This chapter contains the following sections:
How a Child is Placed in Foster Care
In Wyoming, a child may be placed in state care in one of the following ways:
Court Ordered Placements
Neglect – When a parent or guardian fails or refuses to provide a child with the adequate care necessary for his or her well-being, the child is neglected.
Child in Need of Supervision (CHINS) – A child who has not reached his or her seventeenth birthday is habitually truant, runs away from home, disobeys reasonable requests, or is ungovernable.
Delinquency – When a child commits a crime, is in contempt of court, or violates the terms and conditions of a criminal court order, the child is delinquent.
Voluntary Placement - When a parent or guardian is unable to care for his or her child(ren) and no other placement option is available, or the parent or guardian fears he or she may abuse/neglect the child(ren), the child is placed with the Department of Family Services (DFS) at the parent or guardian’s request.
For purposes of the Wyoming CSE Program, the reason for the child’s placement in state custody is unimportant. Within the Wyoming CSE Program, all of the above-listed cases are considered foster care cases and treated in the same manner where substitute parental care is provided by DFS to children who are unable to remain in their home.
A child remains in foster care until the child is reunited with his or her family, adopted, placed in another permanent home, or emancipates.
Funding sources of Foster Care Cases
In Wyoming, foster care placements are either funded through:
the federal IV-E program, or
Wyoming general funds and Medicaid.
Federal IV-E is an automatic referral to the Wyoming CSE Program via the 543 child support application with no application fee. On the other hand, when a placement is paid using Wyoming general funds and/or Medicaid, the referral requires a child support application and a $25.00 application fee as described in 5.2 Fees – Application Fees. The application fee is automatically created and paid by DFS through an inter-agency transfer based on a POSSE generated report.
Child Support Involvement
DFS determined that it is important for parents to contribute financially to the maintenance of a child placed in the care of DFS. According to DFS, child support provided by the parents of a child reflects responsible parenting and shows a financial commitment from parents to their child. When a child is placed in state care, the local DFS office will refer the case to the Wyoming CSE Program unless the case meets the good cause reasons discussed in 13.2 Foster Care – Intake.
Confidentiality of Foster Care Cases
Court orders and records regarding placement of a child in the care of DFS are not public records. In addition to the steps described in Chapter 3 Confidentiality and Safeguarding Information, these documents are specifically protected by Wyoming statute. The Wyoming CSE Program will not release any placement documents and will refer all such requests to the appropriate local DFS office. Additionally, the Wyoming CSE Program will file all child support related documents in a civil file. If a District Judge orders child support during a juvenile hearing, the District CSE Office will open a civil case for child support enforcement purposes.
In order to ensure the best possible service to the customers within the Wyoming CSE Program, the federal OCSE established certain minimum timeframes by which actions within the child support program should take place. Foster care cases are treated in the same manner as all other IV-D child support cases and shall meet the federal timeframes discussed in detail in the following policy manual chapters:
Last Revised Date
July 1, 2014