Comparison of Relative Placement Options

Relatives to be given OCFS Booklet which describes the options.  Likely the relative will still need options explained/discussed and local DSS may suggest to relative and/or support at court and promote one option as a better alternative than others.

Article 6 Custody:

  • Relative must file papers themselves – clarification that Article 6 can be filed at any time
  • This can be the only resolution after an Article, 10 finding without any other Article 10 disposition
  • Relative not entitled to free lawyer
  • Court NOT be allowed to order DSS to “supervise” or “provide services”
  • No permanency hearings
  • No court reviews
  • May or may not be eligible for preventive services – court can’t “order” DSS to provide them, but could order parties to see if they are eligible
  • Relative must support child or seek support on their own
  • Parent and relative can “modify” without going to court – no one checks
  • Could order that child cannot be returned to parent without court review and DSS involvement
  • Cannot move to an adoption without consent or abandonment or mental illness or retardation – no “private” permanent neglect grounds
  • Cannot “return” child – unless parent willing to take child back, there is no statutory authority to “revoke” a custody order
  • Can take a voluntary, but no custody transfer and so no Title IV-E money
  • Article 6 is meant to be a “permanent” arrangement
  • Custodian determines school, medical insurance

Article 10 Custody – aka N docket Custody, aka 1017 Custody, aka direct placement, aka “parole to” :

  • Must be abuse or neglect petition filed
  • Temporary in the sense that it moves from permanency hearing to permanency hearing
  • Article 10 custodian is “under the jurisdiction” of the court
  • Ongoing court review
  • Services and Supervision by DSS
  • Permanency planning by DSS and court
  • Relative must support child, but DSS may help locate (but not pay) funding
  • Can do a Dale P TPR but not obligated to do so
  • Reluctance to Article 6 “step out”
  • Can move to foster care provider more easily, no Title IV-E money if after 6 months

Guardianship:

  • Relative must file papers, no free lawyer
  • Relative must have own course of support or locate support on their own
  • No statutory provision for DSS to offer supervision or services
  • May be eligible for preventive services, but court cannot order DSS to provide
  • No ongoing court review
  • Parties could “modify” without anyone knowing – could fashion order to require return to court or notice to DSS
  • No statutory authority to “revoke” guardianship, but can do a voluntary and get Title IV-E money
  • Guardian decides school district, medical insurance
  • Guardianship can continue from 18 to 21 if young person consents

Relative/Kinship Foster parents

  • Must be abuse, neglect or a voluntary placement
  • Will be supervision, services, and money
  • DSS has legal custody and decision making power
  • Can get emergency certification
  • Process requires training and investigation
  • Must do ongoing permanency hearings
  • DSS and court must do permanency planning
  • TPR possible, but if relative then not mandated

“Permanent Guardians”

  • Where child freed for adoption or orphaned
  • As alternative to adoption
  • With young person’s consent can continue between 18 and 21
  • Can handle school, medical and insurance, even adoption
  • No foster care funding

Designation of a Person in Parental Relation – General Obligations Law, Title 15-A – GOL § 51551 to 5-1555

  • Parent can sign a ‘designation” for a person to act like a parent for a child
  • No court action needed
  • Can’t be for more than 6 months
  • For school and health issues – but does not change school district
  • No foster care funding
  • Parent can revoke
Source: NYSCCC conference workshop presentation by Margaret A. Burt, Esq., mburt5@aol.com. Copyright 2009, Reprinted with permission of the author.

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