A. An applicant may apply for resource home approval at the local department.
B. An applicant shall be a United States citizen or alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
C. An applicant shall be at least 21 years old unless otherwise permitted by statute.
D. Physical Examination for All Individuals Living in the Home.
(1) The resource family applicant shall pay for the physical examination unless the local department develops other resources to cover the expense.
(2) The resource family applicant shall authorize release of health information to the local department.
(3) All family members and other residents of the household shall undergo an initial medical examination and formal medical reexamination at least every 2 years.
(a) The initial examination shall include the analysis of tuberculosis tests or X-rays. A combined positive analysis of the PPD or X-rays, or both, indicating active tuberculosis shall be reasons for denial of resource home approval until the family member is certified by the Maryland Department of Health as no longer communicable.
(b) Subsequent tuberculosis tests shall be conducted in accordance with Maryland Department of Health policy.
(4) Additional Medical Examination Requirements.
(a) If a family member or other resident of the household of a resource family has symptoms or a history of physical or mental health problems which may prevent a foster child from receiving proper care or which might be communicable or injurious to the physical or emotional health of a foster child, the local department shall require that individual to:
(i) Undergo additional medical examinations of a general or specific nature as specified by the local department; and
(ii) Provide a written document by the examining physician stating that the health problems pose no threat to the foster child.
(b) The local department shall provide a reasonable amount of time for the applicant to obtain the document in §C(4)(a)(ii) of this regulation. Failure to produce the document is reason for denial, suspension or revocation of resource home approval.
(5) An individual who joins the household shall also undergo a medical examination. The individual shall provide the results of that examination within a reasonable amount of time.
(6) If a resource parent is 60 years old or older, the local department shall observe and document that the resource parent's strength is adequate to meet the needs of children in care.
E. Criminal and Protective Services Background Checks.
(1) Before a resource home may be approved, an applicant and all household members 18 years old and older shall apply for a State and federal criminal background investigation.
(2) Once the resource home is approved, if any new members 18 years old or older join the household, or if any household members become 18 years old, they shall apply for a criminal background investigation within 30 days of their 18th birthday or of moving into the household.
(3) The Department may not approve or continue to approve as a resource home any home in which an adult in the household:
(a) Has a felony conviction for:
(i) Child abuse or neglect;
(ii) Spousal abuse;
(iii) A crime against a child or children including child pornography;
(iv) A crime of violence including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery; or
(v) Human trafficking; or
(b) In the 5 years before the date of the application, has a felony conviction involving:
(i) Physical assault;
(ii) Battery; or
(iii) A drug-related offense.
(4) The local director:
(a) Shall review charges, investigations, convictions, or findings related to any other crimes of any household member, to determine:
(i) The possible effect on the applicant’s ability to execute the responsibilities of a resource parent;
(ii) The ability of the local department to achieve its goals in providing services to children in care; and
(iii) The possible effect on or the safety of children in out-of-home care.
(b) has the authority to deny, suspend, or revoke resource home approval, based on this review.
(5) Before a resource home is approved, the local department shall request information from the state-maintained child abuse and neglect registry of any state in which an applicant or another adult in the household has lived within the last 5 years to determine whether an individual in the household has a prior indicated finding of abuse or neglect. If the review of the records reveals a pending investigation, a decision may not be made as to the use of the home until the investigation is complete.
(6) The Department may not approve or continue to approve as a resource home any home in which an individual has an indicated child abuse or neglect finding. An exception may not be made unless approval is given in writing by the local director.
F. Child Support Clearance.
(1) Before the local department can approve a resource home, the applicant shall undergo a child support clearance to determine any child support arrears owed. If found that the applicant does have a child support arrearage, the:
(a) Applicant shall be given the chance to correct the arrearage; and
(b) Be informed that correction may include either payment of the arrearage in full or payment arrangements with Child Support Enforcement that are acceptable to the local department.
(2) The local department shall consider as part of the application process, when approving an applicant that has an arrearage, the following factors:
(a) The amount of the arrearage;
(b) The level of income sufficient to pay the child support arrearage or enter a payment agreement;
(c) The impact the arrearage has on the applicant's ability to provide foster care or adoptive services; and
(d) If the applicant made a good faith effort to correct the arrearage as described in §F(3) of this regulation.
(3) A good faith effort means:
(a) There is a current payment agreement with Child Support Enforcement; and
(b) The applicant has a positive payment history with the payment agreement.
(4) The local department shall deny the applicant if the arrearage cannot be corrected by:
(a) Full payment; or
(b) A payment agreement within the 120-day application period.
G. Resource Family Home and Equipment Inspection.
(1) Health and Sanitary Approval.
(a) Upon initial application, a resource home shall meet State and local public health and sanitary standards. The local department shall have in writing the approval of the local health department or authorized individual, agency, or organization before approving the resource home.
(b) The resource home worker shall perform the inspection for subsequent reconsiderations unless the worker's visual inspection reveals conditions that require an assessment by the local health department or authorized individual, agency, or organization.
(2) Lead Paint.
(a) A provider may not use paint with lead on any:
(i) Exterior or interior surface of the home; or
(ii) Material or equipment used for child care purposes.
(b) If the home is a pre-1950 residential rental property, which is an affected property as defined by Environment Article, §6-801(b), Annotated Code of Maryland, the resource home shall maintain and the applicant shall provide to the Department a current certificate of compliance with the lead full risk reduction or lead free standard.
(c) If any prospective resource home was constructed before 1978 and has not been certified lead free pursuant to the Environment Article,§6-804(a)(2)(i),of the Annotated Code of Maryland upon initial application, reconsideration and after any renovation that disturbs painted surfaces in the interior or exterior of the home, the applicant shall:
(i) Ensure there is no chipping, peeling, flaking, chalking, or deteriorated paint on interior surfaces of the home or on exterior surfaces that are accessible to a child; and
(ii) If deterioration of a surface is noted, or if renovation of the home occurs that disturbs interior painted surfaces or exterior painted surfaces that are accessible to a child, arrange to have a lead-dust test conducted by an accredited lead paint visual inspector.
(d) If a lead-dust test is required under §G(2)(c)(ii) of this regulation, the applicant shall:
(i) Obtain a passing lead dust test;
(ii) If the home is an affected property, ensure that lead dust testing is conducted by an accredited lead paint visual inspector under COMAR 26.16.02.03B to meet the risk reduction standard;
(iii) If the home is not an affected property, ensure that lead dust testing is conducted by an accredited risk assessor under COMAR 26.16.05.11; and
(iv) Obtain verification from the lead paint inspector or assessor performing the test that the requirements of §G(2)(c)(ii) and G(2)(d)(i)(iii) of this regulation have been met.
(e) When performing renovation which disturbs painted surfaces in a home that was constructed before 1978 and is not certified lead free, the applicant shall ensure that the work is performed by persons accredited or certified to perform the work using lead safe work practices as required by Environment Article, Title 6, Subtitle 10, Annotated Code of Maryland, and corresponding regulations.
(f) A home is exempt from the provisions in §G(2)(d)(f) of this regulation if the applicant has filed with the Department of the Environment a report issued by an accredited lead paint inspector, technician or risk assessor and approved by the Department of the Environment establishing that there are no lead containing substances, as defined by COMAR 26.16.01.02B(7), in the interior and exterior of the home.
(3) General Safety Requirements.
(a) A resource home worker shall inspect the home to assure that general safety standards are met. The general safety inspection includes the requirements of §§G(3)(b) and (c) and (4) of this regulation.
(b) Firearms. A resource parent who maintains firearms in the home shall:
(i) Follow all federal and State laws pertaining to registration, permits, and maintenance of firearms;
(ii) Keep all firearms and ammunition maintained in the home in a locked room or container that is inaccessible to children;
(iii) Take all safety precautions to assure that firearms are not accidentally used to injure children in care; and
(iv) Assure that loaded firearms are not kept in the home unless required because a State, federal, or local law enforcement officer lives in the household and maintains and stores the firearms, in accordance with State, federal, and local law enforcement offices safety procedures.
(c) Prescription and non-prescription drugs, dangerous household supplies, tools, and any other household items which are potentially life-threatening or injurious to children shall be kept in a safe location, inaccessible to children.
(d) Resource homes which rely on the combustion of fossil fuels for heat, ventilation, hot water or clothes dryer operation shall have a carbon monoxide alarm as defined in Public Safety Article, §12-1101, Annotated Code of Maryland.
(4) Window Coverings. A window covering installed:
(i) Before October 1, 2010 may not have exposed or unsecured cords, beads ropes, or strings; or
(ii) On or after October 1, 2010, shall be cordless.
H. Financial Stability of Resource Parents. A resource family shall have sufficient income and financial stability to provide reasonable living conditions for their own family group without depending upon the reimbursement for basic foster care.
I. Fire Safety Standards.
(1) The local department shall have in writing the approval of the local or State fire officials or an authorized individual, agency, or private organization that a resource family home meets the fire safety requirements of the local fire department and any other applicable State or local requirement before approving the resource home.
(2) The annual fire safety inspection may be done using a fire safety survey form approved by the local director and provided to the resource parent by the resource home worker.
(3) The resource home shall have an approved working smoke detector or detectors installed.
J. Sleeping and Living Quarters.
(1) The family living quarters shall be adequate to provide space for foster children without disrupting the usual sleeping and living arrangements of the family group. A foster child's sleeping and living quarters shall have provision for privacy, study at home, and storage of clothes, toys, and personal possessions.
(2) Each child shall have an individual bed that may not be stacked in vertical bunk bed formation. The bed shall have sufficient cover to protect the occupant from cold conditions.
(3) A responsible adult shall sleep within call of each foster child in the home.
(4) Except for children younger than 2 years old, boys and girls may not sleep in the same room. A teenaged parent may share a bedroom with their child until the child reaches 2 years old. A child 2 years old or older may not share a bedroom with an adult unless approved by the local department. A child may not share a bed with an adult or another child at any time. A child under two years old shall sleep in a crib or other secure bed which will ensure the child’s safety.
K. Pets. A resource parent who maintains a pet in the home shall assure that:
(1) The foster child is, when age appropriate, educated regarding the care and grooming of the pet;
(2) A responsible adult is always present when infants are near a pet potentially dangerous to the infant;
(3) The local department is notified of any manifestations of allergies that occur during a child placement so that appropriate action can be taken; and
(4) As a required by State or local ordinance, the pet is appropriately:
(a) Licensed or registered;
(b) Vaccinated; and
L. Transportation. A resource parent shall assure that the child has legal and safe transportation to and from:
(1) Medical and dental appointments;
(3) Appropriate social events;
(4) Scheduled meetings with relatives and friends; and
(5) Events scheduled by the agency.
M. Safety Requirements for Swimming Pools, Hot Tubs, Spas, Waterfront Property, Fish or Duck Ponds and Similar Bodies of Water.
(1) Resource parents shall provide supervision with regard to pool safety commensurate with a child's age and ability.
(2) The resource home worker shall:
(a) Discuss requirements for barriers to ensure the safety of children;
(b) Inspect the pool, hot tub, spa, waterfront property, fish or duck pond or similar body of water for safety compliance; and
(c) Record this information in the case record.
(3) A swimming pool, fish or duck pond or similar body of water at the home of a resource parent shall:
(a) Be maintained in a safe and sanitary condition; and
(b) Comply with county zoning, building, or health codes or ordinances.
(4) An in-ground pool at the home of a resource parent, when not in use, shall:
(a) Have the pool area completely enclosed by a fence at least 4 feet high, and the fence gate locked;
(b) Be completely covered in a manner to prevent access by a child; or
(c) Have power safety covers for an in-ground pool that may be used as an alternative to fences.
(5) Safety requirements for above-ground swimming pools or hot tubs include the following:
(a) Retractable or removable ladders shall be locked when not in use, or stored away from the pool;
(b) A pool or the fencing around a pool shall be 4 feet above ground at all points;
(c) Doors and gates that access the pool, hot tub or spa shall have locks;
(d) If a pool, hot tub or spa has a deck area with a door, the door shall be locked;
(e) Permanent steps shall have a locked gate;
(f) A pool, hot tub or spa may not have climbable objects on the exterior; and
(g) Hot tubs or spas shall have secured covers when not in use.
(6) When there is waterfront property, a fish or duck pond or similar body of water at or near the resource family home, the local department may require that the body of water or the resource family home be fenced with a locked gate. Factors to consider in requiring a fence and locked gate shall include:
(a) Proximity and location of body of water to the resource family’s residence;
(b) Age, special needs, and swimming ability of the foster children residing with the resource family; and
(c) Size of the body of water.
(7) A resource parent shall have at least one person currently certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) present in the resource home's swimming pool and water recreation area when being used by a foster child.
(8) An exception to the provisions of this regulation may not be made unless the local director gives approval, in writing. A local director may not grant an exception that violates:
(a) Local zoning, building, health codes, or ordinances;
(b) Factors that may be considered in granting an exception include:
(i) Age, special needs, and swimming ability of the foster children placed with the resource family;
(ii) Proximity and location of the pool, hot tub, spa, or body of water to the resource family home; and
(iii) The use of any other safety feature that ensures the safety of the foster children.
N. Dual Approval.
(1) A home shall be approved as both foster care and adoption placement and the dually approved home shall be considered a resource home.
(2) A resource home may not be approved by more than one private or public agency concurrently for the purpose of child placement.
(3) A resource home may not be approved as both a child placement and an adult placement resource, unless the resource home receives written approval from the Social Services Administration for the express purpose of allowing a youth to transition to the care of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration in the Maryland Department of Health (DDA).
(4) If a resource family chooses to move to another agency, it is the responsibility of the receiving agency to verify that the previous approval has been closed out and obtain all necessary references.
O. Reapproval of a Closed Resource Home.
(1) If a former resource parent requests that their home be reopened as a resource home within three years after its closure, and the resource home was in good standing at closure, the resource parent shall complete ten hours of in-service training, including discipline training, and meet all the technical requirements for resource home approval.
(2) If the home of a resource parent has been closed more than three years all requirements for resource home approval shall be completed.