QPI Topic of The Month- Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard (RPPS)

REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENT STANDARD THE DEFINITION OF RPPS

“The standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the child’s health, safety, and best interests. As defined by Welfare and Institutions Code W&IC 362.05.

WHEN DOES RPPS APPLY?

RPPS applies to caregivers when making decisions regarding the following:

  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Short Term Babysitting- less than 24 consecutive hours of care provided
  • Confidential Telephone Calls

DEFINITIONS

  • Caregiver – any licensed or certified foster parent, resource family, approved relative caregiver, or approved non-relative extended family member (NREFM).
  • Short Term – no more than 24 consecutive hours.

OCCASIONAL SHORT TERM BABYSITTERS (24 HOURS OR LESS)

Effective January 1, 2006, the state allows a caregiver to arrange for occasional short term babysitting of a foster child without requiring the babysitter to:

  • Undergo a health screening or cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification (CPR), or training
  • Undergo a Criminal record background check

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

W&IC 362.05 empowers foster parents to approve or disapprove activities based on their own assessment using a “reasonable and prudent parent standard” without prior approval of the child’s social worker, the licensing or approval agency, or the juvenile court.

Every child is entitled to participate in age appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. Caregivers are required to:

  • Use the Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard in determining whether to give permission for a foster child to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
  • Caregivers must take reasonable steps to determine the appropriateness of the activity in consideration of the child’s age, maturity, and developmental level.
  • Have adequate information about the foster child in their care so they can make informed decisions.

REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENT STANDARD (RPPS)

  • Take into account the type of activity and consider the foster child’s mental and physical health, and behavioral propensities.
  • Consider where the activity will be held, with whom the foster child will be going, and when they will return.
  • Consider all the information you have gathered and ask the question: “Is this an age-appropriate extracurricular, enrichment or social activity?”
  • Take into account the reasonably foreseeable risks of an activity and what safety factors and direct supervision may be involved in the activity in order to prevent potential harm to the foster child.

CONFIDENTIAL TELEPHONE CALLS

All children in foster care have the right to make and receive confidential telephone calls, and have a right to privacy during such phone calls, unless prohibited by a court order. Confidential telephone calls are included under RPPS, and defined in the caregiver information sheet (you can ask your Social Worker for one).

Limitations on telephone calls to other individuals and agencies may be based on:

  • Reasonable disciplinary measures,
  • House Rules,
  • Considerations of the rights of others,
  • Case service plan requirements,
  • Documented unpaid reimbursement for long distance telephone calls, or
  • Court order prohibitions

WHAT CAREGIVERS MAY DO:

  • Develop policies regarding the number of calls and limit the amount of time of each call in order to ensure that all youth have equal access.
  • Obtain in writing a “do not call list” from the SW based on court orders.
  • Require that foster youth or their representatives, arrange for reimbursement of long distance calls.

WHAT CAREGIVERS MAY NOT DO:

  • Require payment for local calls.
  • Restrict telephone access with the following; authorized representatives, placement agencies, family members not excluded by court order, social workers, attorneys, CASA’s, probation officers, community care licensing, or the foster care state ombudsman.
  • Use an “approved call list” rather than a “do not call list.”
  • Limit phone access as a privilege based on time in the program.
  • Provide no confidential telephone access.

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