Ohio's Families and Children Rule Review Site

5101:2-7-12 Site and safety requirements for a foster home.

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Please note: This rule is posted for 30 days as it may be impacted due to the National Model Foster Family Home Licensing Standards.

(A) A foster home and all structures on the grounds of the home shall be maintained in a clean, safe, and sanitary condition and in a reasonable state of repair.

(B) Outdoor recreation equipment on the grounds of a foster home shall be maintained in a safe state of repair.

(C) Outdoor areas on the grounds of or immediately adjacent to a foster home which are potentially hazardous to a foster child placed in the home shall be reasonably safeguarded, considering the age and functioning level of the foster child. Such areas include, but are not limited to:

(1) Water areas, including lakes, ponds, rivers, quarries and swimming pools.

(2) Open pits and wells.

(3) Cliffs and caves.

(4) High-speed or heavily traveled roads.

(D) A foster home shall be adequately heated, lighted and ventilated.

(E) The following shall be stored in a safe manner:

(1) Bleach.

(2) Cleaning materials.

(3) Poisonous or corrosive household chemicals.

(4) Flammable and combustible materials.

(5) Potentially dangerous tools or utensils.

(6) Electrical equipment in or on the grounds of a foster home.

(7) Machinery in or on the grounds of a foster home.

(F) A foster home shall comply with the following requirements regarding weapons:

(1) The following weapons kept on the grounds of or in a foster home shall be stored in an inoperative condition in a locked area inaccessible to children:

(a) Firearms.

(b) Air rifles.

(c) Hunting slingshots.

(d) Any other projectile weapon.

(2) All ammunition, arrows or projectiles for such weapons shall be stored in a separate locked space.

(3) Any foster caregiver who is also a law enforcement official and can document that their jurisdiction requires them to have ready and immediate access to their weapon shall be exempt from the requirements of this paragraph.

(G) A foster home shall have a working telephone or be able to demonstrate to the recommending agency reasonable access to a working telephone for emergency situations.

(H) Appropriate emergency telephone numbers including fire, police, ambulance, poison control, the recommending agency, and each agency with a foster child placed in the home shall be posted in a prominent place in a foster home.

(I) All locks to at least one door to any room or walk in storage area inside a foster home in which a person could become confined shall be of the type which permit the door to be unlocked from either side of the door and be unlocked from the inside of the room or storage area without a key. Locking of the children's bedroom doors while children are sleeping is prohibited. Locking of outside doors and fencing around a yard or outside play area is permitted.

(J) A foster home shall have a continuous supply of safe drinking water. Well water used for drinking and cooking shall be tested and approved by the health department prior to initial certification and annually thereafter.

(K) A foster home shall have working bathroom and toilet facilities located within the home and connected to an indoor plumbing system.

(L) Garbage shall be disposed of on a regular basis. Garbage stored outside shall be in covered containers or closed bags.

(M) A foster home shall have a working smoke alarm on each level of occupancy of the home approved by one of the following:

(1) "Underwriter's Laboratory."

(2) A certified fire inspector.

(N) A foster caregiver shall have a written evacuation plan for evacuating the home or seeking shelter in the event of fire, tornado or other disaster. This evacuation plan shall contain a primary and alternate escape route for each floor. A foster caregiver shall provide initial orientation and ongoing instruction on the contents of this plan to each foster child in accordance with the foster child's age and functioning level.

(O) All escape routes shall be kept free of clutter and other obstructions.

(P) Household heating equipment used in a foster home shall be equipped with appropriate safeguards in accordance with the age and functioning level of any foster child in the home.

(Q) Heaters .

(1) Unvented heaters that burn kerosene or oil shall not be used.

(2) All heaters shall be approved by "Underwriter's Laboratory" or a certified fire inspector.

(3) All heaters shall not be prohibited by any local zoning ordinances.

(R) A foster home shall have a portable fire extinguisher in working order in or near the cooking area of the home. The fire extinguisher shall be approved by one of the following:

(1) "Underwriter's Laboratory."

(2) A certified fire inspector.

(S) Pets or domestic animals in or on the premises of a foster home shall be kept in a safe and sanitary manner in accordance with state and local laws.

(T) A foster child shall be protected from animals potentially dangerous to the child's health and safety in or on the premises of a foster home.

(U) Interior and exterior stairways accessible to children shall be protected by child safety gates or doors according to the child's age and functioning level.

(V) A foster home shall provide a smoke free environment for foster children.

(1) No smoking shall be permitted in the living area of a foster home or in a vehicle used to transport a foster child when a foster child is present.

(2) Smoking may be permitted in the home or vehicles used for transporting foster children only when no foster child is present.

(W) All prescription drugs in a foster home shall be stored in a locked cabinet or storage area except that an inhaler or other medication may be left unlocked if a person has a special health condition that requires the inhaler or medication to be immediately available.

Effective: 4/1/2019
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 11/19/2018 and 04/01/2024
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5103.03
Rule Amplifies: 5103.02, 5103.03
Prior Effective Dates: 12/30/1966, 10/01/1986, 01/01/1991, 09/18/1996, 07/01/2000, 01/01/2003, 12/11/2006, 08/01/2009, 03/01/2010, 07/01/2014