Page 37496]]

I. Background

(1) Legislative Context

    The President signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, Public Law 
(Pub. L.) 115-123 into law on February 9, 2018. Public Law 115-123 
includes the FFPSA in Division E, Title VII. Section 50731 of the FFPSA 
directs HHS to ``identify reputable model licensing standards with 
respect to the licensing of foster family homes (as defined in section 
472(c)(1) of the Social Security Act).''
    By April 1, 2019, title IV-E agencies, which include all states and 
12 tribes, must provide the HHS specific and detailed information 
about:
    [cir] Whether the state or tribal agency foster family home 
licensing standards are consistent with the model licensing standards 
identified by HHS, and if not, the reason; and
    [cir] Whether the state or tribal agency waives non-safety 
licensing standards for relative foster family homes (pursuant to 
waiver authority provided by section 471(a)(10)(D) of the Act), and if 
so, how caseworkers are trained to use the waiver authority and whether 
the agency has developed a process or provided tools to assist 
caseworkers in waiving these non-safety standards to quickly place 
children with relatives.
    States and tribes have a long history of developing and 
implementing their own foster family home licensing standards. These 
standards are typically included in statutes, codes, or regulations, 
but may also be included in policy documents or guidance. In reference 
to the title IV-E program, section 471(a)(10) of the Act requires title 
IV-E agencies to develop plans that provide for the establishment and 
maintaining of standards for foster family homes and child care 
institutions. These standards must be reasonably in accord with related 
standards developed by national organizations, including standards 
related to admission policies, safety, sanitation, protection of civil 
rights, and permit the use of the reasonable prudent parent standard.

(2) Reviewing Foster Family Home Licensing Standards

    We are proposing one set of standards for comment to apply to 
relatives and non-relatives, as well as state and tribal title IV-E 
agencies.
    Prior to drafting these standards, CB:
     Reviewed several state and tribal foster family licensing 
standards that represented a mix of population densities, state and 
county administered states, and a range of geographic locations;
     examined the ``Model Family Foster Home Licensing 
Standards'' published by the National Association for Regulatory 
Administration (NARA Standards);
     reviewed the ``Development and Implementation of Tribal 
Foster Care Standards'' published by the National Indian Child Welfare 
Association (NICWA); and
     consulted guidelines, recommendations, and best practices 
for foster care services including the following:
     Council on Accreditation Family Foster Care and Kinship 
Care Program Accreditation Guidelines; and
     Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) Standards of 
Excellence for Family Foster Care Services.
    The CB relied heavily upon the NARA standards in drafting the 
proposed National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards. The 
NARA standards were developed by attorneys at Generations United and 
the American Bar Association who researched family foster care 
licensing standards in state codes, regulations, and policies for each 
state and the District of Columbia.\1\ The current NARA standards use 
model language from state licensing standards and language from the 
CWLA and the Council on Accreditation with the goal to create 
reasonable and achievable safety standards for family foster home 
licensing. NICWA assisted the Council on Accreditation with developing 
foster care and kinship care standards used to accredit public and 
private agencies that address the unique needs of Native children and 
account for the protections of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ For the research results, please see: http://www.grandfamilies.org/Portals/0/Improving%20Foster%20Care%20Licensing%20Standards.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    CB assessed whether these materials shared purposes, standards, and 
categories to support the conclusion that the NARA standards were 
appropriate to use as a main source for the National Model Family 
Foster Home Licensing Standards. Through this review, CB determined 
that while it is important for standards to be flexible for title IV-E 
agency implementation, overall, the standards reviewed shared many 
commonalities. Further, the NARA standards are based in significant 
research and input from experts in the field; therefore, we consider 
them the best available resource to base a federal standard on, and 
reasonably flexible for title IV-E agency implementation.
    CB did not examine the following subject areas because this was 
outside the scope of the legislative requirement:
     Foster home licensing procedures;
     Emergency placement procedures;
     Re-licensure procedures;
     Procedures for pre-service training;
     Care of children after placement in a licensed foster 
home; and
     Post-licensing requirements, such as foster parent 
recordkeeping and reporting.

II. Overview of the Proposed National Model Family Foster Home 
Licensing Standards

    The proposed standards are categorized into eight categories that 
closely resemble the NARA standards:

A. Foster Home Eligibility
    a. Threshold Requirements
    b. Physical and Mental Health
    c. Background Checks
    d. Home Study
B. Foster Family Home Health and Safety
    a. Living Space
    b. Condition of Home
C. Foster Home Capacity
D. Foster Home Sleeping Arrangements
E. Emergency Preparedness, Fire Safety, and Evacuation Plans
F. Transportation
G. Training
H. Foster Parent Assurances

    These categories cover the essential components of licensing a 
foster family in terms of ensuring the applicant's capacity to care for 
a child in foster care, and also provide parameters for licensing the 
physical home of the family to ensure it is appropriate and safe for a 
child in foster care.
    The National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards, based on 
the NARA Standards, are designed to be broad and flexible enough to 
respond to individual circumstances, state and tribal jurisdictions, 
and help ensure children in out-of-home care have safe and appropriate 
homes. The standards do not include the many other agency practices for 
how to conduct assessments, good practice standards, guidelines on re-
licensing, or other requirements that must be undertaken with licensing 
foster family homes. In addition, there are numerous state and federal 
laws that agencies must consider when licensing foster family homes 
that we did not address. We encourage agencies to utilize best 
practices, such as engaging tribal communities or others as appropriate 
in licensing families; however, these standards do not address such 
practices.

[[Page 37497]]

III. Summary of the Proposed National Model Foster Care Licensing 
Standards

------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Subject standard                   Standard and summary
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Foster Home Eligibility......  A. Foster Home Eligibility: A family
                                foster home license includes the
                                following:
                                  a. Threshold Requirements:
                                    i. Applicants must be age 18 or
                                     older.
                               ii. Applicants must have income or
                                resources to make timely payments for
                                shelter, food, utility costs, clothing,
                                and other household expenses prior to
                                the addition of a child or children in
                                foster care.
                               iii. Applicants must be able to
                                communicate with the child in the
                                child's own language and applicants must
                                be able to communicate with the title IV-
                                E agency, health care providers, and
                                other service providers.
                               iv. At least one applicant in the home
                                must have functional literacy, such as
                                having the ability to read medication
                                labels.
Summary--Foster Home           The proposed eligibility standards
 Eligibility.                   provide threshold requirements for a
                                family foster home license to establish
                                a first step in assessing the
                                applicant's age, financial stability,
                                and ability to communicate with the
                                child and agency.
                               We propose that adult applicants are
                                financially stable to meet their
                                family's needs prior to placing a child
                                in the home. We proposed communication
                                standards which are flexible for both
                                the applicant and agency in that
                                applicants must be able to follow agency
                                and service provider instructions as
                                well as communicate directly with a
                                child. The proposed standards do not
                                include requirements for English
                                literacy so as not to dissuade potential
                                foster family applicants. However, we
                                propose functional literacy to ensure at
                                least one of the applicants has the
                                ability to read and write at the level
                                necessary to participate effectively in
                                the community in which they live.
Foster Home Eligibility--         b. Physical and Mental Health: All
 Physical and Mental Health.       applicants must have recent
                                   (conducted within the prior 12
                                   months) physical exams from a
                                   licensed health care professional
                                   that indicate that the applicants are
                                   capable of caring for an additional
                                   child or children.
                                    i. All household members must
                                     disclose current mental health and/
                                     or substance abuse issues.
                               ii. All household members must provide
                                information on their physical and mental
                                health history, including any history of
                                drug or alcohol abuse or treatment.
                               iii. The title IV-E agency may require
                                further documentation and/or evaluation
                                to determine the suitability of the
                                home.
                               iv. All children who are household
                                members must be up to date on
                                immunizations consistent with the
                                recommendations of the American Academy
                                of Pediatrics, the Advisory Committee on
                                Immunization Practices of the Centers
                                for Disease Control and Prevention, and
                                the American Academy of Family
                                Physicians, unless the immunization is
                                contrary to the child's health as
                                documented by a licensed health care
                                professional.
Summary--Foster Home           The proposed physical and mental health
 Eligibility--Physical and      standards ensure each applicant is
 Mental Health.                 physically, mentally, and emotionally
                                capable of caring for an additional
                                child or children through a required
                                physical exam. We are not requiring that
                                household members undergo a physical
                                exam, however, they must provide a
                                health history, including any history of
                                drug or alcohol abuse or treatment.
Foster Home Eligibility--         c. Background Checks:
 Background Checks.            i. Applicants must submit to criminal
                                record and child abuse and neglect
                                registry checks as required in section
                                471(a)(20) of the Social Security Act
                                (the Act).
Summary--Foster Home           The proposed background check standards
 Eligibility--Background        mirror the requirements under section
 Checks.                        471(a)(20) of the Act which requires
                                title IV-E agencies to perform criminal
                                and child abuse and neglect registry
                                background checks as part of meeting the
                                IV-E requirements. The state or tribe
                                must not grant final approval to the
                                applicant if a record check reveals a
                                felony conviction for:
                                   Child abuse or neglect;
                                Spousal abuse;
                                A crime against children
                                (including child pornography);
                                A crime involving violence,
                                including rape, sexual assault, or
                                homicide, but not including other
                                physical assault or battery;
                                Physical assault, battery, or a
                                drug-related offense within the last
                                five (5) years; and
                               Title IV-E agencies must check any child
                                abuse and neglect registry maintained by
                                the state or tribe for information on
                                any applicant and on any other adult
                                living in the prospective foster home.
                                Further, title IV-E agencies must
                                request any other state or tribe in
                                which any such applicant or other adult
                                has resided in the preceding five (5)
                                years.
Home Study...................     d. Home Study: Applicant must have
                                   completed an agency home study, which
                                   is a written comprehensive family
                                   assessment in collaboration with the
                                   applicants to include the following
                                   elements:

[[Page 37498]]

 
                                    i. At least one scheduled on-site
                                     visit to assess the home to ensure
                                     that it meets the state, tribal and/
                                     or local standards applicable to
                                     the safety and care of the home.
                               ii. At least one scheduled in home
                                interview for each household member to
                                observe family functioning and assess
                                the family's capacity to meet the needs
                                of a child or children in foster care.
                               iii. The title IV-E agency has discretion
                                on whether to interview or observe each
                                household member based on his or her age
                                and development.
                               iv. Multiple applicant references that
                                attest to the capability of the
                                applicant to care for the child,
                                including at least one from a relative
                                and one from a non-relative.
Summary--Home Study..........  We propose a broad home study standard
                                that requires the title IV-E agency to
                                conduct in-person and on-site interviews
                                and obtain references for all
                                applicants. Most states have home study
                                requirements in law and regulation which
                                include explicit home study and
                                interview standards.
Foster Family Home Health and  B. Foster Family Home Health and Safety:
 Safety.
                                  a. Living Space: The home must be a
                                   house, mobile home, housing unit or
                                   apartment occupied by an individual
                                   or a family. The home, grounds, and
                                   all structures on the grounds of the
                                   property must in a reasonable state
                                   of repair within community standards.
                                   The home must have:
                                    i. A continuous supply of safe
                                     drinking water.
                               ii. A properly operating kitchen with a
                                sink, refrigerator, stove, and oven;
                               iii. At least one properly operating
                                bathroom with a toilet, sink and tub or
                                shower.
                               iv. Heating and/or cooling as required by
                                the geographic area, consistent with
                                accepted community standards and in safe
                                operating condition.
                               v. A working phone or access to a working
                                phone in close walking proximity.
                               b. Condition of the Home: The applicants'
                                home, grounds, and all structures on the
                                grounds of the property must be properly
                                maintained in a clean, safe, and
                                sanitary condition and in a reasonable
                                state of repair within community
                                standards. The interior and exterior
                                must be free from dangerous objects and
                                conditions, and from hazardous
                                materials. The home must meet the
                                following requirements:
                               i. Have adequate lighting, ventilation
                                and proper trash and recycling disposal.
                               ii. Be free from rodents and insect
                                infestation.
                               iii. Proper water heater temperature.
                               iv. Weapons and ammunition (separately)
                                stored, locked, unloaded, and
                                inaccessible to children.
                               v. Pets are vaccinated in accordance with
                                state, tribal and/or local law.
                               vi. Swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas
                                must meet the following to ensure they
                                are safe and hazard free (and
                                additionally must meet all state, tribal
                                and/or local safety requirements):
                               1. Swimming pools must have a barrier on
                                all sides.
                               2. Swimming pools must have their methods
                                of access through the barrier equipped
                                with a safety device, such as a bolt
                                lock.
                               3. Swimming pools must be equipped with a
                                life saving device, such as a ring buoy.
                               4. If the swimming pool cannot be emptied
                                after each use, the pool must have a
                                working pump and filtering system.
                               5. Hot tubs and spas must have safety
                                covers that are locked when not in use.
                               vii. Prevent the child's access, as
                                appropriate for his or her age and
                                development, to all medications,
                                poisonous materials, cleaning supplies,
                                other hazardous materials, and alcoholic
                                beverages.
                               The title IV-E agency may include other
                                specific standards as appropriate to
                                their jurisdiction.
Summary--Foster Family Home    Foster Family Home Health and Safety--
 Health and Safety.             These proposed standards apply to the
                                foster family home itself, which
                                includes the grounds and all structures
                                found on the grounds. These proposed
                                standards are written broadly to: (1)
                                Address the large amount of variance in
                                home hazards across jurisdictions; and
                                (2) prevent potential biases against
                                rural or urban families. These standards
                                are divided into two sections: Living
                                space and condition of the home. The
                                NARA standards as well as the state
                                standards reviewed include specific
                                requirements to address jurisdictional
                                and geographical concerns. For example,
                                requirements around water hazards such
                                as swimming pools may not be a priority
                                in all jurisdictions.
                                  a. Living Space--The proposed living
                                   space standards are flexible in order
                                   to determine that a home includes
                                   basic essentials such as safe
                                   drinking water (which may include
                                   water from a municipal drinking
                                   source, a private well, or other
                                   source), proper kitchen and bath
                                   facilities and such. This ensures
                                   that the home is a suitable and safe
                                   foster family home, and allows
                                   potential foster families to reside
                                   in a variety of types of homes and
                                   locations, such as low-income or
                                   rural areas, may qualify as foster
                                   parents. A key factor is whether the
                                   home, grounds, and all structures on
                                   the grounds of the property are in a
                                   reasonable state of repair within
                                   community standards taking into
                                   account neighborhood norms while
                                   being mindful of any potential health
                                   and safety risks.
                                  b. Condition of the Home--The proposed
                                   condition of the home standards,
                                   address the overall condition and
                                   safety of the home to ensure the home
                                   is safe and in a reasonable state of
                                   repair considering the community
                                   where the home is located. Housing
                                   and living arrangements must be safe
                                   and clean, and hazardous conditions
                                   mitigated. The proposed standards
                                   include specific safety requirements
                                   for pools, hot tubs and spas as these
                                   pose a particular preventable danger
                                   to children.

[[Page 37499]]

 
Foster Home Capacity.........  C. Foster Home Capacity: The total number
                                of children in foster care in a family
                                foster home, must not exceed six (6)
                                consistent with section
                                472(c)(1)(A)(ii)(III) of the Act. Per
                                section 472(c)(1)(B) of the Act, the
                                number of foster children cared for in a
                                foster family home may exceed this
                                numerical limitation at the option of
                                the title IV-E agency for any of the
                                following reasons:
                                  a. To allow a parenting youth in
                                   foster care to remain with the child
                                   of the parenting youth.
                               b. To allow siblings to remain together.
                               c. To allow a child with an established
                                meaningful relationship with the family
                                to remain with the family.
                               d. To allow a family with special
                                training or skills to provide care to a
                                child who has a severe disability.
Summary--Foster Home Capacity  Foster Home Capacity--The proposed foster
                                home capacity standards mirror the
                                requirements section
                                472(c)(1)(A)(ii)(III) that the total
                                number of children in a foster family
                                home, must not exceed six (6). Per
                                section 472(c)(1)(B) of the Act, the
                                title IV-E agency may make an exception
                                to this numerical limitation for the
                                following reasons:
                                   To allow a parenting youth in
                                   foster care to remain with the child
                                   of the parenting youth.
                                To allow siblings to remain
                                together.
                                To allow a child with an
                                established meaningful relationship with
                                the family to remain with the family.
                                To allow a family with special
                                training or skills to provide care to a
                                child who has a severe disability.
Foster Home Sleeping           D. Foster Home Sleeping Arrangements:
 Arrangements.                  Applicants must provide a safe sleeping
                                space including sleeping supplies, such
                                as mattress and linens, for each
                                individual child, as appropriate for the
                                child's needs and age and similar to
                                other household members. Foster parents
                                must not co-sleep or bed-share with
                                infants.
Summary--Foster Home Sleeping  The proposed sleeping arrangement
 Arrangements.                  standard ensures children in foster care
                                sleep in safe and comfortable sleeping
                                spaces with appropriate furnishings to
                                meet their basic needs and ensure
                                privacy. All children in the home must
                                be treated equitably. For example,
                                children in foster care should not sleep
                                in public living spaces if other
                                children have their own bedrooms.
                                Further, sleeping arrangements should be
                                age and developmentally appropriate for
                                the children who are placed in the home.
                                Co-sleeping or bed-sharing, when a
                                parent(s) and infant share a sleeping
                                surface (such as a bed, sofa or chair),
                                is prohibited.
                               We included this prohibition because
                                approximately 3,500 infants (children
                                under 12 months of age) die annually in
                                the United States from sleep-related
                                causes, such as sudden infant death
                                syndrome (SIDS) and accidental
                                suffocation and strangulation in bed.\2\
                                Both bed sharing with infants and
                                sleeping with infants sleeping on
                                couches or armchairs increase the risk
                                of infant death, including sudden infant
                                death syndrome (SIDS), entrapment, and
                                suffocation. Room-sharing, i.e., when an
                                infant shares a room with a parent(s),
                                but sleeps on a separate sleeping
                                surface is not prohibited as it is
                                considered a safe sleep practice that is
                                linked to a reduced risk of SIDS.\3\
Emergency Preparedness, Fire   E. Emergency Preparedness, Fire Safety,
 Safety, and Evacuation Plans.  and Evacuation Plans: The applicant must
                                have emergency preparedness plans and
                                items in place as appropriate for the
                                home's geographic location. The
                                applicants' home must meet the following
                                fire safety and emergency planning
                                requirements:
                                  a. Have at least one smoke detector on
                                   each level of occupancy of the home
                                   and at least one near all sleeping
                                   areas.
                               b. Have at least one carbon monoxide
                                detector on each level of occupancy of
                                the home and at least one near all
                                sleeping areas.
                               c. Have at least one operable fire
                                extinguisher that is readily accessible.
                               d. Be free of obvious fire hazards, such
                                as defective heating equipment or
                                improperly stored flammable materials.
                               e. Have a written emergency evacuation
                                plan to be reviewed with the child and
                                posted in a prominent place in the home.
                               f. Maintain a comprehensive list of
                                emergency telephone numbers, including
                                poison control, and post those numbers
                                in a prominent place in the home.
                               g. Maintain first aid supplies.
Summary--Emergency             Emergency Preparedness, Fire Safety, and
 Preparedness, Fire Safety,     Evacuation Plans--The proposed standards
 and Evacuation Plans.          help protect children and household
                                members from harm in the event of an
                                emergency, a fire, or a need to
                                evacuate. The proposed standards are
                                written broadly allowing them to be
                                tailored to unique emergencies, such as
                                natural disasters, that may occur in
                                specific jurisdictions. Safety
                                procedures and emergency plans, and the
                                communication thereof, increase the
                                probability of safety and injury
                                prevention for household members.
                                Emergency readiness information provided
                                by the Department of Homeland Security
                                is available at http://www.ready.gov.
Transportation...............  F. Transportation: Applicants must ensure
                                that the family has reliable, legal and
                                safe transportation with safety
                                restraints, as appropriate for the
                                child. Reliable transportation would
                                include a properly maintained vehicle or
                                access to reliable public
                                transportation, if one is owned; legal
                                transportation would include having a
                                valid driving license, insurance and
                                registration as appropriate and safe
                                transportation would include safety
                                restraints and only adults in the home
                                having a driving record in good standing
                                transport the child.

[[Page 37500]]

 
Summary--Transportation        The proposed transportation standards
 Standards.                     focus broadly on the applicant having a
                                reliable, legal, and safe mode of
                                transportation for a child in foster
                                care to attend appointments, visitation,
                                and meetings. We also propose that only
                                adults in the home be permitted to
                                transport children in foster care and
                                only those having a driving record in
                                good standing. We specifically avoid
                                proposing standards that could impact a
                                foster parent based on geographic
                                location and income. For example, some
                                states require foster parents to have
                                their own vehicle. However, applicants
                                in states with a high urban population
                                may not have access to or need a
                                vehicle. Rather, they rely upon public
                                transportation.
Training.....................  G. Training: a. Applicants must complete
                                pre-licensing training on the following
                                topics: legal rights, roles,
                                responsibilities and expectations of
                                foster parents; agency structure,
                                purpose, policies, and services; laws
                                and regulations; the impact of childhood
                                trauma; managing child behaviors; first
                                aid (including cardiopulmonary
                                resuscitation (CPR) for the ages of the
                                children in placement) and medication
                                administration; and the importance of
                                maintaining meaningful connections
                                between the child and parents, including
                                regular visitation. Foster parents must
                                participate in ongoing training to
                                receive instruction to support their
                                parental roles and ensure the parent is
                                up to date with agency requirements.
                                Further, this training may also include
                                child-specific training and/or may
                                address issues relevant to the general
                                population of children in foster care.
Summary--Training............  The proposed training standards include
                                both pre-licensing and ongoing training
                                and include mandatory training topics.
                                The purpose of the pre-licensing
                                training standards is to provide
                                information to applicants so they can
                                make an informed decision about their
                                commitment to foster a child. In
                                addition, the pre-service training is to
                                prepare the applicant to be licensed as
                                a foster parent. This includes training
                                on the reasonable and prudent parent
                                standard per section 471(a)(24) of the
                                Act. The ongoing training is to ensure
                                the parent receives ongoing instruction
                                to support their parental roles and
                                remain up to date on policies,
                                requirements, and services. Therefore,
                                there are no mandatory topics, as these
                                depend on agency priorities and specific
                                individual needs.
Foster Parent Assurances.....  H. Foster Parent Assurances: Applicants
                                must agree to comply with their roles
                                and responsibilities as discussed with
                                the title IV-E agency once a child is
                                placed in their care. The title IV-E
                                agency must require assurances
                                including:
                                  a. Applicants will not use corporal or
                                   degrading punishment
                               b. Applicants will not use any illegal
                                substances, abuse alcohol by consuming
                                it in excess amounts, or abuse legal
                                prescription and/or nonprescription
                                drugs by consuming them in excess
                                amounts or using them contrary to as
                                indicated.
                               b. Applicants and their guests will not
                                smoke in the family foster home, in any
                                vehicle used to transport the child, or
                                in the presence of the child in foster
                                care.
                               c. Applicants will adhere to the title IV-
                                E agency's reasonable and prudent parent
                                standard per section 472(c)(1)(A)(ii)(I)
                                of the Act.
Summary--Foster Parent         There are four proposed foster parent
 Assurances.                    assurances are broadly written to apply
                                across title IV-E jurisdictions which
                                cover corporal punishment, alcohol and
                                drug use, the reasonable and prudent
                                parent standard and smoking. Assurances
                                help potential foster family to have a
                                clear understanding of expectations
                                prior to approval as a foster home,
                                cover behaviors which cannot be verified
                                as part of the home study and typically
                                are expectations after a home is
                                licensed. Title IV-E agencies may wish
                                to develop additional assurances as
                                appropriate to their jurisdiction.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Dated: July 24, 2018.
Steven Wagner,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. ``SIDS and Other 
Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe 
Infant Sleeping Environment.'' Pediatrics, 138, no. 5 (2016): 1, 
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/5/e20162938.
    \3\ Ibid., 2-4.
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[FR Doc. 2018-16380 Filed 7-31-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4148-25-P