CPS June 2006
Discipline of children in the conservatorship of DFPS and who are placed in kinship homes must conform to specific policies and procedures. The following policies and procedures concerning the discipline of children must be shared with all kinship caregivers and with those individuals who desire to be kinship caregivers.
This appendix covers the following topics:
All kinship caregivers, other adults living in the home, and respite caregivers must agree to and adhere to the DFPS discipline policies and procedures.
Kinship caregivers and CPS staff must not give permission to any person or entity, including schools (see below), to discipline a child in the conservatorship of DFPS in ways that are not consistent with this policy.
A school cannot be prevented from using corporal punishment, however, in the event that a kinship caregiver is asked to consent to a school policy that includes corporal punishment, the kinship caregiver must refuse.
If a caregiver becomes aware that a school intends to use corporal punishment to discipline a child who is in DFPS conservatorship, the caseworker should be notified so that CPS can attempt to intervene and convey the compelling reasons against this form of punishment with respect to this population of children.
Physical discipline may not be used on a child who is:
· in the conservatorship of DFPS; and
· placed in a kinship home.
Discipline must be constructive and educational. Correction must be fair, reasonable, consistent, and related to the specific misbehavior. Kinship caregivers must communicate to the child in such a manner that the child understands:
· what the child has done wrong;
· why the discipline must occur;
· the full extent of the discipline (how long the discipline is in effect and/or what has to occur to end the discipline period); and
· what is considered to be appropriate behavior (this should be done in the form of discussion with the child).
Discipline should be individualized and related to the child's:
· specific misbehavior;
· developmental level;
· previous experiences;
· reactions to previous discipline; and
· any other relevant factors.
For requisites for use of time-out as a form of discipline, see Criteria for Time-Out, below.
The kinship caregivers and CPS staff develops appropriate discipline methods for each child placed in the kinship home. CPS staff provides the kinship caregiver with alternatives to physical discipline.
Discipline must suit the child's age, circumstances, and developmental needs. Methods of discipline may include:
· establishing routines;
· setting reasonable limits;
· modeling appropriate behavior;
· offering choices;
· giving explanations;
· repeating instructions;
· using time-out;
· enforcing or permitting logical or natural consequences; and
· reinforcing desired behavior.
Additional strategies for managing the child's behavior should be listed in the child's service plan as appropriate.
Time-out is a procedure used for the purpose of behavior modification that entails:
· restricting a child to a designated area, including his or her room; but
· not physically preventing the child from leaving by locking or barricading the entryway. A caregiver may close a door or stand in an entryway to enforce the time out, as long as the door is not locked.
Time-outs should be supervised by an adult and have reasonable periods that consist of approximately one minute for every year of the child's age.
Any form of discipline used may not violate any of the specific prohibitions in Minimum Standards for Child-Placing Agencies.
Discipline of children must not result in bruises, welts, burns, fractures, sprains, exposure, poisoning, or other types of injuries. Shaking, pinching, biting, and harsh, cruel, unusual, or unnecessary punishment are not allowed. Placing anything in or on a child's mouth is prohibited.
Discipline must not consist of withholding:
· medical care;
· educational care;
· any other necessities;
· mail; or
· special items such as Christmas gifts or birthday gifts.
Unacceptable forms of discipline include:
· threatening the child with loss of placement,;
· using profane language;
· name calling or labeling the child; and
· embarrassing or degrading the child.
Any form of restraint or seclusion is prohibited.