Complaint and Grievance Policy for Foster Parents
The worker and foster parents will strive to resolve differences together regarding actions taken related to the placement, care, or removal of children from a foster home. If the situation cannot be resolved, there are two categories of complaints: general complaints and grievances.
General complaints concern policies or practice. Grievances are disagreements about procedures or actions taken by the Department, related to the placement, care or removal of children from a foster home. Complaint and grievance procedures are limited to foster parents and do not apply to group or residential care. Foster parents will be given a copy of the grievance policy and procedures.
Complaints Concerning Policy
When the complaint is about the content of policy, a team consisting of representatives of workers and supervisory staff from more than one area will be formed (Policy and Practice Team). A central office representative may also serve on the team. The team will review the complaint along with the policy and consider the statewide implications of the policy and potential changes in policy. The team will make a recommendation for action to the statewide planning, coordinating and evaluation team. This team will make the final decision. Written complaints will be responded to in writing.
Complaints Concerning Practice
When the complaint regards specific practice or a casework decision, it must be first addressed to the worker and supervisor. See 390 NAC 2-007. A plan to resolve the complaint will be developed as necessary. The foster parent will be advised in writing of the general content of the plan or reasons for no action. If the foster parent does not agree with the decision of the team, the foster parent has recourse to contact the Director. The decision of the Director is final.
Grievances are limited to the following areas:
- The Department's decision not to approve a foster parent to adopt a child residing in the foster home.
- Removal of a foster child for placement if the child has resided in the foster home for six months or longer. Situations that cannot be grieved:
- There is a report of child abuse or neglect, and the allegations or findings indicate -
- Allegations of sexual abuse;
- Visible or apparent physical signs of abuse or neglect; or
- The abuse or neglect is or could be life threatening;
- Removal is for the purpose of a direct adoptive placement;
- Removal is to a less restrictive environment or, in cases in which reunification is the plan, to a placement closer to the home of the birth parent(s);
- Removal is requested by birth parent(s) or child(ren), and the request is supported by the placement worker;
- Removal is court-initiated;
- The child is returning to the physical custody of the birth parent(s);
- Removal results from a licensing action; and
- Removal is to the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center or detention center.
- Failure of the agency to follow conditions of a contract, Nebraska statutes, or Department of Health and Human Services policy and regulations.
- The decision not to use the Foster Care Payment Checklist or concerns about the accuracy of the list.
Note: The child will remain in the foster home while an appeal of the removal of a child is pending except as described above in Statement 2, a thru h.
A grievable issue will first be addressed by the worker and supervisor. If resolution is not reached, an informal short-term team made up of non-involved workers, supervisors and a foster parent representative will address the issue. This team is responsible for reviewing the information, meeting with the involved foster parent and staff, resolving and taking action on the issue, and notifying in writing the foster parent and staff of action taken and the reason for the action.
If the foster parent is not satisfied with the decision of the local team, the foster parent may forward a copy of his/her grievance and the report from the team to the director. The director will review all the information and make a decision. The decision of the director will be provided in writing to the foster parent(s), worker and supervisor. The Director's decision is final.
See Out-of Home Placement Guidebook for Procedures on Complaints and and Grievances.
(Above excerpt from Nebraska Health and Human Services Manual; Title 390--Child Welfare and Juvenile Services; Chapter 7.)