V. D-2. Voluntary Temporary Foster Care for Children (V2)

Effective 11/15/01

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V. D-2. Voluntary Temporary Foster Care for Children (V2)

Effective 11/15/01

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It is the goal of the Department of Health and Human Services to preserve the family unit wherever possible.  When families find themselves in temporary crisis caused by such things as illness, disruption in family relationships, or temporary absence of a parent, temporary voluntary foster care for children while the problem is being resolved may prevent family breakdown and reduce disruption for the child to the extent possible.




A voluntary placement is intended to provide temporary foster care for children who require and can benefit from foster care, when their families find themselves temporarily unable to care for the children and for whom other appropriate resources do not exist.  This program is not intended as a means to provide mental health services for a child that would be better served through Children’s Behavioral Health Services. Voluntary agreements are also not intended for use when there is high severity child abuse and neglect and a child is unsafe at the hands of their caregivers. It is intended for the parent to work collaboratively with the Department to make a safe plan for children when alternative resources are not available within the extended family or community. A voluntary placement is entered into with the expectation that the child will be safely returned to his family within 180 days, or earlier if appropriate or requested.  


Legal Base: MRSA 22, §4004-A and §4022


Criteria for Acceptance:


1.The child must be under 18 years of age.


2.There must be a reasonable expectation and plan that the child can be safely returned to his family within 180 days.


3.Legal parent/guardians must make application for acceptance of the child into voluntary care that will include a plan for the financial support of the child.


4.There must be no other available and suitable resources, including relative resources, to meet the placement need of the child. A Family Team Meeting may help in exploring all family options.


5.The child must not require residential or correctional facility placement.


6.Parents/guardians must have a plan to be available for consultation related to any required services, medical care and involvement in planning and preparation for return of the child(ren).


7.Planning for the resolution of the circumstances that led to the voluntary placement and which made temporary foster care necessary begins immediately.




When it is determined there is a possible need for a Voluntary Placement, a Family Team Meeting will be held to verify this is the best course of action. A thorough exploration of other family or community supports shall occur to determine if there are resources that might otherwise prevent placement in foster care. If it is clear there are no alternative resources the following process shall occur.


1.Application for acceptance of children into voluntary care must be made on the specified Application and Agreement for Responsibility for Temporary Care of Children.  The application must be signed by any of the following:


a)Both legal parents/guardians when they have equal rights to the children.


b)One legal parent/guardian when that parent has been granted legal parental rights and responsibilities of the children.


c)One legal parent/guardian if the other cannot be located.


d)One legal parent/guardian if the other parent is incarcerated or a patient in a mental institution.


e)The mother, if paternity has not been established for the children.


f)Other person to whom custody of the children has been awarded by the court.


The child may not be accepted for voluntary care until the Application and Agreement for Responsibility for Temporary Care of Children has been signed by the parent/guardian and signed by the caseworker and the Program Administrator or his/her designee.


2.The approved application permits the Department to place the child and to authorize anesthesia and emergency medical treatment or surgery if the parent/guardian is not available to give consent.  Parents/guardians retain legal custody.


3.The Application and Agreement for Responsibility for Temporary Care of Children may be terminated by a parent having full parental rights, by the legal guardian, or by the agency with five days written or verbal notice.  Although parents having full parental rights may have the return of their child without giving five days notice, parents are expected to give the notice in order to provide for preparation of the child and as comfortable as possible transition back for the child.  The child must be released to the parent(s) who made application for care of the child unless the court has placed the child in the custody or guardianship of another person.  


4.The child accepted into voluntary care must be placed in a licensed resource family home if he is under eighteen years of age.  In addition, the home must be of the same religion as that requested by parents on the application if an appropriate home of that religion is available.


5.The parent shall be asked to give consent for the child to receive health care, be given an anesthetic and to receive surgical services in an emergency if the parent’s immediate permission to treat cannot be obtained.  


6.Children may not remain in voluntary care longer than 180 days unless there are extenuating circumstances approved by the Program Administrator to meet a specific need.


7.Children leave voluntary care when:


a)Returned to parent/guardian, or person having legal custody.


b)Placed in another setting that is in the child’s best interest.


Support of Child:


A financial support agreement shall be included from the parent/guardian of every child entering voluntary care.  If the parent/guardians are able to pay all or part of the cost of the child’s care, checks or money orders shall be made to Treasurer, State of Maine, and addressed to Cashier, Department of Human Services, Augusta, Maine  04333. Identification of the sender and of the children for whom payment is being made should accompany the check or money order to assure proper credit.  


The department is responsible for board and clothing payments in accordance with law and policy.  V2 children in foster care are eligible for MaineCare.


Voluntary Care Preparation:

Parents/guardians shall be encouraged to prepare children for voluntary placement by explaining to children the reasons for the placement and participating in pre-placement visits if possible. A FAMILYSHARE meeting should occur to allow for exchange of information and to establish how communication will occur between parents/guardians and the children and between resource family and parents/guardians.  


Caseworker contact with children in voluntary care is required the same as foster care placement with custody. The caseworker will discuss with the child his/her experiences in voluntary care to ensure they are receiving appropriate care and are safe in that environment.

Transition Home:

A Family Team Meeting should be held five days prior to the child’s return home to establish a transition plan and discuss the children’s ability to maintain contact with the resource family or friends.



Appendix I





Application and Agreement for Responsibility for Temporary Care of Children


As the parent(s) and/or legal guardian, I hereby request of the Department of Health & Human Services a voluntary out-of-home placement for my child(ren):


Child’s Name:

Birth date:                                        


Social Security Number:  


Reason for request:


What other options were explored first: (relative/natural support or community supports)


Estimated duration of the placement (not to exceed 180 days):


1.  The parents/guardians of this child are:


    Birth date:                    Birth place:  




    Birth date:                    Birth place:    




Date and Place of Marriage:  

Date and Place of Divorce:  



2.  I hereby give the Department of Health & Human Services the authority to:


a. Place my child in a resource family home which in the judgment of the Department, is the most appropriate to meet my child’s needs. In addition,


I request that my child be placed in a home of the _____________ faith, if one is ais available to meet my


is available to meet my child’s needs.



I do not  have a preference for the  religious  faith of  the  foster parent(s) with whom my child is


with whom my child is placed.


b. Consent for my child to receive health care, be given an anesthetic and to receive surgical services in an emergency if my consent cannot be obtained.  


c. Place my child in child care or arrange for other services, if the Department believes these are in the best interests of my child.





I agree to pay $ __________ per _______________to the Department of Health & Human Services toward


Health and Human Services for the support of my child while in voluntary care.



I am unable to pay at this time because ___________________. If my


circumstances change, I will contribute toward the cost of my child’s care.


b. I agree to continue to maintain health insurance coverage for my child and will sign any needed authorization forms. The company  providing health insurance is _______________.  The policy number is ________.


c. I agree to provide the Department with information about my child’s Primary Care Physician, health history, medical conditions and allergies, and other information regarding health and dental care.


d. I agree to provide financial and family information needed for the determination of eligibility of my child for MaineCare or the eligibility of the Department to obtain federal financial participation in the costs of placement of my child.


e. I agree to cooperate with the Department in planning for this child and to participate in services, including Family Team Meetings, where possible.


f. agree to maintain contact with my child as agreed upon by myself, the Department, the resource family and my child.




a.  I understand that this agreement is for voluntary out-of-home placement of my child and does not change the legal custody status of

             my child.


b. I understand that I have the right to request the return of my child to my home or for placement by me in the home of a relative or family friend, and this agreement will be revoked if my request is made in writing to the assigned Department of Health and Human Services caseworker five days in advance. I do have the right to request immediate return of my child.


c.I understand that this agreement will not last longer than 180 days from the date it is signed or may be terminated on a specific date according to a plan mutually agreed upon between myself and the Department of Health and Human Services caseworker. The Department of Health and Human Services may terminate this agreement if:


The Department does not have available an appropriate resource for the placement of my child.

My child will not accept placement, or will not remain in a licensed family foster home.

The Department has insufficient funds to support the placement of my child.

I do not cooperate or comply with specifics in this voluntary placement agreement.


d.I understand that if the Department of Health and Human Services Caseworker believes that return of this child from voluntary placement would place the child in circumstances of threat of serious harm, the caseworker may petition the court for a child protection order. This order could include an order of custody of my child to the Department or other person. I understand that the Department will hold a Family Team Meeting to plan for the safety of my child if there are concerns.  I understand I will be notified of the plan to file a petition for a child protection order and requested to participate in a Family Team Meeting, unless prior notice to me would cause a threat of serious harm.


e.I understand that this voluntary placement agreement automatically terminates if or when I am not legal custodian of my child.



     Signature         Date:                                

     Relationship to child



     Signature                                                         Date:                        

     Relationship to child                                                                        



     Signature Caseworker                                         Date:                                


     Signature Program

     Administrator or Designee         Date: