TITLE 13

Domestic Relations

CHAPTER 25. DSCYF CUSTODY

Subchapter III. Powers and Duties


(a) Unless the parental rights have been terminated, a parent whose child is in DSCYF custody may petition for and seek enforcement of:

(1) An order for visitation, contact, and/or information regarding the child if not otherwise prohibited by law;

(2) Unless otherwise ordered by the Court or authorized by statute, an order that DSCYF is required to make reasonable efforts at reunifying the child with such parent;

(3) An order rescinding custody from DSCYF to the parent.

(b) Unless the parental rights have been terminated, a parent whose child is in DSCYF custody maintains the right, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, to:

(1) Consent to certain medical or mental health care for the child as set forth in § 2521(2) of this title.

(2) Consent to educational decisions for the child, subject to applicable state and federal law, as set forth in § 2521(4) of this title.

(3) Attend and participate in school related meetings and activities related to the child, attend extracurricular activities, attend medical/dental appointments, and access medical/dental records regarding the child.

(c) Unless parental rights have been terminated, a parent whose child is in DSCYF custody shall have the following duties:

(1) To support the child financially as provided for in Chapter 5 of this title, unless just cause exists under § 506 of this title;

(2) To engage in offered services to alleviate or mitigate the causes necessitating placement in DSCYF custody, in cases where the DSCYF is providing reunification services to the parents.

77 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 10.;

Upon the Court granting custody to DSCYF, DSCYF shall be vested with the following powers and duties:

(1) To provide for appropriate placement of the child, within or outside of this State, unless otherwise ordered by Court or controlled by statute, with reasonable notice prior to any change in placement given to the child's attorney and Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer;

(2) To consent to medical care for the child, including medical examination, medical treatment including surgical procedures and mental health treatment other than inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. DSCYF shall make reasonable efforts to obtain the consent of the parent, and to notify the child's attorney and Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer, prior to obtaining medical care;

(3) To continue the child in the child's school of origin, or when not feasible or not in the child's best interests, to immediately enroll the child in school pursuant to § 202 of Title 14. The Court shall determine if the school placement is in the child's best interest;

(4) To consent to educational decisions, subject to applicable state and federal law, including disciplinary proceedings and consequences, and academic needs; and to request the appointment of an education decision maker under § 930 of Title 10 or an educational surrogate parent under § 3132 of Title 14 when appropriate. DSCYF shall make reasonable efforts to obtain the consent of the parent, and to notify the child's attorney and Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer, prior to making any educational decisions on behalf of the child;

(5) To request a credit report for the child annually after the child reaches the age of 14 years old and to inspect the credit report for any potential identity theft as described in § 854 of Title 11, and, from ages 18 through 21, to assist the youth who was previously in DSCYF's custody and continues to receive independent living services through a DSCYF-contracted provider in reviewing and repairing the youth's credit;

(6) To ensure, consistent with DSCYF case and placement planning responsibilities under federal and state law, that the child's service plan provides the opportunity to participate in age-appropriate or developmentally-appropriate activities and experiences to promote healthy child and adolescent development;

(7) To ensure standards and policies are in place, consistent with the reasonable and prudent parent standard;

(8) To provide training and monitoring to all caregivers, regardless of whether they are required to meet the DSCYF licensing requirements, on the reasonable and prudent parent standard. Training on the reasonable and prudent parent standard shall include parenting skills for children who have experienced trauma, healthy sexual development, and implementing the standard for children with special needs. Such training shall be provided annually to all licensed caregivers, and upon placement, to all nonlicensed caregivers; and

(9) To maintain any other powers and duties as conferred by statute in the Delaware Code.

77 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 10; 78 Del. Laws, c. 361, § 1; 80 Del. Laws, c. 363, § 1; 80 Del. Laws, c. 417, § 2; 81 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 2.;

(a) All dependent, neglected and abused children in DSCYF custody under this chapter shall have the following rights in accordance with their ages and developmental levels, unless prohibited by court order:

(1) To be informed of the reason they have been placed in DSCYF custody.

(2) To receive water, food, shelter, and clothing that is necessary and appropriate for their ages and individual needs.

(3) To be free from abuse or neglect.

(4) To have assistance in obtaining access to medical, vision, and dental treatment that is necessary and appropriate for their ages and individual needs; and to have assistance in obtaining access to necessary and appropriate mental health and substance abuse treatment if the need for such treatment is identified.

(5) To receive appropriate placement services.

(6) To contact and visit with their parents, siblings in DSCYF custody, and other individuals, including their own child in DSCYF custody. If such contact or visitation is inappropriate, the child has the right to be notified of the reason for that decision.

(7) To have assistance in obtaining access to an education, at their schools of origin when feasible, with minimal disruption to their education when they are placed in DSCYF custody.

(8) To participate in the formation and maintenance of their foster care service, independent living and transition plans, where applicable; and beginning at age 14:

a. To be actively engaged and consulted in the development and implementation of those services and plans, as well as in any revisions or additions to those services or plans; and

b. At the option of the child, to involve 2 individuals in case planning that are selected by the child and who are not a foster parent or caseworker for the child, except that DSCYF may reject an individual so selected by the child if DSCYF has good cause to believe the individual would not act in the best interests of the child, and 1 individual so selected by the child may be designated to be the child's advisor and, as necessary, advocate with respect to the application of the reasonable and prudent parent standard to the child.

(9) To have regular and meaningful access to and have confidential contact with their caseworkers and attorneys or court-appointed special advocates.

(10) To be notified, attend, and participate in court hearings and to speak to the judge regarding any decision that may have an impact on their lives.

(11) To have their confidentiality protected as required by state and federal law.

(12) To receive independent living services and supports beginning at age 16 if eligible and if resources are available.

(13) To have the opportunity to participate in age-appropriate or developmentally-appropriate activities and experiences to promote healthy development, and to have those opportunities explained to them in an age- and developmentally-appropriate manner, consistent with the reasonable and prudent parent standard.

(14) To report any violation of their rights or the violation of the rights of others without being punished or retaliated against for such reporting.

(15) To have these rights explained in an age-appropriate manner, and for youth age 14 and older to sign an acknowledgement that the rights have been explained, and to receive a copy of the rights set forth in this section.

(b) Any child aggrieved by a violation of this section may motion the court, through an attorney or court-appointed special advocate, for appropriate equitable relief.

80 Del. Laws, c. 144, § 1; 80 Del. Laws, c. 363, § 1.;

(a) Caregivers of children in DSCYF custody have the responsibility and authority to exercise the reasonable and prudent parent standard to provide or withhold permission for children in their care to participate in and experience age-appropriate or developmentally-appropriate activities and experiences, including extracurricular, cultural and social enrichment. The authority of a caregiver:

(1) Must be exercised using the reasonable and prudent parent standard and his or her actions do not conflict with any applicable court order or service plan; and

(2) May be exercised without the prior approval of DSCYF or the Court.

(b) In determining whether a decision of a caregiver is reasonable and prudent according to § 2502 of this title, the following should be considered:

(1) The child's age, maturity and developmental level to maintain the overall health and safety of the child.

(2) The potential risk factors to the child or to others and the appropriateness of the activity and experience for extracurricular, cultural or social enrichment.

(3) The wishes of the child.

(4) The wishes of the parent.

(5) The best interests of the child based on information known by the caregiver.

(6) The importance of encouraging the child's emotional and developmental growth.

(7) The importance of supporting the child in developing skills to successfully transition to adulthood, including guidance on healthy sexual development.

(8) The importance of providing the child with the most family-like living experience possible.

(9) Any special needs or accommodations that the child may need to safely participate in the activity or experience.

(c) A caregiver is not liable for harm caused to a child who participates in an activity or experience approved by the caregiver if all of the following circumstances are met:

(1) The caregiver acts in accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent standard.

(2) The caregiver has completed the required training relating to the reasonable and prudent parent standard prior to giving the approval.

(3) The approval does not conflict with any applicable court order or service plan.

This section does not remove or limit any existing liability protection afforded by any other law.

80 Del. Laws, c. 363, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 81 Del. Laws, c. 127, § 1.;