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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 488 (January 27, 2024).

237 Pa. Code Rule 1149. Family Finding.

Rule 1149. Family Finding.

 A.  Court’s inquiry and determination.

   1)  The court shall inquire as to the efforts made by the county agency to comply with the family finding requirements pursuant to 67 Pa.C.S. § §  7501 et seq.

   2)  The court shall place its determinations on the record as to whether the county agency has reasonably engaged in family finding.

 B.  Discontinued family finding. Family finding may be discontinued only if, after a hearing, the court has made a specific determination that:

   1)  continued family finding no longer serves the best interests of the child;

   2)  continued family finding is a threat to the child’s safety; or

   3)  the child is in a preadoptive placement and the court proceedings to adopt the child have been commenced pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. Part III (relating to adoption).

 C.  Resuming family finding. The county agency shall resume family finding when the court determines that resuming family finding:

   1)  is best suited to the safety, protection and physical, mental, and moral welfare of the child; and

   2)  does not pose a threat to the child’s safety.


   Pursuant to paragraph (A), efforts by the county agency may include, but are not limited to whether the county agency is or will be: a) searching for and locating adult relatives and kin; b) identifying and building positive connections between the child and the child’s relatives and kin; c) when appropriate: i) supporting the engagement of relatives and kin in social service planning and delivery of services; and ii) creating a network of extended family support to assist in remedying the concerns that led to the child becoming involved with the county agency; d) when possible, maintaining family connections; and e) when in the best interests of the child and when possible, keeping siblings together in care.

   The extent to which the county agency is involved in the case when a child is still in the home is dependent on several variables and specific to each case. In some instances, the county agency is more involved and actively engaged in family finding because the child needs support services or could be removed from the home. The search in these instances is used to find resources to help keep the child in the home by preventing removal, or to find resources if removal becomes necessary.

   See 67 Pa.C.S. §  7501 for legislative intent regarding family finding and promotion of kinship care.

   Family finding is required for every child when a child is accepted for services by the county agency. See 67 Pa.C.S. §  7503. It is best practice to find as many kin as possible for each child. These kin may help with care or support for the child. The county agency should ask the guardian, the child, and siblings about relatives or other adults in the child’s life, including key supporters of the child or guardians.

   Specific evidence should be provided indicating the steps taken to locate and engage relatives and kin. See Comment to Rule 1120 regarding diligent efforts considerations for locating relatives and kin. When considering the method by which relatives and kin are engaged in service planning and delivery, courts and the parties are encouraged to be creative. Strategies of engagement could include, but are not limited to, inviting relatives and kin to: 1) be involved in a family group decision making conference, family team conferencing, or other family meetings aimed at developing or supporting the family service plan; 2) assist with visitation; 3) assist with transportation; 4) provide respite or child care services; or 5) provide actual kinship care.

   Pursuant to paragraph (A)(2), the court is to place its determinations on the record as to whether the county has reasonably engaged in family finding. The level of reasonableness is to be determined by the length of the case and time the county agency has had to begin or continue the process. For example, at the shelter care hearing, the county agency should at least ask the question whether there is family or kin available as a resource. The initial removal of the child is the most critical time in the case. Potential trauma should be considered and ameliorated by family finding efforts as much as possible. Phone calls at this time are reasonable. However, at the dispositional or permanency hearings, the county agency has had more time to engage in a more thorough diligent search as discussed infra. See also Rule 1120 and its Comment.

   The court’s inquiry and determination regarding family finding should be made at each stage of the case, including, but not limited to the entry of an order for protective custody, shelter care hearing, adjudicatory hearing, dispositional hearing, and permanency hearing. See Rules 1210, 1242, 1408, 1409, 1512, 1514, 1515, 1608, 1609, 1610, and 1611, and their Comments.

   Paragraph (B)(3) is meant to include notice of intent to adopt, petition to adopt, or voluntary relinquishment of parental rights, or consent to adopt.


   The provisions of this Rule 1149 adopted July 13, 2015, effective October 1, 2015, 45 Pa.B. 3987; amended November 30, 2021, effective January 1, 2022, 51 Pa.B. 7632; amended March 22, 2023, effective October 1, 2023, 53 Pa.B. 1791. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (407944) to (407945).

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