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COMPLAINTS OF DISCRIMINATION IN THE FOSTER CARE/ADOPTION PROCESS PROCEDURE

I.          PROCEDURE SUMMARY

Any individual may file a complaint alleging a discriminatory act, policy or practice involving race, color or national origin (RCNO) in the foster care or adoption process of the Agency. Any person including, but not limited to, an employee or former employee of a public children services agency, private child placing agency, or private noncustodial agency or a member of a family which has sought to become a foster caregiver or adoptive parent, may file a complaint alleging that he or she was intimidated, threatened, coerced, discriminated against or otherwise retaliated against in some way by the agency because he or she has made a complaint, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing in connection with an allegation that the agency engaged in discriminatory acts, policies or practices as it applies in the foster care or adoption process.

II.        PROCEDURE STEPS

A.                The individual filing a complaint shall use the JFS 02333, Discrimination Complaint Form.

B.                 The complaint shall be filed within two years from the date of the occurrence of the alleged discriminatory act; or two years from the date upon which the complainant learned or should have known of a discriminatory act, policy or practice.

C.                 When any complaint alleging discrimination involving race, color or national origin in the foster care or adoption process is received by:

1.                  a public children services agency, private child placing agency or private noncustodial agency, the agency shall forward the complaint to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) within three working days of receipt of the complaint.

2.                  the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the department shall notify the public children services agency, private child placing agency or private noncustodial agency that is the subject of the complaint within three working days of the receipt of the complaint.

D.                 ODJFS shall conduct an investigation of the complaint. The agency that is the subject of the complaint shall not initiate, conduct or run concurrent investigations surrounding the complaint or take any further action regarding the complainant or the subject of the complaint until the issuance of the final investigation report by ODJFS, unless approved by ODJFS.

E.                 The agency that is the subject of the complaint shall cooperate fully with ODJFS during the course of the investigation and shall submit any information requested by no later than 14 days from the date of the request, unless otherwise agreed upon.

F.                  ODJFS shall conduct an investigation that shall include, but is not limited to:

1.                  face-to-face interviews with the complainant, the respondent and all relevant witnesses; and

2.                  issuance of a final investigation report to the complainant and the agency that is the subject of the complaint. The report shall include the allegations, background information, analysis, determination and recommendations and shall be issued within 90 days of the receipt of the initial complaint.

 

G.                If unanticipated circumstances require additional time to complete the investigation or to issue the final report, ODJFS will notify the complainant and the agency subject to the complaint of the need for additional time.

H.                Upon completion of the final investigation report, ODJFS shall determine if any action against the agency subject to the complaint is warranted.

1.                  For noncompliance by a public children services agency, ODJFS may take any action permitted under Section 5101.24 of the Ohio Revised Code.

2.                  For noncompliance by a private child placing agency or a private noncustodial agency,  ODJFS may take action concerning the agency’s certificate pursuant to Chapter 5101:2-5 of the Ohio Administrative Code.

I.                   Any person including, but not limited to, an employee or former employee of the Agency or a member of a family which has sought to become a foster caregiver or adoptive parent, may also file a complaint alleging that he/she was intimidated, threatened, coerced, discriminated against or otherwise retaliated against in some way by the Agency because he/she has made a complaint, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing in connection with an allegation that the Agency engaged in discriminatory acts, policies or practices as it applies in the foster care or adoption process.

J.                   No individual shall be prohibited from filing a complaint with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights alleging discrimination that involves race, color or national origin in the foster care or adoption process of an agency.

K.                Individuals who wish to file a complaint must complete the Discrimination Complaint Form (JFS 02333). The complaint may be filed with any of the following:

·                     Washington County Children Services

Attn: Beth Palmer, MEPA Monitor
204 Davis Avenue
Marietta, Ohio 45750

·                     Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

Bureau of Civil Rights

30 E. Broad Street, 37th Floor

Columbus, Ohio 43266-0423

·                     U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Office of the Chief Counsel, Region V

233 North Michigan Ave., Suite 700

Chicago, Illinois 60601         

·                     Any other public or private Ohio foster care or adoption agency

L.                 WCCS shall provide a written notice of the procedures for any complaints of discrimination in the foster care or adoption process that involve RCNO within 30 days of the effective date to all foster caregivers certified or in the process of certification and to all individuals who have approved adoptive homestudies or who are participating in the adoptive homestudy process on the effective date of this rule.

M.               WCCS shall provide a written notice of the procedure for any complaints of discrimination in the foster care or adoption process that involve RCNO to all individuals inquiring about or applying to be a foster caregiver or adoptive parent within seven days of the individual’s first contact with the Agency.

III.       RESPONSIBILITIES

All staff will adhere to this procedure. The foster care/adoption supervisor will assure compliance.

IV.       DATE FOR FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS PROCEDURE

            Upon approval.

V.        FORMS AND INFORMATION ASSOCIATED WITH THIS PROCEDURE

JFS 02333 -Discrimination Complaint Form

 

Procedure Section Code: Placement

Date Approved:  5/23/05                                                                             

______________________
Dave Copen
Executive Director

Revision Dates: 2/1/07, 05/19/08, 5/30/09, 12/3/10

Next Review Date: 5/23/06, 2/1/08, 05/19/09, 5/30/10, 12/3/11