DCFS INFO MEMO 99-19

                   December 28, 1999

STATE OF WISCONSIN
Department of Health and Family Services
Division of Children and Family Services

To: Area Administrators/Assistant Area Administrators
Bureau Directors
County Department of Community Programs Directors
County Departments of Developmental Disabilities
    Services Directors
County Departments of Human Services Directors
County Departments of Social Services Directors
Program Office Directors/Section Chiefs
Tribal Chairpersons/Human Services Facilitators
From: Susan N. Dreyfus
Administrator
Re: Where a Child May Be Held in Physical Custody

1999 Wisconsin Act 9, the biennial budget, makes some changes to s. 48.207(1)(a) and (b) and 48.345(3)(a) and (b), Stats., related to where a child may be placed both pre-dispositionally and as the result of a disposition.

The change relates to the criminal background of the parent, relative or a person whose home need not be licensed. The changes are the same for all four of the identified subsections. The change prohibits the placement of a child with any such individual if the individual has been convicted:

  1. Under s. 940.01 of the first-degree intentional homicide of a parent of the child, or

  2. Under s. 940.05 of the 2nd-degree intentional homicide of a parent of the child, and

  3. The conviction has not been reversed, set aside or vacated.

The exception to this prohibition is that if the person making the custody decision, under s. 48.207, or the judge making the disposition, under s. 48.345, determines by clear and convincing evidence that the placement would be in the best interests of the child. As part of that decision, the person or judge must consider the wishes of the child.

A copy of the statutory language is attached for your convenience.

REGIONAL OFFICE CONTACT: Area Administrator
CENTRAL OFFICE CONTACT: Amy Smith
Child Protective Services Specialist
DHFS/DCFS, P.O. Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916
Phone: (608) 267-7732
FAX: 608-264-6750
e-mail: smithae@dhfs.state.wi.us

The Department of Children and Families, protecting children, strengthening families, building communities.