Inter-Departmental Correspondence



September 7, 2005


September 20, 2005







Honorable Board of Supervisors


Rich Gordon and Mark Church


Adoption of Foster Parents Bill of Rights



That the Board of Supervisors adopt the San Mateo County Foster Parents Bill of Rights.



As the Board of Supervisor’s Sub-Committee on Child Welfare, we have monitored the relationship between the Foster Parents Association and the Children and Family Services Program of the Human Services Agency. The Grand Jury and others have noted that improvements could be made in the relationship between Foster Parents and the Children and Family Services Program of the Human Services Agency. In response the Agency worked with the Foster Parents Association to develop a Foster Parents Bill of Rights. A copy of that document is attached. We recommend that the Board of Supervisors adopt the San Mateo County Foster Parents Bill of Rights. This adoption would make the Bill of Rights official policy of San Mateo County and elevate the Bill of Rights above departmental procedure. This action would signal to the Foster Parents that the Board of Supervisors admires their commitment and their contribution to the welfare of children in San Mateo County.

The Children and Family Services Program of the Human Services Agency is also supporting Foster Parents with the creation of a County position to serve as a Foster Parent Liaison. The Agency is also developing a contract with the Foster Parents Association so that they may secure a Foster Parent Ombudsman.



San Mateo County Foster Parent Bill of Rights



The right to be treated with dignity, respect, trust and consideration as a primary provider of foster care and a member of the professional team caring for foster children;



The right to be provided a current explanation and understanding of the role of the department and the role of the members of the child’s birth family in the child’s foster care with updates as case plan evolves;



The right to continue their own family values and routines; every effort will be made by the Agency to work with the foster parents to place a child who can participate in and benefit from established family customs and routines;



The right to be provided by the department training and support for the purpose of improving skills in providing daily care and meeting the special needs of the child in foster care;



The right to be provided training by the agency for obtaining support and information concerning a better understanding of the rights and responsibilities of the foster parent(s);



The right prior to placement, to review written information concerning the child and allow the foster parent(s) to assist in determining if such child would be a proper placement for the prospective foster family. For emergency placements where time does not allow prior review of such information, the department shall provide information as it becomes available;



The right to be informed, by the department prior to the placement of a child in foster care, of issues relative to the child that may jeopardize the health and safety of the foster family;



The right to refuse placement within their home, or to request, upon reasonable notice to the department, the removal of a child from their home for good reason;



The right to be provided by the department a written case plan concerning the placement of a child in the foster parent’s home, including, but not limited to, all available information (CS57) regarding the child’s contact with such child’s birth family and cultural heritage;



The right to be provided a means by which the foster parent(s) can contact the department twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week for the purpose of receiving department assistance;



The right to timely financial reimbursement as per state rate setting guidelines for the care of a child in foster care, as specified in the child’s case plan;



The right to be informed in advance of scheduled meetings, concerning the foster child, and the foster parent(s) shall be encouraged to actively participate in the case planning and decision-making process regarding the child in foster care. This includes, but is not limited to, individual service planning meetings, Team Decision Making Meetings (TDMs) and individual educational planning meetings;



The right to be notified by the department, in a complete manner, of all court hearings. This notification shall include, but is not limited to, notice of the date, time and location of the court hearing, the name of the judge or hearing officer hearing the case, and the court docket number of the case. Such notification shall be made upon the department’s receiving of this information, or at the same time that notification is issued to birth parents. The foster parent(s) shall be encouraged to attend such hearings at the discretion of the court;



The right to be informed within 24 hours by the Department of decisions made by the courts or the child welfare agency concerning the child;



The department shall solicit the input of the foster parent(s) concerning the plan of services for the child; this input shall be considered in the department’s ongoing development of the plan, including periodic Court Reports utilizing the JVC290;



The right to be permitted by the department, through written consent, the ability to communicate information pertaining to the child with professionals who work with the foster child, including any therapists, physicians and teachers that work directly with the child;



The right to be provided by the department all information regarding the child and the child’s family background and health history in a timely manner. The foster parent(s) shall receive additional or necessary information, that is relevant to the care of the child, on an ongoing basis; provided that confidential information received by the foster parents shall be maintained as such by the foster parents, except as necessary to promote or protect the health and welfare of the child;



The right to be provided by the department timely notification of changes in the case plan or termination of the placement and the reasons for the changes or termination of placement to the foster parent(s), except in the instances of immediate response for child protective services or in compliance with orders of the Juvenile Court;



The right to be considered by the department as the possible first choice permanent parents for the child, who after being in the foster parent’s home becomes free for adoption or permanent foster care;



The right to be considered as a placement option when a foster child who was formerly placed with the foster parent(s) is to be re-entered into foster care;



The right to have child abuse/neglect investigations involving the foster parent(s) investigated in a timely manner pursuant to the Department’s child protective services policy and procedures and to have an advocate of their choosing present;



The right to confidentiality regarding issues that arise in the foster family home;



The right, upon request, to be provided by the department copies of all public and personal information pertaining to their family contained in the foster home record;



The right to be advised by the department of review, mediation and grievance procedures through publication in department policy manuals and the Foster Parent Handbook;



The right to be free of coercion, discrimination, and reprisal in serving foster children, including the right to voice grievances about treatment furnished or not furnished to the foster child;



The right to file for a review, mediation and/or grievance in response to any violations of the preceding tenets.