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(1) Licensed child placing agencies are authorized by these rules to conduct licensing studies of youth foster homes and to make recommendations to the department for approval or denial of the license consistent with the licensing requirements adopted by the department.

(a) The licensing requirements which are established by the department for youth foster homes must be met by any foster home being recommended by the child placing agency for licensure.

(b) Copies of the licensing rules for youth foster homes shall be supplied by the department to each child placing agency which shall provide copies to each youth foster home applicant.

(2) The agency shall provide information to prospective foster parent(s) about foster care, the agency's policies and practices, the licensing process including licensing requirements for foster homes, the children needing foster care, and the reimbursement rates.

(3) An agency youth foster home applicant shall complete an application form provided by the department.

(a) The department, in response to an application for a license, may request the agency to conduct a licensing study to determine compliance with the state licensing rules for youth foster homes.

(b) Only persons who meet the qualifications of social workers, placement supervisors or executive directors may conduct licensing studies.

(4) The agency shall conduct a youth foster home licensing study to determine the applicant(s) compliance with the state licensing rules for youth foster homes.

(a) The agency's foster home study shall also assess the following areas:

(i) the applicant's motivation for foster care;

(ii) strengths and weaknesses of each member of the household in providing foster care;

(iii) applicant's ability to provide for the child's physical and emotional needs;

(iv) adjustment of own children;

(v) recommendations for number, age, sex, characteristics, and special needs children best served by the family, and recommendations regarding children which would not be appropriate for the family;

(vi) any other factors which may affect the ability of the applicant to provide protection and supervision of a child placed in the home.

(b) The agency shall submit the written licensing study and recommendations to the department.

(c) The agency shall contact three personal and community references of the applicant(s) and shall investigate any incomplete, negative or questionable references.

(5) Agency recommendation for licensure.

(a) The agency shall submit a recommendation for licensing action to the department.

(b) The agency shall submit the licensing study to the department.

(c) The department is solely responsible for licensure.

(d) If the applicant(s) do not meet the requirements for licensure the department shall notify the applicant(s) in writing within 30 days of completing the licensing study.

(6) Agency youth foster home monitoring and annual licensing study.

(a) The agency shall monitor all licensed agency youth foster homes which were licensed after being studied by the agency for compliance with the department's youth foster home rules.

(b) The agency shall conduct annual relicensing studies of all licensed agency youth foster homes to determine continued compliance with the youth foster home rules and to make licensing renewal recommendations to the department. The annual relicensing studies shall include at least one home visit by the agency.

(7) Agency youth foster home complaints in licensed foster homes. When receiving a complaint which may indicate possible violations of the youth foster home rules, the agency shall:

(a) conduct an investigation to assess compliance with applicable rules;

(b) submit a written report of the investigation to the department with a statement on rule compliance and a recommendation regarding any licensing action which should be taken; and

(c) send a written report to the home stating findings, conclusions, and any anticipated action affecting the license. (d) When a complaint is received regarding abuse or neglect of a child in care, the agency shall immediately notify the county's child protective services office which will conduct an investigation.

(8) Agency youth foster home recommendations to revoke, deny or suspend a license. The agency shall send the department a written assessment of rule compliance and any documents supporting the findings with any recommendation for revocation, denial or suspension of a youth foster home license. The department shall be solely responsible for revoking, denying or suspending agency youth foster home licenses.

(9) The department shall conduct periodic visits to agency youth foster homes for the purpose of inspecting the home and assuring continued compliance with the department's licensing standards.

History: Sec. 53-4-111 and 53-4-403, MCA; IMP, Sec. 53-4-113 and 53-4-403, MCA; NEW, 1985 MAR p. 278, Eff. 3/29/85; TRANS, from Dept. of SRS, 1987 MAR p. 1492, Eff. 7/1/87; TRANS, from DFS, 1998 MAR p. 661.

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