CY 131 Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about the form
Question: Is the CY131 the same form for registering families on the foster parent registry?
Answer: Yes. Act 160 of 2004 legislated that a single data system be used for both foster and adoptive families in the child welfare system, and this data system is referred to as the Resource Family Registry. All resource family information is collected using the CY131 form (version 01/05).
Question: Do we have to transfer all existing approved foster families?
Answer: Yes. All foster families are included in the Resource Family Registry and must be updated or enrolled using the CY131 – 01/05. The first update of the form requires that the all fields on pages 1 – 3 be completed and, additionally, if a child is not already identified for a family, the remaining pages of the form must also be completed. All forms must be signed by the agency.
Question: At what point is the CY131 01/05 first completed with foster families? Is it before or after approval?
Answer: All families assessed on or after January 29, 2005 must be registered upon approval/disapproval. Families approved before January 29, 2005 must be registered by July 29, 2005. Language in Bulletin #3490-05-01, “Implementation of Act 160 of 2004 Amending the Child Protective Services Law,” provides more information.
Question: What happens to the information when it is entered into the registry?
Answer: When families are entered into the registry, information is then cross-checked with any existing registry information. DHS will notify agencies of information that may conflict with previous information provided. An agency may request information from the registry to use when considering the appropriateness of an applicant, as detailed in Bulletin #3490-05-01. Each agency has the responsibility to request this information promptly. DPW does not anticipate agencies will request information for each applicant and does not anticipate a significant lag in processing requests.
Question: Must a CY131 be completed for all children and youth foster families?
Answer: All families who were approved before January 29, 2005 and who are still used as resource families must be registered by July 29, 2005. All families assessed on or after January 29, 2005 must be registered when they are approved or disapproved.
Question: Does the worker fill out the form or does the family fill it out?
Answer: The agency worker ultimately completes and submits the CY131 form to the Resource Family Registry. However, the registry strongly recommends that the caseworker and the family collaboratively complete the section titled “Characteristics of Children That Family Prefers”.
Question: For cases where more than one agency is involved, does the county agency, affiliate or both fill out the form?
Answer: The form should be completed by the agency doing the family profile or the home study. For example, if a county refers a family profile to an affiliate, it is the responsibility of the affiliate to complete the initial registration and to update the Resource Family Registry whenever the information on the CY131 changes.
Question: Does this form apply to PLC families?
Answer: No, not if the PLC has finalized. Permanent Legal Custodians have already provided permanency to a child, so that child is no longer in temporary foster care. However, as families must be approved as foster parents for six months before becoming a PLC, they must be registered when they are approved as foster parents. All applicants who are approved to foster or adopt are considered resource families and must be registered. Please refer to Act 160 and Bulletin #3490-05-01 for the definition of “resource family” and to determine under which circumstances registration is required.
Question: Does this form apply to international adoptions?
Answer: No. Private adoptions are not conducted through the child welfare system, so are not subject to the required registration. However, these applicants must comply with all other requirements set forth in Act 160 of 2004 relating to clearances and background information.
Question: Will all families who are registered receive PAE info on available children in the network, or will only those with “adoption” checked receive this information?
Answer: No. Only adoptive families will receive correspondence about potential adoptive matches.
Question: Can I get a copy of the Power Point presentation about Act 160 and the CY131 form?
Answer: Yes. The presentation from the 2005 Summer Statewide meeting can be found on the publications link on Diakon’s Web site (
Questions about Fostering versus Adoption
Question: If a family is interested in both adoption and foster care, do they check off both boxes on the top of the first page of the CY 131 form?
Answer: Yes. The registering agency should check all status designations at the top of the form that will be needed. Two separate approval processes are currently required for resource parent applicants (foster care and adoption), so both are listed on the registration form.
Question: If a family changes their choice for foster or adoption during the permanency process, should the form be updated or redone?
Answer: The form should be updated. The registering agency must submit an update by checking the Update box on the CY131 and then filling out the shaded areas and all other information that has changed. Anytime a family’s CY131 information changes, for any reason, the Resource Family Registry must be notified by submitting that updated information and the information in the shaded boxes. No other information needs to be included.
Question: Do agencies mail in the CY131 for foster care and then electronically submit the form for adoption?
Answer: No. Separate forms need not be completed if the family is approved for both foster care and adoption. If a family is registering only as a foster family, the agency should submit the form in hardcopy form.
Questions About When to Update the Form
Question: How often must a family’s information be updated?
Answer: Any time changes are made to the family information submitted on the initial Resource Family Registry, an update is required. If no changes are needed, no update is required.
Question: What is the procedure for completing the CY131 when a family has changed status information?
Answer: The shaded area on page 1 of the CY131 form should be completed, as well as the new or updated information. No other information is needed for the update.
Question: Does the form need to be updated when children are placed in the home after the home’s initial approval?
Answer: It depends on who has current custody of the child. A child is in the legal custody of the county children and youth office until finalization. The CY 131 should be completed as an update before finalization occurs. If the children placed in the home are under 18 years and still in the custody of the county children and youth agency, those children should not be listed as household members. If a child has been adopted by the family and thus is no longer in the custody of the county agency, they must be added as household members.
Question: If a family profile and an old CY131 were completed and children are placed in the home but the adoption is not yet finalized, should the new CY131 be submitted as an update?
Answer: Yes, in both instances. Act 160 first requires that an updated CY131 be completed for any active family. Then, if the child is ultimately adopted by the family, an update is completed when the adoption is finalized. At that point, the child should be listed as a “Member of the Household.”
Questions about Clearances
Question: Does the Act 160’s 24-month timeframe for renewal of clearances mean within 24 months of approval or 24 months from the date of the previous clearances?
Answer: It depends on when the resource parents were approved. Resource parents approved on or after January 29, 2003 who continue to be approved resource parents and anyone 18 years of age and older who live in the home must submit requests for clearances within 24 months of their initial approval and every 24 months thereafter. Resource parents approved before January 29, 2003 who continue to be approved resource parents and anyone 18 years of age and older who live in the home must submit requests for clearances by January 29, 2007 and every 24 months after receipt of those clearances. Resubmissions may occur as part of the annual reapproval process. Resubmission of clearance requests for individuals approved solely as adoptive parents must occur before the finalization of the adoption of any child.
Question: Is this the form we use to report changes in clearances?
Answer: Yes. The approving agency must submit an updated CY131 within 30 days of learning of a change in Criminal History Registry Information (CHRI) or a child abuse history clearance. Please review the section of the Bulletin titled “Agency Responsibilities Relating to Statutory Requirements,” starting on page 7, for more information.
Question: What do the different colors for clearance forms (CY113) mean?
Answer: The pink form indicates the clearance is a resubmission. DHS must give priority to initial submissions (green form), but resubmissions will be verified within the required time frame.
Questions about Submitting CY 131
Question: Must we submit the form electronically?
Answer: It depends on the agency. The electronic version of the CY131 form is only available to SWAN affiliates who have received a family profile referral from the SWAN prime contractor. Affiliates must submit the form electronically. All others submitting the CY131 form must do so using a hard copy. Also, any updates submitted, even those from affiliates, must be submitted in a hard copy.
Questions about Ethnicity and Race
Question: The listing for race and ethnicity is not exhaustive for the applicant. The form should also have “other” and/or “mixed.”
Answer: The race/ethnicity categories are those provided by the federal government. The Resource Family Registry is required to collect and report information consistent with federal guidelines.
Question: What should we do when the ethnicity of a resource family is not listed?
Answer: The registering agency should select the race/ethnicity that most closely describes the resource family.
Questions About the Members of the Household
Question: Under the household members section, should foster children or those in respite placement be listed?
Answer: No. Children who are under the age of 18 and in the custody of a county children and youth agency should not be listed as members of the household.
Question: Is the “All Members of Household” section just for those 18 years and over, or are children included?
Answer: The first half of this section is to list all members of the household, regardless of age. The second section is to update the status of any adult household members. Please review the instructions for completing the CY131 form that are available on the PAE Web site at, and
Question: If an 18-year-old foster child is placed into a new resource family, must the update be completed?
Answer: Yes. The new resource family for an 18-year-old must have an updated form submitted by the agency within 30 days of the child being placed in the home. Please see page 6 of Bulletin #3490-05-01 for more details.
Question: Must clearances be obtained for foster children over 18?
Answer: Yes. Any individual over the age of 18 who lives in the home must submit clearances. If a foster child turns 18, a clearance must be submitted at that point and every 24 months thereafter if they remain in the home.
Question: What about children over the age of 18 who are in college and home only during summers? Is an update needed every time they come home or leave?
Answer: Any family member who lives in the home at least 30 days in a calendar year should be listed as a member of the household. An update is not required if the family member was included on the initial registration.
Question: Does a paramour who is around frequently but doesn’t live in the home need to be listed?
Answer: No. If the paramour does not live in the house, he/she do not need to be listed as a member of the household.
Questions About the Registering Agency Disposition and Appeal
Question: If a “pending” disposition is checked, is there a time limit to complete the form? Will PAE notify me?
Answer: Please refer to page 3 of Bulletin #3490-05-01. Do not submit the form until the family is approved or disapproved. The pending check box should not be used and will be eliminated from the form in upcoming revisions.
If a family is disapproved, why do we need to fill out the sections on “Special Needs Family is Approved to Serve,” “All Previous Foster Care/Adoption Agency Affiliations,” “Type of Child That May be Placed in This Home” and “Family Information”?
Answer: Act 160 requires that these sections be completed. In the case of disapproval, these questions should be answered as “not approved” or “not applicable,” depending on the section. As we move towards the concept of “resource families,” the intent is to establish a single set of approval requirements to help move children to permanency faster. A single approval process will eliminate a barrier created by the system itself.
Question: Must the family profile document be completed before a family can be disapproved?
Answer: This will depend on which agency referred the profile, the expectations of that referring agent and their interest in being paid for the profile. The expectations for completing the family profile document and the CY131 form may differ.
Question: If a family withdraws partway through the approval process, do we need to fill out the form?
Answer: Yes. If a family drops out of the application process, this should be indicated by checking the Family Withdraws box, providing the date that this occurred and the reason for the family’s withdrawal. It is recommended that the agency develop a cover sheet to capture all of the information on page 1 of the form. In the event a family is disapproved, this information will be available to complete the form. Submitting the form ensures that if the family applies to another agency in the future, the information will already exist in the registry. All families assessed on or after January 29, 2005 must be registered.
Question: If a family initiates their own closure, how do we indicate that?
Answer: If a family is approved and decides they no longer want children placed in their home, this should be indicated by checking the Closure box and providing the date that this occurred. The reason for the closure would be that it was the family’s decision.
Do applicants who are applying to be foster/adopt family resources have the same right of appeal when disapproved as those permitted for foster parents?
Answer: No. No appeal process is currently established for adoptive parent applicants. Although the intent is to develop one set of approval requirements, currently two separate sets of approval requirements exist for foster care and adoption. Foster parent applicants may appeal a decision to disapprove or provisionally approve their home under 55 Pa. Code, Chapter 3700 (relating to foster family care agency) Section 72 (relating to foster family approval appeals).
Question: Should parents be made aware that the information collected is going into a state database?
Answer: Agencies should notify all applicants that statutes require agencies to register families on the Resource Family Registry, if an assessment occurs. An agency may choose to provide written notice to applicants of this fact.
Questions About Special Needs Approved to Serve
Question: Why do we have to fill out the approved special needs and maximum number of children sections if a child is in a pre-adoptive placement? Why can’t we check “Stop Here?”
Answer: Certain fields are required by Act 160, regardless of a family’s approved or disapproved status. As we move towards the “resource family” concept, the intent is to eventually establish one set of approval requirements. A single approval process will help eliminate a barrier created by the system itself.
Questions About the Maximum Number of Children in the Home
Question: How do we determine the maximum number of children the family is approved for?
Answer: The maximum number of children question normally relates to foster family home approval and is the decision of the agency working with the family. Section 3700.31 allows for no more than six children in any foster family. However, it can also apply to adoptive families, and for them the number is not “set in stone.” If a family adopts a special needs child or children, it may not be in the best interests of other children to have more children currently adopted into that home. A family may remain on the registry, if they would want to adopt in the future.
Questions About the Type of Child that May Be Placed in This Home
Question: What if the “type of child that may be placed in this home” is different, depending on whether he/she is a foster or adoptive child?
Answer: The CY131 form will be modified in a planned revision to clarify this area.
Question: What do we do about families who are working with different agencies for foster care and adoption?
Answer: Both agencies must submit the form as usual. Until the CY131 is revised, please indicate “F” for the characteristics associated with foster children and “A” for those characteristics preferred with adoptive children.
Question: Can a question be added indicating how far a family is willing to travel for a placement or match?
Answer: Match information from PAE is only a suggestion. Since travel decisions come much later in the process, it would not be appropriate to include that on the CY131.
Questions About Family Information
Question: Could the question about the type of neighborhood in which the family lives be used to rule out families who live in a low income neighborhood?
Answer: No. Families cannot be discriminated against because of where they live or because of their economic status, though financial stability must now be considered.
Questions About the Characteristics That a Family Prefers
Question: How does the section on “Characteristics of Children That Family Prefers” of the CY131 form help foster parents since the children they accept aren’t on the Resource Family Registry, and once they are adopting, the child is in their home?
Answer: In this circumstance the registering agency should select the Stop Here option on page 3 of the CY131, which immediately precedes “Characteristics of Children the Family Prefers.”
Question: Must families in the international adoption program or those adopting an infant fill out the characteristics section?
Answer: No. Private adoptions are not conducted through the child welfare system, and so are not subject to the required registration. However, these applicants must comply with all other requirements set forth in Act 160 of 2004 pertaining to clearances and background information.
Question: Will the PAE child registration form now adopt the same format for the characteristics of a child that a family prefers?
Answer: Yes. The child registration form (CY130) is currently being revised to be consistent with the questions on the CY131 – 01/05.
Question: What if the preferred characteristics change over time? Do we do an update?
Answer: Yes. A new form should be completed to update the changing information. The shaded information on page 1 of the CY131 form should be completed, as well as the new or updated information in the characteristics section. No other sections of the form need to be completed for this update.
Question: Will the SWAN family profile document be modified so that the preferred characteristics checklist found in the new CY131 form are the same as those in the profile document?
Answer: We are currently evaluating this. We don’t want to add work for either families or agencies, so the Prime Contractor is assessing the implications.
Question: In the education section, what does “special education classes (EMR)” mean?
Answer: EMR stands for Educable Mental Retardation.
Question: Is the section on a family’s feeling about openness filled out only by those waiting to adopt children?
Answer: No. It is expected that all resource families will answer these questions. If a family is only interested in foster care and not adoption, the instructions for filling out the form provide more detail about how to indicate preferences for adoption versus foster care.
Question: Is there any liability if a family indicates a particular behavior is ‘unacceptable” and then gets a child who has that behavior?
Answer: No. The matching process is not intended to be exact, only a suggestion. The registering agency is responsible for completing the form and should do so with the family. Please review the instructions for completing the form.
Questions About Signatures
Question: How do agency workers sign an electronic form?
Answer: The data system automatically populates the signature line with the user name assigned to your log-in ID.
Question: What if the hard-copy form is not signed by the worker. Will it be sent back to me?
Answer: Yes. Unsigned forms, as well as those missing any required information, will be returned to the registering agency.
Question: Must an agency worker sign the form if it is “disapproved?” The signature box currently says “I certify that a family profile has been completed and approved…”
Answer: Yes. The form must always be signed by the registering agency worker no matter what the approval status. This part of the form will be modified in a planned revision. Checking the appropriate boxes on the front page of the form will indicate whether a family profile, foster care home study or both may have occurred. In the meantime, workers may cross out the “I certify…” statement and replace it with “This information is true to the best of my knowledge” and then initial and date the change.
Question: Does a family have to sign the form, and if so, how do they do that electronically?
Answer: Although the benchmarks require that a family must sign the CY131 form, the signature does not need to be submitted to the Resource Family Registry. The family should sign the affiliate’s copy of the form that is kept in the agency’s files even if the family withdraws or is disapproved.
Question: On the last page of the CY 131 form, the title “Adoptive Family’s Feelings Toward Openness” should be changed to “resource family.”
Answer: This change will occur in a planned revision of the CY 131 form.
Question: What is the purpose of having the resource family’s e-mail address?
Answer: For those who provide their e-mail address, future communications may be done through e-mail to save time, paper and postage.
Question: What color is the form?
Answer: No specific paper color is required for this form as we are encouraging agencies to access the latest version on the web. Sites where the form is now located are, and
Question: Can the form be read by devices for assistive technology (i.e. screen readers like Jaws)?
Answer: Neither the DHS nor the Web sites have the CY131 available in an assistive technology format because the form should be printed and completed by hand.
Question: Is the amount of information that can be entered in the family information section limited?
Answer: The space is limited to 3,000 characters which is typically one full page of text.
Tom Wolf, Governor / Commonwealth of Pennsylvania