(Public Law 113-183/House Bill 213/ORC 2151.315(C))
What: This law/rule include requirements for custodial and recommending agencies to promote “normalcy” for youth in foster care so they can more easily participate in age-appropriate social, scholastic and enrichment activities. This is also help build Independent Living skills in youth by teaching them how to make responsible choices, i.e. how to stay safe at the mall alone.
Reasonable and Prudent Parenting standard is the guideline for what is allowed under normalcy. This includes taking into account a few things before allowing a child to engage in an activity:
- The child’s age, maturity and developmental level, to maintain the overall health and safety of the child;
- The potential risk factors and the appropriateness of the extracurricular, enrichment or social activity;
- The best interest of the child, based on information known by the person or facility providing out-of-home care;
- The importance of encouraging the child’s emotional and developmental growth;
- The importance of providing the child with the most family-like living experience possible;
- The behavioral history of the child and the child’s ability to safely participate in the extracurricular, enrichment or social activity
Why: The goal is to normalize children’s time in foster care and reduce the risks for foster parents and agencies to get “in trouble” for allowing “normal” activities.
How: County agencies have to establish policies and foster parents have to be trained prior to any change in normal practice of obtaining consents.
THE BAD NEWS... As of today, most of the counties that House of New Hope contracts with have not changed their normalcy policies and still require consents for a majority of extracurricular activities. So, it is business as usual until the counties change with the times. Be sure to ask your Clinician whether yopu will need a signed consent BEFORE you change current practice.