CY 131 Frequently Asked Questions
Questions About the Resource Family Registry (RFR)
Question: How is information submitted to the Resource Family Registry?
Answer: Information is submitted electronically through the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) Portal. If you have significant issues or questions, please email PAE@diakon-swan.org for support.
Question: When should I register a family with the RFR?
Answer: Any family who is studied as a foster, adoptive or kinship family must be registered with the RFR as either an approved or disapproved family. Once an agency approves a family for foster care, adoption, and/or kinship, the family’s information must be entered into the RFR through the SWAN Portal. To submit information on the family’s approval or disapproval status, agencies must complete a CY 131 registration form and submit it electronically to the RFR. Disapproved families must be registered in the RFR so their information can be shared via the previous agency affiliation (PAA) process; this helps promote child safety as well as informed decision making across the network. Families who drop out of the process prior to their approval or disapproval may also be registered and closed simultaneously with “Other” checked for the closure reason accompanied by an explanation.
Question: Do I need to register emergency caretakers?
Answer: Emergency caretakers need to be registered once they are fully approved or disapproved. Family records may need to be opened and closed at the same time. The disposition would be “Closed.” The closure reason would be “Other,” with one of the following explanations: “temporary care,” “child returned home” or “home no longer needed.”
Question: Do I need to register Post-Permanency families who offer respite?
Answer: No. You do not need to register families who do emergency respite for Post-Permanency service families because they do not meet the statutory definition of foster, adoptive or kinship care families.
Question: How do I capture provisional approval?
Answer: It is not necessary to notify the RFR of a provisional approval unless it changes the status of the family’s current information in the RFR. If the family is actively registered as an approved family but is on a provisional status, no update is needed. Conversely, if the agency decides to close or disapprove a family due to a provisional status, an update to the CY 131 is required.
Question: Do I need to register permanent legal custodian (PLC) families?
Answer: Because a child must reside with a prospective PLC for a minimum of six months prior to formalizing the PLC agreement in court, many permanent legal custodians are foster parents for those required six months. As such, they should be registered at that time. Once the PLC has been finalized in court, there is no need to update or register the family as a PLC family because the RFR only collects data on foster, adoptive and kinship families.
Question: Do I need to register families who are pursuing international or private adoptions?
Answer: No. Private adoptions are not conducted through the child welfare system, so they 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 information on children available for adoption in Pennsylvania, or will only those with “Adoption” checked receive this information?
Answer: Only families who are approved to adopt and open to matching will receive correspondence about potential adoptive matches.
Question: Is training available about the Resource Family Registry?
Answer: Yes. Contact your regional SWAN technical assistant or email PAE@diakon-swan.org. Please include your agency phone number and contact name. A listing of SWAN regional technical assistants can be found online at: http://www.diakon-swan.org/swan/contacts/affiliate/
Frequently Asked Questions About Fostering Versus Adoption
Question: Can a family be registered for both adoption and foster care?
Answer: Yes. The registering agency should check all applicable status designations for which the family is approved. This can be found on page 2 of the CY 131 form.
Question: If a family changes their status as a foster or adoptive family should the form be updated or redone?
Answer: When a family’s information changes for any reason, you must update the family’s information by “adding” a CY 131 and submitting it electronically to the RFR via the SWAN Portal. All prior information will be carried forward in the family’s RFR record. Be sure to update the disposition for the appropriate approval types for the family.
Frequently Asked Questions About Clearances/Certifications
Question: How often does recertification need to occur?
Answer: An individual 18 years or older residing in the resource household for more than 30 days per calendar year must resubmit clearances/certifications every 60 months.
Question: Do we use the CY 131 form to report changes in clearances/certifications?
Answer: Yes, if it impacts the status of the family’s approval disposition. The approving agency must submit an updated CY 131 within 30 days of learning of a change in Criminal History Registry Information (CHRI) or child abuse history clearance/certifications. Please review the section of the Act 160 Bulletin titled “Agency Responsibilities Relating to Statutory Requirements,” starting on page 7, for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions About the CY 131 Form
Question: Should I complete the CY 131 form, before or after approval?
Answer: All families must be registered upon approval/disapproval. Agencies may also request a Previous Agency Affiliation (PAA) at the onset of the approval process.
Question: What happens to information entered into the Resource Family Registry?
Answer: After a referral is made, all family record information can be viewed by agencies to aid them in the approval process. Additionally, agencies may request information from the RFR when considering the appropriateness of an applicant. Each agency has the responsibility to request this information promptly and may do so by requesting a PAA as described above.
Question: Does the worker fill out the form or does the family fill it out?
Answer: The agency worker ultimately completes and submits the CY 131 form to the RFR. However, the caseworker and the family should collaboratively complete the section of the CY 131 form 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 a SWAN affiliate or another private provider, it is the responsibility of the affiliate/private provider to complete the initial registration and to update the RFR whenever the family’s information changes. All agencies actively working with a family should complete a CY 131 registration. Once the affiliate/private agency is no longer working on behalf of the family, the affiliate/private agency must close the record. If the county assumes working with the family, then the county also must submit a CY 131 to show that they are actively working with the family.
Frequently Asked Questions About When to Update the CY 131 Form
Question: How often must a family’s information be updated in the Resource Family Registry?
Answer: When a family’s information reported within the CY 131 changes for any reason, the RFR must be updated by “adding” a CY 131 in the SWAN Portal. All prior family information will be carried forward in the family’s record. If there have not been any changes in the family’s information no update is required.
Question: How often can I update the family’s characteristics section in the RFR?
Answer: As often as needed.
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. If children placed in the home are younger than 18 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 included in the household composition on the CY131.
Frequently Asked Questions About Submitting the CY 131
Question: Must we submit the form electronically?
Answer: Yes, everything should be completed electronically via the SWAN Portal. Please contact your regional technical assistant or us at PAE@diakon-swan.org to determine eligibility for SWAN Portal access.
Questions about Ethnicity and Race
Question: The listing for race and ethnicity is not exhaustive for the applicant. Shouldn’t the form also have “other” and/or “mixed”?
Answer: The race/ethnicity categories are those provided by the federal government. The RFR 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.
Frequently Asked 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 of the CY 131 just for those 18 years and older, or are children included?
Answer: List all members of the household excluding the applicant(s), regardless of age. Please note: 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: 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.
Question: Must clearances/certifications 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 60 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 must be listed as a member of the household. An update is not required if the family member was included on the initial registration.
Question: 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: 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, they do not need to be listed as a member of the household.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Registering Agency Disposition and Appeals
Question: If a family is disapproved, why do we need to fill out the sections on “Family Information,” “All Previous Foster Care/Adoption Agency Affiliations,” “Special Needs Family is Approved to Serve,” and “Type of Child family prefers”?
Answer: Act 160 of 2004 requires that these sections be completed. In the case of disapproval, these questions should be answered as “not applicable.”
Question: Do we have to complete a CY 131 if we disapprove a family?
Answer: Yes.
Question: Must the family profile document be completed before a family can be disapproved?
Answer: No.
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 Closure box providing the date that this occurred and the reason for the family’s withdrawal (“Family no longer interested,” or “other” reason). We recommend that the agency develop a cover sheet to capture all of the information on page 1 and 2 of the form. In the event a family is disapproved, this information will be available to complete the CY 131 form. Submitting the CY 131 ensures that if the family applies to another agency in the future, the information regarding previous attempts to foster or adopt will already exist in the registry.
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 “no longer interested/personal reasons.”
Question: Should parents be made aware that the information collected is going into a state database?
Answer: Agencies should notify all applicants that statute requires agencies to register families on the RFR if an assessment as a foster, adoptive or kinship family occurs.
Frequently Asked 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 of 2004, regardless of a family’s approved or disapproved status.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Maximum Number of Children in the Home
Question: How do we determine the maximum number of children for which the family is approved?
Answer: The maximum number of children for which the family is approved is the decision of the agency working with the family. Section 3700.31 allows for no more than six children in any foster family; but there is no such limit on adoptive families. However, since many of the adoptive families we serve are foster families prior to finalization, they would be expected to not have more than six children in the family unless they have received a waiver from the Office of Children, Youth and Families to care for more than six children at a time.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Type of Child that May Be Placed in This Home
Question: What do we do about families who are working with different agencies for foster care and adoption?
Answer: Families may be associated or work with as many agencies as they choose; there is no state regulation that specifies the number of agencies for which a family can be approved to foster adopt or provide kinship care. A PAA request may reveal this information.
Question: Can a question be added indicating how far a family is willing to travel for a placement or match?
Answer: No. 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 CY 131.
Frequently Asked 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Characteristics That a Family Prefers
Question: How does the section on “Characteristics of Children That Family Prefers” of the CY 131 form help foster parents, since the children they accept are not in the RFR and once they are adopting, the child is in their home?
Answer: In these circumstances, the registering agency should select the Stop Here option on page 3 of the CY 131, 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 certifications and background information.
Question: Will the PAE child registration form now follow the same format as the CY 131 for the characteristics of a child that a family prefers?
Answer: Yes. The child registration form (CY 130) has been revised to be consistent with the questions on the CY 131.
Question: What if the preferred characteristics change over time? Do we update the form?
Answer: Yes.
Question: Is the section on a family’s feeling about openness with birth family filled out only by those waiting to adopt children?
Answer: Yes.
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.
Frequently Asked 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: Must an agency worker sign the form if it is “disapproved?” The signature box currently says “I verify that this information is accurate and complete to the best of my knowledge or information and belief. The information is submitted as true and correct under penalty of law (Section 4904 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code).”
Answer: Yes. The form must always be signed by the registering agency worker, both for approved and disapproved families.
Question: Does a family have to sign the form, and if so, how do they do that electronically?
Answer: 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.
Frequently Questions About the Previous Agency Affiliation
Question: How does a previous agency affiliation (PAA) request work?
Answer: A PAA request should be a standard part of an agency’s family approval process. Email PAA requests to PAE@diakon-swan.org or call Dawn Sariano, PAE child/family data manager, at 717-231-5358. When submitting the PAA request, provide the family applicant’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number, the name of the worker, as well as the name and address of the agency. Once a PAA request has been fulfilled, the information regarding PAA will be mailed via the postal service to the agency contact verified and provided. It is the responsibility of the inquiring agency to reach out to previous agency affiliations to gather family detail. We rely on agency discretion to maintain family approval conditions and to communicate that to other potential agencies. It is the responsibility of the registering agency to maintain and disclose the detail of the family’s disposition (for example provisional status) once the PAA is sent. We trust that the registering agency will disclose the information about the families they service.
Question: Must an agency worker sign the form if it is “disapproved?” The signature box currently says “I verify that this information is accurate and complete to the best of my knowledge or information and belief. The information is submitted as true and correct under penalty of law (Section 4904 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code).”
Answer: Yes. The form must always be signed by the registering agency worker, both for approved and disapproved families.
Question: Does a family have to sign the form, and if so, how do they do that electronically?
Answer: 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Verifying a Family’s Registration with the Resource Family Registry
Question: How do I verify if a family is registered with the RFR?
Answer: Effective 9/15/2017, the Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange (PAE) will send electronic confirmations of Resource Family Registry (RFR) registrations to caseworkers. A registration confirmation, also known as an acknowledgement letter, will be emailed rather than mailed to a caseworker if the registering agency has provided their email address. Agencies submitting the family CY 131 form now are required to provide the registering agency caseworker’s email address. Electronic registration confirmations will be emailed with encryption to protect sensitive information. We encourage agencies to promptly store the confirmation, as the encrypted emails will no longer be available thirty days after they are sent. In addition to the emailed registration confirmation, caseworkers also now may access the acknowledgement letter in the SWAN Portal: First search the family record, then on the Family Summary page, click the “AckLtr” link to view a copy of the registration confirmation. Please contact your SWAN regional technical assistant if you need assistance navigating this feature.
Miscellaneous
Question: What is the purpose of having the resource family’s email address?
Answer: For those who provide their email address, future communications may be done through email to save time, paper and postage.
Question: Can the form be read by devices for assistive technology (e.g., screen readers like JAWS)?
Answer: The CY 131 is not currently available in such a format.
Question: Is the amount of information that can be entered in the family information section limited?
Answer: Yes. The space is limited to 3,000, characters which is typically one full-page of text.
 
Tom Wolf, Governor / Commonwealth of Pennsylvania