While kinship caregivers do not have specific or unique rights in a strictly legal sense, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare does have certain regulations related to kinship caregivers’ right to appeal the decision to relocate your kinship child through. These guidelines define what you need to effectively carry out your role as a kinship caregiver and pertain to sharing the child’s information; his/her movement into and out of your home; Juvenile Court hearings; and your role in agency reevaluations of your home.
a) Kinship caregivers may appeal the relocation of a child from their home, except under one of the following conditions:
- The child has been with the kinship family less than six months.
- The removal is initiated by the Court.
- The reason for removal is to return the child to his or her parents.
- The reason for removal is to place the child in an adoptive home.
- An investigation into a report of alleged child abuse indicates the need for protective custody (i.e., to protect the child from further serious physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or serious physical neglect, as defined in Chapter 3490 of the Child Protective Services Law).
b) The foster family care agency (FFCA) shall inform the kinship caregiver in writing that he or she may appeal the relocation of a child in accordance with Subsection (a) at least 15 days prior to the relocation date.
c) Kinship caregivers who wish to appeal the relocation of a child shall submit to the FFCA a written appeal to be postmarked no later than 15 days after the date of the notice of their right to appeal the child’s relocation.
d) Upon receipt of the kinship caregiver’s appeal, the FFCA
shall date-stamp the appeal and submit within five working days to:
Department of Human Services, Bureau of Hearings and Appeals
Post Office Box 2675
Harrisburg, Pa. 17105
e) If a kinship caregiver submits an appeal in accordance with Subsection (c) and has the right to appeal in accordance with Subsection (1), the child shall remain in the kinship home pending a decision on the appeal.
f) Parties to an appeal of a child’s relocation may be represented by an attorney or other representative.
Note: The kinship caregiver can also appear at the Juvenile Court hearing regarding the relocation issue if one has been scheduled.