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Family Rights for Children in DHHR Custody

Written by Legal Aid WV

12/16/2021

Has the DHHR taken custody of your grandchildren or minor relatives? What rights do you have?

the foster and kinship parent bill of rights as written in West Virginia Code, section 49-4-601. full text below image.
  • Grandparents are given a preference for placement and are entitled to have a homestudy completed on their home to determine if their home is appropriate [WV Code 49-4-114(3)].  West Virginia Code §49-4-601(a) provides that “[w]hen a child is removed from his or her home, placement preference is to be given to relatives or fictive kin of the child.” 
  •  Foster and Kinship Care Providers have rights (WV Code 49-2-127)including:
    • The right to be notified of any hearing or review where the case plan or permanency of the child is an issue.
    • The right to move to intervene in the pending case, without fear of retaliation, once parental rights have been terminated.
    • The right to receive written notice if a child is removed from your home as a foster or kinship care provider.  (WV Code 49-4-111(a)).
  • Foster and Kinship Care Providers can contact the Foster Care Ombudsman if they feel like their rights are being violated.  The foster care ombudsman can be reached at:  Telephone: (304) 558-1117 or Email:  fostercareombudsman@wv.gov.


The Foster and Kinship Care Bill of Rights Text:

A Bill of Rights that acknowledges the integral and vital role you provide for our State’s children!

The West Virginia Legislature established a Bill of Rights for Foster and Kinship Parent Families that includes, but is not limited, to the following:

  • The right to be treated professionally and ethically as a provider.
  • The right to maintain your own family believes and beliefs, when possible. The right to receive training.
  • The right to have an emergency contact 24/7.
  • The right to learn safety issues about the child prior to placement. The right to learn background about the child prior to placement. The right to be provided a copy of treatment and service plans.
  • The right to participate and be notified of permanency planning.
  • The right to communicate with other professionals regarding the child. The right to be notified of all Court hearings.
  • The right to be notified of the final outcome of an investigation concerning foster home and explanation of corrective  action  plan or policy  violation. The right to contact the Foster Care Ombudsman.
  • The right to submit a letter or report to the Court.

HOW TO CONNECT WITH  THE FOSTER CARE OMBUDSMAN (FCO) OFFICE:

State Capitol Complex Building 6, Room 817-B Charleston, WV 25305

Telephone: (304) 558-1117 fostercareombudsman@wv.gov

What is the FCO?

The FCO advocates for rights of foster children and foster families, investigates and resolves complaints by foster children and foster families, and monitors the development of regulations, policies, and procedures related to the child welfare system.

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