Register June 2016 No. 726
Chapter DCF 51
DCF 51.01   Authority and purpose.
DCF 51.02   Applicability.
DCF 51.03   Definitions.
DCF 51.04   Need for adoptive family resources.
DCF 51.05   Information for inquirers.
DCF 51.06   Home study application.
DCF 51.07   Home study.
DCF 51.08   Placement.
DCF 51.09   Appeals.
DCF 51.10   Preadoption preparation training.
Ch. DCF 51 Note Note: Chapter HSS 51 was renumbered to chapter HFS 51 under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 1., Stats., and corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register, May, 1999, No. 521. Chapter HFS 51 was renumbered to chapter DCF 51 under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635.
DCF 51.01 DCF 51.01Authority and purpose. This chapter is promulgated under the authority of ss. 48.01 (1) (f), 48.48 (8), 48.84 (2), and 227.11 (2), Stats., to establish criteria and procedures for placement of special needs children in adoptive homes. The criteria and procedures are intended to ensure that every special needs child is placed in a suitable adoptive placement with the best interests of the child as the paramount concern, that the needs of the child as the primary client are met and that persons seeking to adopt special needs children are treated fairly. This chapter is also promulgated to establish standards for preadoption preparation for certain first time prospective adoptive parents as provided in s. 48.84, Stats., related to issues that may confront adoptive parents.
DCF 51.01 History History: Cr. Register, December, 1995, No. 480, eff. 1-1-96; am. Register, May, 1999, No. 521, eff. 6-1-99; emerg. am. eff. 4-1-07; CR 07-028: am. Register July 2007 No. 619, eff. 8-1-07.
DCF 51.02 DCF 51.02Applicability. This chapter applies to the department, to child-placing agencies providing adoption services under contract with the department, to county agencies providing adoption services under contract with the department and to all persons making inquiry or application to the department or to a child-placing agency or a county agency providing adoption services under contract with the department for adoption of special needs children, including minority children, except when procedures involving the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 USC 1901 to 1963, apply. In this section, “child-placing agency" means a private child-placing agency licensed under ch. DCF 54 to accept guardianship of children and to place children under its guardianship for adoption, and “county agency" means a county social services department under s. 46.215 or 46.22, Stats., or a county human services department under s. 46.23, Stats. Section DCF 51.10 applies to a proposed adoptive parent who has not previously adopted a child with whom a child is placed or will be placed under s. 48.833 or 48.837, Stats., or who brings a child from a foreign country to Wisconsin for adoption under s. 48.839, Stats.
DCF 51.02 History History: Cr. Register, December, 1995, No. 480, eff. 1-1-96; am. Register, May, 1999, No. 521, eff. 6-1-99; correction made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register November 2002 No. 563; emerg. am. eff. 4-1-07; CR 07-028: am. Register July 2007 No. 619, eff. 8-1-07; correction made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635.
DCF 51.03 DCF 51.03Definitions. In this chapter:
DCF 51.03(1) (1) “Administrator" means the administrator of the division.
DCF 51.03(2) (2) “Adoption" means the method provided under ss. 48.81 to 48.975, Stats., to establish the legal relationship of parent and child between persons who are not related by birth, with the same mutual rights and obligations that exist between children and their birth parents.
DCF 51.03(3) (3) “Adoption information exchange" means the department program under ss. DCF 50.07 to 50.09, intended to facilitate the adoption of special needs children by disseminating information about the children to adoption agencies and prospective adoptive families.
DCF 51.03(4) (4) “Applicant" means a prospective adoptive family, whether a married couple or a single person, completing and signing a formal application for a home study by the department.
DCF 51.03(5) (5) “Application date" is the date the department receives a complete, signed formal application for a home study from an applicant.
DCF 51.03(6) (6) “Approved for placement" means the department has determined the applicant meets all eligibility criteria and is available for placement of a special needs child of the description recommended in the home study.
DCF 51.03(7) (7) “Bureau director" means the director of the division's bureau of permanence and out-of-home care, which operates the special needs adoption program.
DCF 51.03(8) (8) “Close the application process" means the department discontinues services to an applicant for the reasons given in s. DCF 51.07 (3).
DCF 51.03(9) (9) “Department" means the Wisconsin department of children and families.
DCF 51.03(10) (10) “Division" means the department's division of safety and permanence.
DCF 51.03(11) (11) “Hold" means that action in the home study process is suspended until the problems or circumstances causing the suspension are resolved, but for no longer than 6 months.
DCF 51.03(12) (12) “Home study" means the evaluation of an applicant for purposes of adoption by assessing and documenting the applicant's potential to appropriately and safely care for a special needs child placed for adoption and includes the procedures in s. DCF 51.07 (1).
DCF 51.03(13) (13) “Home study application" means a department form used to request a home study and provided to inquirers who have been screened by the department and who meet current needs for adoptive family resources for placement of special needs children, to persons wanting to adopt a special needs child already placed in their home when the child is under guardianship of the department or to persons authorized for a home study under s. DCF 51.05 (4) (h) and (i).
DCF 51.03(14) (14) “Informational meeting" means a meeting conducted by the department for the purpose of describing special needs children currently needing adoptive families and to provide information about the procedure for adopting through the department and information about adoption resources such as adoption assistance.
DCF 51.03(15) (15) “Inquiry" means a contact made with the department to indicate an interest in adopting a special needs child and requesting information about the program and instructions regarding the screening process.
DCF 51.03(15g) (15g) “Licensed child welfare agency" means an agency licensed by the department under s. 48.60, Stats., and ch. DCF 54 to place children in foster homes and other out-of-home care facilities and to license foster homes or treatment foster homes.
DCF 51.03(15r) (15r) “Licensed private adoption agency" means a licensed child welfare agency specifically authorized to place children for adoption.
DCF 51.03(16) (16) “Region" means one of 7 county groupings designated as principal field service areas by the division for purposes of program administration.
DCF 51.03(17) (17) “Screening" means a department procedure to determine which inquiring families appear best able to meet current needs for adoptive homes for special needs children by comparing information provided by a person making an inquiry against program eligibility requirements and the published description of homes needed for children in the months prior to the beginning of the next screening process.
DCF 51.03(18) (18) “Special needs child" means a child legally free for adoption and waiting for an adoptive placement who meets the criteria of s. DCF 50.03 (1) (b).
DCF 51.03(18g) (18g) “State-funded foster care and adoption resource center" means an entity established and funded by the department under s. 48.55, Stats., to provide information, technical assistance, and other services.
DCF 51.03(18r) (18r) “State-funded postadoption resource center" means an entity established and funded by the department under s. 48.55, Stats., to provide postadoption services.
DCF 51.03(19) (19) “Unit supervisor" means the supervisor of the adoption staff in a region of the division.
DCF 51.03 History History: Cr. Register, December, 1995, No. 480, eff. 1-1-96; am. (7), (9), (10) and (19), Register, May, 1999, No. 521, eff. 6-1-99; CR 02-101: am. (3), Register November 2002 No. 563, eff. 12-1-02; emerg. cr. (15g), (15r), (18g) and (18r), eff. 4-1-07; CR 07-028: cr. (15g), (15r), (18g) and (18r), Register July 2007 No. 619, eff. 8-1-07; corrections in (3), (7), (8), (9), (10), (12), (13), (15g), and (18) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635.
DCF 51.04 DCF 51.04Need for adoptive family resources.
DCF 51.04(1)(1)Determination of need for adoptive family resources. At least 3 times in each calendar year the department shall determine the types of homes expected to be needed for placement of special needs children, and the number of each type of home needed. The types of homes needed shall be determined by examining children registered with the adoption information exchange and children expected to be freed for adoption and needing placement prior to the next screening. Types of homes needed may include but are not limited to homes where the applicant prefers a child of a particular age or sex, homes for sibling groups and homes that will take children with emotional, behavioral or physical problems and needs. The department shall determine the number of homes of each type needed by comparing the numbers of needed homes of each type with adoptive families already studied by the department and available for placement. The department may set the numbers of needed homes higher in any category or may admit additional families to compensate for unexpected intake of children or for applicants who are not approved or drop out of the process for any reason. The department may limit the total number of adoptive families selected in any region or other geographic area of the state.
DCF 51.04(2) (2)Announcement of needed adoptive family resources. After the department under sub. (1) determines the need for adoptive family resources, the department shall publicize a description of the number and type of adoptive homes needed and information on the screening process by doing the following:
DCF 51.04(2)(a) (a) Prominently displaying a description of the special needs adoption program at each location the department operates.
DCF 51.04(2)(b) (b) Publishing the information at regular intervals in adoption exchange publications.
DCF 51.04(2)(c) (c) Providing updated information regarding needed adoptive family resources to persons and agencies requesting information about adoption of special needs children.
DCF 51.04 History History: Cr. Register, December, 1995, No. 480, eff. 1-1-96.
DCF 51.05 DCF 51.05Information for inquirers.
DCF 51.05(1) (1)Written information. The department shall provide to each person who makes an inquiry written information describing the special needs adoption program, the number and type of adoptive homes currently needed and the times and places of upcoming informational meetings.
DCF 51.05(2) (2)Regional informational meetings. The department shall conduct at least one group informational meeting in each region following the announcement of needed adoptive family resources under s. DCF 51.04 (2). The department may hold additional group informational meetings or may meet individually with inquiring families prior to the date of screening. At the group meetings or individual meetings the department shall provide information regarding adoption procedures, the screening process and the number and type of adoptive homes currently needed.
DCF 51.05(3) (3)Required attendance. All persons desiring to proceed to the screening and application process shall attend either a group or individual informational meeting. Attendance is recommended, but not required, for persons who attended a department informational meeting within the past 2 years. Group informational meetings shall be held at handicapped-accessible sites and all letters and notices for the group meetings shall describe how special accommodations can be arranged. Persons invited to either an individual or group informational meeting but failing to respond or attend after 2 notices shall be dropped from the department's inquiry list.
DCF 51.05(4) (4)Screening.
DCF 51.05(4)(a)(a) The department shall provide a screening form to each person who attends a group or individual informational meeting and desires to continue with the screening process. The form shall enable persons to document their eligibility under s. DCF 51.07 (8) for the program and to specify special need categories for which they wish to be considered. The department shall not continue the screening process for persons declining to complete a screening form or to persons provided a screening form who do not complete and return the form prior to the published date of screening. The written information provided with the screening form shall indicate the date and place the screening forms are due. All communications regarding the form or requests for additional information shall include instructions for persons needing assistance to complete the form.
DCF 51.05(4)(b) (b) The department shall document the date the screening information is received with all required information provided.
DCF 51.05(4)(c) (c) The department may obtain additional information needed to make a screening decision by requesting additional written information or by conducting a screening interview.
Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.