Administrative Rule 65C

65C-9 Alien Children

65C-13 Substitute Care of Children

65C-14 Group Care

65C-15 Child Placing Agencies

65C-16 Adoption

65C-17 Master Trust

65C-19 Certification of Public Agency Funds
as Title IV-E Match (Local Match Process)

65C-20 Family Day Standards and
Large Family Child Care Homes

65C-22 Child Care Standards

65C-23 WAGES Hardship Exemption
and Prevention Services

65C-25 Specialized Child Facilities
for the Care of Mildly-Ill Children

65C-27 Suitability Assessment

65C-28 Out of Home Care

65C-29 Protective Investigations

65C-30 General Child Welfare Provisions

65C-31 Services to Young Adults Formerly
in the Custody of the Department

65C-33 Child Welfare Training and Certification

65C-35 Psychotropic Medication
for Children in Out of Home Care

65C-38 State Automated Child Welfare System (SACWIS) Checks
For the Placement of Children

65C-41 Extension of Foster Care

65C-42 Road to Independence Program

65C-43 Placement and Services for Sexually Exploited Children





65C 9 Alien Children



 

65C-9.001 Purpose.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 409.026(8), 415.514 FS. Law Implemented 39.001(1), 409.145, 415.501, 415.5016, 415.502 FS. History–New 6-12-95, Formerly 10M-47.001, Repealed 11-16-15.

 

65C-9.002 Definitions.

(1) Undocumented Alien Child is defined as an unmarried person under the age of 18 who is not a citizen or national of the United States, and who is not in possession of valid Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) issued documents authorizing the juvenile to be in the United States.

(2) PRUCOL (“Person residing in the United States under color of law”) is defined as a person who is known to INS and whose forced departure from the United States is not imminent.

(3) SAVE (“Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Unit”) is a subdivision of the INS District Offices that verifies the validity of purported INS documents for purposes of entitlement.

(4) Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa is an immigrant visa available to a person who has been declared dependent by a juvenile court, who was deemed eligible for long term foster care, and for whom it has been determined that it would not be in her best interest to return to her or her parents’ previous country of nationality or country of last habitual residence.

(5) INS Custody is defined as physical presence in an INS facility.

(6) Immigration Proceedings are defined as either exclusion or deportation proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

(7) Special Interest Order is defined as an order from the Circuit Court establishing that the child has met the requirements for a special juvenile immigrant visa.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 409.026(8), 415.514 FS. Law Implemented 39.001(1), 409.145, 415.501, 415.5016, 415.502 FS. History–New 6-12-95, Formerly 10M-47.002.

 

65C-9.003 Procedure for Handling Alien Children Alleged to Be Abused, Neglected or Abandoned.

(1) All calls received by the statewide Department of Children and Family Services Abuse Hotline (“Hotline”) will be screened without regard to the immigration status of the alleged victim or the family or household of the victim, pursuant to the procedures established in Chapter 65C-10, F.A.C. A child’s immigration status will be determined through SAVE only, concurrent with the ongoing investigation into allegations of abuse, abandonment or neglect, and only in an effort to promote the child’s best interests which includes ascertaining, in good faith, a child’s eligibility for public benefits or need for a special immigrant juvenile visa. No such status check or other contact shall be made for the purpose of seeking the child’s or the family’s detention by INS or the initiation or resumption of deportation or exclusion proceedings against the child or the child’s family, irrespective of the outcome of the dependency proceeding. No Department of Children and Family Services staff member may attempt to place any alien child in INS custody. The immigration status of a child shall have no bearing on either the care or service rendered by Department of Children and Family Services to a child or on judicial proceedings undertaken by Department of Children and Family Services on behalf of the child. In the event an abuse report is determined to be unfounded, Department of Children and Family Services shall not thereafter communicate with the INS concerning the child or the child’s family.

(2) Absent an immediate and life-threatening emergency, no call will be accepted by the Hotline for alleged abuse, abandonment, or neglect of an undocumented alien child who is documented to be in INS custody. Such callers will be referred to the appropriate officials within the United States Department of Justice to investigate and to take appropriate remedial steps if any are necessary. Such referrals shall, however, be promptly documented by the Hotline. All other calls of alleged abuse, abandonment or neglect will be taken by the Hotline and investigated by Department of Children and Family Services, regardless of a child’s immigration status.

(3) Department of Children and Family Services Protective Investigators will respond to the scene to determine the safety of the child, without regard to immigration status, and stabilize the situation, pursuant to Chapter 65C-10, F.A.C.

(4) Department of Children and Family Services shall not place in a dependency petition reference to a child’s alienage or immigration status, or to the INS unless such reference is in good faith material to the grounds for the petition’s allegation of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

(5) Nothing contained in this rule shall preclude Department of Children and Family Services from, following appointment for the child of legal counsel and a Guardian Ad Litem, requesting the assistance of a private international social service agency in determining the appropriateness of reunification of the child with family members abroad, in accordance with criteria established by Florida law for determining the appropriateness of reunification within the United States. No child shall depart the United States under this provision prior to exhaustion of all judicial appeal periods following a court order authorizing same, absent agreement on behalf of the child by his or her counsel.

(6) No extension of time to comply with Chapter 39’s deadline for filing a dependency petition shall be sought by Department of Children and Family Services to ascertain a child’s immigration status. Nothing contained in this paragraph shall preclude Department of Children and Family Services from seeking reasonable extensions of time when necessary to promote the best interests of the child to the extent authorized by statute or the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure.

(7) When an undocumented or PRUCOL alien child is adjudicated dependent and deemed eligible for long term foster care and it is determined to be in the child’s best interest to remain in the United States, Department of Children and Family Services shall promptly seek a special interest order from the Circuit Court on the child’s behalf. If Department of Children and Family Services determines that such child, who has been adjudicated dependent, does not meet the criteria for entry of a special interest order, the Department of Children and Family Services official making that decision shall advise the child, if of suitable age, the child’s Guardian Ad Litem, and counsel, if any, in writing of the specific factual or legal basis for the decision. A copy of this notice shall become part of the child’s case file.

(8) Department of Children and Family Services shall either (a) directly or pursuant to service contract handle the application for a special juvenile immigrant visa on behalf of a child for whom a special interest order has been obtained by Department of Children and Family Services or (b) ensure that a volunteer attorney for Department of Children and Family Services submits the visa application within sixty (60) days of the entry of the special interest order, failing which the obligation to do so shall revert to the Department of Children and Family Services.

(9) In the event a working group or committee is established between INS and Department of Children and Family Services with respect to actual or prospective dependent children who are undocumented or PRUCOL aliens, the district administrator whose district participates in such group or committee shall invite a representative of the Guardian Ad Litem program and legal services or legal aid agency, if any, to at least become an observer, if not a participant of that group or committee.

(10) Department of Children and Family Services shall promptly furnish a complete copy of this rule to each of its personnel responsible for discharging Department of Children and Family Service’s obligations under Chapters 39, 409 and 415, F.S.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 409.026(8), 415.514 FS. Law Implemented 39.001(1), 409.145, 415.501, 415.5016, 415.502 FS. History–New 6-12-95, Amended 5-2-96, Formerly 10M-47.003.



65C 13 Substitute Care of Children

 

 

65C-13.022 Definitions.

All definitions for this rule are located in Rule 65C-30.001, F.A.C.

Specific Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 409.175 FS Law Implemented 39.012 FS. History–New 4-6-08.

65C-13.023 Background Screening Requirements.

(1) The department shall conduct background screenings for all persons considered by the department for initial licensure or re-licensure as an out-of-home caregiver and all adult household members pursuant to Section 409.175, F.S. The five year re-screens for the relicensing process must include fingerprints. The supervising agency or the department has the discretion to request background screening for other individuals if there is reasonable belief that:

(a) The person is a household member; or

(b) His or her presence in the family foster home adversely affects the health, safety and welfare of the children in the home; or

(c) The person has or potential exists for unsupervised contact with the children.

(2) These screenings shall, at a minimum, include fingerprinting; statewide criminal and juvenile records checks through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; federal criminal records checks through the Federal Bureau of Investigation; local criminal record checks through local law enforcement agencies, and may include records of any responses to the home by law enforcement that did not result in criminal charges. Records checks through the department’s Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) regarding child abuse and neglect investigations and civil court records checks regarding domestic violence complaints and orders of protection must also be included. If the applicant or any other adult household member has resided in any other state during the past five years, requests for abuse and neglect histories must be made of those states, and the results of such requests included with the application packet. Only abuse and neglect reports in which the person being considered for licensure was named as the “caregiver responsible” for the abuse or neglect may be used for initial licensing decisions. If the person applying is or was a licensee of the department and was named in any capacity in three or more reports during a five year period, regardless of classification, those reports may be reviewed by the department for their relevancy as it relates to the licensing decision. All reports in which the person seeking licensure or re-licensure was named as the “caregiver responsible” must be considered for licensing purposes. For homes being considered for licensure for longer than one year under Section 409.175(6)(j), F.S., all abuse reports with any findings shall be considered.

(3) Each applicant and adult household member being screened shall sign an “Affidavit of Good Moral Character”, CF 1649, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03560 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/, and a “Release of Information”, CF-FSP 5090, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03563 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/.

(4) Each applicant and adult household member being screened under this section shall provide all the names, under which he or she has been known.

(5) Young adults ages 18 through 22 who are receiving services through Chapter 65C-31, F.A.C., and who have had no break in service provision are not required to be screened.

(6) When the individual who is being screened is a former dependent child under 23 years of age and the security background screening reveals a disqualifying offense which was committed during or prior to the time that the child was dependent, that offense shall not automatically affect the licensure of the out-of-home caregivers. Exemptions for disqualifying offenses may be sought under Section 435.07, F.S.

(7) All records obtained, as a part of the background screening, shall be considered in the process of determining whether to issue a foster care license or if there is a current license, whether the license should be revoked. Such records shall include findings of delinquency; any misdemeanor or felony criminal arrests resulting in a plea of nolo contendere or conviction; any criminal traffic offenses resulting in a plea of nolo contendere or conviction, and any civil cases of domestic violence and orders for protection. Crimes perpetrated in other states that are misdemeanors in that state but would be felonies listed under Section 435.04, F.S., if committed in Florida shall be considered as disqualifying offenses by the department for licensing decisions.

(8) Persons who are currently licensed as out-of-home caregivers and any adult household members shall be re-screened at least annually as a part of the application for re-licensing. Annual screening for re-licensure shall be limited to a local criminal records check, an abuse and neglect record check clearance through the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System, and may include records of any responses to the home by law enforcement that did not result in criminal charges, and any 911 calls to the home. The state criminal records checks and fingerprints shall be completed every five years through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The background screening of a prospective out-of-home caregiver shall ensure that any previous licensing, registration or certification as an out-of home caregiver in Florida or in any other state or country is considered. Abuse and neglect reports in which the applicant was named in any capacity in three institutional reports, regardless of classification over the past five years shall be reviewed for relevancy related to the licensing decision and will be considered in determining whether to renew or revoke the person’s license. All reports with any findings are considered for the purposes of re-licensing a home for more than one year under Section 409.175(6)(j), F.S.

(9) The cost of all background screening activities shall be borne by the supervising or lead agency.

Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 409.175, 435.01(2) FS. Law Implemented 39.0121, 409.175, 435.04 FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 3-6-14.

65C-13.024 Parent Preparation Pre-service Training .

(1)Parent preparation pre-service training shall meet the requirements of Section 409.175, F.S., and shall include training for out-of-home caregivers on decision-making related to the balance of normalcy for children in care and their safety. The parent preparation pre-service curriculum shall also include training related to the administration of psychotropic medication, the social and emotional development of children and youth, the role of mentors and other helpers, development of life skills for teens in care, and the caregiver’s role in supporting and promoting the educational progress of the child. The training on administration of psychotropic medication shall consist of a review of the proper dosage of medication and the importance of monitoring for possible side effects and intended effects of the specific medications administered to the child. All caregivers are required to complete a minimum of 21 hours of pre-service training.

(2)Each parent preparation pre-service training class shall be led by a certified child protection professional according to Section 402.40, F.S., who has a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree from an accredited college or university, and who has also successfully met any curriculum-specific requirements to train the department approved parent preparation pre-service training curriculum (e.g., curriculum trainer certification). Each parent preparation pre-service training class shall follow the recommendations of the curriculum designer regarding the number and type of facilitators involved in the training process. If the agency is the designer of the curriculum, the number and types of facilitators to be involved in the training process must be clearly defined.

(3) The certified child protection professional trainer is responsible for ensuring that the parent preparation pre-service training curriculum is presented and discussed and that copies of all handouts and reading materials are provided to the participants.

(4) The lead agency is authorized to approve the completion of individualized pre-service training. If individualized training is done, the certified child protection professional is responsible for complying with the requirements set forth for parent preparation pre-service training in Section 409.175, F.S., and the requirements set forth in this chapter.

(5) Prospective out-of-home caregivers and adoptive parents have the option to attend parent preparation pre-service training as defined in subsection (2) of this section, offered by any licensed child placing agency. Agencies shall work cooperatively with each other and prospective licensed out-of-home caregivers and adoptive parents to ensure the ongoing availability of such training.

(6)Exemptions to the parent preparation pre-service training for individuals who have successfully completed parent preparation pre-service training equivalent to the parent preparation pre-service training offered by the local supervising agency are based on whether the training was completed within the last five years and on the condition that the individual provides proof of successful completion. If there have been changes or updates in the curriculum, the individual must take those portions of the course only. Supervising agencies must request any information regarding the curriculum completed for the purposes of making a recommendation to the department. The Regional Licensing authority shall review the curriculum content and consider the recommendation of the supervising agency in determining whether the individual is exempt from attending the parent preparation pre-service training.

(7) When prospective out-of-home caregivers successfully complete or who commence and fail to complete a parent preparation pre-service training but do not continue the licensing process, the supervising agency staff shall document the reason the process was discontinued on the Person Provider Page, under the Training Tab, in Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN). Completed parent preparation pre-service training is valid for five years from the date of verified curriculum completion. Previously licensed out-of-home caregivers who have a break in service of eighteen months or less, but who completed parent preparation pre-service training within the last five year have the option to apply to be licensed without completing parent preparation pre-service training.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175, 402.40(6) FS. Law Implemented 409.175, 402.40 FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 3-6-14.

65C-13.025 Initial Licensing.

(1) General.

(a) Each applicant wishing to become a licensed out-of-home caregiver shall complete the “Application for License to Provide Out-of-Home Care for Dependent Children”, CF-FSP 5007, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03561 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/. Parenting figures living together shall both be licensed. After successfully completing training and the home study process, any person who requests an application either verbally or in writing shall be provided one.

(b) The supervising agency completing the home study shall, at a minimum, conduct two visits to the applicant’s home, inspect the entire indoor and outdoor premises, document the conditions, and conduct face to face interviews with all household members. The dates, names of persons interviewed and summary of these interviews shall be documented in the home study.

(c) The supervising agency is responsible for advising the applicant of all rules, regulations, and standards that apply to the applicant if a license is issued.

(2) Employees, Relatives and Sub-Contractors as Licensed Out-of-Home Caregivers. Licensing of employees of the department, County Sheriff’s Offices, Lead Agencies and their subcontracted providers or their relatives who desire to become out-of-home caregivers is allowable as long as the following conditions are met:

(a) No conflict of interest exists that could result in preferential treatment concerning the placement and movement of children placed in the potential licensed family foster home;

(b) The licensing study is completed by a licensed child-placing agency outside of the employee’s service area and submitted to the Regional Licensing Authority for approval;

(c) The lead agency responsible for submitting the licensing packet (traditional or attestation) to the department has a procedure approved by the Regional Licensing Authority, which requires the executive director or designee in upper level management of the lead agency to review and approve the submission of all such applications to the department.

(d) Attestation is an option for use during the initial licensure or re-licensing of a family foster home. The Community-Based Care (CBC) lead agency certifies that the supporting documentation for the initial licensure or re-licensure of a family foster home is in compliance with state law and Florida Administrative Code. The CBC lead agency is responsible for the review and maintenance of the supporting documents for initial and re-licensure. The Department issues the license based on a statement attesting that the licensure or re-licensure packet complies with state law and code.

(e) Attestation For Foster Home Licensure, CF-FSP 5357, February 2013, is incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03921 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/ The Community-Based Care lead agency must also submit the completed Licensing Standards Checklist For 24-Hour Family Care, CF-FSP 5358, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03572 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/. The checklist must be signed by the supervising agency licensing counselor and supervisor.

(f) Community-Based Care agencies participating in the Attestation Model for licensure must enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Regional Licensing office. The Memorandum of Agreement, CF-FSP 5356, March 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03570 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/.

(3) Initial Licensing Home Study. A staff person, certified pursuant to Section 402.40, F.S., from the supervising agency shall perform a thorough assessment of each prospective licensed out-of-home caregiver and document this assessment in a home study, which shall include, at a minimum:

(a) Demographics: names, dates of birth, addresses, and contact numbers;

(b) Pre-service Experience:

1. Dates of parent preparation pre-service training and a description of the applicant’s participation in the classes;

2. Applicant’s motivation to foster and his or her commitment to the foster care experience including how other family members and extended family feel about the decision to foster.

(c) Chronology of events. Include dates of home visits and persons interviewed;

(d) Home and Neighborhood:

1. Physical description of the home, including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, type and number of available beds and current sleeping arrangements, storage space for children’s personal belongings, living area, dining area and other interior space. Interior and exterior photos must be included. Interior photographs shall include all common living areas, the child’s bedroom and bathroom, and the storage space for the child’s personal belongings.

2. A description of the home, including location and verification of operating fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, storage of medications, cleaning supplies, toxins and safety net for trampolines. The description shall also include the storage of alcoholic beverages, location of burglar bars, fireplaces, handrails on stairways and space heaters, if applicable;

3. Water Safety. A description of the outdoor area including swimming pools, canals, ponds, lakes, streams, septic tanks and other potential water hazards and documentation of the counselor’s discussion with the applicant regarding the requirements for supervision and how the applicant will ensure safety and adequate supervision.

(e) Animals. Provide a description of any household pets, exotic pets, or livestock residing on the premises. The immunization of animals as required by Section 828.30, F.S., shall be verified. Descriptions shall include observations of the care, behavior, and/or maintenance and safety plan relating to each animal. The applicant shall have measures in place to assure safety of children from any potentially dangerous animals and this information shall be documented in the home study, if applicable;

(f) Social History. A description of the following shall be included:

1. Background and Family History. Background and family history including education, types of discipline used in the family, the family’s willingness and ability to use appropriate discipline as described in the Partnership Plan for Children in Out-of-Home Care, CF-FSP 5226, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03565 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications, family values, and any prior residences in or out of Florida.

2. Marital Status and Other Significant Relationships.

3. Medical History. Medical history including physical and mental health treatments for all household members shall be assessed. This assessment shall include any debilitating, communicable or progressive diseases or conditions. The applicant must supply recent medical and mental health reports and evaluations upon request of the supervising agency or department. Health concerns relating to the applicant and household members, including any history of alcohol or other substance abuse, shall be documented in the home study.

a. Current smoking and alcohol use by household members;

b. Any history of alcohol or substance abuse.

4. Parenting experience of each applicant. All of the applicant’s children shall be identified whether they reside in the home or not. If the applicant has parenting experience with children other than their biological or adopted children, circumstances under which this experience was acquired shall be discussed. This section must include a description of the experience, as opposed to just listing the identities of the applicant’s children or the children they may have parented.

5. Family Life. Document observations of family members’ personalities and their interpersonal relationships. Describe family activities, hobbies and interests and civic involvement including how children placed in the home will participate in these activities, as well as family vacations. For each child living in the home, describe the child’s school, grades, achievements and interests. Describe each child’s relationship with the applicant and siblings in the home, as well as his or her feelings about having a foster child in the home.

6. Religion. Assess and document the family’s attitudes regarding seeking medical treatment, celebrating holidays or birthdays, and respecting the religious beliefs of the child’s family of origin.

7. Child Care. Describe child care arrangements, including transportation to and from the child care provider, if applicable.

(g) Transportation. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall have transportation available twenty-four hours a day. All vehicles used to transport children shall be in safe condition and equipped with seat belts for each child transported as required by Section 316.614, F.S., and car seats as required by Section 316.613, F.S. Vehicles shall be smoke free when children are being transported. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall ensure appropriate safety equipment is utilized.

(h) Employment. Describe the current employment status for each parent, including occupation, current place of employment, work hours and flexibility of schedule in case of emergencies, medical or school appointments for children.

(i) Financial Capacity and Income. Describe and document the applicant’s current financial capacity and how the impact of the additional financial responsibilities of fostering will be addressed.

(j)Other Adult Household Members. The responsibilities the applicant(s) will expect the other adults in the household to have with children placed in the home.

(k) Summary and Recommendations:

1. Characteristics of Applicant. The applicant shall demonstrate the following characteristics:

a. A willingness to work with the supervising agency and all applicable parties including biological parents to work toward permanence for the child as established in the child’s case plan; and

b. An understanding and respect for the importance of preserving a child’s family connections and relationships.

2. Summarize reference responses and follow up contacts, if applicable, as they relate to the applicant’s suitability and potential success as a licensed out-of-home caregiver. Describe and assess the family’s strengths and needs, taking into consideration all factors affecting the health, safety and welfare of children who might be placed in this home. A recommendation shall be made as to the suitability for licensure.

3. Recommendation for licensure shall describe the characteristics of children most appropriate for placement in the home. These characteristics shall include number of children, age, gender(s), types of behaviors, and special needs. Explore and address any limitations or concerns and under what conditions the prospective family would not be willing or able to accept the child.

4. If recommending denial of licensure, the summary shall specify the licensing standards the applicant is unable to meet and attach all supporting documentation. The department must notify the applicant regarding the appeal process.

(l) The home study shall be reviewed, and signed by the applicant, licensing counselor and the counselor’s supervisor. A copy of the home study shall be provided to the applicant.

(4) Application Packet Submission and Approval Process.

(a) The complete application packet shall be submitted in accordance with the traditional or Attestation Model for licensure. A request for additional information shall be submitted by the regional licensing authority within ten working calendar days of receipt of the packet.

(b) A traditional licensing application packet shall consist of the following documentation:

1. “Application for License to Provide Out-of-Home Care for Dependent Children”, CF-FSP 5007, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03561 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/;

2. “Release of Information”, CF-FSP 5090, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03563 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/;

3. “Authorization for Release of Health and Medical Information for Prospective Foster or Adoptive Parents”, CF-FSP 5230, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03566 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/ (as needed);

4. Licensing Home Study;

5. Proof of Income;

6. A Partnership Plan for Out-of-Home Care, CF-FSP 5226, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03565 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications.

7. Parent Preparation Pre-service training certificate;

8. Parent Preparation Pre-service biographical profile which shall be the demographic and narrative portions of the Unified Home Study as completed by the applicant(s);

9. Documentation of water safety training, if applicable. As a prerequisite to licensure, potential licensed out-of-home caregivers who have swimming pools or whose homes are adjacent to bodies of water unprotected by a barrier of at least four feet will be required to complete a basic water safety course administered by the American Red Cross, YMCA or a trainer certified in water safety training. This requirement does not apply to homes with temporary wading pools or, portable pools with a depth of less than two feet. Standing water shall not remain in wading pools when not in use;

10. “Confidentiality Agreement”, CF-FSP 5087, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03562 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/;

11. Verification of Criminal History Screening for applicant and all adult household members as specified in subsection 65C-13.023(2), F.A.C., including:

a. “Affidavit of Good Moral Character”, CF 1649, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03560 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/;

b. Local Law Enforcement check;

c. Civil Court records check;

d. Florida Department of Law Enforcement records check;

e. Federal Bureau of Investigation clearance letter;

f. Abuse history background check through the Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN).

g. Abuse registry checks for the previous five years from any previous state of residence if the applicant or adult household members have resided in the State of Florida for less than five years.

12. References including:

a. The applicant(s) shall provide the names of three personal references that are not related to the applicant(s) and that shall have known the applicant(s) for at least two years. Each of the three personal references must provide information related to the applicant’s parenting skills. References are to be verified either verbally or in writing by the supervising agency staff.

b. The supervising agency shall obtain a current employment reference for each applicant. At a minimum, this reference shall include sufficient information to establish or corroborate the applicant’s current employment and income. If current employment is less than two consecutive years in duration, secondary employment references shall be obtained.

c. The supervising agency staff shall make reasonable efforts to obtain references from the adult children of each applicant. These references shall address the applicant’s suitability to become a licensed out-of-home caregiver. All unsuccessful attempts to solicit information shall be documented, and the overall impact of the missing information considered as a part of the recommendation to grant or deny a license.

d. The supervising agency shall obtain references from school personnel of each school age child residing in the home.

e. The supervising agency shall obtain references from the childcare provider of any preschool age child residing in the home who is enrolled in a child care program.

f. References and documentation regarding any previous licensure as out-of-home caregivers.

13. Family Documents:

a. Documentation of legal Florida residency, proof of legal status in the United States (for non-citizens) for applicants not born in the United States (United States citizenship is not required);

b. Driver’s license(s) and driving records for household members who may transport children;

c. Vehicle insurance.

14. Family Foster Home Safety Documentation:

a. Satisfactory home environmental health inspection report completed by a licensing specialist who has been trained by the state or local health department in the areas of water supply, food holding temperature, plumbing, vermin and vector control, sewage, and garbage and rubbish disposal;

b. Radon testing results when applicable;

c. Fire inspection report (where required by local zoning laws);

d. Floor plan;

e. Evacuation and disaster preparedness plans;

f. Documentation of pet vaccinations (if applicable);

g. Photographs of household members and pets.

15. All prospective, licensed out-of-home caregivers must complete The Fire Arms Acknowledgment form CF-FSP 5343, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03567 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/.

(5) Unless otherwise outlined in an Attestation Memorandum of Agreement, CF-FSP 5356, March 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03570 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/, the Regional Licensing Authority is responsible for ensuring that the licensing application packet is complete and that all licensing requirements are met for the issuance of the license. The licensing packet shall contain documentation of a review by the lead agency and the department’s regional licensing staff and a recommendation for approval or denial by the Regional Licensing Authority.

(6) If the application packet is approved, a license shall be issued to the applicant(s). The license shall include the name and address of the caregiver(s), the name of the supervising agency, the licensed capacity and the dates for which the license is valid. The Regional Managing Director or designee within upper level management shall sign the license. Any limitations shall be displayed on the license if the home study indicates the necessity for such restrictions, such as specific ages or gender preference. An initial license is valid for one year from the date of issuance unless the license is revoked or voluntarily relinquished.

(7) A copy of the license shall be provided by the Regional Licensing Authority to the lead agency.

(8) When the department determines that the application shall be denied, the department shall promptly notify the applicant and supervising agency by certified mail, identifying the reasons for the denial of the license, the statutory authority for the denial of the license, and the applicant’s right of appeal pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S. The denial and reason(s) for denial shall promptly be recorded in the Florida Safe Families Network by the supervising agency.

(9) Unless the applicant voluntarily withdraws the application, the department shall proceed with formal actions.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175, 435.01 FS. Law Implemented 409.175, 435.04 FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 3-6-14.

65C-13.026 Continuing Education.

(1) The supervising agency may require therapeutic and medical foster homes to complete additional continuing education hours based on the level of therapeutic and medical care they provide. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall be offered continuing education opportunities by their supervising agency. Continuing education opportunities shall be offered no less than quarterly and at times and places convenient to the licensed out-of-home caregiver. For those licensed out-of-home caregivers unable to attend, other methods shall be developed for satisfying this requirement. Continuing education materials shall be approved by the supervising agency prior to use. Documentation of completed continuing education shall be documented on the provider training page in Florida Safe Families Network.

(2)Licensed out-of-home caregivers participating in required continuing education shall be reimbursed for mileage expense at a rate not to exceed the rate paid per mile to supervising agency personnel.

(3) If the absence of the caregiver during training would leave children without approved adult supervision, the supervising agency shall make arrangements for child care or shall reimburse the caregiver the child care purchased by the parents for children in their care.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 3-6-14.

65C-13.027 Changes During the Licensed Year.

(1) Requirements.

(a) The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall report law enforcement involvement with any household member. Law enforcement involvement includes arrests, incidents of domestic violence, driving infractions and any local law enforcement response to the home over the course of the licensed year. In addition, the caregiver shall report a change in marital status; a change in household composition; a change of physical address; changes in financial situation such as bankruptcy, repossessions and evictions; a serious health issue such as a debilitating injury or communicable disease regarding a household member; change in contact information; change in employment or significant change in work schedule to the supervising agency within 48 business hours of the change occurring. A significant change in work schedule occurs when a licensed caregiver’s work schedule differs from the work schedule at initial licensure, and the new schedule causes the caregiver to seek child care. For example, a licensed caregiver’s work schedule changes from part-time to full-time employment. The supervising agency shall notify the lead agency within 24 business hours of learning of any of these changes. Failure to do so may be reason to suspend, deny or revoke a license if the non-reported situation threatens the safety or well-being of any child in care or results in the non-conformity with licensing requirements stated in this rule.

(b) The supervising agency shall assess the impact on the household immediately upon learning one of these events has occurred or is likely to occur. Changes in physical address, require re-licensing.

(c) All new household members age 18 and older shall be fingerprinted within five days of residence and those fingerprints shall be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement within five days of the receipt of the fingerprints by the supervising agency. All household members shall meet the requirements for background screening.

(2) Significant Household Changes.

(a) The licensed out-of-home caregiver must also report the following significant household changes:

Within 10 calendar days from a licensed out-of-home caregiver marrying or reconciling with an unlicensed spouse or partner, the unlicensed spouse or partner shall complete an “Application for License to Provide Out-of-Home Care for Dependent Children”, CF-FSP 5007, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03561 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/, submit fingerprints within five calendar days of residence for background screening unless previously completed, attend parent preparation pre-service training, if not previously completed within the last five years, and meet all licensing requirements. The unlicensed spouse or partner shall have six months from the date of marriage or reconciliation to complete pre-service training. Failure to meet the licensing and background screening provisions which may threaten the safety of any child in care, or place the home in violation of the licensing standards, are grounds for denial, suspension or revocation of an application or license. During this evaluation period, the home remains licensed and previously placed children may remain in the home pending the outcome of the assessment. No new children shall be placed in the home until the application has been completed and approved. The supervising agency will update the home study summary, including interviews with all children in the home, verification of satisfactory background screening, and verification of income and expenses, and submit to the lead agency within 30 days of any marriage or reconciliation.

(b) In cases of separation, divorce or death of a spouse, paramour, or partner, the supervising agency shall update the home study summary and assess its impact upon the children placed in the home. The home study summary update shall include interviews with the children, if age appropriate, verification of income and expenses and the remaining caregiver’s plan to meet all financial obligations. The updated home study shall be submitted to the Regional Licensing Authority within 45 calendar days for issuance of an amended license.

(c) New Household Member. When new members join the household, the supervising agency shall update the home study summary, address the changes in sleeping arrangements, and submit to the lead agency at the time the home is relicensed.

(d) Once all licensing requirements have been met, the supervising agency shall update the home study summary and submit a request to the licensing authority for the issuance of an amended license.

(3) Change of Location. A license is issued for a specific location and is not transferable. A licensed out-of-home caregiver shall notify the supervising agency no less than 30 days prior to the expected date of the relocation. The supervising agency shall complete a relocation packet for submission to the Regional Licensing Authority for issuance of a license.

(a) Within Region.

1. Changing location within the region shall require an “Application for License to Provide Out-of-Home Care for Dependent Children”, CF-FSP 5007, February 2013, available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03561 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/; an updated home study which contains a description of the home and neighborhood, school changes, sleeping arrangements, a satisfactory environmental health inspection of the new residence, the current floor plan, disaster plan, home emergency evacuation plan, fire inspection where required by local zoning laws and radon testing where applicable. A provisional license may be issued prior to the health inspection after the supervising agency conducts a safety assessment of the new location. This provisional license will expire within 90 days of issuance by the Regional Licensing Authority. No new children shall be placed in a home that is provisionally licensed.

2. The supervising agency shall obtain all required documentation and submit it to the lead agency and Regional Licensing Authority for review. The lead agency will submit all required documents to the Regional Licensing Authority to initiate the issuance of a standard license.

3. The supervising agency shall complete at least one home visit as part of the updated licensing home study.

4. If approved, an amended license shall be issued and shall expire on the same date as the previous license.

5. If licensure of the new home is not recommended and there are children currently placed in the home, the primary case manager shall immediately begin assessing alternative placement options.

(b) Between Regions.

1. A licensed out-of-home caregiver who plans to move from one region to another and wishes to continue being licensed shall notify their current supervising agency at least thirty calendar days prior to the planned move. Coordination and responsibility for ensuring the transition of the license shall be as follows:

a. The supervising agency shall assist the licensed out-of-home caregiver in finding a supervising agency in the new region.

b. The current lead agency and supervising agency will work in partnership to secure a commitment from the receiving supervising agency in the new region to complete the requirements for re-licensing.

2. The current supervising agency shall secure a release of information form from the family that is relocating, “Release of Information”, CF-FSP 5090, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03563 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/. The current supervising agency shall then send the new supervising agency information to allow the agency to access the family’s information in FSFN. If the new supervising agency does not have access to FSFN, the current supervising agency shall provide a complete copy of the licensing file including the new contact information for the out-of-home caregiver to the new supervising agency.

3. The new supervising agency will contact the licensed out-of-home caregivers immediately upon notification of the relocation to begin the licensing process.

4. When currently placed children are relocating with the out-of-home caregiver, the new supervising agency shall submit the home study and completed application packet according to the regional licensing submission process within thirty days of notification of relocation.

5. Prior to submission of the home study and application packet, the new home remains unlicensed but a provisional license may be issued after the safety assessment is completed and received by the new Regional Licensing Authority and prior to the satisfactory home environmental health inspection report completed by a licensing specialist who has been trained by the state or local health department to conduct such inspections. This provisional license will expire within 90 days of issuance by the Regional Licensing Authority. No new children shall be placed in a home that is provisionally licensed.

6. The new Regional Licensing Authority shall request any additional documentation legally required to ensure that all minimum standards and out-of-home caregiver expectations are met within ten working days of receipt of the application packet. If no additional information is legally required, the new license shall be issued within ten working days of receipt of the complete application packet. No additional children will be placed in the home until the new license is signed.

7. If the decision is made to deny the new application, the Regional Licensing Authority will notify the applicant and supervising agency by certified mail within five working days of the decision to deny, identifying the reasons for the denial of the license, the statutory authority for the denial of the license, and the applicant’s right of appeal pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S. The denial and reason(s) for denial shall promptly be recorded in the Florida Safe Families Network by the supervising agency. If there are any children that moved with the caregiver from the former region the Regional Licensing Authority will notify the new supervising agency within twenty-four hours of the decision to deny the application. The new supervising agency shall notify the former supervising agency and the contracted service provider responsible for courtesy supervision within twenty-four hours of receiving the notice. All possible placement options, the possible risk to the children and their best interest shall be considered and a decision made regarding their placement within twenty-four hours of receipt of the notification. The removal and placement of the children is the responsibility of the former supervising agency and the contracted service provider with primary responsibility for supervision of the children.

(c) Out of State. The same process as outlined for a change in region is to be followed. However, if the children are to move out of state with the licensed out-of-home caregiver, the primary case manager is required to initiate an Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children request pursuant to Section 409.401, F.S. In any instance where the decision to relocate to another state is made or it is intended to send or bring the child to the receiving state, or the child and existing family unit have already been sent or brought to the receiving state, an ICPC-100A, Interstate Compact Placement Request, CF 0794, October 2005, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03713 and, the required supporting documentation shall be prepared immediately upon the making of the decision, processed within five (5) business days by the sending agency’s state compact administrator and transmitted to the receiving state compact administrator with notice of the intended placement date. The sending agency’s state compact administrator shall request that the receiving state respond to the case within five (5) business days of receipt of the request and with due regard for the desired time for the child to be sent or brought to the receiving state. If the family unit and child are already present in the receiving state, the receiving state’s compact administrator shall determine within five (5) business days of receipt of the 100A and complete home study request packet whether provisional approval shall be granted and provide the decision in writing to the sending state compact administrator by facsimile, mail, overnight mail or electronic transmission, if acceptable. If extenuating circumstances exist, the case manager shall provide an explanation and documentation of the circumstances surrounding the move for consideration and processing by the Florida Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children Office.

(4) Change of Supervising Agency.

(a) A currently licensed out-of-home caregiver wishing to change providers shall file a supplemental “Application for License to Provide Out-of-Home Care for Dependent Children” CF-FSP 5007, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03561 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/, with the desired supervising agency.

(b) The desired supervising agency shall:

1. Request all information concerning the performance of the respective licensed out-of-home caregiver from the current supervising agency, including their recommendation for licensure;

2. Consider the application and advise the applicant in writing of whether it does or does not find the family appropriate for transfer to their agency within thirty days of receipt of the application; and

3. Notify the sending agency and the department of the determination.

4. If the family is found to be inappropriate for continued licensure, the supervising agency and Regional Licensing Authority shall deny the application and the department shall make the family aware of the appeal process. The denial and reason(s) for denial shall promptly be recorded in the Florida Safe Families Network by the supervising agency.

(c) Supervising agencies shall share all information concerning the performance of the respective licensed out-of-home caregiver, along with their recommendations, upon request.

(d) If the licensed out-of-home caregiver is accepted, the new supervising agency shall submit a new application packet according to the regional licensing submission process for issuance of the new license.

(e) If the request to change providers occurs during the licensure year, the new supervising agency need only submit an “Application for License to Provide Out-of-Home Care for Dependent Children” CF-FSP 5007, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03561 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/, and letter of acceptance in accordance with the regional licensing submission process. The Regional Licensing Authority will issue an amended license to reflect the new supervising agency for the remainder of the established licensure year. The new supervising agency assumes all responsibility for the annual re-licensure activities.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 3-6-14.

 

65C-13.028 Re-Licensing.

(1) Requirements.

(a) Re-licensing procedures shall be initiated by the supervising agency and the re-licensing packet shall be submitted to the licensing authority at least thirty days prior to expiration of the current license. The re-licensing process shall not be initiated more than ninety days prior to the expiration of the current license.

(b) Out-of-home caregivers requesting to be re-licensed shall complete the “Application for License to Provide Out-of-Home Care for Dependent Children”, CF-FSP 5007, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03561 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/. Persons living together in a caretaking role shall both sign the application. Any licensed out-of-home caregiver that requests an application either verbally or in writing for re-licensure shall be provided one.

(c) An applicant shall sign all required re-licensing documentation as requested.

(d) The supervising agency shall ensure the completion of the application process by doing the following:

1. Request a home environmental health inspection report to be completed by a licensing specialist who has been trained by the state or local health department. The request shall be made 60 days in advance of the home’s re-licensing due date to facilitate the receipt of a satisfactory environmental health inspection report prior to the expiration of the license. For the homes that are issued a three-year license, the health inspection is not required annually; however, the home health inspection must be completed before the end of the three-year licensure period.

2. Direct the licensed out-of-home caregivers to obtain a radon test every fifth year if required by Section 404.056, F.S.

(e) The supervising agency shall ensure that all required background screening has been completed.

(f) References. The supervising agency responsible for completing the re-licensing home study shall obtain and review information about the home from the “Case Manager’s Review of the Licensed Out-of-Home Caregiver’s Performance”, CF-FSP 5223, March 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03564 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/, for the case managers who have supervised children in the home during the previous licensing year.

(g) The supervising agency shall obtain from the case managers the completed Exit Interview with Foster Child about Foster Parents form, CF-FSP 5353, March 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03569 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/. This form must be completed when children over the age of five exit the home following a placement of thirty days or more. The supervising agency will review the exit interviews and must address issues raised in the exit interviews in the relicensing summary. The re-licensing packet must contain exit interviews. If exit interviews are not provided with the re-licensing packet, the proper administrator of the lead agency shall be notified.

(h) Applicants for renewal shall provide the agency with:

1. Documentation of at least eight hours of in-service training;

2. Updated driver’s license, driving record, and auto insurance coverage information as applicable.

(2) Re-licensing Procedures.

(a) The supervising agency shall conduct a minimum of one face-to-face visit in the home and interview all household members prior to re-licensure.

(b) The supervising agency shall review and discuss The Partnership Plan for Children in Out-of-Home Care, CF-FSP 5226, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03565 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/ with the applicants.

(c) The licensing counselor shall inspect the entire premises of the home, including all interior and exterior areas, for continued compliance with initial licensing standards.

(d) Vehicles used for transporting children shall be observed for seatbelt compliance and any obvious safety hazards documented and addressed in a corrective action plan, if necessary.

(e) Fire drill logs shall be reviewed and discussed to ensure continued compliance with initial licensing standards. The evacuation plan and disaster preparedness plan shall be reviewed and discussed.

(3) Re-licensing Home Study. As a part of the re-licensing application packet, the supervising agency shall make a thorough evaluation of each licensed out-of-home caregiver and document this evaluation using the Unified Home Study module in FSFN. The updated home study shall include, at a minimum:

(a) Demographics: Names, Dates of Birth, Address, and contact numbers;

(b) In-Service Training. List all applicable training, including dates, number of hours and topics. Identify expiration date for water safety training as applicable;

(c) Chronology. Dates of home visits and persons interviewed;

(d) Family Composition and Description. Note any changes in household composition, employment, family members, arrests, divorce or separations, serious illness or medical conditions in detail. Any new household member shall be interviewed and a written summary provided;

(e) Home and Neighborhood. Any changes to the physical environment, addition of a pool or remodeling, fencing, physical surroundings, and sleeping arrangements, maintenance of both interior and exterior conditions of home, surrounding outdoor area and continued availability of safe play areas for children, shall be documented;

(f) Animals. Any new animals such as dogs, cats or exotic pets that could potentially cause harm to a child should be discussed as in the initial licensing home study. Animals requiring rabies vaccination under Section 828.30, F.S., must be vaccinated for rabies and their vaccinations current at the time of re-licensure;

(g) Licensed out-of-home caregiver’s fostering experience. Documentation of the licensed out-of-home caregiver’s experiences with staff and providers and his or her statements regarding services received by the child shall be completed. The licensed out-of-home caregiver’s experience over the previous licensing year and the family’s feelings of how fostering has affected their relationships or lifestyle shall be discussed;

(h) Discipline. Description of how the licensed out-of-home caregiver has managed behavior with children placed in the home;

(i) Family life.

1. Documentation of the licensed out-of-home caregiver’s support and integration of children into the family such as attendance at and involvement with children’s activities; ensuring children have reliable transportation to school, social events, medical appointments, and inclusion in other family activities. The supervising agency will describe the licensed out-of-home caregiver’s attentiveness to the provision of clothing and allowances to the children in their care.

2. Documentation of the level of cooperation of licensed out-of-home caregivers with the children’s families, including visitation for any children placed in the home during the previous licensing year. Describe of how the family has worked with the supervising agency and other service providers.

3. Documentation of the licensed out-of-home caregiver’s compliance with proper administration and monitoring of medication, cooperation with medical directives and appointments;

4. Documentation of the maintenance of school and resource records for each child in placement.

(j) Child care. Assess and document the current arrangements for child care and after school care;

(k) Transportation Safety.

1. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall have transportation available twenty-four hours a day. All vehicles used to transport children shall be in safe condition, in compliance with applicable motor vehicle laws of the state, and equipped with seat belts and approved car seats for children as required by law. Vehicles shall be smoke free when children are being transported. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall have the ability to safely transport the number of children in his or her care. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall ensure appropriate safety equipment is utilized.

2. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall have all vehicles insured.

(l) Employment, Financial Capacity and Income. Any change in financial status or employment shall be addressed;

(m) Safety. Assess and document continuing compliance with initial licensing standards as they relate to the safety of the home;

(n) Other Adult Household Members. Documentation of the responsibilities the applicant(s) will expect the other adults in the household to have with children placed in the home.

(o) Background Screening. The results of all background screening information shall be obtained, reviewed and assessed for each individual in the home who is older than twelve years of age;

(p) History of Placement Activity. Placement activity during the previous licensing year shall be identified and discussed. If the family requested that a child be moved, the reasons and circumstances must be addressed. The narrative must provide detail about each child who has left the home and address how the family has worked with each child;

(q) Youth Exit Interviews. An exit interview, Exit Interview with Foster Child About Foster Parents, CF-FSP 5353, March 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03569 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications must be conducted and assessed with every child ages five through eighteen who lived in the home for 30 days or longer.

(r) Staff Feedback. A summary of feedback from staff members as it relates to the family’s continued suitability and performance as a licensed out-of-home caregiver;

(s) Investigations, Special Condition Referrals, Concerns or Complaints. A summary assessment of investigations and special condition referrals, incident reports, accidents and complaints during the previous licensing period must be included;

(t) Summary. All forms and information obtained as a part of the relicensing process shall be summarized in a written narrative. The narrative should include the characteristics of children for whom the family is most appropriate, including number of children, age, gender, special needs and behaviors. A summary of the family’s ability to continue the provision of foster care services shall be completed and encompass the following:

1. A recommendation concerning the appropriateness of continued licensure including a professional development plan.

2. An on-going continuing education needs assessment;

3. If re-licensure is not recommended, the applicant must be made aware of the appeal process by the Regional Licensing Authority. Attempts must be made to assist the licensed out-of-home caregiver in overcoming identified deficiencies. The denial of re-licensure and reason(s) for denial shall promptly be recorded in the Florida Safe Families Network by the supervising agency;

4. The home study shall be reviewed, signed and dated by the counselor responsible for completing the study and the counselor’s supervisor. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall be offered an opportunity to sign the home study and must be provided a copy;

(4) Re-licensing Process.

(a) If the region and community based care lead agency do not participate in the attestation model for license, the Regional Licensing Authority shall determine if the re-licensing application packet is complete and notify the lead agency in writing of the need for any additional materials or information within 10 working days of receipt of the re-licensing packet. The lead agency must submit the necessary materials or information to the Regional Licensing Authority within ten working days of receipt of the written notice. A license cannot be issued until all information has been received in order to ensure the safety and well-being of children.

(b) If approved, a license shall be issued to the applicant no later than ten working days from receipt of the complete re-licensing packet.

(c) If the completed packet of materials was received prior to the expiration of the existing license, upon approval, the renewal date of licensure shall begin on the day the existing license expires.

(d) If the submitted application packet is not complete at the time the existing license expires, the renewal date of licensure shall be the actual date of approval by the Regional Licensing Authority. No child shall be placed or remain in an unlicensed setting.

(e) A copy of the license shall be provided by the Regional Licensing Authority to the lead agency for dissemination to the supervising agency. The supervising agency is responsible for sending the license to the family.

(f) If the supervising agency or Regional Licensing Authority determines that the out-of-home caregivers have not satisfactorily met the standards for continued licensure, the licensing authority shall consult with the Regional Legal Counsel, lead agency and supervising agency, concerning the appropriate course of action.

(g) If the Regional Licensing Authority denies the application for re-licensure, and the applicant does not voluntarily withdraw the application, the Regional Licensing Authority shall proceed with formal actions.

(h) Licensed out-of-home caregivers meeting the criteria of Section 409.175, F.S., may be issued a license for longer than one year, but no longer than three years. During the three-year period the licensing counselor shall annually conduct a minimum of one face to face visit in the home. The licensing agency shall submit local law enforcement screenings, abuse registry checks, FBI and FDLE clearance based on the five year renewal date and other documentation outlined in this section and submit it to the Regional Licensing Authority with a statement certifying that the family continues to meet all licensing requirements annually.

(5) Three-Year License. Section 409.175, F.S., and paragraph 65C-13.028(4)(h), F.A.C., grant the authority to licensing agents to issue a license for up to three years to a family foster home (this includes medical or therapeutic foster homes) meeting specific criteria. A family foster home shall meet the following criteria to be considered for a three year license:

(a) The family has been licensed for three years or longer.

(b) The family has not been the subject of a report of child abuse or neglect or foster care referral with findings of maltreatment and is recommended by the assigned Child-Placing Agency and the lead agency for a three-year license.

(c) The family has not been placed on a performance improvement plan/corrective action plan.

(d) The family has clear background checks.

(e) The home is not licensed for more than five children.

(f) The family has no infractions of good moral character.

(g) The number and frequency of placements that result in disruptions will be considered and used in the decision as to whether to issue a three-year license.

(6) Documentation. A brief, yet concise summary that is completed annually using the Unified Home Study module in FSFN will replace the Re-licensing Summary for Licensed Homes for Dependent Children. This summary must address all changes that have occurred in the household during the licensing year and allow foster parents to discuss any issues, concerns or triumphs they experienced during the licensing period. The summary shall include:

(a) Youth exit interviews and case manager reviews;

(b) Documentation of at least eight hours (annually) of in-service training;

(c) Documentation of updated water safety training, if applicable;

(d) Background screening which includes local law enforcement records checks completed prior to the one year expiration date on existing checks, abuse history checks, and FDLE re-screening, if applicable;

(e) Pet vaccinations;

(f) Documentation of driver’s license (s) and vehicle insurance;

(g) Updated evacuation and disaster preparedness plan if changes in the layout of the home or means of egress have occurred;

(h) The annual health inspection is waived for three-year licensed homes and only occurs at the expiration of the three year licensing period.

(7) Applicants Previously Licensed or Approved in another State, or Region.

(a) If the applicants were licensed previously in another state or outside the region in which they are seeking licensure, the supervising agency shall make a written request to the previous licensing agency for a reference, copies of the initial and previous licensing studies, closing summaries, information about any complaints, foster care referrals, or concerns expressed regarding the prospective family’s parenting ability, reason for closure, and the results of their background screening and abuse history check.

(b) The written request and all information received from the originating state, or region shall be included in the application packet. All attempts to obtain the information shall be documented.

(c) Applicants who have previously completed a departmentally approved pre-service training curriculum in the past five years, and who can provide proof of completion, shall not be required to complete pre-service training. Applicants who completed pre-service training in another state may be exempt from pre-service training if the curriculum is the same as an approved version of pre-service training offered in Florida. Supervising agencies shall submit a copy of the curriculum to the Regional Licensing Authority for review and approval if the previously completed training is not an approved curriculum in Florida.

(8) Re-opening of Previously Licensed Out-of-Home Caregivers within the Region.

(a) If the applicants were licensed previously in the same region where they are currently seeking licensure, the supervising agency shall obtain and review information from the previous supervising agency which describes the applicants’ performance and history as licensed out-of-home caregivers. All attempts to obtain the information shall be documented.

(b) Applicants shall complete all initial licensing requirements with the exception of pre-service training, if previously completed within five years.

(c) All information received from the originating supervising agency shall be included in the application packet.

(d) Required background screening for previously licensed out-of-home caregivers shall be completed no more than 90 days prior to the submission of the application.

(e) If the application packet is approved, a license is issued to the applicant(s). The license shall include the name and address of the caregiver(s), the name of the supervising agency along with the licensed capacity and the dates for which the license is valid. The regional administrator or designee in upper level management shall sign the license. Any limitations shall be displayed on the license if the study indicates the necessity for such restrictions, such as specific ages or gender preference.

(f) A copy of the license shall be provided by the Regional Licensing Authority to the supervising agency.

(g) If the Regional Licensing Authority denies the application for re-licensure and the applicant does not voluntarily withdraw the application, the Regional Licensing Authority shall proceed with formal actions. The denial of re-licensure and reason(s) for denial shall promptly be recorded in the Florida Safe Families Network by the supervising agency.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 3-6-14.

65C-13.029 Licensed Out-of-Home Team Member Roles

(1) Responsibilities of the Licensed Out-of-Home Caregiver to the Child.

(a) The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall be a member of a team that supports children and youth in out-of home care. The team consists of the professionals representing the department, the lead agency, the Regional Licensing Authority or supervising agency, the case manager, caregiver, and other professionals with responsibility for the welfare of children in care. Caregivers have primary responsibility for the care, nurture and development of a child in his or her home. The caregiver is required to promote normalcy for the child to the fullest extent possible. Therefore, caregivers shall:

1. Provide input into the development of the child’s case plan and other decisions made by the team.

2. Ensure that children in their care are safe, loved, and nurtured.

3. Allow the child to participate in age-appropriate activities at home, in school, and in the community.

4. Advocate for and support the child in order to minimize trauma to the greatest degree possible, including trauma stemming from the transition from and to their home and other placements.

5. Support the child in maintaining progress in school or exceeding past performance when possible.

6. Help the child to acquire life and social skills consistent with their age and maturity level.

7. Ensure that the child receives appropriate health, dental, and mental health care as needed.

8. Work with families, where permitted by the court, to promote visitation and the safe return of children to their families’ care.

9. Share their perspectives with team members and the courts with respect to the best interest of the child(ren) in their care.

(b) All children in the home shall be protected from abandonment, exploitation, neglect, and abuse. Suspected child abuse or neglect including incidents of child-on-child sexual abuse shall be reported immediately to the Florida Abuse Hotline.

(c) The child must be assisted in understanding and accepting who he or she is, and helped to deal with any feelings about his or her parents and the circumstances which brought him or her into out-of-home care.

(d) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall provide a loving environment, acceptance, and care to a child without expecting a demonstration of appreciation from the child.

(e) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall provide the child with opportunities for normal growth and development.

(f) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall accept the direction and supervision given by the Regional Licensing Authority or supervising agency in caring for the children.

(g) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall promote the following conditions for the child in the home:

1. Opportunities and encouragement to communicate and have contact with family members, friends, and other people important to the child. The only exception is when the court specifically bars contact with an individual;

2. Promote and encourage the child’s educational progress, and ensure that the child completes assignments and homework;

3. Respect for the child’s body, person, possessions, bed and personal space;

4. Opportunities to develop interests and skills through participation in school and community activities;

5. Encourage and support the child in making new friends and maintaining past friends who have had a positive relationship with the child;

6. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall keep records of school reports.

7. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall never make negative statements about a child’s family and shall work to preserve the child’s cultural history and family connections.

8. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall work in partnership with the child’s case manager in maintaining awards, legal documents, special recognitions, family photos, and other items that will help the child maintain a sense of his or her identity and connections.

(h) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall allow children and their legal family, including siblings, to communicate by mail and by telephone in accordance with the child's case plan and in keeping with the directions of the court.

(i) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall not open the child’s mail, monitor telephone conversations or otherwise interfere with free communication with the legal family, except as necessary to comply with the directions of the court.

(j) Licensed out-of-home caregiver shall provide children opportunities in the home and through life skills classes and other organized activities to learn and practice skills needed for independent living, such as food preparation, money management, consumer awareness, personal hygiene and appearance, housekeeping and care of personal belongings, accessing health care services, transportation, job seeking, education, study skills and interpersonal relationship building or other skills provided for in the child’s independent living skills plan.

(k) The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall support the child’s efforts to learn to drive a car and obtain a learner’s permit and driver’s license as appropriate for their age, maturity level, and availability of insurance. If opportunities for driver’s education are not available through the school district, the licensed out-of-home caregiver, case manager and legal parents should work in partnership to assist the youth in finding a driver’s education program and in obtaining automobile insurance for children who are allowed to drive. Nothing in this section is meant to imply that the licensed out-of-home caregiver must pay for a car, or insurance on behalf of the youth in their care.

(l) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall be knowledgeable of the Americans with Disabilities Act and shall treat foster children with disabilities with respect and include them in activities to the extent that they are able.

(m) As part of the licensed out-of-home caregiver’s responsibility for promoting educational success, the caregiver will work with each foster child each day on homework and reading skills, and ensure that homework is completed.

(n) Family Care Activities.

1. Daily living tasks.

a. Licensed out-of-home care providers are expected to provide supervision, structure and daily activities designed to promote the individual physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional development of the children in their home according to each child’s age and developmental level.

b. Licensed out-of-home care providers shall assist the children in performing tasks and developing skills that will promote their independence and the ability to care for themselves.

c. Licensed out-of-home caregivers will help children in their care maintain a sense of their past and a record of their present.

d. Children in out-of-home care will be encouraged by the licensed out-of-home caregiver to assume household chores reasonable for their age and ability but not to exceed those expected of their own children.

e. Children in out-of-home care shall be provided information as appropriate to their age and maturity level, concerning drug and alcohol use and abuse, teen sexuality issues, runaway prevention, health services, community involvement, knowledge of available resources, and in identifying legal issues. These opportunities shall not be withheld as a form of discipline.

f. Children in out-of-home care shall be encouraged and assisted in participating in activities such as having his or her picture taken for publication in a newspaper or yearbook; receiving public recognition for accomplishments; participating in school or after-school organizations or clubs; and participating in community events. Children shall be able to participate in activities that promote personal and social growth, self-esteem and independence. Confidentiality requirements for department records shall not restrict the children’s participation in customary activities appropriate for the child’s age and developmental level.

g. Children in licensed out-of-home care shall be afforded every opportunity for social development, recreation, and normalization of their lives. Children in licensed out-of-home care may attend overnight or planned outings if such activities are determined to be safe and appropriate by the licensed out-of-home caregiver. The case manager shall be available for consultation. The child’s case manager shall be notified within 48 hours of overnight trips exceeding one night. These trips must not interfere with visitation schedules. Background screening is not necessary for participation in normal school or community activities and outings, such as school field trips, dating, scout campouts and activities with friends, families, school and church groups.

h. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall be as diligent in determining approval for such events as he or she would for his or her own children.

Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall use their parenting skills to familiarize themselves with the individual or group that the child wishes to spend time with and evaluate the child’s maturity level and ability to participate in the activity safely and appropriately.

i. The licensed out of home caregiver shall be sensitive to the parent’s input regarding the types of activities in which the child can participate and the parents must be included, when practicable, in the decision making process.

2. Food and Nutrition.

a. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall provide nutritionally balanced meals and age appropriate snacks daily.

b. Licensed out-of-home caregivers are expected to provide for any special dietary needs of children placed in their home. The licensed out of home caregiver shall be sensitive to the parent’s input regarding special dietary needs.

c. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall not withhold food as a means of discipline or punishment.

3. Clothing and Personal Belongings.

a. All children are to be provided with their own clean, well-fitting, attractive clothing appropriate to their age, gender and individual needs, in keeping with community standards and appropriate to the season.

b. Each child must be provided towels, washcloths, and toiletry items such as toothbrushes, combs, and hairbrushes.

c. All children must be allowed to bring, retain and acquire personal belongings while in care. Licensed out-of-home caregivers must help each child protect and preserve possessions, which are important to the child.

d. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall keep an inventory of all belongings the child brought to the home as well as those purchased or subsequently obtained for the child. When the child leaves the family home the licensed out-of-home caregiver must send with the child all serviceable clothing and personal belongings bought for, earned or given to the child. This includes any toys, bicycles, radios, or other things that are the child’s personal belongings.

4. Religion and ethnic heritage. A licensed out-of-home caregiver shall cooperate with the child’s case manager in arranging opportunities for a child to participate in the faith of his or her choice or that is requested by the child’s family. The child’s licensed out-of-home caregiver shall coordinate appropriate arrangements for the child’s attendance at religious activities in partnership with the child’s case manager.

5. Discipline.

a. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall discipline children with kindness, consistency, and understanding, and with the purpose of helping the child develop responsibility and self-control.

b. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall use positive methods of discipline. Acceptable methods of discipline include: reinforcing acceptable behavior, expressing verbal disappointment of the child’s behavior, loss of privileges, grounding, restricting the child to the house or yard, sending the child out of the room and away from the family activity, and redirecting the child’s activity.

c. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall not subject children to cruel, severe, or unusual forms of discipline.

d. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall not use corporal punishments of any kind.

e. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall not delegate discipline or permit punishment of a child by another child or by another adult not in a caregiver role.

f. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall not withhold meals, clothing, allowance or shelter as a form of discipline.

g. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall not ridicule or punish a child for bed-wetting or other lapses in toileting.

h. No child shall be mechanically restrained or locked in any enclosure, room, closet, bathroom or area of the house or premises, for any reason.

i. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall not threaten a child with removal, or with a report to authorities or prohibit visitation with family and significant others as consequences for unacceptable behavior.

j. Licensed out-of-home caregivers will seek the assistance of the child’s primary case manager or therapist for behavior problems.

6. Health Care. Licensed out-of-home caregivers are responsible for ensuring the child has routine medical, vision and dental care. The case manager shall promptly provide licensed out-of-home caregivers with the child’s prescription medication and information regarding any medical, vision and dental interventions necessary for the child’s health and well-being. Licensed out-of-home caregivers are responsible for administering and documenting medication prescribed for the child. The amount, date and time the medication is administered to the child shall be documented and kept with the child’s resource record. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall keep accurate records of the administering of all medications, including psychotropic medications, and of medical treatment and interventions. No child shall be given prescription medication without a physician’s prescription or medication prescribed to another person.

7. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall comply with court orders, visitation plans and the case plan for any children placed in their care.

8. Resource Records. The child’s resource record (CPR) shall be maintained by the licensed out of home care giver. The CRR is a standardized record developed and maintained for every child entering out-of-home care that contains copies of the basic legal, demographic, available and accessible educational, and available and accessible medical and psychological information pertaining to a specific child, as well as any documents necessary for a child to receive medical treatment and educational services. Where medical or educational information is not available and accessible, written documentation of the efforts made to obtain the information must be in the file. The Child’s Resource Record (CRR) shall be housed where the child is placed and shall accompany the child to every health encounter and shall be updated as events occur.

9. Education. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall work in partnership with the child’s case manager to address the child’s educational needs and to allow for the continuation of school attendance. To further promote visibility within the community, children in care may not be home schooled.

10. Allowances. Children in licensed out-of-home care shall receive an allowance. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall not expect the child to use this allowance for purchasing personal hygiene items, school supplies, clothing or other necessities. Allowances are not to be withheld as a form of discipline.

(2) Licensed Out-of-Home Caregiver Responsibilities to the Case Management Agency.

(a) Licensed out-of-home caregivers must work cooperatively with the case manager as a member of a treatment team in seeking counseling, other professional services and in preparing and implementing the case plan for each child.

(b) Licensed out-of-home caregivers must provide pertinent information for judicial review hearings and administrative review conferences for children placed in their home.

(c) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall work in partnership with the case manager to maintain child resource records in a secure manner, which ensures confidentiality for the child and the child’s parents.

(d) Licensed out-of-home caregivers must work in partnership with the child’s case manager in preparing the child to leave their family in accordance with the case plan goal, and must participate in and support the placement process.

(e) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall only allow the child to be moved from the home by a child protective investigator or department, lead agency or case management agency staff member, after seeing proof of identification.

(f) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall obtain prior approval from the supervising agency for the movement of the child to another home for purposes of respite.

(g) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall notify the child’s case manager in advance of vacations in which the child shall be participating.

(h) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall notify the child’s case manager within 24 hours of any sexually inappropriate action or behavior by the child.

(i) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall comply with court orders, visitation plans and the case plan for any children placed in their care.

(3) Responsibilities of the Licensed Out-of-Home Caregivers to the Child’s Family.

(a) Licensed out-of-home caregivers must present a positive image of and demonstrate respect for the child’s own family and must agree to maintain a working relationship with the child’s family members as indicated in the child’s case plan.

(b) Licensed out-of-home caregivers must participate in planning and facilitating visits for the child with his parents and family members as indicated in the case plan.

(c) Licensed out-of-home caregivers must allow children and their family members to communicate by mail and telephone in accordance with the child’s case plan.

(d) Licensed out-of-home caregivers must share as many parenting experiences as possible with the child’s legal family, i.e.; participating in school conferences and activities, transporting the child to medical appointments, buying clothing, and attending social activities.

(e) Licensed out-of-home caregivers must never be openly critical of the child’s legal family to the child or to others. Negative experiences and feelings should be shared with the case manager in a private setting and any indication of abuse and/or neglect shall be reported to the Florida Abuse Hotline.

(f) Licensed out-of-home caregivers must willingly share information about the child, his development, school progress, behavior, and any significant happenings with the case manager and with the child’s family.

(4) Responsibilities of the Licensed Out-of-Home Caregivers to the Regional Licensing Authority and Supervising Agency.

(a) When a foster child age 12 or older is believed to be missing, within four hours the licensed out-of-home caregiver shall notify law enforcement and request that a missing child report be opened and obtain the case number, inspect the child’s belongings to determine what items are missing and assist the child’s case manager in efforts to locate the child. Children age 11 or younger should always be immediately reported to local law enforcement as missing.

(b) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall notify the department and supervising agency if any child’s case manager does not make a visit every thirty days. Notification of the department shall be made by calling 1-800 FLA-FIND.

(c) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall be knowledgeable of the provisions of the federal Multiethnic Placement Act, which prohibits delay in the placement of a child on the basis of race, culture or ethnicity and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

(d) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall never sign blank forms or falsify records. Falsification of any records or signatures on blank forms shall result in a revocation or denial of the foster care license.

(e) Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall keep confidential all information about the child and the child’s family. Discussing this information shall be limited to a Regional Licensing Authority or agency staff member, Guardian Ad Litem, or other authorized professional working with the child.

(5) Responsibilities of the Supervising Agency and the Regional Licensing Authority to the Licensed Out-of-Home Caregiver and Children in Care.

(a) The supervising agency will provide and coordinate training opportunities for licensed out-of-home caregivers. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall be provided with information concerning the Multiethnic Placement Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

(b) The supervising agency must share all available information on each child placed with the licensed out-of-home caregiver.

(c) The supervising agency shall provide the child resource record to the licensed out-of-home caregiver at the time of placement or within 72 hours of the placement.

(d) The supervising agency shall provide licensed out-of-home caregivers with the names and phone numbers of persons who should be contacted in emergencies.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 3-6-14.

65C-13.030 Standards for Licensed Out-of-Home Caregivers.

(1) Requirements.

(a) There shall be no more than five children in a licensed home, including the licensed out-of-home caregiver’s children unless an over capacity exception has been approved.

(b) There shall be no more than two children under the age of two years in a home, including the licensed out-of-home caregiver’s children unless exception has been approved.

(c) There shall be no more than two children placed in a therapeutic family foster home unless an exception has been approved

(d) Each licensed out-of-home caregiver shall sign a Partnership Plan for Children in Out-of Home Care, CF-FSP 5226, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03565 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications. The agreement shall be reviewed, and discussed with a licensing counselor prior to initial licensure and again at each re-licensure. The document must be signed by a representative from the supervising agency and the potential or licensed out-of-home caregiver.

(e) Placement of a child in a home licensed by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities shall be approved by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities prior to placement. A home licensed by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities may be utilized for placement of children eligible for both programs without obtaining a separate license if the child is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

(f) Licensed Out-of-Home Caregivers Providing Child Care.

1. Licensed out-of-home caregivers contracting with a lead agency are authorized by Section 409.1671, F.S., to provide child care as a Licensed Family Day Care Home, as defined in Section 402.302, F.S., and may be dually licensed. A dually licensed family foster home cannot provide care for more than five children, including biological, foster, and adopted children. Therapeutic or Medical Family Foster Homes shall not be dually licensed.

2. All licensing standards and requirements for family foster homes and family day care homes shall be met and maintained.

3. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall limit their operation as a Family Day Care Home as follows:

a. Hours of operation shall only occur between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.;

b. Based on the premise that the foster care maintenance assistance is for the care of a foster child for a twenty-four hour period and includes the provision of daily supervision for the foster child, the out-of-home caregiver shall not be paid both the foster care board rate and child care subsidy for the same child;

c. A family foster home providing child care under this section shall be inspected a minimum of twice per year, once by daycare licensing staff and once by the supervising agency’s licensing specialist. The inspection is to assess the impact of the child care operation on the fostering experience;

d. Where family foster homes are also licensed as a Family Day Care Home, the department shall make every effort to coordinate inspections with a licensing counselor from the child-care licensing program; and

e. Complaint investigations shall be conducted in conjunction with a representative from child care licensing.

(2) Personal Standards.

(a) A licensed out-of-home caregiver shall be a stable, responsible, and mature individual who is at least twenty-one years of age.

(b) At least one licensed out-of-home caregiver in the home shall be able to effectively communicate with any children placed in the home and with the supervising agency.

(c) A licensed out-of-home caregiver shall not operate the home as an adult boarding or rooming home or an adult daycare facility.

(d) Child care. Child care for children in licensed out-of-home care shall be chosen by the caregiver(s) according to the following order:

1. Gold Seal accredited child care providers or providers participating in a quality rating system;

2. Licensed child care providers;

3. Public school providers;

4. License exempt child care providers, including religious exempt, registered, and non-public schools. These providers must be participating in the school readiness program through the local early learning coalition. If there is no available Gold Seal accredited child care provider or space for the child at the Gold Seal provider, then the caregiver shall chose a licensed child care provider. If a licensed child care provider has no availability, the caregiver shall chose a public school provider. If there is no availability at a public school provider, the caregiver shall chose a license exempt child care provider as required by this subparagraph 65C-13.030(2)(d)4., F.A.C. The cost of child care shall be assumed by the licensed out-of-home caregiver to the extent that subsidized child care is unavailable.

(3) Physical Environment.

(a) The home shall be inspected by a licensing specialist who has been trained by the state or local health department to conduct such inspections The home must receive a satisfactory inspection result for water supply, food holding temperature, plumbing, vermin and vector control, sewage, and garbage and rubbish disposal, prior to initial licensing and annually prior to re-licensing.

1. Water Supply. When water is accessible to those in care, the water temperature shall not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid scalding. Adequate hot water shall be provided at a minimum of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

a. Routine Testing. Licensed out-of-home caregivers not served by a municipal water supply shall test the water and submit bacteriological water test results to the local county health department:

(I) Before license approval;

(II) At least every 12 months;

(III) Upon relocation;

(IV) Before having the well placed in service after construction, repair, or modification; or

(V) After an emergency situation, such as a flood, that may introduce contaminants to the system.

b. Test results must be negative for bacteriological contamination.

c. Positive test results require the facility to use potable water from a source approved by law for the purpose of drinking, cooking, and oral contact, until test results are negative. In addition, wells that test positive shall be disinfected, flushed, and tested for bacterial contamination.

d. Laboratory test results must be submitted to the local county health department, in writing, by the testing laboratory.

e. Testing can be obtained through the local county health department or a certified independent laboratory.

2. Food Holding Temperature. Food storage equipment shall be provided to keep all potentially hazardous foods at safe temperatures, 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below or 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Refrigeration units used for the storage of potentially hazardous foods shall be provided with a numerically scaled indicating thermometer accurate to plus or minus 3 degrees Fahrenheit. The thermometer shall be located in the warmest or coldest part of the units as may be applicable and of such type and so situated that the temperature can be easily and readily observed by the licensed out-of-home caregiver and any inspector.

3. Vector Control.

a. Effective control measures shall be utilized to minimize the presence of rodents, flies, cockroaches, and other vectors and vermin on the premises. Effective measures shall include any method or device or the application of any substance to prevent, destroy, repel, mitigate, curb, control any pest in, on, or under the structure or lawn.

b. The creation, maintenance, or causing of any condition capable of causing vectors and vermin will not be permitted. The home shall be effectively maintained rodent-proof and rodent free. All outside openings shall be effectively sealed or screened with 16 mesh screening or equivalent, to prevent entry of insects, rodents, or other vectors and vermin.

4. Sewage. Any home not on a municipal sewage system and having an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system or septic tank, shall meet applicable standards in Chapter 64E-6, F.A.C.

5. Garbage and Rubbish Disposal. All garbage, trash, and rubbish from the kitchen area shall be collected daily and placed in garbage receptacles. Garbage or trash containing diapers or any odor-causing agent shall also be collected daily and placed in garbage receptacles. Garbage or trash consisting only of paper items must be collected weekly and placed in garbage receptacles. Garbage shall be removed from garbage receptacles frequently enough to prevent a sanitary nuisance, as defined in Chapter 386, F.S. Wet garbage shall be collected and stored in impermeable, leak proof, fly tight containers pending disposal. All containers, storage areas and, surrounding premises shall be kept clean.

(b) Family foster homes located in counties designated by the Department of Community Affairs Florida Radon Protection Map Categories as “intermediate” or “Elevated Radon Potential” areas shall be tested to determine the level of indoor radon as required in Section 404.056, F.S. Radon levels shall be at a level which does not affect the safety and well-being of children in the homes. Re-testing of licensed family foster homes for radon gas shall take place as required in Section 404.056, F.S.

(c) Outdoor Area.

1. The exterior of the home and premises shall be free from objects, materials, and conditions which constitute a danger to children. All garbage and trash shall be covered and removed regularly. There shall not be large, potentially dangerous items stored in the safe outdoor play area such as old refrigerators, stacks of lumber and unregistered vehicles or boats.

2. The home shall have a safe outdoor play area on the property or within reasonable walking distance. All outdoor play equipment shall be kept in good repair. If the home is located on a busy street, there shall be a safety plan for supervision.

(d) Water Safety and Supervision.

1. Children shall be supervised visually at all times when they are in close proximity to any body of water. Children shall never be left alone with access to swimming pools and bodies of water.

2. Children who are placed in licensed homes which are adjacent to any body of water or that have swimming pools shall be instructed in water safety as appropriate for their age.

3. Wading pools shall be set up and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Wading pools shall be emptied and stored when not in use and shall be filled with clean water before each use.

4. All pools above or in ground shall be equipped with one of the following life saving devices: ring buoy; rescue tube; flotation device with a rope; or a shepherd’s hook of sufficient length to cover the area.

(e) In Ground Swimming Pools.

1. Swimming pools shall have a barrier on all sides at least four feet high. The barrier may consist of the house plus a fence on the remaining sides or fence enclosing the pool.

2. All access through the barrier shall have one of the following safety features: alarm, key lock, self-locking doors, bolt lock or another lock that is not accessible to children. Any exterior door leading from the house to the pool area shall have two of the safety features.

3. When the swimming pool is not in use all entry points shall be locked.

4. Swimming pools, in ground and above ground, shall be equipped with one of the following life saving devices: ring buoy; rescue tube; flotation device with a rope; or a shepherd’s hook of sufficient length to cover the area.

(f) Above Ground Pools.

1. If the sides of an above ground pool are four feet tall, they may be used as the barrier for that pool.

2. Above ground pools with steps or ladders shall have them secured, locked, or removed when the pool is not in use.

3. If the pool cannot be emptied after each use, the pool shall have a working pump and filtering system.

4. Hot tubs and spas not adjoined to an in ground pool shall be required to have a safety cover that is locked when not in use.

(g) Other Bodies of Water.

1. Children shall be in line of sight supervision at all times when in the proximity of any body of water.

2. Children who are placed in a licensed home that is adjacent to any body of water shall be instructed in water safety regardless of age or swimming capability.

(h) Interior Environment.

1. The home shall have sufficient space and furnishings and be accessible to all members of the family.

2. Each child shall be provided with adequate storage space for personal belongings and a designated space for hanging clothes in or near the bedroom occupied by the child.

3. Bath and toilet facilities shall be clean and in good working order with a door for privacy.

4. The door of each bathroom shall have a lock.

5. The home shall be clean and free of hazards to the health and physical well-being of the family.

6. Each family foster home shall have a working telephone in the home that is accessible at all times. Emergency telephone numbers shall be displayed prominently in the home. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall immediately notify the supervising agency if their telephone number changes.

7. All toys and equipment shall be in safe condition and kept clean and sanitary.

8. All rooms used by children shall be at a comfortable temperature. Rooms shall be dry and well ventilated.

9. All doors and windows used for ventilation shall be screened.

10. Rooms used by children shall be clean and well lit.

11. Homes shall be free of tobacco smoke.

(i) Sleeping Arrangements.

1. All sleeping areas shall be in bedrooms separate from the public areas of the house. Children’s bedrooms shall have adequate space for the number of children sleeping in the room.

2. An adult shall be within hearing distance and accessible to the rooms where children under six years of age are sleeping.

3. Each child shall be provided with a clean, comfortable, permanent bed and mattress of their own. The bed shall be of sufficient size to comfortably accommodate the child.

4. Infants shall have their own crib which shall be maintained in good and safe condition and have a clean and comfortable mattress that fits snugly in the crib frame. Cribs shall not have drop sides or be placed close to windows with curtains or cords in which the child might become entangled.

5. Bunk beds shall be safe and sturdy. Bunk beds shall be equipped with safety rails on the upper tier for a child under the age of ten or for any child whose physical, mental, or emotional condition indicates the need for such protection. Beds bunked higher than two tiers must have a manufacturer sticker of safety and must not be placed under or near ceiling fans. Children five years old and younger may not sleep on the third tier of a three tiered bunk bed.

6. A licensed out-of-home caregiver shall provide each child with clean linens. A child shall not be required to sleep on linens soiled by urine or excrement. Waterproof mattress covers should be provided for all beds and cribs of children experiencing enuresis or encopresis. Plastic garbage bags must not be used as mattress covers.

7. Children of any age shall not sleep on a living room sofa, cot or foldaway bed except in extenuating circumstances.

8. The entry to a child’s bedroom shall not be located so as to require the child to pass through another bedroom or bathroom in order to enter their bedroom.

9. Children may never share a bed with an adult, regardless of age.

10. Children may not share a bed.

11. Children over thirty-six months of age shall not share a bedroom with a child of the opposite sex unless efforts are being made to maintain a sibling group. In instances where efforts are being made to maintain a sibling group or maintain a viable placement, the foster family, licensing agent and case manager shall work together in determining arrangements for the safety and best interests of the children involved. Rationale for any decision made for children over the age of thirty-six months to share a bedroom shall be documented in Florida Safe Families Network.

12. Children over the age of twelve months shall not share a bedroom with an adult. The only exception to this would be if one of the children sharing a bedroom reaches his or her eighteenth birthday and the out-of-home caregiver and the supervising agency approve this sleeping arrangement. This exception applies only to the circumstances described above and not to any new placements in the home.

13. Infants twelve months of age or younger may share a bedroom with an adult provided the infant sleeps in their crib.

14. Children over the age of twelve months may share a bedroom with an adult when it is deemed to be medically necessary. A doctor’s note shall be placed in the licensing file of the supervising agency. For children transitioning past their first birthday exceptions may be approved in consultation with the child’s case manager and the licensing agency.

(j) Family Foster Home Safety.

1. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall make every effort to identify and immediately correct any hazard to the safety of children while in the home or while being transported.

2. All poisonous chemicals shall be in a locked location. Hooks, child safety latches and other baby proof devices do not qualify as locked storage for poisonous chemicals. Cleaning materials shall be made inaccessible to children.

3. Each licensed home shall have a first aid kit available and accessible to all caregivers.

4. All medications shall be stored in a location that is locked and inaccessible to children. Hooks, child safety latches and other baby proof devices do not qualify as locked storage for medications.

5. Alcoholic beverages shall be stored in a location out of reach of children.

6. Storage of guns shall comply with the requirements in Section 790.174, F.S., and all agencies shall, as a part of the home study process, require applicants to sign CF-FSP 5343, Acknowledgment of Firearms Safety Requirements, effective February 2013, which is hereby incorporated by reference and available online at https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?NO=Ref-03567 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications/. A copy of the form is also available upon request by contacting the Office of Family Safety at 1317 Winewood Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida 32399.

7. Animals requiring vaccinations shall be current in all vaccinations. All animals shall be well cared for and maintained. The licensed home shall have a secure method to restrict children’s access to potentially dangerous animals.

(k) Fire Safety.

1. The home shall be safe from fire hazards. All combustible items shall be stored away from sources of heat. Exits, stairways and hallways shall be free of obstacles that would hamper an emergency evacuation. The home shall have at least two exits. All doors with locks shall be capable of being opened from the inside.

2. All equipment such as heating and cooling units, washers, dryers, refrigeration systems, stoves and hoods shall be properly installed, vented and maintained.

3. Each bedroom shall have two means of exit in case of emergency. Bedrooms above ground level must have a means of escape that will allow for safe exit. If the child’s bedroom is equipped with burglar bars, the caregiver shall demonstrate that the burglar bars can be released to allow exit. A key placed near a window does not qualify as an approved emergency release method. Age appropriate training on opening of the burglar bars shall be provided to each child upon placement.

4. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall have an evacuation plan posted in a conspicuous place in the home. The plan shall specifically provide for the safe exit of children who are incapable of understanding the plan or participating in drills. This plan should be shared with all children as appropriate to their age and level of understanding upon placement in the home.

5. Fire drills shall be conducted a minimum of two times a year. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall maintain a log of fire drills conducted, including the date, beginning and ending time, specific location and participants’ names.

6. Each floor in the home shall have a fully charged, unexpired 2A10BC fire extinguisher. One of the fire extinguishers shall be adjacent to the kitchen. There shall also be at least one operating smoke alarm on each floor. There shall be a smoke alarm in each bedroom area.

7. The home shall not be heated by un-vented gas fired space heaters or oil heaters unless they are equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor and the home has a carbon monoxide alarm. All gas-fired devices shall be equipped with an automatic pilot gas shut-off control. All electrical wiring shall meet required building codes.

8. All fireplaces, space heaters, steam radiators, and hot surfaces shall be shielded against accidental contact. Access by children under six years of age shall be restricted by a barrier.

9. Extension cords shall not extend from one room to another with the exception of situations involving emergency loss of power due to a natural or manmade disaster. Multiple electric outlet adapters shall not be used for more than two extensions at one time.

10. Volatile materials shall not be stored where water heaters are located or near other sources of heat. Attic space shall not be used for the storage of volatile materials.

(l) Transportation Safety.

1. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall have transportation available twenty-four hours a day. All vehicles used to transport children shall be in safe condition, in compliance with applicable motor vehicle laws of the state, and equipped with seat belts and approved car seats for children as required under Section 316.613, F.S. Vehicles shall be smoke-free when children are being transported. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall have the ability to safely transport the number of children in his or her care.

2. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall have all vehicles insured. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall not allow children to be transported by any person not possessing a valid driver’s license or auto insurance.

3. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall not have driving violations less than five years old which relate to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on file with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. A copy of the licensed out-of-home caregiver’s driving record shall be provided to the licensing authority at the time of initial licensure and at each re-licensure.

4. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall not transport children in vehicles such as truck beds, motorcycles, or any other high-risk method of transportation. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall follow Chapter 316, F.S., related to transportation of children.

(m) Disaster Plans.

1. Each licensed out-of-home caregiver shall have a current written plan for evacuation in the event of a natural or man made disaster.

2. The plan shall include where the family intends to go and information as to how the family may be reached and must be shared with the supervising agency.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 7-21-10, 3-6-14.

65C-13.031 Terms of a License.

(1) It is unlawful for any person to make a willful or intentional misstatement on any license application or other document filed in connection with an application for a license. An applicant who makes such willful or intentional misstatements shall have his or her license denied or revoked.

(2) The Regional Licensing Authority shall request in writing, any additional information legally required for the purposes of making a licensing determination, within ten working days of receipt of an application packet. The Regional Licensing Authority shall grant or deny an initial license application within ten working days of receipt of a complete application packet.

(3) Initial licenses shall only be issued to persons who have met all licensing requirements.

(4) A license is issued to specific caregivers for a specific location and is not transferable to any other person or location. Offices, conference rooms and other non home-like settings are not appropriate for licensing or placement of children in care.

(5) The license shall reflect the name of the licensee, the licensee’s physical address, city and county, the name of the supervising agency and the license number along with its beginning and expiration dates. An initial license is valid for one year from the date of issuance unless the license is revoked or voluntarily relinquished.

(6) A license for renewal may be issued for longer than one year but no longer than three years providing that the applicant:

(a) Has maintained a license with the Regional Licensing Authority for three consecutive years;

(b) Is in good standing with the supervising agency and the Regional Licensing Authority;

(c) Has not been the subject of a report of child abuse or neglect with any findings of maltreatment.

(7) The Regional Licensing Authority reserves the right to reduce a licensure period at any time. When the Regional Licensing Authority determines that a reduction in the licensure period is warranted, it shall promptly notify the supervising agency and the applicant in writing, identifying the reasons for the reduction in the licensure period, the statutory authority for this action and the applicant’s right of appeal pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S.

(8) Authorized licensing staff of the Regional Licensing Authority or supervising agency may make unannounced inspections of a licensed family foster home. The inspection may include examination of all rooms and areas on the property and interviews of all household members.

(9) All licenses shall be signed by the regional administrator or designee in upper level management.

(10) Provisional License.

(a) Provisional licenses are non-renewable and the duration shall not exceed twelve months. Provisional licenses shall not be issued without the submission of a corrective action plan to the licensing Regional Licensing Authority identifying the deficiencies and time frames for correcting the deficiencies prior to the expiration of the provisional license.

(b) No license shall be issued if there is a failure to comply with background screening requirements.

(c) Under no circumstances shall new or additional children be placed in a family foster home which has been issued a provisional license.

(d) A provisional license may be suspended if periodic inspection made by the supervising agency indicates insufficient progress has been made toward corrective action plan compliance.

(11) License Modifications.

(a) Modifications shall be made to a license at the request of the licensed out-of-home caregiver or as a result of corrective measures.

(b) Modifications which alter information set forth on the existing license shall result in the issuance of a new license. This new license shall expire on the same date as on the existing license.

(c) If a request for modification occurs within ninety days of the expiration of the license, the supervising agency may choose to conduct all activities consistent with re-licensure. The new license shall be valid for one year from the new date of issuance.

(12) Record Confidentiality. Any information made confidential by Section 409.175, F.S., shall be exempt from release unless otherwise ordered by the court. This confidentiality and exemption also applies to records maintained by community-based care providers acting as contractors for the department.

(13) File Retention.

(a) The Regional Licensing Authority and supervising agent shall maintain a central file in the region for every family foster home licensed. The file shall include, at a minimum:

1. All initial and subsequent licensing documentation;

2. Complaint investigation information;

3. Waivers and exceptions; and

4. Other additional documentation obtained regarding the licensed home.

(b) Supervising agencies shall maintain a file on every active licensed home. The file shall include, at a minimum, all initial and subsequent licensing documentation as well as all other licensing related activities including documentation of background screening requirements. These files must be maintained in a secure location and when requested, be made available for monitoring or auditing purposes.

(c) An electronic version of the licensing file shall be maintained by the supervising agency in the electronic filing cabinet located in Florida Safe Families Network. The supervising agency in partnership with the lead agency shall develop a policy that addresses the destruction of paper files; this policy must be reviewed and approved by regional licensing administrator.

(d) Files of prospective licensed out-of-home caregivers who do not become licensed shall be retained by the supervising agency for a period of five years.

(e) Files of licensed out-of-home caregivers shall be maintained for twenty years after closure.

(f) Files of applicants who are denied licensure shall be maintained for a period of twenty years after the issuance of the denial or final denial order date, whichever is later.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 3-6-14.

65C-13.032 Over-Capacity Assessments and Exceptions.

(1) Capacity.

(a) A recommendation shall be made by the supervising agency for the licensed capacity in each family foster home based on:

1. An evaluation of the skills, experience and support network of the prospective licensed out-of-home caregiver;

2. The physical space in the home; and

3. The needs of the children served.

(b) The total number of children in the home shall not exceed five children, including the out-of-home caregiver’s own children, unless the home is being licensed as a child specific license for a sibling group larger than five. There shall be no more than two infants under twenty-four months in a licensed home, including the out-of-home caregiver’s own children.

(2) Placement. The total number of children placed in each family foster home shall be based on the recommendation of the supervising agency, using the following criteria:

(a) The needs of each child in care;

(b) The ability of the licensed out-of-home caregiver to meet the individual needs of each child, including any of the out-of-home caregiver’s own children living in the home;

(c) The amount of safe space;

(d) The ratio of active and appropriate adult supervision to the number of children; and

(e) The background, experience, and skill of the licensed out-of-home caregivers.

(3) Approval of Over-Capacity Assessments for Over Five Children or More than Two Infants.

(a) Assessment approvals for more than five children or more than two infants under twenty-four months shall be given prior to placement by the supervisor in writing or via electronic method for the following situations and shall be approved personally and in writing the next business day by the Regional Administrator or the Chief Executive Officer for the Community Based Care Lead Agency or their designee. The following circumstances require an assessment:

1. To accommodate a sibling group. This may be a sibling group with some of the children already in the home as well as a sibling group being placed for the first time;

2. To accommodate a child or sibling group needing placement who has previously lived in the home;

3. To allow a teen parent in care to have his or her child or children placed in the same home.

4. If denial of the placement would be contrary to the child’s best interest.

(b) The assessment of each child in the home and of the child being placed in the home shall be completed by the placement staff.

1. The assessment shall include:

a. The medical, mental, physical and behavioral needs of each child;

b. A clear, concise explanation of why the over-capacity waiver should be approved including the reason it has been determined that this is the most appropriate available placement;

c. A description of any special services or support systems which may be necessary to assure the well-being of the child being placed;

d. A description of how this home can physically accommodate the additional child. Accommodations shall include a bed, adequate closet space and room for personal possessions and adequate privacy;

e. Information concerning how the needs of any particularly vulnerable child currently in placement can be adequately protected;

f. Placement needs and risk factors for children who have been sexually victimized or who are sexually aggressive;

g. Verification that there are no active complaints, licensing standards in violation, active abuse reports or foster care referrals for the proposed placement; and

h. The duration of the waiver; Initial assessment approval shall not exceed 30 days. Subsequent approvals for the same child or children may be approved for (90) day extensions personally and in writing by the Regional Administrator or by the Community-Based Care Lead Agency Chief Executive Officer or their designees.

2. Requirements for the Assessment.

a. The placement staff shall provide to the case manager a copy of the completed assessment within five working days of the child’s placement.

b. The written and approved assessment shall be placed in the licensing file of the out-of-home caregiver.

c. The licensing counselor shall conduct a home visit with the licensed out-of-home caregiver within seven calendar days of a child’s placement to ensure that all appropriate services identified by the case manager are in place to support the out-of-home caregiver.

(4) Over-Capacity Exception and Age Differential Approvals.

(a) Written approval of the exception shall be obtained prior to placement when the licensed capacity and recommended ages of children are exceeded. The exception shall be approved by the supervisor in writing or via electronic method and shall be approved personally and in writing the next business day by the Regional Managing Director or the Chief Executive Officer for the Community-Based Care Lead Agency or their designee.

(b) An initial approval shall not exceed thirty calendar days except when the approval is used to accommodate a sibling group larger than five or with more than two infants under 24 months of age.

(c) The approval for the over-capacity exception shall automatically expire when the total number of children in the home is at or below the licensed capacity.

(d) An approval may be issued for one hundred eighty calendar days if it is issued to accommodate a sibling group larger than five or more than two infants under 24 months of age. Subsequent approvals may be approved for a one hundred eighty-day extension.

(e) All child placements shall be recorded in the Florida Safe Families Network by the supervising agency within forty-eight hours of placement. When such a placement causes a home to exceed a total of five children, the approval shall be recorded on the provider licensing screen.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175(3)(a), 409.175(3)(b), (c), 409.175(5)(a)4. FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 3-6-14.

65C-13.033 Babysitting, Overnight Care, Extended Overnight Care and Other Supervision Arrangements.

(1) All persons who provide respite care in their own homes shall be licensed pursuant to Section 409.175, F.S. Respite providers already licensed without having been through pre-service training shall be excluded from the requirement for training under this rule.

(2) A licensed out-of-home caregiver is entitled to paid respite. Six hours or more shall constitute a paid respite day. Each licensed out-of-home caregiver may receive up to twelve paid respite days per year.

(3) Supervising agency approval shall be obtained prior to the respite period if reimbursement is sought.

(4) Babysitting and Other Short Term Home Based Care.

(a) Babysitters shall be at least sixteen years of age or older except for youth age 14-15 who have completed a recognized babysitting course. The local Community-Based Care (CBC) lead agency has the authority to approve the educational course on babysitting.

(b) The licensed out-of-home caregiver is responsible for ensuring that individuals providing babysitting are suitable and appropriate for the age, developmental level and behaviors of the children.

(c) The licensed out-of-home caregiver is responsible for ensuring babysitters receive an orientation that covers protocol for handling emergencies, including telephone numbers for the licensed out-of-home caregiver, case manager and physician. The discipline policy and confidentiality policy shall be clearly explained.

(d) Babysitting does not have to occur in a licensed setting.

(5) Extended overnight care.

(a) Families shall take children in their care on family vacations and trips whenever possible.

(b) The following procedures apply when the parent must be absent for more than 48 hours and the child cannot reasonably accompany them:

1. Foster parents will be allowed to select families or individuals who are well known to them to care for the children in their absence.

2. Except in emergency circumstances, the adults in these families must have criminal and child abuse background checks including finger printing.

In emergency circumstances, the CBC or designee will perform a local criminal abuse background check and a child abuse background check within 24 hours of the family or individual taking responsibility for the child(ren). A full background screening will be initiated the next business day. Foster parents are strongly encouraged to identify and screen multiple persons to provide care in emergency situations. Such persons shall be recorded in the Unified Home Study module in Florida Safe Families Network.

3. The foster parent will certify to the CBC or CBC designee that the home is safe and free from hazards considering the age, maturity and developmental level of the child.

4. The CBC shall develop a process for approving these supervision arrangements and the case manager will be informed of the arrangements.

(6) General Provisions. All care providers shall be furnished with written information on the children in their care including:

(a) Telephone numbers for the case manager in case of an emergency;

(b) Medical authorization and instructions on seeking medical care;

(c) Medications, instructions for administering, and the log for recording proper administration of the medications;

(d) Physicians’ name and telephone number(s);

(e) School;

(f) Medicaid number; and

(g) Medical, physical or behavioral concerns.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 3-6-14.

65C-13.034 Foster Care Referrals and Investigations.

(1) The Regional Licensing Authority maintains responsibility for ensuring appropriate follow-up actions are taken on all foster care referrals and investigations. The supervising agency shall ensure that all licensed out-of-home caregivers are notified of foster care referrals. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall be notified of investigations by the child protective investigator.

(2) The Regional Licensing Authority, lead agency and supervising agency have the right to inspect the entire premises of the licensed out-of-home caregiver at any time.

(3) Foster Care Referrals. Upon receipt of a foster care referral by the child protection investigation unit, the foster care referral shall be immediately forwarded to the appropriate licensing staff. If the foster care referral is regarding a family foster home, the referral shall be immediately forwarded by the child protection investigator to the supervising agency. The licensing staff receiving the foster care referral shall:

(a) Respond to the foster care referral and document any needed actions within forty-eight hours.

(b) The supervising agency shall prepare a written corrective action plan to correct the deficiencies that are a result of a foster care referral. The plan shall be developed by the supervising agency in conjunction with the licensed out-of-home caregivers and shall be approved by the Regional Licensing Authority.

(c) If there are concerns regarding abuse or neglect, a call shall be made to the Abuse Hotline. The Abuse Hotline staff shall immediately notify the placement unit, or on-call unit if after hours.

(4) Investigations. When the supervising agency or regional licensing authority is notified of an investigation a staffing shall be coordinated according to local protocol. If licensing violations are found which do not pose an immediate threat to the health, safety or well-being of the child, the supervising agency shall prepare a written corrective action plan to correct the deficiencies. The plan shall be developed by the supervising agency in conjunction with the licensed out-of-home caregivers and shall be approved by the Regional Licensing Authority.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 3-6-14.

65C-13.035 Administrative Actions, Appeals and Closures.

(1) General Information. All licensing action negatively impacting an out-of-home caregiver, including a denial, suspension or revocation, is subject to the procedures set forth in Section 120.60, F.S. The department is the Regional Licensing Authority for all family foster homes and has final authority for approval, denial or suspension of any license.

(a) The denial, revocation, or suspension of a license shall promptly be recorded in the Florida Safe Families Network by the supervising agency.

(b) The Regional Licensing Authority shall notify the lead agency and supervising agency immediately of negative action taken regarding a license.

(2) Documentation Requirements Prior to Administrative Action.

(a) Before making a determination that a license shall be denied, suspended or revoked, the following shall be documented in the licensing file:

1. All qualifying abuse reports and all reports of licensing violations and the outcome of the investigation;

2. List of all deficiencies or conditions, other than abuse or neglect of the children, which compromise the safety or well-being of the children;

3. The length of time and frequency of the noncompliance with the licensing requirements or deficiencies in caring for children;

4. The date of written notification to the licensee as to the deficiency and time given to the licensee to correct the deficiency;

5. The licensing staff’s efforts to help the licensee come into compliance;

6. Barriers, if any, which prohibit the licensee from correcting the deficiencies;

7. All license revocations and denials shall comply with requirements of Chapter 120, F.S.; and

8. All documentation shall be reviewed with the department’s legal counsel. The notice of revocation or denial shall not be sent to the out-of-home caregiver without approval of both the department’s legal counsel and the Regional Licensing Authority.

(3) Denial of Initial Licensure.

(a) The Regional Licensing Authority shall have ninety days following receipt of a complete application packet to grant or deny the application in accordance with Section 120.60, F.S.

(b) If the supervising agency determines that the applicant should not be licensed, the applicant shall be notified in writing within ten working days of the determination, identifying the reasons for the denial, the statutory authority for the denial and the applicant’s right of appeal pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S. The applicant shall be afforded the opportunity to withdraw the application. If the applicant elects to withdraw the application, this must be documented in writing in the licensing file.

(c) If the applicant does not withdraw the application, the supervising agency shall provide to the Regional Licensing Authority sufficient information to support the recommendation of the denial. When the Regional Licensing Authority determines that the license should be denied, they shall notify the applicant in writing within ten working days of the decision, identifying the reasons for the denial, the statutory authority for the denial and the applicant’s right of appeal pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S.

(4) Administrative Action for Existing Family Foster Homes.

(a) If licensing violations are found such that the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health is significantly impaired or is in danger of being significantly impaired, the licensing counselor shall consult with his or her supervisor and the child’s case manager for an immediate review of the safety of any children in the home and a call shall be made to the Abuse Hotline.

(b) If licensing violations are found which do not pose an immediate threat to the health, safety or welfare of the children, the supervising agency shall prepare a written corrective action plan to correct the deficiencies. The plan shall be developed by the supervising agency in conjunction with the licensed out-of-home caregivers and shall be approved by the Regional Licensing Authority.

(c) Written notification shall be sent to the licensed out-of-home caregiver that specifies the deficiency, expected corrective action, time frame for completion, and that failure to comply within the time frame specified shall result in the license being suspended, denied, or revoked. The approved corrective action plan shall be put in writing by the supervising agency and signed by the licensed out-of-home caregiver.

(d) Corrective action plans are created for licensed out-of-home caregivers who have the ability to understand and correct the infraction. Corrective action plans are not created for licensed out-of-home caregivers who have previously committed licensing violations and were unable to benefit from remedial efforts. In these cases, the supervising agency shall work with the licensing authority, the department’s legal counsel and lead agency to determine whether action should be taken to suspend, deny or revoke the license.

(e) Failure of the licensed out-of-home caregiver to timely comply with the corrective action plan may result in suspension, denial of re-licensure, or revocation of the license.

(f) The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall be given notice if the supervising agency determines that it cannot recommend re-licensure.

(g) If the licensed out-of-home caregiver disagrees with the supervising agency’s recommendation, he or she may still request renewal of the license. The supervising agency shall accept the application and refer the licensed out-of-home caregiver’s file to the Regional Licensing Authority with a recommendation for denial.

(h) A decision to revoke, suspend, or deny further licensure is made after a review is done in conjunction with the department’s legal counsel, supervising and lead agencies. Written notification by certified mail shall be provided to the licensee. The notice shall include the statutory and rule violations that were found, shall advise of the action to be taken, and the right to challenge the action through an administrative proceeding as provided in Chapter 120, F.S.

(5) Voluntary Closures.

(a) The supervising agency shall conduct an exit interview with licensed out-of-home caregivers who are closing. This interview is an opportunity to explore any recommendations for improvement that the licensed out-of-home caregiver may be willing to share.

(b) The supervising agency shall document the reason for closure and whether re-licensing would be recommended.

(c) If re-licensing would not be recommended, the licensing file shall clearly document the reasons re-licensing is not appropriate.

(d) If the closure is voluntary and in lieu of revocation or denial of a license, the supervising agency shall document the reason for the denial.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 4-6-08, Amended 3-6-14.



65C 14 Group Care

*(See also, FS 409.175)

 

65C-14.001 Definitions.

(1)“Facility” means the building and campus of a residential child-caring agency, as defined by Section 409.175(2), F.S.

(2)“Gender” or “gender identity” means a person’s internal identification or self-image as male or female. Gender identity may or may not correspond to the gender that is listed on the person’s birth certificate. The terms “male,” “female,” or “nonbinary” describe how a person identifies.

(3)“Gender expression” refers to the way a person expresses gender through appearance, dress, grooming habits, mannerisms and other characteristics.

(4) “Service Plan” means the goal-oriented, time limited, individualized program of action for a child and the child’s family developed by the child-caring agency in cooperation with the child’s family.

(5) “Sexual orientation” means a person’s emotional or physical attraction to members of the same gender, a different gender, or any gender.

(6) “Transgender” means having a gender identity that is different than the person’s gender listed on the person’s birth certificate.

(7) “Trauma-informed” means an organizational structure and treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma.

(8) “Treatment Plan” means an individualized, structured, and goal-oriented schedule of services with measurable objectives. A treatment plan details the treatment to be provided and expected outcome, and expected duration of the treatment.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a) FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 9-19-90, Formerly 10M-9.003, Amended 11-30-97, 10-20-16.

65C-14.002 Licensed Child Caring Agencies. (Repealed eff 3-9-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.004, Repealed 3-9-16.

65C-14.003 Application and Licensing.

(1) License application packets for a residential child-caring agency shall include:

The “License Application for Child-Caring Agencies,” CF-FSP 5412, August 2015, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07454 ;

(b) The “Community Residential Homes Determination of Need and Licensing Status” form, CF 1785, October 2005, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07449; and,

(c) For applications for group homes to provide care for one to six or seven to 14 children the “Community Residential Homes Local Ordinance Certification,” CF 1786, May 2015, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07450. This application form certifies to the Department that the proposed group home meets the dispersion and notification requirements of Chapter 419, F.S.

(d) Need for Service. The child-caring agency shall provide a description of the geographic area the child-caring agency serves or intends to serve with the specific services it provides or proposes to provide. Applicants who apply for an initial license shall furnish evidence that the services will be used by referral sources or other documentation of the need for the services which shall be verified by the Department.

(e) Disaster preparedness and evacuation plan. The written plan shall include the components required in subsection 65C-14.010(11), F.A.C.

(2) All application forms shall be signed by the person or persons exercising authority over the operation, policies and practices of the agency.

(3) The facility shall conform to all applicable state and local building and zoning codes.

(4) The Regional Licensing Authority (the Department) shall conduct a review of the application packet, facility, and all required documentation to ensure compliance with all rules in Rule Chapter 65C-14., F.A.C., prior to issuance of a license.

(5) A license is only valid for the facility located at the address documented on the license.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(6) FS. History–New 7-1-87 Amended 9-19-90, 2-17-93, Formerly 10M-9.005, Amended 10-20-16, 1-2-18.

65C-14.004 On Site Visits. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.008, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.005 Grievance Procedure. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.014, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.006 Administration and Organization.

(1) Statement of Purpose. The child-caring agency shall have a written statement of its purpose. The statement shall contain a description of all the services the child-caring agency provides and the methods of service delivery. The statement shall be available to the Department, referral sources, and the public on request.

(2) Incorporation. Agencies incorporated outside of the State of Florida shall be authorized to do business under Florida law.

(3) Governing Body.

(a) Each incorporated child-caring agency shall have a governing body which exercises authority over and has responsibility for the operation, policies and practices of the agency.

(b) For profit organizations shall maintain advisory boards which review the operational policies and practices, inspect facilities and programs, conduct interviews with children and staff members, and review matters affecting the care of and services to children. Members of advisory boards shall not have a proprietary interest in the child-caring agency or program.

(4) The child-caring agency shall maintain a list of the members of its governing body. This list shall be available to the Department and shall:

(a) Include the name, address, and term of membership of each member; and,

(b) Identify each office and the term of that office.

(5) The governing body shall meet no less than once per year. Membership of the governing body shall not be fewer than five (5) members.

(6) Responsibilities of the Governing Body.

(a) Employ a qualified executive director, as prescribed in subsection 65C-14.023(15), F.A.C., and delegate responsibilities to that person for the administration and operation of the residential child-caring agency.

(b) Evaluate in writing the executive director’s performance annually.

(c) Approve the annual budget of anticipated income and expenditures necessary to provide the services described in its statement of purpose. The governing body shall also approve the annual financial audit report.

(d) Establish written personnel practices.

(e) Maintain written minutes of all meetings, which shall be open to inspection by the Department.

(f) Develop written policies for selection criteria and rotation of its members.

(g) Develop a written plan for the storage of children’s records in the event of the closing of the child-caring agency and/or facility.

(7) Municipal, county or other governmentally operated residential child-caring agencies subject to licensing under Section 409.175, F.S., shall, within their administrative structure and as governed by other federal, state and local laws, provide for the duties and responsibilities described in this section.

(8) The child-caring agency shall have a written grievance procedure which allows children in care or others to make complaints without fear of retaliation.

(a) The grievance procedure shall be written in a clear and simple manner.

(b) The written grievance procedure shall be provided to:

1. The Department.

2. At the time of admission, the child, his or her parent or guardian, and the child’s attorney and guardian ad litem, if appointed and requested.

3. Others, upon request.

(c) The procedure must be explained to children and their families at the time of admission.

(9) The child-caring agency shall maintain a current organization chart showing the administrative structure including the lines of authority. This chart shall be available to the Department.

(10) The child-caring agency shall provide written documentation that it has sufficient funds to meet all requirements for licensure. Facilities beginning operation shall provide evidence of sufficient funding for operation of the program for at least six (6) months.

(11) The child-caring agency shall prepare a written budget annually.

(12) The child-caring agency shall have financial records audited annually.

(13) If fees for services are charged, the child-caring agency shall have a written policy which describes the relationships between fees and services provided and the conditions under which fees are charged or waived. This policy shall be available to any person upon request.

(14) If funding is obtained through public solicitation, a charitable permit for such solicitation shall be procured as required by Chapter 496, F.S.

(15) The child-caring agency shall provide written notification within 30 days to the Department of changes in the agency’s executive director, statement of purpose or admission criteria.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a)1., 8. FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.015, Amended 10-20-16.

65C-14.007 Buildings, Grounds and Equipment and Interior Accommodations.

(1) Staff sleeping space shall be separate from those of the children but in close enough proximity to allow for supervision.

(2) The grounds shall be well kept. Indoor and outdoor recreation areas shall be provided with equipment and safety measures designed for the needs of the resident children according to the age, physical and mental ability of the children.

(3) Safety regulations shall be established for all hazardous equipment and children shall be prohibited from the use of such equipment unless it is included in planned work experience.

(4) Pools shall meet the requirements of Chapter 515, F.S.

(5) The facility shall be decorated and furnished to create a homelike environment. Furnishings shall be safe, easy to maintain, and selected for their suitability to the age and development of the children in care.

(6) Living Room: The building or cottage shall have one (1) centrally located living room, or in the case of wilderness camps another form of meeting space, for the informal use of children, large enough to accommodate indoor recreational use.

(7) Dining Area: The building or cottage shall have one (1) or more dining areas large enough to comfortably accommodate the number of children who reside there, as well as staff who dine with the children.

(8) Space shall be available for children to study quietly.

(9) If offices for administrative functions are housed in the facility, they must be separate from the children’s living area.

(10) There must be adequate space to allow staff and clients to talk privately and without interruption.

(11) Bathrooms.

(a) The facility shall have toilets, wash basins, and bathing units as follows:

1. At least one (1) toilet, washbasin, and tub or shower easily accessible to the bedroom area for every six (6) children,

2. Toilets and tubs or showers that provide for individual privacy.

(b) The facility shall have bathrooms with non-slip surfaces in showers or tubs, toilet paper and holders, and individual hand towels or disposable paper towels, mirrors at a height for convenient use by children and a place for storage of toiletries unless storage is provided elsewhere.

(c) A facility that cares for nonambulatory children shall have grab bars in toilet and bathing areas and doors wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or walking device.

(12) Bedrooms.

(a) Child-caring agencies shall not permit nonambulatory children to sleep above the first floor.

(b) Child-caring agencies shall provide each child with a closet or chest of drawers for clothing and personal belongings which shall be reserved solely for the individual child’s use. Wilderness camps have the option of providing alternate storage.

(c) Child-caring agencies shall provide each child with a safe and comfortable bed. The beds shall be no shorter than the child’s height and no less than 30 inches wide. Where bunk beds are used, there shall be sufficient room to allow the occupants of both bunks to sit up in bed.

(d) Children over 36 months of age shall not share a bedroom with a child of a different gender unless efforts are being made to maintain a sibling group or doing so is required for the safety or wellbeing of each child. The group home, licensing agent and case manager shall work together in determining arrangements for the safety and best interests of each child involved and obtain written approval from the community-based care agency. Rationale for any decision made for children over the age of 36 months to share a bedroom with a child(ren) of a different gender shall be documented in FSFN.

(e) Clean sheets, pillow cases, and blankets shall be provided to each child upon arrival. Sheets and pillowcases shall be changed at least once a week.

(13) The facility shall have outside ventilation by means of windows, louvers, air conditioners, or mechanical ventilation in rooms used by children.

(14) The facility shall have screens for each window and door used for outside ventilation.

(15) The facility shall have light fixtures to provide for the comfort and safety of children. Classrooms, study areas, bathrooms and food service areas shall be illuminated.

(16) All incandescent bulbs and fluorescent light tubes shall be protected with covers or shields.

(17) Hallways to bedrooms shall be illuminated at night.

(18) The facility shall have at least one (1) bedroom for every four (4) children. However, if the applicant or licensee, in a written request, demonstrates that it is in the best interest of each child in a particular set of children in a particular circumstance to have more than four (4) children in a bedroom, the Department, upon on-site inspection, shall grant the request if it determines that the evidence and statement support the applicant’s or licensee’s request. The approval of the request shall be valid only for the particular set of children in the particular circumstances cited in the written request. The bedrooms shall have 50 square feet for the initial occupant and an additional 50 square feet for each additional occupant, and a ceiling height of at least 7 feet, 6 inches. Programs established prior to July 1, 1987, may utilize dormitory style bedrooms, but new construction or facilities applying for initial licensure must comply with the size and occupancy requirements.

(19) Children shall have the opportunity to personalize and decorate their bedrooms with furnishings and possessions.

(20) For wilderness camps:

(a) A wilderness camp shall only be established at a location where land is properly drained.

(b) The location of a camp shall not present a fire, health or safety hazard.

(c) Non-permanent structures used for sleeping shall be located on dry land. The sleeping structure shall promote comfort and protection from weather and insects and have a floor which is smooth, kept in a clean condition and in good repair.

(d) Permanent sleeping structures shall have roofs, exterior walls, doors and windows which are weathertight and watertight and shall be in clean condition and in good repair.

(e) Structures shall be covered with durable flame proof material.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a)2., 3. FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.016, Amended 10-20-16

65C-14.008 Interior Accommodations. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.017, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.009 Ventilation and Lighting. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.018, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.010 Safety, Sanitation, and Food Service Requirements.

(1) Prior to the issuance of a license or to relicensing, the facility shall be inspected by a representative of the Department, the county health unit, and the local fire department, or persons trained by the office of the State Fire Marshal in fire prevention and safety in accordance with state or local ordinances and codes. Written approval of health and sanitary conditions and fire prevention and protection measures must be on file. All residential child-caring facilities must comply with the health and sanitation standards set forth in Rule Chapter 64E-12, F.A.C.

(2) Fire Safety.

(a) All child-caring agencies must be inspected annually by the local fire department or persons certified by the Division of the State Fire Marshal in fire prevention and safety in accordance with Rule Chapter 69A-41, F.A.C., Uniform Fire Safety Standards for Residential Child Care Facilities. A report of the inspections and approval must be on file with the Department prior to issuance of a license or relicensing of the facility.

(b) Fires, explosions or major damage to facilities which threaten the health and safety of the residents shall be reported to the Department within 24 hours of the occurrence and reports of such incidents shall be kept on file in the facility.

(c) Procedures for fire and other emergency situations, including the route of evacuation, shall be posted in conspicuous places and shall be reviewed with staff and children on a scheduled basis.

(d) Fire drills shall be held no less than monthly and records of such drills shall be kept on file.

(e) Hallways, stairs and exit areas shall be well-lit and kept clear for safe exit.

(3) Transportation.

(a) Vehicles used to transport children shall be maintained in safe operating condition.

(b) The number of persons in a vehicle used to transport children shall not exceed the number of available seats; appropriate restraining devices shall be used when transporting children in automobiles.

(c) Buses or vans used to transport six (6) or more children shall be equipped with a first aid kit.

(4) Recreational areas.

(a) The recreational area shall be safe and free from hazardous conditions. Recreational equipment shall have no jagged or sharp projections or other hazardous construction, and shall be maintained in a structurally sound condition.

(b) Outdoor recreational areas shall be well-drained and kept free of litter and trash.

(5) Swimming Pools and Aquatic Activities.

(a) All residential child-caring agencies with swimming pools, spas, or open water hazards must have a person on staff who has completed a community water safety course administered by a nationally recognized water safety provider.

(b) Swimming pools shall comply with the requirements of the Residential Pool Safety Act, Section 515.27(1), F.S. Facilities with swimming pools licensed prior to the enactment of the Residential Pool Safety Act shall be considered to have met this requirement.

(c) The child-caring agency shall not permit a child to participate in an aquatic activity requiring higher skills than the child’s ability, except during formal instruction.

(d) Lifesaving equipment shall be provided during aquatic activities and shall be immediately accessible in case of an emergency. Minimum equipment shall include the following:

1. A whistle or other audible signal device,

2. A first aid kit; and,

3. A ring buoy, rescue tube, life jacket or other flotation device with a rope attached which is of sufficient length for the area.

(e) Life jackets shall be worn during all boating activities.

(f) Prior to any extended travel in any water craft, drills will be practiced to approximate man overboard and capsize situations.

(6) Food Service.

(a) The child-caring agency shall have a procedure for the overall management of the food service. All menus shall be approved by a professionally registered dietitian for the particular population of the group home. Residential programs participating in the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service shall be considered to have met this requirement.

(b) The child-caring agency shall serve staff members and the children in care the same food, except when age or special dietary requirements dictate differences. Staff on duty shall eat their meals with the children.

(c) All child-caring agencies shall serve three (3) well-balanced meals a day in the morning, noon, and evening and provide snacks between meals. When children are attending school, working outside of the facility or are not present in the facility during mealtime, the child-caring agency shall ensure that the children receive meals.

(d) Facilities shall retain their menus for a six (6) month period which shall be available for review by the Department.

(7) Laundry facilities shall be located in an area separate from areas occupied by children. If children are allowed to participate in the laundering of their personal items, space for sorting, drying, and ironing shall be made available.

(8) The facility shall have telephones, centrally located and readily available for staff use in each living unit of the facility. Emergency numbers, such as 911, poison control, and the child abuse registry, shall be posted by each telephone. In lieu of this requirement, wilderness camps and short-term wilderness programs shall have a system in place that provides for an immediate response in case of an emergency. The system must include the ability to immediately notify appropriate agency staff, police, fire department, physician, poison control center, ambulance or other emergency services that may be needed.

(9) If firearms are present in the facility, the program director and house parent, when applicable, shall be required to sign the “Acknowledgment of Firearms Safety Requirements” form CF-FSP 5343, February 2015, which is incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07453.

(10) All pets must be current on vaccinations as required in Section 828.30, F.S.

(11) Disaster Preparedness and Evacuation Plan.

(a) Each licensed child-caring agency shall have a current written disaster preparedness and evacuation plan for each facility in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. The plan shall include:

1. The location to which the agency intends to relocate the children and caregivers,

2. Emergency contact information for caregivers and the director of the agency,

3. A process for notifying the community-based care lead agency when relocation is necessitated; and,

4. A list of emergency supplies that shall be maintained at each facility.

(b) The disaster preparedness and evacuation plan shall be updated at re-licensure and whenever any changes are made during the licensure year.

(c) Each licensed child-caring agency shall follow the directives of its local emergency management center.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a)2. FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.019, Amended 6-3-12, 10-20-16, 1-2-18.

65C-14.011 Fire Regulations. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.020, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.012 Transportation Safety. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.021, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.013 Food and Nutrition. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.022, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.014 Health and Medical Services.

(1) General.

(2) The facility shall have a staff member on duty trained to administer first aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), at all times.

(3) The child-caring agency shall assure that a first aid kit is available to staff members in each living unit with contents consistent with the American Red Cross guidelines and the needs of children in care. The first aid kit shall be inaccessible to the children in care.

(4) All medical care beyond the provision of first aid shall be under the direction of a licensed medical professional operating within the scope of his or her license.

(5) The child-caring agency shall immediately notify the child’s parent or guardian, and the child-placing agency or the Department if the child is in the custody of the Department, of any serious illness, any incident involving serious bodily injury, pregnancy or childbirth, or any psychiatric episode requiring the hospitalization of a child.

(6) Provision shall be made for the temporary isolation of children with communicable disease. When such isolation is necessary, close supervision by staff shall be provided.

(7) All child-caring agencies shall maintain linkages and cooperative agreements with community agencies, out-of-area programs, or individuals for services not directly provided by the agency, including a plan for handling emergency medical and dental needs of clients.

(8) All child-caring agencies shall have written procedures in cases of emergencies or life threatening situations, including arrangements for emergency transport services for clients. Plans for provision of supervision must be made in cases of emergency when on duty staff are required to accompany a child to a hospital emergency room.

(9) Medication.

(a) All medicines and drugs shall be kept securely locked.

(b) The following shall be documented in the child’s file upon admission:

1.The prescribing doctor’s name,

2. Reason for prescription,

3. Quantity of medication in container at admission; and,

4. Method of administration of medication either orally, topically, or injected.

(c) All medicines and drugs shall be administered only by agency staff, except for children of parenting teens who are not in the custody of the Department. A log shall be kept of the administration of all medication which shall include the following:

1. Name of the child for whom medication is prescribed or to whom over the counter medication is administered,

2. Reason for medication administration,

3. Amount of medication administered,

4. Time of day the medication was administered,

5. Written acknowledgment by the child (by signature or initials) of receipt of medication, when age appropriate,

6. Signature of staff member who administered the medication; and,

7. Notation and reason for lack of medication administration, if applicable.

(d) The child-caring agency shall not permit medication prescribed for one child to be given to another child.

(10) The child-placing agency shall obtain available medical information and consents prior to admission of a child.

(11) Medical information and consents shall include the following:

(a) Completion of a well-child check-up by a licensed physician or report of such an examination performed within twelve (12) months prior to admission.

(b) The child’s medical history, including immunizations, and, in the case of parenting teens, the medical history of the infant or toddler.

(c) Written consent from the child’s parent or guardian or a court order authorizing routine medical and dental procedures for the child, and to authorize emergency procedures when written parental consent cannot be obtained.

(12) The child-caring agency shall obtain the child’s medical information that was not available prior to child’s admission into the facility within 30 days of admission. Efforts to obtain the information shall be documented in the child’s record.

(13) The child-caring agency shall have a written comprehensive policy for preventive, routine, emergency, and follow-up medical and dental care for all children.

(14) The child-caring agency is responsible for meeting the physical health needs of each child in its care.

(a) The child-caring agency shall ensure that each child has an annual physical examination and follow-up care as recommended. For children under three (3) years, a well-child checkup shall be obtained in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics periodicity schedule.

(b) The child-caring agency shall ensure that each child has a dental examination every six (6) months and follow-up care as recommended.

(c) The child-caring agency shall ensure pregnant youth have prenatal and postnatal care.

(15) The child-caring agency, in conjunction with the case manager, shall provide or arrange for medically recommended glasses, hearing aids, prosthetic devices, corrective physical or dental devices, or equipment recommended by a physician for children in care.

(16) The child-caring agency shall maintain confidential medical and dental records for each child in care. The records shall include the dates of immunizations, medications, examinations, and any treatments for specific illness or medical emergencies.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a)2., 3., 9. FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.023, Amended 10-20-16.

65C-14.015 Administration of Medication. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.024, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.016 Incident Notification Procedures. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.025, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.017 Child Abuse and Neglect and Incident Notification Procedures.

(1) The child-caring agency shall have and follow procedures for handling any suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect involving staff or residents.

(2) All suspected cases of child abuse and neglect shall be reported to the Florida Abuse Hotline in accordance with Chapter 39, F.S., including incidents of child-on-child sexual abuse.

(3) A provision shall be made for reporting and recording any suspected incident of abuse or neglect or endangerment to the program director of the child-caring agency.

(4) There shall be an immediate provision for protecting the victim and preventing a recurrence of the alleged incident pending investigation.

(5) The child-caring agency shall require each staff member to read and sign a statement which states the child abuse and neglect laws and outlines the staff member’s responsibility to report all incidents of child abuse and neglect.

(6) The following critical incidents, defined in CF Operating Procedure No. 215-6, April 1, 2013, HRSR 0-10-1 dated January 1, 1986, which is herein incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07456, shall be reported in accordance with the child-placing agency’s incident reporting procedures for children in the care and custody of the Department:

(a) Child arrest.

(b) Child death.

(c) Young adult in extended foster care death.

(d) Child on child sexual abuse.

(e) Employee arrest.

(f) Employee misconduct.

(g) Missing child or young adult.

(h) Security incident.

(i) Sexual abuse/sexual battery.

(j) Injury to child or young adult requiring medical attention from a physician.

(k) Injury to staff requiring medical attention from a physician.

(l) Suicide attempt of child or young adult.

(7) Critical incidents shall be reported to the primary worker or supervisor as soon as the immediate needs of those involved in the incident have been addressed and other required notifications, such as to law enforcement, have been completed.

(a) Upon notification, the primary worker shall follow the local incident reporting procedures which shall result in entry of the incident’s details into the Department’s Incident Reporting and Analysis System (IRAS). All critical incidents must be entered into IRAS within one (1) business day of the critical incident.

(b) The primary worker or supervisor and the program director or designee shall coordinate notification to the parents or legal guardian.

(8) If a child who is being served voluntarily and is not in the care and custody of the Department is involved in any critical incident, the program director or designee shall notify the parents or legal guardian directly and the Department by submission of the “Statewide Critical Incident Report,” CF-FSP 5262, April 2007, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07452.

(9) All child-caring agencies shall report incidents in accordance with the Department’s incident reporting procedures outlined in CF Operating Procedure No. 215-6, incorporated in subsection (6) of this rule.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a)1., 10. FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.026, Amended 10-20-16.

65C-14.018 Individual Needs of Children in Care.

(1) The child-caring agency shall have written policies to involve children in community activities and services. The child-caring agency shall arrange for recreational and cultural enrichment and shall provide transportation and supervision as needed for use of community resources to assure that resident children are allowed to become a part of the community.

(2) The child-caring agency shall ensure that any public appearances by the children involving publicity are voluntary and that the written consent of the child’s parent or guardian is on file.

(3) The facility shall have a log of available indoor and outdoor recreational activities. Such activities shall be based on the group and individual interests and needs of the children in care.

(4) The child-caring agency shall assign chores appropriate to the age and ability of the children in care. Chores shall not conflict with schooling, visits with the children’s family, or any other activities associated with meeting the goals of the service or treatment plan.

(5) There shall be daily time for privacy and individual pursuits for each child in care.

(6) The child-caring agency shall ensure that each child has the individual items necessary for personal hygiene and grooming.

(a) These items shall be accessible to each child unless it is unsafe for the child.

(b) Each child shall have training in personal care, hygiene, and grooming appropriate to the child’s age, gender, gender expression, race, culture and development.

(7) The child-caring agency shall ensure that each child has clean, well fitting, seasonal clothing, appropriate to the child’s age and individual needs.

(8) The child-caring agency shall involve the child in the selection, care and maintenance of the child’s personal clothing, as appropriate to the child’s age and ability. The child-caring agency shall allow a child to possess and bring personal belongings. The child-caring agency may limit or supervise the use of these items while the child is in care using with the reasonable and prudent parent standard in accordance with Section 409.145(3), F.S.; however, it may not restrict items based on the child’s gender identity or expression.

(9) The child-caring agency shall send all personal clothing and belongings with the child when the child leaves the facility or will return clothing and personal items to the child-placing agency, parent or guardian, or child’s attorney or guardian ad litem, when applicable.

(10) A child and the child’s parent or legal guardian (unless parental rights have been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction) have the right to determine the child’s religious affiliation. The child-caring agency shall make arrangements for an alternative activity for children not attending religious services.

(11) Allowance.

(a) The child-caring agency shall provide opportunities for children placed by the Department to learn the value and use of money by providing an allowance and opportunities for earning, spending, and saving.

(b) Allowance shall be provided at least monthly.

(c) Allowance shall not be tied to behavior or completion of chores.

(d) Children shall not be expected to use their allowance to purchase personal hygiene items, school supplies, clothing, or other necessities.

(e) Allowance shall not be withheld as punishment.

(f) The child-caring agency shall have a means of keeping children’s money secure. A record of monies being held for children shall be kept separate from the facility’s financial accounts.

(g) For privately placed youth, the child-caring agency shall document the discussion of allowance in the placement agreement.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a)2., 12., (e) FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.027, Amended 10-20-16.

65C-14.019 Recreation, Leisure Activities and Work Experience. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.028, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.020 Clothing and Personal Belongings. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.029, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.021 Discipline and Behavior Management.

(1) The child-caring agency shall have written policies on discipline and behavior management which shall be provided to each child, parent or guardian, child-placing agency staff, and the Department. The policies for discipline and behavior management shall emphasize positive, instead of punitive, methods and shall include the following:

(a) Means for teaching children which emphasize praise and encouragement for exhibiting self-control and desirable behavior;

(b) Methods for protecting children or others when a child is out of control and the child’s behavior is likely to endanger him or herself, other persons or property.

(2) If separation from others is used as a control measure, the facility shall have an unlocked, lighted, well-ventilated room of at least 50 square feet and within hearing distance of a staff member. The time limit for isolation shall not exceed 60 minutes.

(3) Facility staff shall not:

(a) Use physical punishment, inflicted in any manner on the body.

(b) Ridicule, intimidate or verbally abuse children.

(c) Use chemical or mechanical restraints.

(d) Employ cruel or humiliating treatment or other emotionally abusive behavior.

(e) Assign excessive exercise or work duties which are inappropriate to the child’s age or development.

(f) Deny food, clothing, shelter, medical care or prescribed therapeutic activities, or contacts with family, case manager or legal representatives as a form of punishment.

(g) Threaten a child with removal from the facility.

(h) Engage in discriminatory treatment or harassment on the basis of a child’s race, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or disability, or any other characteristic.

(i) Permit harassment or bullying of children by staff or other youth based on their race, national origin, religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, or any other characteristic.

(j) Attempt to change or discourage a child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a)1., 13. FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.030, Amended 10-20-16.

65C-14.022 Records and Confidentiality Requirements.

(1) The child-caring agency shall maintain a permanent register of all resident children which shall include the following:

(a) The name and birth date of the child;

(b) The name and address of the child’s parents or guardians or child-placing agency;

(c) The child’s dates of admission and discharge; and,

(d) The child’s custody status.

(2) The child-caring agency shall maintain individual records for each child in care which shall include the following:

(a) The name, gender, race, religion, birth date, and birthplace of the child;

(b) The name, address, and telephone number of the parent or guardian, siblings, grandparents, or other persons significant to the child;

(c) A social history of the child, the child’s family and other significant persons, and any other information required by the residential child-caring agency;

(d) Copies of legal documents relating to the child;

(e) Date of admission, source of referral, and social assessment from the referring agency;

(f) Medical history, cumulative health record, treatment and clinical records and progress reports, and any psychological and psychiatric reports;

(g) Educational records and reports;

(h) Vocational exploration and training and employment records, if applicable;

(i) Records of special or critical incidents in the child’s life;

(j) The child’s case plan, reviews and revisions reflecting the child’s and family’s goal achievement;

(k) Referrals to other agencies; and,

(l) Discharge summary.

(3) Information in case records shall be kept confidential. This includes sharing information with other children in the group home.

(4) Staff entries in case records shall be dated and signed.

(5) The case record shall be maintained for a minimum of five (5) years after a child has been discharged.

(6) The identity of any child who has tested positive for the HIV virus shall be disclosed to an employee of the Department or child-caring or child-placing agency directly involved in the placement, care, or custody of such child and only when the employee needs to know such information in order to safely perform job duties. An employee has a need to know the identity of a child and the child’s test results if:

(a) The employee is involved in case specific services, such as assessing needs, determining eligibility, arranging care, monitoring case activities, permanency planning and providing care for the child in residential placement, or

(b) The employee is involved in case specific supervision or monitoring of cases for eligibility or legal compliance or casework services, or

(c) The employee is involved in providing case specific clerical and vouchering support.

(7) The identity of a child who has tested positive for the HIV virus must be disclosed to a foster family, or child-caring or child-placing agency licensed pursuant to Florida Statutes, who is directly involved in the care of such child and has a need to know such information. The identity of the child shall be disclosed only after the following conditions have been met:

(a) The Department or child-placing or child-caring agency has provided all available information, including HIV test results, social information and special needs, in a manner that does not permit identification of the child; and,

(b) The decision to place the child in a specific placement has been confirmed.

(8) The child-caring, child-placing agency, foster home or adoptive home who has accepted an HIV infected child for care shall be given a statement in writing which includes the following language: “This information has been disclosed to you from confidential records. The confidentiality of this record is protected by state law. State law prohibits you from making any further disclosure of such information without the specific written consent of the person to whom such information pertains, or as otherwise permitted by state law. A general authorization for the release of medical or other information is NOT sufficient for this purpose.”

(9) The child’s record shall contain documentation that the written statement was given to the child-caring, child-placing agency or to the foster or adoptive parents.

(10) The case files shall not be segregated or flagged in any way which would permit their identification as case files of HIV infected children.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a), 381.004(2)(e)11. FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a)1., 9., 13., 381.004(2)(e)11., (f) FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.031, Amended 10-20-16.

65C-14.023 Personnel and Staffing Requirements.

(1) All personnel employed in a caregiver role shall receive parent preparation training in accordance with Section 409.145(2)(e), F.S., prior to unsupervised contact with children.

(2) Staff who are employed to work directly with children shall be at least 18 years of age.

(3) The facility shall have a personnel file for each employee which shall include the following:

(a) The application for employment, including a two-year employment history check, if applicable;

(b) A signed “Affidavit of Good Moral Character,” CF 1649, January 2015, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07448;

(c) A minimum of three (3) character reference letters or reference checks from unrelated individuals who have known the applicant for at least two (2) years, verifying that the employee is of good moral character and is suitable to work with children;

(d) Verification of background screening, including:

1. Fingerprinting,

2. Statewide criminal records checks through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,

3. Juvenile records checks through the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice for personnel ages 12 to 18, to include children of child-caring agency staff who reside in the facility,

4. Federal criminal records checks through the Federal Bureau of Investigation,

5. Local criminal record checks through local law enforcement agencies, including records of any responses to the home by law enforcement that did not result in criminal charges,

6. Abuse and neglect records checks through the Department’s Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN); and,

7. Civil court records checks regarding domestic violence complaints and orders of protection,

8. If the applicant or any other adult household member residing in the facility has resided in any other state during the past five (5) years, requests for abuse and neglect histories and civil court records regarding domestic violence complaints and orders of protection must be made of those states, and the results of such requests included with the personnel file.

(e) A signed “Partnership Plan for Children in Out-of-Home Care,” CF-FSP 5226, January 2015, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07451, for staff employed in a caregiver role.

(f) Employee’s start and termination dates and reason for termination;

(g) Annual performance evaluations and any disciplinary actions taken;

(h) Training record and conferences attended.

(4) The child-caring agency shall have written procedures which safeguard the confidentiality of the personnel records.

(5) The child-caring agency shall maintain the personnel file of an employee who leaves the facility for a period of five (5) years.

(6) The child-caring agency shall have staff coverage at all times to provide for the services identified in the agency’s statement of purpose.

(7) The child-caring agency shall develop and follow a written staff to child ratio formula. The formula shall be appropriate to the agency’s purpose and to the types, ages, and functioning levels of the children in care. The staff to child ratio shall assure the children’s safety, protection and privacy, as well as physical, hygienic, emotional and developmental needs. The staff to child ratio shall be at least:

(a) One direct care staff member or trained volunteer to six (6) children, when children six (6) years of age or older are awake and one (1) to 12 when children are sleeping, or

(b) Children under the age of six (6) shall be supervised by a staffing ratio of one (1) to four (4) when children are awake and one (1) to six (6) when children are sleeping.

(8) For group homes that house parenting young adults, the child of the young adult shall be counted in the staff to child ratio if the child is in the custody of the Department. The child of the young adult shall not be counted in the staff to child ratio if the child is in the custody of the young adult.

(9) The child-caring agency shall designate a staff member on the premises when children are present in the home or expected to be present, and when children are or will be in need of supervision.

(10) The child-caring agency shall have and follow a written plan to provide additional emergency staff when only one (1) staff member is on duty.

(11) The child-caring agency shall designate one (1) on-site staff member as the caregiver. This person shall be trained on how to apply the reasonable and prudent parent standard, in accordance with Section 409.145(3), F.S., in the same manner as prospective foster parents.

(12) The child-caring agency shall count any children living with staff families in the child to staff ratio.

(13) The child-caring agency shall provide supervision to each staff member working with children and parents.

(14) Volunteers.

(a) A child-caring agency which utilizes volunteers to work directly with children shall:

1. Develop a description of duties and specific responsibilities; and,

2. Develop a plan for the orientation and training in the philosophy of the child-caring agency, the needs of the children in care, and the needs of their families.

(b) Volunteers who perform the same or substantially similar services for children as a paid employee shall have the same qualifications and training as the paid employee for the position and shall receive the same supervision and evaluation as the paid employee.

(c) Records shall be kept which document the hours and activities of volunteers.

(d) Volunteers that have unsupervised contact with children will be required to meet the background screening requirements of Section 409.175, F.S., in the same manner as employees of the child-caring agency.

(e) Volunteers who have supervised contact with children for more than 10 hours per month will be required to meet the background screening requirements of Section 409.175, F.S., in the same manner as employees of the child-caring agency.

(15) Residential child-caring agency personnel shall have the following qualifications:

(a) Executive directors hired after July 1, 1987, shall have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and at least three (3) years of experience in management or supervision.

(b) Program directors, or staff serving a similar function, who are responsible for supervising, evaluating and monitoring the delivery of services within the child caring agency and for supervising supervisors of direct care staff shall have a master’s degree in social work or in a related area in Section 402.402(1)(b), F.S., of study from an accredited college or university and at least two (2) years of experience in social services, or a bachelor’s degree from a college or university and four (4) years of experience working with children.

(c) Staff responsible for the supervision, evaluation and monitoring of the direct care staff shall have a bachelor’s degree in social work, or in a related area of study from an accredited college or university, and at least two (2) years of experience working with children or two (2) years of college and four (4) years of experience working with children.

(d) Staff who provide therapy to children and their families shall meet the qualifications as required in the “Agency for Health Care Administration, Community Behavioral Health Services Coverage and Limitations Handbook,” March 2014, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07455.

(16) The child-caring agency shall have a written plan for the orientation, ongoing training, and professional development of all staff members.

(17) The child-caring agency shall provide initial orientation for all new employees during the first two (2) weeks of their employment. This orientation shall include job responsibilities, agency administrative procedures, and supervision of residents.

(18) The child-caring agency shall ensure that staff members working directly with children receive at least 40 hours of training activities during each full year of employment. Activities related to supervision of the staff member’s routine tasks shall not be considered training activities for the purposes of this requirement.

(a) The child-caring agency shall document that training received by direct child care staff in the first full year of employment includes the following areas:

1. Administrative procedures and overall program goals,

2. Emergency and safety procedures,

3. The screening, supervision and use of volunteers; and,

4. Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

(b) The child-caring agency shall document that training received by direct child care staff annually includes the following areas:

1. Understanding of children’s emotional needs and problems which affect and inhibit their growth,

2. Family relationships and the impact of separation,

3. Substance abuse: recognition and prevention,

4. Identification of and reporting responsibilities in regard to child abuse and neglect,

5. Principles and practices of child care,

6. Behavior management techniques, including crisis management and passive physical restraint; and,

7. Trauma-informed care, including recognizing the signs, symptoms, and triggers of trauma; and for maternity homes, the impact of trauma on the parent-child relationship.

(19) The child-caring agency shall have written personnel policies and practices conducive to the recruitment, retention, and effective performance of qualified personnel. These policies and practices shall include the following:

(a) Written job descriptions and titles for each position defining the qualifications, duties, and lines of authority;

(b) Provisions which will encourage professional growth through supervision, orientation, in-service training, and staff development;

(c) Provisions for inexperienced direct care staff members to accompany experienced staff until new staff members are able to perform their job functions independently;

(d) Procedures for annual evaluation of the work and performance of each staff member, which include provisions for employee participation in the evaluation process;

(e) A description of the termination procedures established for resignation, retention, or discharge;

(f) A grievance procedure for employees and a plan for review of the personnel policies and practices with staff participation no less than once every three (3) years, and for revision when necessary.

Rulemaking Authority 409.145(5), 409.175(5)(a), 435.01 FS. Law Implemented 409.145(2)(e), 409.175(5)(a)1., 4., 5., 7., 9., 435.05 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.033, Amended 10-20-16.

65C-14.024 Staffing Requirements. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.034, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.025 Volunteers. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.035, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.026 Organization. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.036, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.027 Confidentiality Related to HIV Infected Children. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175, 381.609(3)(f)10. FS. History–New 9-19-90, Formerly 10M-9.037, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.040 Admission, Placement, and Ongoing Services.

(1) The child-caring agency shall have written admission procedures which:

(a) Establish admission criteria which includes the ages of the children and young adults to be served;

(b) List the materials and forms required from the parent or guardian, or child-placing agency, and child; and,

(c) For runaway shelters, include written policies and procedures governing the conditions under which it will serve children without parental consent.

(2) The child-caring agency shall have written preplacement procedures which include a consideration of the needs of all children in the facility and professional staff expertise.

(3) All written admission and preplacement procedures shall be made available to the child, the child’s parent or guardian, the child-caring or child-placing agency and the Department.

(4) The admission of each child in the care and custody of the Department to a residential child-caring agency shall follow completion of a pre-admission study completed by the child-placing agency, and shall include the following:

(a) A determination that group care is appropriate for the child’s needs. This determination shall be based upon interviews with the child, parent or guardian, or other persons with relevant information.

(b) A determination that the child-caring agency proposed for placement can meet the child’s needs without negatively impacting the other children within the same facility or disrupting service milieu.

(c) Orders of court commitment or a voluntary placement agreement with parents or guardian, or or child-placing agency.

(d) A social history of the child, the child’s family and any other information required by the residential child-caring agency.

(e) A written placement agreement signed by the parents or guardian, or agency having legal custody of the child admitted, including financial arrangements, and regulations and procedures designated to encourage and facilitate parental visitation.

(f) For transgender youth, a determination whether the youth should be placed with their gender listed on their birth certificate or their identified gender. Factors to be considered shall include:

1. The physical safety of the transgender youth,

2. The emotional well-being of the transgender youth,

3. The youth’s preference,

4. The recommendation of the youth’s guardian ad litem,

5. The recommendation of the youth’s parent, when parental rights have not been terminated,

6. The recommendation of the youth’s case manager; and,

7. The recommendation of the youth’s therapist, if applicable.

(5) No child shall be denied services by any child-placing agency based on race,religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, or transgenderism. A child-placing agency has the obligation to place each child in the most suitable setting according to that child’s individual needs, taking into account the capacity of the placement to meet the child’s needs, and the needs of the other children already placed in that setting.

(6) No child under the age of six (6) years, or the age of enrollment in the first grade of school, shall be admitted to a residential child-caring agency except in the following situations:

(a) Under emergency circumstances.

1. An emergency placement of a child under six (6) years shall be documented in the child’s case record, verifying that no alternate plan for care was available at the time of admission.

2. Continued diligent effort shall be made, including referral to the Department to place a child under age six (6) in foster care or other appropriate care. Such plans shall be made within 30 days of the child’s admission.

3. Residential care for children under six (6) years who are part of a sibling group may be continued if separation would cause additional trauma to the child.

(b) To prevent the separation of siblings.

1. Siblings shall be placed in the same home whenever possible.

2. If it is not possible to place the siblings in the same home, siblings may be placed on the same campus. Efforts to place the siblings in the same home shall be documented in the child’s record.

(c) To prevent separation of a parenting young adult and child.

(7) The child-caring agency shall provide prior to or at admission an orientation to living in the facility for each child and the child’s parent or guardian or child-placing agency staff. The orientation shall include the following:

(a) Rules of the facility;

(b) Expectations for the caregivers;

(c) Expectations for the child;

(d) Services offered;

(e) Behavior management practices; and,

(f) The inherent diversity of group home populations, including race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, and transgenderism.

(8) The child-caring agency shall provide each child, the child’s parent or guardian, the child’s attorney and guardian ad litem, if appointed and requested, and the Department with written policies governing the care of children, including visitation and discipline policies.

(9) The child-caring agency shall have written policies that encourage and support family visits, mail, telephone calls, and other forms of communication with parents, relatives, friends or others with whom the child may have a significant relationship. A copy of the policies shall be provided to each child, the child’s parent or guardian, the child’s attorney and guardian ad litem, if appointed and requested, child-placing staff, and the Department.

(10) The child-caring agency shall have a written agreement or plan with the child and parent or guardian, and the Department or the licensed child-placing agency which describes the following:

(a) The frequency of contact with the child’s family and staff from the agency.

(b) A plan for sharing information about the child’s care and development with the parent or guardian, and the Department.

(c) The child-caring agency’s participation in the ongoing evaluation of the child’s needs and progress.

(d) Visitation plans for the child’s parent or guardian, agency or the Department.

(e) Provisions for service or treatment plan development and review.

(f) The conditions under which the child will be discharged from the program.

(g) A designation of responsibility for post-release services.

(11) The written agreement shall be kept in the child’s file and shall be available for review by the Department.

(12) A trauma-informed approach shall be used in all child-caring agencies.

(13) Each child’s needs and trauma history shall be considered when making roommate assignments.

(14) The child-caring agency shall develop a written service or treatment plan within 30 days of placement for each child admitted into care. Child-caring agencies operating as an emergency shelter shall initiate service planning within 24 hours of admission.

(15) The development of the service or treatment plan shall include:

(a) The child’s parents or guardian, the child’s attorney and guardian ad litem, and other appointed representatives and a representative of the referring agency, if appropriate; and,

(b) Child-caring agency staff.

(16) The service or treatment plan shall include the following:

(a) An assessment of the child’s and family’s needs, strengths, weaknesses, and problems;

(b) An assessment of the child’s life skills; educational, vocational, recreational and physical and behavioral health needs; and a plan for meeting the child’s needs;

(c) Arrangements for individual or group counseling, as needed; and,

(d) A projection in regard to the child’s length of stay and an initial plan for discharge.

(17) The child-caring agency shall review each child’s service or treatment plan at least every six (6) months. The review shall involve the child, the facility staff members working directly with the child, the parent or guardian, and the child-placing agency or Department.

(18) At the time of the review, the service or treatment plan shall be revised to include the following:

(a) Progress made toward achieving the goals established in the previous service or treatment plan.

(b) Any changes in the service or treatment plan.

(c) A projected date for the child’s release from care.

(19) Each child in residence shall attend school in accordance with Section 1003.21(1)(a), F.S. The child-caring agency shall plan jointly with school personnel and the parent or guardian or child-placing agency staff to place children in appropriate grades and classes and to help them make an adjustment to their school.

(20) Maintaining the child’s school stability while in out-of-home care in the school or educational setting the child attended prior to entry into the facility is first priority, unless remaining in the same school or educational setting is not in the best interest of the child for safety or other reasons as documented in FSFN. Children shall be encouraged to participate in afterschool clubs, sports and other extracurricular activities.

(21) If an on-campus educational program is provided to resident children, the program shall be designed to meet the educational needs of each child. All on-campus educational programs must be accredited.

(22) If non-school age children are enrolled in child care, priority consideration for the choice of child care setting shall be chosen by the caregiver in the following order:

1. Gold Seal accredited child care providers or providers participating in a quality rating system,

2. Licensed child care providers,

3. Public school providers,

4. License exempt child care providers, including religious exempt, registered, and non-public schools.

(23) Residential child-caring agencies which provide therapeutic or psychiatric treatment programs shall integrate such programs with the child’s educational program.

(24) The residential child-caring agency shall encourage children of legal work age to find employment in the community in accordance with the service or treatment plan. The child-caring agency shall ensure children have transportation to and from their employment.

(25) The residential child-caring agency shall encourage and assist children, as age-appropriate, to explore opportunities for higher education.

(26) The residential child-caring agency shall provide education and instruction in life skills which shall include the following:

(a) Vocational exploration opportunities;

(b) Problem solving and decision making;

(c) Independent living skills;

(d) Social skills;

(e) Internet safety; and,

(f) In maternity homes, parenting skills and family planning.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a)1., 2., 9., 10. FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.041, Amended 10-20-16.

65C-14.041 Medical Information. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Specific Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.042, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.042 Orientation. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.043, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.043 Child's Case Record. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.044, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.044 Placement Agreement. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.045, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.045 Program Services for Children in Care. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.046, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.046 Continuing Service Plan and Review. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.047, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.047 Educational and Vocational Services. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.048, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.048 Discharge Planning and Post-release Services.

(1) The residential child-caring agency shall have a written policy on discharge planning and post-release services which shall specify the availability of services and identify the staff member or agency responsible for follow-up and implementation of the plan.

(2) A child may only be discharged to the parent, guardian or child-placing agency, unless the child-caring agency is otherwise directed by the court.

(3) The residential child-caring agency shall prepare a written discharge summary and document this in the child’s case record at least 45 calendar days prior to the projected date of release from the facility, unless the release is unplanned and unforeseen. A copy of the discharge summary shall be provided to the parent or guardian or referral agency at least seven (7) calendar days prior to the proposed release date, unless the release is unplanned and unforeseen.

(4) The discharge summary shall include the following:

(a) A summary of services, an assessment of goal achievement, and identification of the needs which remain to be met;

(b) Recommendations for the child and family following release from care, including provisions for support and referrals;

(c) The date and reasons for release, the name, address, telephone number and relationship of the person or agency to whom the child is being discharged; and,

(d) A copy of the child’s medical, dental, educational and other records for the use of the person or agency who will assume care of the child.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a)9. FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.049, Amended 10-20-16.

65C-14.049 Religious and Ethnic Heritage. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.050, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.050 Interior Space. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.052, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.051 Food Service. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.053, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.052 Health Care. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.054, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.053 Apparel and Allowance. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87,Formerly 10M-9.055, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.054 Personnel. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.056, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.055 Job Functions and Staff Qualifications. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.057, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.056 Staff Development. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.058, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.060 Standards for Contracted Emergency Shelters. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.061, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.061 Standards for Runaway Shelters. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.066, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.062 Medical Care in All Runaway Shelters. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.067, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.070 Specific Rules for Maternity Residences. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.070, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.071 Admission and Planning. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.071, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.072 Medical Information. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.072, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.073 Discharge. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.073, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.074 Counseling Services. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.074, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.075 Education and Vocational Service. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.075, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.076 Orientation. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.076, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.077 Case Record. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.077, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.078 Interior Furnishings and Space. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.079, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.079 Staffing Requirements for Maternity Residences. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.080, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.080 Food Service. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.081, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.081 Health Care. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.082, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.082 Apparel and Allowance. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.083, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.083 Personnel. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.084, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.084 Job Functions and Staff Qualifications. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.085, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.085 Staff Development. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.086, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.090 Exemptions. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.087, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.091 Administrative Organization. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.088, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.092 Course Admission and Planning. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Amended 8-3-88, Formerly 10M-9.089, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.093 Medical History. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.090, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.094 Program Orientation. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.091, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.095 Case Record. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Specific Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.092, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.096 Case Plan. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.093, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.097 Food Service. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.094, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.098 Health. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.095, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.099 Aquatic Safety Procedures. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.096, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.100 Fire and Weather Safety. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.097, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.101 Sedentary Programs. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.098, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.102 Mobile Programs. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.099, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.103 Personnel Practices. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Specific Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.100, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.104 Job Descriptions. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.101, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.105 Training. (Repealed eff 1-12-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.102, Repealed 1-12-16.

65C-14.110 Specific Exemptions for Wilderness Camps. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.104, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.111 Structural and Safety Requirements. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.105, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.112 Clothing and Personal Needs. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.106, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.113 Water Safety. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.107, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.114 Admission, Education and Case Record Procedures. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.108, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.115 Wilderness Camp Personnel Policies. (Repealed eff 10-20-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 7-1-87, Formerly 10M-9.109, Repealed 10-20-16.

65C-14.116 Administrative Actions, Appeals and Closures.

(1) General Information. The Department is the Regional Licensing Authority for all child-caring agencies and has final authority for approval, denial or suspension of any license.

(a) The denial, revocation, or suspension of a license shall be recorded in FSFN by the Regional Licensing Authority.

(b) The Regional Licensing Authority shall notify the community-based care (CBC) lead agency immediately of negative action taken regarding a license.

(2) Denial of Initial Licensure.

(a) The Regional Licensing Authority shall have 90 days following receipt of a complete application packet to grant or deny the application in accordance with Section 120.60, F.S.

(b) If the Regional Licensing Authority determines that the applicant should not be licensed, the applicant shall be notified in writing within 10 business days of the determination, identifying the reasons for the denial, the statutory authority for the denial and the applicant’s right of appeal pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S. The applicant shall be afforded the opportunity to withdraw the application. If the applicant elects to withdraw the application, this must be documented in writing in the licensing file.

(3) Administrative Action for Existing Child-Caring Agencies.

(a) If a licensing violation requires the children to move out of the home temporarily while the violation is remedied, then the license must be suspended.

(b) The Department shall consider the following factors when determining whether a child-caring agency’s license will be revoked:

1. Whether the agency has had licensing violations during the term of the license,

2. Whether the agency has a history of institutional abuse reports,

3. Whether the licensing violations compromise the safety or well-being of children,

4. Whether the agency has the ability to protect the children in care,

5. Whether the agency has failed to comply with a corrective action plan during the term of the license; and,

6. Whether the agency has the ability and willingness to implement a corrective action plan.

(c) If as a result of the investigation the Department makes a decision not to revoke, suspend, or deny further licensure, the Department shall prepare a written corrective action plan to correct the deficiencies.

1. The plan shall be developed in conjunction with the child-caring agency.

2. The plan shall be in writing and signed by the executive director or designee of the child-caring agency. A copy of the plan shall be provided to the agency.

3. Failure of the child-caring agency to timely comply with the corrective action plan shall result in suspension, denial of relicensure, or revocation of the license.

(d) If as a result of the investigation the Department makes a decision to revoke, suspend, or deny further licensure, notice shall be delivered via personal service or certified mail pursuant to Section 120.60(5), F.S., which shall include the statutory and rule violations that were found, shall advise of the action to be taken, and the right to challenge the action through an administrative proceeding as provided in Chapter 120, F.S.

(4) Documentation Requirements Prior to Administrative Action.

(a) Before making a determination that a license shall be denied, suspended or revoked, the following shall be documented in the licensing file:

1. All qualifying abuse reports and all reports of licensing violations and the outcome of the investigation,

2. List of all deficiencies or conditions, other than abuse or neglect of the children, which compromise the safety or well-being of the children,

3. The length of time and frequency of the noncompliance with the licensing requirements or deficiencies in caring for children,

4. The date of written notification to the licensee as to the deficiency and time given to the licensee to correct the deficiency,

5. The Regional Licensing Authority’s and/or CBC lead agency’s efforts to help the licensee come into compliance,

6. Barriers, if any, which prohibit the licensee from correcting the deficiencies; and,

7. All license revocations and denials shall comply with requirements of Chapter 120, F.S.

(b) All documentation shall be reviewed with the Department’s legal counsel. The notice of revocation or denial shall not be sent to the child-caring agency without approval of the Department’s legal counsel.

(5) Voluntary Agency Closures.

(a) If a child-caring agency ceases operation for any reason, it shall notify the Department in writing at least 30 calendar days prior to closing and shall coordinate the following:

1. Transition of any children in its care to the applicable child-placing agency or to the Department; and,

2. Return of all open and closed records to the Department.

(b) If a child-caring agency ceases operation, the Department shall document in FSFN:

1. The reason for closure and whether re-licensing would be recommended,

2. If renewal would not be recommended, the reasons re-licensing would not be recommended,

3. If the closure is voluntary and in lieu of revocation or denial of a license, the concerns of the Department regarding the child-caring agency.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a)1., (6), (9)(a) FS. History–New 10-20-16.

65C-14.117 Standards for Contracted Emergency Shelters.

(1) The director of each emergency shelter shall sign the “Civil Rights Certificate,” CF 707, October 2005, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08853.

(2) Contracted emergency shelters shall provide an initial orientation for all new employees in accordance with subsection 65C-14.023(17), F.A.C.

(3) Contracted emergency shelters shall provide inservice training in accordance with subsection 65C-14.023(18), F.A.C.

(4) There shall be telephones on the premises which are accessible to residents for making and receiving approved private calls. Restrictions on private calls shall be based on the location of the party called, the effect of the call on the child, and any existing court orders regarding contact.

(5) All contracted emergency shelters shall be available for services on a 24-hour basis, 7 days a week.

(6) No contracted emergency shelters shall refuse to accept and provide care for children because of a minor illness or injury.

(7) A contracted emergency shelter staff member shall discuss program goals, available services and rules governing conduct with each resident upon admission to the shelter. This discussion must be documented by the facility employee on a form developed by each facility. The employee and resident must sign the completed form. This requirement does not apply to resident infants or children who are not capable of understanding due to disability or stage of cognitive development.

(8) All contracted emergency shelters shall maintain a system of accounting for the whereabouts of all children.

(9) All contracted emergency shelters shall cooperate with the Department’s counselors who place clients in a contracted shelter program by enrolling the children in school or by providing an educational component in the shelter.

(10) All contracted emergency shelters shall have on the premises individual records which contain the placing counselor’s name, the child’s name and home address, the date of the placement, the reason for placement, and any medical history.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-24-17.

65C-14.118 Standards for Runaway Shelters.

(1) The director of each runaway shelter shall sign the “Civil Rights Certificate,” CF 707, October 2005, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08853.

(2) General.

(a) All runaway shelters shall be available for services on a 24-hour basis, 7 days a week.

(b) A runaway shelter staff member shall discuss program goals, available services and rules governing conduct with each resident upon admission to the shelter. This discussion shall be documented by runaway shelter staff and the resident, using a form developed by each center.

(c) All runaway shelters shall maintain a system of accounting for the whereabouts of all children.

(d) There shall be telephones on the premises which are accessible to residents for making and receiving approved private calls. Restrictions on private calls shall be based on the location of the party called, the effect of the call on the child, and any existing court orders regarding contact.

(e) Runaway shelters that provide residential care to runaway children shall provide separate housing for persons age 18 and older.

(f) When a child is referred to a runaway shelter without the knowledge of Department or a child voluntarily requests placement, the runaway shelter staff will attempt to notify the child’s parents or legal guardian immediately. This procedure shall occur except in cases where there have been allegations of abuse or neglect by the parents. In these cases the runaway shelter shall contact the Department according to Section 39.201, F.S.

(3) Clients.

(a) Services are made available to youth and their families:

1. Upon self-referral; and,

2. Through referrals by the child welfare system, juvenile justice system, community mental health system, or community telephone referral systems.

(b) A runaway shelter’s client population will consist of those children who are in conflict with their parents, or who have run away from other community placements.

(c) All runaway shelters shall provide early intervention counseling services for troubled youth, runaway youth, and families with 24-hour access with emphasis toward crisis or time of need and shall include the following services:

1. Individual or group counseling, available daily, to each youth admitted into the shelter.

2. Family counseling available to each family whose child is admitted to the program on a residential or non-residential basis.

3. Weekly case management sessions, involving appropriate program staff, to review current cases and the types of counseling which are being provided.

(d) The facility shall maintain an individual file on each youth admitted into the facility.

1. The client file maintained on each youth shall include an intake form which contains basic background information, counseling notations, information on the services provided both directly and through referrals to community agencies and individuals, disposition data, and any follow-up and evaluation data which are compiled by the shelter.

2. The file on each client shall be maintained in a secure place and shall not be disclosed in part or in whole without the written permission of the client and his or her parent or legal guardian, except as allowed by law.

(4) Client’s Rights.

(a) All runaway shelters shall inform clients of the basic expectations for clients using its services, the hours during which services are available, and any rules set by the agency covering client conduct with particular reference to any activity which could result in the discontinuation of services.

(b) All runaway shelters shall have a written summary of client rights which is made available in the agency’s reception area or which is handed to clients during their initial contact with the agency.

(c) Information about client rights shall be made available in a language which the client and the client’s parent or legal guardian can understand (i.e. sign language or in verbal or written form).

(d) All runaway shelters shall inform clients of any waiting period for service, the lack of a particular service, or of its determination that it cannot meet the clients needs and that service elsewhere would be more appropriate.

(e) All runaway shelters shall conduct service planning with the client’s full participation. The client shall be encouraged to retain as much responsibility as possible. The shelter shall make attempts to involve parents or legal guardians.

(5) Basic Service Requirements.

(a) All runaway shelters shall have an active outreach component which includes direct contact with the youth themselves, with law enforcement officials, youth workers, school and transportation personnel, child protective agencies, and others likely to encounter runaway or homeless youth.

(b) Within the first 24 hours of admittance into the shelter, a direct service staff member shall conduct an initial screening and initiate an individualized service plan for each client. This plan shall be reviewed by a supervisor within 72 hours.

(c) The initial screening shall include an assessment of immediate emergency needs, including food, housing, and clothing, and relevant family, social, emotional, educational, health, and employment history.

(d) Any child or young adult suspected of being sexually exploited or who meets the indicators listed in paragraphs 65C-43.001(1)(a)-(e), F.A.C., shall also be assessed using the “Human Trafficking Screening Tool Administration Guide (HTST),” CF-FSP 5406, February 2015, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08852. A young adult is defined as someone who has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of age. The Human Trafficking Screening Tool shall be administered in accordance with Rule 65C-43.001, F.A.C.

(e) All runaway shelters shall provide a comprehensive, integrated program of crisis counseling with a range of counseling services which includes immediate crisis intervention, short-term counseling, and referrals to, or arrangements for, long-term treatment, when appropriate.

(f) A designated runaway shelter staff member shall be responsible for assuring continuity of care from emergency services and crisis counseling through the provisions for aftercare and follow-up.

(g) All runaway shelters shall maintain linkages and cooperative agreements with community agencies, out-of-area programs, or individuals for services not directly provided by the agency, including a plan for handling emergency medical and dental needs of clients.

(h) A runaway shelter shall not deny emergency services to youth and their families due to their inability to pay.

(6) Shelter Care.

(a) When a runaway shelter provides emergency shelter services, it shall meet basic residential needs through an onsite facility that provides food, housing, and clothing.

(b) All runaway shelters shall provide an organized program of daily activities, including individual or group counseling, educational, social, and recreational activities.

(c) All runaway shelters shall provide for a 35 day maximum stay for runaway youth, and shall document in writing any exceptions. All exceptions shall be consistent with a runaway shelter’s policies and shall be monitored by clinical supervisory staff.

(7) Aftercare Services.

(a) Discharge planning involves the consideration of a variety of alternative living arrangements, including return to family whenever possible, and when in the best interest of the youth; referral to long-term community-based residential facilities, or independent community living arrangements, including residence with friends, relatives, or others.

(b) Aftercare plans shall be developed under the direction of clinical supervisory staff and shall have the active participation of the client being served.

(c) Aftercare plans shall include referrals for ongoing individual or family counseling, and arrangements for services including education, career planning, and legal assistance, when appropriate.

(d) Plans for aftercare services shall clearly distinguish the different needs of runaway and homeless youth, and shall document individualized aftercare plans that are developed to meet those needs.

(e) All non-local youth shall be provided with referrals to appropriate services in the youth’s home area.

(f) All runaway shelters shall have procedures for adequate follow-up care and shall require at least one (1) contact with the discharged child or his or her family within the first 30 days following discharge.

(8) Personnel.

(a) Runaway shelters shall provide an initial orientation for all new employees in accordance with subsection 65C-14.023(17), F.A.C.

(b) Runaway shelters shall provide inservice training in accordance with subsection 65C-14.023(18), F.A.C.

(c) Runaway shelter staff with case management responsibility shall have the necessary skills to utilize community resources and effect linkages and obtain services needed by the agency’s clients.

(d) Runaway shelters shall have a plan or procedure for assuring quality care to clients, which includes professional review and monitoring of client assessments, service, and discharge planning.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a), 409.441 FS. Law Implemented 409.175, 409.441 FS. History–New 12-24-17.


65C 15 Child-Placing Agencies

*(See also, CFOP 175-52)

65C-15.001 Definitions.

All definitions for this rule chapter are located in Rule 65C-30.001, F.A.C.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, 9-14-94, Formerly 10M-24.003, Amended 12-4-97, 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.002 Licensed Child-Placing Agencies.

Rulemaking Authority 63.202, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175, 409.165 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.004, Repealed 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.003 Application and Licensing Study.

(1) Application for an agency license shall be made on the “Master License Application for Accredited Child-Placing Agencies,” CF-FSP 5135, March 2016, which is hereby incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07507 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/dcfforms/. The application shall be signed by the owner or operator exercising authority over the operation, policies and practices of the agency. All information requested in the application form and the rule must be submitted as part of the application.

(2) Child-placing agencies applying for initial licensure shall provide the Department with the following information:

(a) Description of the services the agency will provide;

(b) Need for the services to be provided in the geographic area served;

(c) Projected fees and costs for services, how fees are collected and refunds given, if applicable, including any and all contracts;

(d) Geographical area to be served; and,

(e) Location of office, including city, state, street address, mailing address and telephone number.

(3) A licensed agency may operate satellite offices without separate licenses for those offices. However, each satellite office must be disclosed in the application for license by submitting a copy of form CF-FSP 5135, incorporated in subsection (1), of this rule, for each office. If the agency opens a satellite office during the licensed term, the agency shall file form CF-FSP 5135 not less than 10 business days prior to the opening of the new office; a full application packet is not required.

(4) Child-placing agencies applying for satellite offices are required to provide the Department with the infomation required in subsection (2), of this rule, with the exception of the following:

(a) Description of the services, if the satellite office will offer the same services as the parent agency; and,

(b) Projected fees and costs for services, how fees are collected and refunds given, if applicable, including any and all contracts, if the information is the same as the parent agency.

(5) The agency shall have an office and professional staff permanently housed within the state.

(6) Upon determination that the applicant meets the state licensing requirements, the Department shall issue a license to a specific agency, at a specific location, noting all satellite office locations.

(7) Satellite offices of licensed child-placing agencies shall be required to submit client records and personnel files for review at the time of the child-placing agency’s relicensing or any audit by the Department. The regional licensing staff may conduct scheduled or unannounced visits to a satellite office at any time pursuant to Rule 65C-15.004, F.A.C.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.005, Amended 11-14-16, 2-25-18.

 

65C-15.004 On-Site Visits and Complaint Investigation.

(1) All child-placing agencies shall be inspected at least annually. Regional licensing staff of the Department may make either scheduled or unannounced visits to a licensed home, facility or agency at any time to investigate and evaluate compliance with the licensing requirements.

(2) The Department shall investigate complaints to determine if the agency is meeting the licensure requirements.

(3) The child-placing agency shall fully cooperate with the Department whenever complaint investigations are conducted.

(4) The Department shall investigate any report questioning the certification status or compliance of a child-placing agency with requirements of Section 409.175, F.S., or alleging violations of Rule Chapter 65C-15, F.A.C., by the agency within 20 business days to determine whether the complaint is substantiated.

(5) The Department shall advise the owner and operator of the child-placing agency that there is a licensing complaint when initiating an investigation.

(6) The Department shall notify the complainant and the child-placing agency in writing of the results of the complaint investigation within 15 business days after the report of the Department’s investigation has been finalized.

(7) The Department shall only revoke a child-placing agency’s license when one of the following factors exist:

(a) The agency has had licensing violations during the term of the license.

(b) The licensing violations compromise the safety or well-being of children.

(c) The agency does not have the ability to protect the children in care.

(d) The agency has failed to comply with a corrective action plan during the term of the license.

(e) The agency does not have the ability and/or willingness to implement a corrective action plan.

(8) If as a result of the investigation the Department determines that the child-placing agency can ensure child safety despite the existence of one or more of the factors listed in paragraphs (7)(a)-(e) above, then the Department shall prepare a written corrective action plan to correct any deficiencies.

(a) The plan shall be developed in conjunction with the child-placing agency.

(b) The plan shall be put in writing and signed by the executive director or designee of the child-placing agency. A copy of the plan shall be provided to the agency.

(c) Failure of the child-placing agency to timely comply with the corrective action plan shall result in suspension, denial of relicensure, or revocation of the license.

(9) If the Department makes a decision to revoke, suspend, or deny further licensure, notice shall be delivered via personal service or certified mail pursuant to Section 120.60(5), F.S., which shall include the statutory and rule violations that were found, and advise of the action to be taken and the right to challenge the action through an administrative proceeding as provided in Chapter 120, F.S.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.009, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.005 Disclosure.

The agency shall notify the Department in writing within seven (7) calendar days if:

(1) Any civil or criminal action is commenced in any jurisdiction against any director, officer, employee or agent of the agency, where the civil or criminal action relates to or affects the licensed child-placing activity of the agency, or

(2) Any action is commenced in any jurisdiction to revoke or suspend a license held by the agency.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.014, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.006 Statement of Purpose.

The agency shall have a written statement of its purpose. The statement shall include a description of the foster care and adoption services the agency provides and the methods of service delivery it employs, including the methods that will be used to publicize the availability of these services.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.015, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.010 Finances.

(1) Funding: Child-placing agencies beginning operation shall have the capital necessary for a six (6) month period of operation.

(2) Budget: The child-placing agency shall prepare a written budget annually.

(3) Audit: The child-placing agency shall have its financial records audited annually. A report of this audit shall be available to the Department at the licensed location during normal business hours.

(4) Fees and Costs.

(a) If fees for adoption and foster care services are charged, the child-placing agency shall have a fee schedule disclosing all fees for services in a written policy which describes the conditions under which fees are charged, waived, or refunded, if applicable. A copy of the fee schedule, including any updates, shall be filed with the Department. This schedule shall clearly list the specific services covered by each fee. This fee schedule shall be given to all persons applying for adoption services at the time the application is made. A fee agreement and any modifications to it shall be executed with each applicant. The fee agreement shall list the fees charged and the services to be provided, including provisions for payment.

(b) Adoption fees shall be established based on the costs of the following services for the total adoption program:

1. Medical services for the child and the birth mother;

2. Legal services;

3. Counseling services;

4. Homestudy services;

5. Living expense for the birth mother;

6. Foster care services;

7. Pre- and post-placement social services;

8. Contracted services, if applicable;

9. Other necessary services; and,

10. Agency facilities and administrative costs.

(c) The agency’s up-to-date fee schedule shall be reviewed by the Department annually to ensure that the schedule is in compliance with Section 63.097, F.S., for adoption related services.

(5) Where payments are made to foster parents:

(a) The child-placing agency shall have a written payment schedule and statement on payment procedures; and,

(b) The child-placing agency shall provide foster parents with written notification of changes in the schedule at least 30 calendar days prior to the change.

(6) The child-placing agency shall not require or coerce applicants, adoptive parents or their representatives to provide gratuities, such as money or other things of value or services, beyond the established fee.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.019, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.011 Changes in Agency Function or Purpose.

The child-placing agency shall provide written notification within 30 calendar days after implementation to the Department of changes in the agency’s director, statement of purpose, services to be provided, clientele to be served, intake procedures or admission criteria.

(2) If the changes in the child-placing agency’s policies and procedures represent a departure from the original policies submitted in writing to the Department for the agency’s operation, the agency shall submit to the Department its new operating policies and procedures 10 business days prior to implementation.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.020, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.012 Notification of Critical Injury, Illness or Death.

(1) The following critical incidents shall be reported to the Department within 24 hours:

(a) Child arrest.

(b) Child death.

(c) Young adult in extended foster care death.

(d) Child on child sexual abuse.

(e) Employee arrest.

(f) Employee misconduct that affects the safety or wellbeing of the children in care.

(g) Missing child or young adult.

(h) Security incident.

(i) Sexual abuse/sexual battery.

(j) Injury to child or young adult requiring medical attention from a physician.

(k) Injury to staff requiring medical attention from a physician.

(l) Suicide attempt of child or young adult.

(m) Any illness of a child requiring hospitalization.

(2) The agency shall attempt to notify the child’s parents or legal guardian(s) as soon as possible, but in no case later than 24 hours unless parental rights have been terminated.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.021, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.013 Right to Privacy.

The child-placing agency shall ensure that any public appearances in which the child is identified as a foster child are voluntary and that the written consent of the child’s parent or guardian is on file.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.023, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.014 Office Equipment and Transportation.

(1) The child-placing agency shall maintain furnishings and equipment in good working condition for the operation of the office.

(2) The agency shall assist clients in arranging transportation necessary for implementing the child’s case plan. Vehicles used by staff to transport children shall be maintained and operated in safe condition, and in conformity with motor vehicle laws.

(3) The number of persons in a vehicle used to transport children shall not exceed the number of available seats; children shall be restrained by a safety belt or by a child restraint device when being transported in motor vehicles in accordance with Section 316.613, F.S.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.024, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.015 Policies and Practices.

*[See also, FS 409.166(5)-(6),

(1) The child-placing agency shall have written personnel policies and procedures for recruitment, retention, and effective performance of qualified personnel.

(2) These policies shall include:

(a) Job descriptions and titles for each position, defining the qualifications, duties and lines of authority;

(b) Salary scales;

(c) A description of employee benefits;

(d) Provisions which will encourage professional growth through supervision, orientation, in-service training, and staff development;

(e) Procedures for annual evaluation of the work and performance of each staff member; and,

(f) Procedures governing payment of bonuses or other extraordinary compensation to employees or contract providers of the agency.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.025, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.016 Staff Functions and Qualifications.

(1) The child-placing agency shall have a personnel file for each employee, which shall include the following:

(a) The application for employment;

(b) Verification that the screening requirements of Section 409.175(6), F.S., have been completed and met, including an “Affidavit of Good Moral Character,” CF 1649, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07505 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications;

(c) Employee’s starting and termination dates and reason for termination;

(d) Annual performance evaluations and any disciplinary actions taken;

(e) Copy of diploma or degree; and,

(f) Training record and conferences attended.

(2) Personnel files shall be available on site for review by the Department.

(3) Exemptions from disqualifications from working with children may be requested pursuant to Section 435.07, F.S.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.026, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.017 Personnel.

(1) The child-placing agency director shall be responsible for the general management and administration of the agency in accordance with the licensing requirements and the policies of the governing body. The director shall have:

(a) A master’s degree in social work or a related area of study, as defined in subsection (2) of this rule, from an accredited college or university and at least two (2) years’ experience in human services or child welfare programs, or

(b) A bachelor’s degree in social work or a related area of study, as defined in subsection (2) of this rule, from an accredited college or university and four (4) years’ of experience in human services or child welfare programs, or

(c) A doctorate degree in social work or a related area of study, as defined in subsection (2) of this rule, may be substituted for one (1) year of the required experience. Agency directors continuously employed since October 27, 1993, will be considered to have met these educational requirements.

(2) Agency staff responsible for supervision shall have a master’s degree in social work or a related area of study from an accredited college or university and at least two (2) years’ of experience in human services or child welfare programs, or a bachelor’s degree in social work or related area of study from an accredited college or university and four (4) years’ of experience in human services or child welfare programs. A doctorate in social work or a related area of study may be substituted for one year of the required experience. Related areas of study include bachelor’s or master’s degrees in human services, criminology, juvenile justice, psychology, sociology, counseling, special education, education, human development, child development, family development, marriage and family therapy, and nursing.

(3) Agency staff responsible for performing casework services shall have a bachelor’s degree in social work or related area of study or a master’s degree in social work or a related area of study from an accredited college or university. Related areas of study include those listed in subsection (2), above.

(4) A child-placing agency shall not hire any individual who does not meet the criteria set forth in subsections (2) and (3), above, without the approval of the Department’s Regional Managing Director or designee. The Regional Managing Director or designee shall grant approval if the individual has a bachelor’s degree and it is determined that the individual has sufficient relevant education, training, and experience in social services to substitute for the requirements set forth in subsections (2) and (3), above. The child-placing agency shall provide at least the following information in support of such approval:

(a) Documentation that the individual has a bachelor’s degree, along with a copy of the transcript or unofficial transcript for any post-secondary education completed by the person, listing the person’s completed coursework; and,

(b) Documentation of the individual’s relevant experience in social services, or coursework, or training in social services.

(5) No person who has served as a board member, executive director or other officer of an agency that has failed to secure a license to operate as a child-placing agency, or continued in operation after the revocation or suspension of the agency’s license shall be employed by or associated with a licensed child-placing agency for a period of two (2) years’ after termination or cessation of that illegal operation.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.027, Amended 11-14-16, 7-25-17.

65C-15.018 Staff Development.

(1) The child-placing agency shall have a written plan for the orientation, ongoing training and development of all staff.

(2) The child-placing agency shall ensure that the supervisory and social work staff receive at least 15 hours of in-service training during each full year of employment. Activities related to supervision of the staff member’s routine tasks shall not be considered training activities for the purpose of this requirement. In-service training shall be documented in the employee’s personnel file or other agency tracking system.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.028, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.019 Volunteers.

(1) Volunteers who work directly with children for periods of more than 10 hours in any given month must be screened in the same manner as the employees of the child-placing agency. A volunteer who assists on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month need not be screened as long as he or she is under direct and constant supervision by persons who have been screened in accordance with Section 409.175, F.S.

(2) A child-placing agency that utilizes volunteers to work directly with children or their families shall:

(a) Develop a description of duties and specific responsibilities;

(b) Develop a plan for orientation and training in the philosophy of the agency, the needs of the children in care and their families, and the importance of confidentiality; and,

(c) Provide for how volunteers will participate in carrying out the service plans for children and families with whom they are working, if applicable.

(3) Volunteers who assume the same or substantially similar responsibilities as a paid employee shall have the same qualifications and training as the paid employee for the position and shall receive the same supervision and evaluation as the paid employee.

(4) Agencies utilizing volunteers must keep records to reflect the hours and activities of the volunteers.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.029, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.020 Intake Procedures and Practices for Children in Foster Care and Residential Care. (Repealed eff 11-14-16)

Rulemaking Authority 39, 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 39, 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.031, Repealed 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.021 Services to Families and Children in Foster Care.

(1) Placement Services

(a) The child-placing agency shall provide placement services to families and children in foster care in accordance with Rule 65C-28.004, F.A.C.

(b) When making placement decisions, the child-placing agency shall consider the cultural, religious, and ethnic values of each child.

(c) At Risk Placements: The “At Risk Placement” document, CF-FSP 5401, January 2015, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07509 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/dcfforms/, shall be signed by the prospective adoptive parent or parents prior to placement of a child in their home, if the agency does not have a court order documenting termination of parental rights of the child being placed for adoption.

(2) Agency Services

(a) The child-placing agency shall provide services to children in foster care in accordance with Rule Chapter 65C-28, F.A.C.

(b) Within 90 days of the child-placing agency taking a child into care for the purpose of adoption, the agency shall file a petition for termination of parental rights or for temporary custody.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.032, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.022 Agency Services to Children in Foster Care. (Repealed eff 11-14-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.034, Repealed 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.023 Foster Home Licensing. (Repealed eff 11-14-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.036, Repealed 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.024 Foster Home Studies. (Repealed eff 11-14-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.037, Repealed 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.025 Monitoring and Annual Licensing Study. (Repealed eff 11-14-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.038, Repealed 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.026 Recommendations to Deny an Initial License or Revoke a Family Foster Home License.

The child-placing agency shall send the Department written notice of its recommendation to deny or revoke a family foster home license. The child-placing agency shall state the reasons it is recommending denial or revocation and shall provide the Department with documentation supporting its findings. All license revocations shall comply with requirements of Chapter 120, F.S.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.039, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.027 The Agency’s Responsibilities to Licensed Out-of-Home Caregivers.

(1) The child-placing agency shall provide or identify training opportunities for licensed out-of-home caregivers in accordance with Rules 65C-13.024 and 65C-13.026, F.A.C.

The child-placing agency shall have a signed “Partnership Plan for Children in Licensed Out-of-Home Care,” CF-FSP 5226, January 2015, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07508 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications, and a signed “Confidentiality Agreement for Foster Parent Application,” CF-FSP 5087, February 2013, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07506 and www.dcf.state.fl.us/publications, with all licensed out-of-home caregivers.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.040, Amended 11-14-16..

 

65C-15.028 Adoptive Home Study.

The agency shall conduct an adoptive home study in accordance with Rules 65C-16.002 and 65C-16.005, F.A.C.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.042, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.029 Services to Adoptive and Birth Parents.

(1) The child-placing agency shall provide adoptive services in accordance with Rule Chapter 65C-16, F.A.C.

(2) If a child-placing agency pays, directly or indirectly, for a pregnant female to come to Florida for the purpose of placing the child, when born, for adoption with the agency, then the agency shall be responsible for returning the female to the state of origin, if she wishes to return, immediately after she is able to travel. If the mother decides not to place the child with the agency for adoption, then the agency shall be responsible for returning the mother and child to the state of origin, if the mother wishes to return, immediately after the baby is ready to travel.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.043, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.030 Case Records. (Repealed eff 11-14-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.045, Repealed 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.031 Child’s Case Records.

(1) The agency shall arrange storage for records of a child in foster care or residential group care until the child is 30 years’ of age. Case records shall be permanently retained of children placed by the agency for adoption, their biological families and adoptive families.

(2) The child-placing agency shall maintain current records for each child placed in any setting.

(3) The following information shall be contained in each file:

(a) Demographic information including the name, address, social security number, sex, religion, race, birth date, and birth place of the child;

(b) The name, address, telephone number, social security numbers, and marital status of the parents or guardians of the child;

(c) The name, address, and telephone number of siblings if placed elsewhere and other significant relatives, if available;

(d) Copies of legal documents of importance to the type of care, such as birth record and any court dispositions;

(e) The medical history, which shall include, if available, cumulative health records, addresses of all health care providers who provided treatment, examination or consultation regarding the child, as well as all psychological and psychiatric reports;

(f) The social assessment and background of the family and parents;

(g) A summary which reflects the dates of contact, initial assessment, case plan, and content of the worker’s visits;

(h) The circumstances leading to the decision of the parents to place the child, the agency’s involvement with the parents, including services offered, delivered, or rejected;

(i) Educational records and reports, if applicable;

(j) Summary of case reviews which reflect the contacts with and the status of all family members in relation to the case plan, as well as the achievements or changes in the goals;

(k) Summary of any administrative or outside service reviews on the progress of each child toward goal determination;

(l) Summary of child’s contacts with family members which reflect the quality of the relationships and the way the child is coping with the family members; and,

(m) A record of the child’s placements with names of caregivers, addresses, and the dates of care.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.046, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.032 Family Case Record.

A child-placing agency the provides services to children shall have on file a record of the child’s family that includes:

(1) Demographic information, including address, birth dates, race, religion, family composition, and persons important to the child;

(2) The social history, including any psychological or psychiatric reports and medical histories;

(3) Strengths and needs of the family and the services required;

(4) The agency’s assessment and initial case plan;

(5) Signed agreements between the agency and family or legal guardian;

(6) Summary of dates of contact and progress toward goals;

(7) Permanency status; and,

(8) Discharge summary.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.047, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.033 Family Foster Home Records. (Repealed 11-14-16)

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.048, Repealed 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.034 Adoptive Home Records.

The agency shall keep records for each adoptive family which shall contain:

(1) All documentation required pursuant to Rule 65C-16.005, F.A.C.

(2) The application for adoption;

(3) The adoptive home study;

(4) A copy of the information given to the parents concerning the child or children to be placed for adoption with them;

(5) Summary containing the placement decision, pre-placement and post-placement contacts with the family and the adoptive child, including services provided to stabilize the placement and decisions regarding finalization of the adoption; and,

(6) All legal documents pertaining to the adoption.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.049, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.035 Agency Closure.

If a child-placing agency ceases operation, for any reason, it shall notify the Department in writing at least 30 calendar days prior to closing and shall provide the following to the Department:

(1) Legal transfer of surrender and releases of any children in its custody to another licensed child-placing agency or to the Department;

(2) Documentation of appropriate transfer of responsibility for children in temporary placement to another licensed child-placing agency or to the Department; and,

(3) All open and closed records.

(4) Documentation of appropriate transfer or termination of services for all other clients.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.050, Amended 11-14-16.

 

65C-15.036 Intercountry Adoption Services.

(1) The child-placing agency which engages in intercountry adoptions shall provide to the adoptive parents all legal documents pertaining to the adopted child that have been obtained from the child’s country of origin.

(2) Any child-placing agency which conducts intercountry adoptions and is accredited by the United States Department of State shall remain in good standing with the accreditation body.

(3) If the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption suspends or revokes accreditation of a child-placing agency, the Department will consider the action of the accreditation suspension or revocation grounds for revocation of the child-placing agency’s license.

(4) The agency shall comply with all applicable adoption laws of the child’s country of origin, the United States, and the state of Florida.

Rulemaking Authority 409.175(5)(a) FS. Law Implemented 409.175(5)(a) FS. History–New 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.052, Amended 11-14-16, 6-15-17.

65C-15.037 Interstate Adoptions.

*(See also, FS 409.401, FS 409.406, CFOP 175-54 & CFOP 175-97)

All interstate adoptions shall comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, Section 409.401, F.S.

Rulemaking Authority 409.401, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.401, 409.175 FS. History–New 5-17-98, Amended 11-14-16.





65C 16 Adoptions

65C-16.001 Definitions.

(1) “Abuse Hotline” means the Department’s single statewide toll-free telephone number established for the purpose of receiving reports of child abuse, abandonment or neglect.

(2) “Florida Adoption Exchange” means the Department of Children and Families statewide website where a child or sibling group available for adoption without an identified family will appear for recruitment of an adoptive family.

(3) “Adopted from the Department” means a child permanently committed to the custody of the Department for the purpose of adoption and has been adopted by parents who have an approved home study by the Department.

(4) “Adoption Home Study” means a written evaluation of the adoptive parents’ capacity for adoptive parenthood. The study assesses the applicants’ home and living environment, their marriage, if any, family and social history, relationships, and criminal history, if any.

(5) “Adoption Information Center” means Florida’s Adoption Information and Referral Service, a statewide service for pregnant women considering placement of a child for adoption, adopted adults and birth parents and relatives seeking reunions and prospective adoptive parents interested in adopting a child.

(6) “Adoption Reunion Registry” means a voluntary computer database which acts as a repository for current names, addresses and telephone numbers of parties to any Florida adoption.

(7) “Adoption Applicant Review Committee” means a committee that provides consultation and assistance to an adoption counselor when the counselor and supervisor are recommending denial of an adoptive home study, or adoption case situations which present challenging issues, such as when multiple families apply to adopt the same child.

(8) “Adoptive Placement” means the act of physically moving a child into the physical custody of the prospective adoptive parents and the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement to Adopt by the preadoptive parents.

(9) “At-Risk Adoptive Placement” means a placement of a minor in the home of an approved adoptive parent prior to the termination of the minors’ parents’ parental rights.

(10) “Circuit/Region” means a geographic area through which the Department and community based care lead agencies plan and administer their programs.

(11) “Disruption” means the termination of an adoption placement prior to legal finalization.

(12) “Dissolution” means the return of a child to out-of-home care and the subsequent termination of the parental rights of the adoptive parents.

(13) “Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children” means an agreement among states, enacted into law in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, which governs the interstate movement of children. It establishes procedures for the interstate adoptive or out of home placement of children, including post-placement supervision.

(14) “Match Staffing” means a staffing that is convened to match a child available for adoption without an identified adoptive family with prospective adoptive families with non-child-specific approved adoptive home studies.

(15) “Multidisciplinary Team” means the group of people brought together to plan and coordinate mental health and related services to meet the child’s needs in the most appropriate, least restrictive setting.

(16) “Non-Recurring Adoption Expenses” means adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses as defined in Section 409.166, F.S., that are directly related to the adoption of a special needs child, that were incurred prior to adoption finalization.

(17) “Significant Emotional Tie” means a substantial attachment between a child and his or her caretaker that is critical to a child’s present and future well-being. The assessment of this attachment must include such factors as the length of time the child has known the caretaker and the attachment that exists in the relationship. This term is also used in the evaluation of a child’s eligiblity for adoption subsidy when the question of eligibility rests solely on his or her adoption by the current caregiver.

Rulemaking Authority 63.233, 409.166(8), 409.167(6) FS. Law Implemented 63.092, 63.165, 409.166, 409.167 FS. History–New 4-28-92, Amended 4-19-94, Formerly 10M-8.0013, Amended 12-4-97, 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.

65C-16.002 Adoptive Family Selection.

(1) A person seeking to adopt a child who does not meet the definition of special needs pursuant to Section 409.166(2), F.S., will be referred to the Adoption Information Center. Birth parents seeking adoption planning for their children will also be referred to the Adoption Information Center.

(2) Adoption placements must be made consistent with the best interest of the child. The assessment of the best interest of the child must include the current and projected future needs of the child, consideration of the birth family’s medical and mental health history and the strengths of the potential adoptive family to meet the child’s needs. The adoptive placement decision must be shaped by the following considerations:

(a) Grandparent. A grandparent who is entitled to notice pursuant to Section 63.0425, F.S., must be afforded the opportunity to have a home study completed and to petition for adoption. If grandparents apply to adopt the child, prior to a Memorandum of Agreement to Adopt being signed by another applicant, the application must be evaluated through an adoptive home study.

(b) Current caregiver. If the current caregiver applies to adopt the child, the application must be evaluated through an adoptive home study. The home study must assess the length of time the child has lived with the current cargiver, the depth of the relationship existing between the child and the caregiver, and whether it is in the best interest of the child to be adopted by the caregiver.

(c) Relatives and nonrelatives with whom child has a relationship. Persons known to the child, but who do not have custody of the child, may wish to be considered for adoption. If such persons apply to adopt the child prior to a Memorandum of Agreement to Adopt being signed, the application must be evaluated through an adoptive home study. The depth of the relationship existing between the child and the applicant must be assessed and included in the home study. The “Memorandum of Agreement,” CF-FSP 5072, October 2010, is incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06973.

(d) Family new to the child. Many families who pursue adoption do not have a specific child in mind when they apply. These families must be provided information about the children available for adoption through the department, and must be helped, through training, preparation, and the home study process, to determine if special needs adoption is appropriate for their family.

(3) Siblings.

(a) When considering adoption placement of a sibling group, consideration must include the fact that a sibling relationship is the longest lasting relationship for a child and placing siblings together, whenever possible, preserves the family unit.

(b) In situations where consideration is being given to separating siblings who are in an open dependency case, a sibling separation staffing shall be held. The staffing shall consist of at least three (3) members with adoption experience. The members must consider the emotional ties existing between and among the siblings and the degree of harm which each child is likely to experience as a result of separation. The positives and negatives of keeping the children together must be thoroughly explored, and at least one (1) member must be assigned the role of defending the position of placing the children together. In particularly difficult cases, professionals who have expertise in sibling bonding and adoptions may be consulted.

(c) The decision to separate siblings who are in an open dependency case must be approved in writing and documented in the Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN) by the community based care (CBC) or subcontractor staff charged with this responsibility. The CBC or subcontractor staff shall prepare a memorandum describing efforts made to keep the siblings together and an assessment of the short term and long range effects of separation on the children. The memorandum must also include a description of the plan for post-adoption communication or contact, as described in Rule 65C-16.020, F.A.C., between the children if separation is approved.

(d) If, after placement as a sibling group, one child does not adjust to the family, a decision must be made regarding what is best for all of the children. The adoption staff must review this situation as a team, and choose the plan that will be least detrimental to the children. The staffing shall be conducted as any other sibling separation staffing as prescribed in paragraph (3)(b) of this rule. The decision and rationale must be documented in the FSFN. This documentation must also include the plan for future contact if the decision is to pursue separate placements.

(e) If the Department takes into custody a child who is a sibling of a previously adopted child(ren), the Department, CBC or subcontractor staff shall advise the adoptive parents of this occurrence at the time of removal. If the child becomes available for adoption, the adoptive parents of the previously placed sibling(s) shall be notified and given an opportunity to apply to adopt the child. The application of these adoptive parents will be given the same consideration as an application for adoption by a relative, as described above.

(4) Requests for consideration made after the Memorandum of Agreement to Adopt has been signed. Once a Memorandum of Agreement is signed by the prospective adoptive parents, the Department will not complete a homestudy on any new applicant to adopt the child, unless court ordered.

(5) The following factors must be considered in determining the best interest of the child when selecting an adoptive family and when multiple families apply to adopt the same child.

(a) Attachment. Consideration must be given to the quality and length of the attachment to the current and potential caregiver. The age of the child at placement with current caregiver and the child’s current age must be considered in assessing attachment. The ease with which the child attached to the current family and any indications of attachment difficulty in the child’s history must be evaluated. The number of moves and number of caregivers the child has experienced will be an important factor in determining the likelihood that the child will form a healthy attachment to a new caregiver

(b) Siblings. Consideration must be given to whether the potential caregiver is willing to adopt all members of a sibling group.

(c) Kinship. Cultural values and traditions are more likely to be passed on to who have a shared history with extended family. Consideration must be given to the quality of the relationship with a relative seeking to adopt a child. Some children will already know and trust the relative seeking to adopt. If not, the willingness of the relative to participate in pre-placement activities to promote the development of a relationship must be considered.

(d) Permanence. The capacity and willingness of the prospective adoptive parent to access needed services and meet the child’s need for permanence must be evaluated. The ability of the prospective adoptive parent to understand the needs of adoptive children in different developmental stages and his or her awareness of the inherent challenges of parenting an adopted child must be carefully considered.

(e) Post communication or contact. The willingness and capacity of the prospective adoptive parent to agree with post-adoption communication or contact with siblings or a significant adult that is determined to be in the best interest of the child must be determined.

(6) In any adoptive placement of a Native American child, the federal “Indian Child Welfare Act” governs the order of placement preference. While the Indian Child Welfare Act gives a placement preference, it allows each tribe to establish a different order of preference by resolution, and that order must be followed. The Act lists the placement preference for adoption of an Indian child in the following order:

(a) A member of the child’s extended family;

(b) Other members of the Indian child’s tribe; or

(c) Other Indian families.

(7) Study of the Child. The case manager or adoption counselor must conduct a study of any child to be placed for adoption. In addition to aiding in identifying an adoptive placement, the child study is also documentation of the child’s special needs for subsidy purposes and serves as a vehicle for sharing the child’s history with the adoptive family. The child study must include current and projected or future needs of the child based on all available information regarding the child and the birth family’s medical and social history. A study of the child shall include:

(a) Developmental History. A developmental history must be obtained from the birth parents whenever possible. When the child has been in care for a period of time, developmental history obtained from birth parents must be supplemented by direct study and observation by the case manager or adoption counselor, foster parents, pediatrician, and if indicated, psychologist, teacher and other consultants. The developmental history must include:

1. Birth and health history;

2. Early development;

3. Child’s characteristic way of responding to people;

4. Deviations from the normal range of development; and,

5. Child’s prior experiences, including continuity of care, separations, and information regarding other known significant relationships and placements the child has had prior to and since entering foster care.

(b) Medical History. A medical examination must be completed by a licensed physician, preferably a pediatrician, to determine the child’s state of health and significant health factors which may interfere with normal development. The medical history must take into consideration the following:

1. Circumstances of birth and possible birth trauma;

2. Congenital conditions which may or may not have been corrected or need additional correction or treatment;

3. Physical handicaps that may interfere with normal activity and achievement;

4. Significant illnesses and health of the child, parents and other family members; and,

5. Immunization record of the child.

(c) Family History. Family history shall be obtained from birth parents when possible and shall include any medical and mental health information about both parents and any siblings. Information about the child’s birth family shall include:

1. Age of both parents;

2. Race, national origin or ethnicity;

3. Religion;

4. Physical characteristics;

5. Educational achievements and occupations;

6. Health, medical history and possible hereditary problems;

7. Personality traits, special interests and abilities;

8. Child’s past and present relationship with family members and the significance of these relationships; and,

9. Actual or potential impact of past abuse, neglect or abandonment.

(d) Psychological and Psychiatric Evaluations. Psychological or psychiatric evaluations of children known or suspected of having mental health problems must be obtained prior to the adoption placement. Any child who will be placed for adoption with medical subsidy for treatment of a psychological or psychiatric condition must have had such an evaluation within the 12 month period preceding the adoption placement.

(e) Heredity. There are no hereditary factors that rule out adoptive planning for a child. Genetic and medical professionals will assist in deciding which hereditary conditions limit life expectancy or adversely affect normal development.

(f) Pre-placement Physical Examination. Prior to placement every child must have received his or her most recent well-child check-up as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. No child will be placed without a physical that has been conducted within 12 months of placement unless there is a known or suspected medical condition. When there is a known or suspected medical condition, a physical within six (6) months prior to placement will be required. If the adoptive family prefers, an additional examination may be completed at their expense, and a copy provided for the child’s case record. It is important that this examination be thorough and provide the potential adoptive family and the case manager and adoption counselor with a clear understanding of the child’s physical condition.

(g) Education. An educational history must be documented for the child, including all schools attended, current grade, and a summary of the child’s report cards and his or her 504 or Individual Educational Plan, if applicable. An interview with the child’s current teacher is required in order to document issues related to academics, socialization skills and behavioral concerns.

(8) A copy of the child study shall be provided to the adoptive parents prior to the adoptive placement. The identity of the birth family shall be protected when providing the child study to the family. The information must be shared either using the “Disclosure Information to Adoptive Parents” form, CF-FSP 5328, December 2010, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06975, or a form developed by the CBC provider. If the CBC provider chooses to use its own form, that form must contain all of the elements of CF-FSP 5328, February 2016.

Rulemaking Authority 63.233 FS. Law Implemented 63.039(1), 63.0425, 63.0427, 63.085 FS. History–New 2-14-84, Formerly 10M-8.02, Amended 5-20-91, 4-28-92, 4-19-94, 8-17-94, 1-8-95, Formerly 10M-8.002, Amended 12-4-97, 12-23-97, 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.

65C-16.003 Case Reviews.

(1) The purpose of case reviews is to ensure that efforts to achieve the permanency goal of adoption are conducted and documented in Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN) and ongoing judicial review social studies reports for every child with an adoption goal.

(2) The case review requirements for children in adoption planning consist of two (2) types of reviews:

(a) Match Staffings. Staff responsible for case planning for children who are permanently committed to the Department with a goal of adoption shall meet every 60 days to discuss and assess the strengths and needs of children without an identified adoptive family with the goal of matching them with approved prospective adoptive families. The available families for the waiting children will be sought from the FSFN, community-based care (CBC) agencies, AdoptUSKids, and Children Awaiting Parents (CAP).

1. The staffing will be conducted by a team of at least three (3) individuals, preferably with adoption experience. The child’s case will be presented by the adoption case manager.

2. The staffing team shall determine all potential matches from the pool of prospective adoptive families.

3. Once the potential adoptive families have been identified, the staffing team will rate each family based on the family’s ability to meet the identified needs of the child based on information documented in FSFN, the Child Study and the adoptive parent’s home study. The documentation must include a key of the rating scale used by the team.

4. The team will be required to obtain input (either verbally or in writing) from adults with significant knowledge of the child’s needs, including the adoption case manager, dependency case manager, current caregiver, the child, if age appropriate, guardian ad litem, school professional, and therapist.

(b) Supervisory Consultation. Supervisory consultation is an on-going function of direct service supervision. Consultation must be directed at ensuring thorough case assessment, case planning and service delivery. Supervisory consultation must be provided to every direct service staff member regardless of prior training and experience, and must include individual supervisory case conferences, at least every 90 calendar days.

Rulemaking Authority 39.0121 FS. Law Implemented 39.621, 39.701, 39.811(8), (9), 39.812 FS. History–New 4-28-92, Amended 4-19-94, Formerly 10M-8.0023, Amended 12-4-97, 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.

65C-16.004 Recruitment, Screening and Application Process/Adoptive Applicants.

(1) The community-based-care (CBC) or subcontractor staff shall ensure that an assessment of adoptive parent resource needs is completed at the beginning of each calendar year, and that recruitment activities are planned for the year based on the results of the assessment.

(2) The recruitment activities must be designed to meet the needs of all children in foster care who need adoptive families and must include opportunities for an exchange of information and communication with potential adoptive applicants at least every 90 days.

(3) The recruitment activities shall reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of children needing adoptive placement pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. 1901, et seq., and Multi-Ethnic Placement Act, 42 U.S.C.A. §1996.

(4) Within 10 business days after a child has been permanently committed to the Department, the adoption information screens in FSFN must be completed by the adoption case manager, adoption recruiter, or designee.

(a) When a child or sibling group has no identified adoptive family and is or are legally free for adoption, the child or sibling group must appear on the Florida Adoption Exchange. The child must be documented with an available status, a child web memo and a current child web ready photo in FSFN. If the child is a member of a sibling group that is seeking to be adopted together by a single family, each child must be documented with the same sibling identification number, sibling web memo and sibling web ready photo in FSFN.

(b) The child and sibling web memos must be reviewed and web authorized by a supervisor or designated second level reviewer.

(c) For children under age five (5), the child or sibling photo and child or sibling web memo must be updated every six (6) months. For children age five (5) or older, the child or sibling web photo and child or sibling web memo must be updated annually.

(d) When a child has an identified adoptive family, the required data for the federal and state reports must be documented in FSFN before the adoption case is closed.

(e) Children without an identified adoptive family must also be registered on the national adoption website, AdoptUSKids, and local recruitment resources, such as a Heart Gallery, after the child is documented on the Florida Adoption Exchange.

(5) The prospective adoptive parents’ initial inquiry to the Department or to the CBC or subcontractor staff, whether written or verbal, shall receive a written response or a telephone call within seven (7) business days. Prospective adoptive parents who indicate an interest in adopting children must be referred to a Department approved adoptive parent training program, as prescribed in Rule 65C-13.024, F.A.C. If space is limited in scheduled classes, slots in the classes will be assigned in the following priority order:

(a) Persons with an existing relationship with a specifically identified special needs child who is waiting for adoption placement, or that child’s sibling.

(b) Persons who have expressed an interest in adopting a specifically identified special needs child waiting for adoption, or that child’s sibling.

(c) Persons who have explicitly stated their willingness to adopt special needs children available for placement through the Department or its designee.

(6) Once the prospective adoptive parents complete the approved adoptive parent training program, the Department will complete home studies in the following priority order:

(a) Persons with an existing relationship with a specifically identified special needs child who is waiting for adoption placement, or that child’s sibling.

(b) Persons who have expressed an interest in adopting a specifically identified special needs child waiting for adoption, or that child’s sibling.

(c) Persons who have explicitly stated their willingness to adopt special needs children available for placement through the Department or its designee.

(7) Any protective adoptive parent, who has completed the approved adoptive parent training program, and does not fall into the categories under paragraphs (6)(a)-(c), may be referred to the Adoption Information Center. Pursuant to Section 63.092(3), F.S., the Department is required to perform the preliminary home study only if there is no licensed child-placing agency, child-caring agency registered under Section 409.176, F.S., licensed professional, or agency described in Section 61.20(2), F.S., in the county where the prospective adoptive parent resides.

(8) An application to adopt must be made on the “Adoptive Home Application” form CF-FSP 5071, October 2014, which is incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06972, or a form developed by the CBC provider. If a CBC provider chooses to use its own form, that form must contain all of the elements of CF-FSP 5071, October 2014.

Specific Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 39.0137, 63.233, 409.175(5)(a), 409.988(2)(e) FS. Law Implemented 39.0137, 39.811(8)-(9), 39.812(1), (4)-(5), 63.092, 409.175(5)(a), 409.167, 409.986(2), 409.988(2) FS. History–New 7-18-95, Formerly 10M-8.0042, Amended 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.

65C-16.005 Evaluation of Applicants.

(1) No person shall be denied the opportunity to become an adoptive parent on the basis of race, color or national origin. The placement of a child with a particular family must not be denied or delayed on the basis of race, color or national origin of the family or the child.

*[See also, FS 63.092(3)(a)-(e)]

(2) An adoptive home study which includes observation, screening and evaluation of the child and adoptive applicants shall be completed by a staff person with the CBC, subcontractor agency, or other licensed child-placing agency prior to the adoptive placement of the child. The aim of this evaluation is to select families who will be able to meet the physical, emotional, social, educational and financial needs of a child, while safeguarding the child from further loss and separation from siblings and significant adults. The adoptive home study is valid for 12 months from the approval date.

(3) In determining which home studies and applications for adoption will be approved, all of the following criteria, not listed in any order of priority, must be considered:

(a) The child’s choice, if the child is developmentally able to participate in the decision. The child’s consent to the adoption is required if the child is age 12 or older unless excused by the court;

(b) The ability and willingness of the adoptive family to adopt some or all of a sibling group, although no individual child shall be impeded or disadvantaged in receiving an adoptive family due to the inability of the adoptive family to adopt all siblings. The needs of each individual child must be considered, as well as the family’s demonstrated efforts to maintain the sibling connection;

(c) The commitment of the applicant to value, respect, appreciate, and educate the child regarding his or her racial and ethnic heritage and to permit the child the opportunity to know and appreciate that ethnic and racial heritage;

(d) The family’s child rearing experience. Applicants with previous child-rearing experience and who have a demonstrated history of having provided consistent financial and emotional support to other minor children, either birth or adopted, will be considered. Applicants who do not have previous child-rearing experience as a parent but who demonstrate the capacity to parent a special needs child by providing care or supervision of a child, such as in a role as an aunt or uncle, teacher, foster parent or friend, will also be considered. Families with no child-rearing experience must also be assessed for their capacity to provide care for a special needs child;

(e) Applicants who have experienced an adoption disruption or dissolution in the past shall be assessed regarding the reasons for the disruption or dissolution, the family’s openness in dealing with the problems that led to the disruption or dissolution, their willingness to accept help with the problems, and their continued support of the child through his or her change of placement;

(f) Marital Status. Applications to adopt will be accepted from married couples and from single adults. Consideration should be given as to stability of the marriage and/or any significant relationships. In determining stability, adoption staff shall consider the length of the marriage or relationship and any history of repeated separations and reconciliations;

(g) Residence. Florida families must be prepared to remain in Florida long enough to have the adoption home study completed, the child placed, and the adoption finalized. Families from other states wishing to adopt Florida children may apply and be studied by an agency authorized or licensed to practice adoption in their state of residence. Out-of-state placements must comply with Section 63.207, F.S.;

(h) Income. The family must have legal and verifiable income and resources to ensure financial stability and security to meet expenses incurred in the care of the family. While a family’s income must meet the needs of its current members, a family interested in a special needs child must not be precluded from consideration if the availability of an adoption subsidy would enable them to adopt a special needs child. Management of current income and the ability to plan for future changes in income so that the child’s social, physical and financial needs will be met are as important as the amount of income;

(i) Housing. Housing must provide space and the living conditions necessary to promote the health and safety of the family;

(j) Health. Applicants will be required to fully disclose health history for themselves and each member of the household, to include current physical, mental or emotional health status, any condition that is progressive and debilitating in its course, and any past and current treatment and services received for such condition. A current physical shall not be required unless the applicant has disclosed a physical, mental or emotional condition that jeopardizes the safety and permanency of the child’s placement;

(k) Other Children, Including Adult Children, of the Family. When families have children by birth or adoption, the anticipated impact of a new child on the family must be considered. Contact must be attempted with all children of the adoptive family in order to determine the anticipated impact on the family and as part of the assessment of the potential adoptive parent’s capacity to parent a special needs child;

(l) Other Household Members. Other household members must be interviewed and included in the assessment of the adoptive family to determine the anticipated impact on the family. For household members who will serve in a caregiving capacity, the following areas shall be assessed: attachment to child, parenting history, physical and mental health, background checks and references;

(m) Working Parents. The willingness and ability of prospective adoptive parents who are employed outside the home to make arrangements to be with the child during the transition period must be considered. It is desirable that one parent be free to devote full time to the care of the child for a period of time after placement. The exact length of time is determined by the needs and the age of the child, and the needs of the child must be given priority over the employment situation of the parent;

(n) Department, community-based-care (CBC), or Sub-Contractor Employees. Employees of the Department and the CBC, including subcontractor staff, will be considered as adoptive applicants. In situations where the employee has a close working relationship with the foster care or adoption staff in his or her local area, or had such a relationship within the past two (2) years, completion of the applicant’s home study process shall be conducted by a licensed child-placing adoption agency outside the local area. The CBC agency must be notified within 72 hours when an application to adopt is received from a Department, CBC agency employee. The CBC agency will make a decision regarding whether the adoption home study for the employee will be completed by the CBC agency or if the services of another agency will be sought. If the decision is to have the employee’s adoption home study and subsequent placement handled by another agency, the CBC agency shall make the necessary arrangements with the chosen agency. When an adoptive applicant is a member of a board or group which has actual or perceived authority over the Department, its CBC agency, its staff or operations, such applicant will be referred to another circuit or a local licensed child placing agency for handling;

(o) Criminal History. All adoptive parent applicants must disclose to the Department, CBC agency, or subcontractor agency any prior or pending local, state or national criminal proceedings in which they have been or are involved;

(p) Background Screening. All adoptive applicants must complete the requirements for background screening as outlined in Rule 65C-16.007, F.A.C.;

(q) References. A minimum of five (5) written references shall be required. Only one (1) reference may be obtained from an employer and only one (1) of the references may be obtained from a relative. All other references must be obtained from persons who either: 1) have observed the applicants in situations that give some indication for their capacity for parenthood, or 2) who as the result of their relationship to the applicant, possess documentation or knowledge of the applicant’s capacity for parenthood. All references shall be provided directly to the agency person conducting the home study by the person providing the reference; and,

(r) The “Acknowledgement of Firearms Safety Requirements” form CF-FSP 5343, February 2015, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06976, or a form developed by the CBC provider, must be signed and dated by the adoptive applicants as a part of the home study process. A copy of the signed form must be retained as a part of the approved home study and a signed copy must be provided to the prospective adoptive parents. If a CBC provider chooses to use its own form, that form must contain all of the elements of CF-FSP 5343, February 2015.

(4) Family Preparation and Study Process.

(a) Adoption staff shall explain to applicants what to expect during the preparation and study process. Adoption staff must also help to establish a relationship with adoptive applicants which will make it possible for adoptive applicants to ask for and receive help during the presentation, pre-placement, placement and the post-placement adjustment period.

(b) The Department approved adoptive parent training must be provided to and successfully completed by all prospective adoptive parents except licensed foster parents and relative and non-relative caregivers who previously attended the training within the last five (5) years, as prescribed in Rule 65C-13.024, F.A.C., or have the child currently placed in their home for six (6) months or longer and been determined to understand the challenges and parenting skills needed to successfully parent the children available for adoption from foster care. The staff person conducting the home study must clearly document in the adoptive parent home study the reasons why the relative or non-relative caregiver will not be required to complete adoptive parent training.

(c) At the beginning of each year CBC agencies responsible for adoption services must establish a 12 month training calendar. Providers must also have the ability to conduct extra training classes when the number of families waiting for a training class cannot be accommodated in the regularly scheduled sessions.

(5) Family Preparation Through Use of the Individual Study Process.

(a) Although the most preferred method of preparing applicants for adoptive parenthood is the adoptive parent training group process, there will be exceptional cases in which an individual study approach must be used. Some examples of factors which might lead to a decision to prepare an applicant family via an individual study are as follows:

1. Extreme distance which would cause hardship for the family;

2. Small numbers of inquiring families at irregular times;

3. Families who are adopting subsequent children and have already been trained; and,

4. Cases in which the applicant may need individualized education on portions of the curriculum even though the child has been living in the home for an extended period and there is evidence of well functioning relationships.

(b) Each decision to use the individual study approach must be approved in writing by the CBC or subcontractor agency, and the home study must include justification for use of this method.

(c) The focus of the individual study, as in group preparation, must be on education and preparation of the family.

(6) Families Who Adopt Again. Prior approval of a family to adopt does not automatically deem the family appropriate to adopt again. Consideration of any family for placement of a subsequent child requires an updating of the previous adoptive parent home study. The update shall include an assessment of the following:

(a) Issues Related to the Previously Adopted Child. This shall include a brief description of the child, his or her incorporation into the family, and the skills the parents have demonstrated in providing for this child;

(b) Motivation of the family in seeking to adopt another child at this time;

(c) School adjustment of the previously adopted child, including the communication and ongoing relationship with the local school system. If a child is home schooled, the child’s socialization, community visibility and peer relationships must be assessed;

(d) Health Needs. Any significant medical problems and any impact they have had on the previous adoption or might be expected to have on subsequent placements;

(e) Housing needs and the capacity of the home to comfortably accommodate another child;

(f) Income. Any major changes in the family income must be discussed. A determination shall be made as to whether or not the addition of another child, even with adoption subsidy, will tax the family’s ability to manage within their current income;

(g) Marriage. The effect of the previous adoption on the marriage;

(h) Extended Family and Neighbors. How the previous adoption has been perceived, received or rejected by family. How neighbors perceive the family relationships, including the visibility of the child within the neighborhood, when available;

(i) Updated References. A minimum of five (5) references shall be obtained when updating an adoption home study toward placement of an additional child. References shall address how the family seems to have managed with the previously adopted child and how they believe the family will cope with additional children. References must be obtained from persons who either: 1) have observed the applicants in situations that give some indication for their capacity for parenthood, or 2) who as the result of their relationship to the applicant, possess documentation or knowledge of the applicant’s capacity for parenthood. The case manager shall attempt to obtain a reference from an adult child of the applicant, if applicable. Only one (1) of the references may be obtained from a relative;

(j) Abuse Hotline/Criminal Records Check. Abuse hotline and criminal records checks must be conducted pursuant to Sections 39.0138 and 39.521, F.S., as part of each subsequent application to adopt; and,

(k) Other Major Changes. Address any additional family members not considered in the initial study. Also address any other major changes such as job changes, deaths, and serious illness or medical conditions which may have had an effect on the family or which may compromise the applicant’s ability to meet the needs of another child.

*(See also, FS 63.125)

(7) The Written Adoption Home Study. A written report, generally referred to as the adoption home study, must be prepared for each studied family. The adoption home study must address the issues discussed in subsections (1) through (6) above.

(8) At the conclusion of the preparation and study process, the counselor and supervisor will make a decision about the family’s appropriateness to adopt. The decision to approve or not to approve will be reflected in the final recommendation included in the home study. If the recommendation is for approval, the home study will be submitted to the CBC or subcontractor agency for approval. If the counselor and supervisor do not recommend approval, the case will be reviewed by an Adoption Applicant Review Committee according to the directions provided in subsection 65C-16.005(9), F.A.C.

(9) Adoption Applicant Review Committee. Each CBC agency responsible for providing adoption services for children in the Department’s custody must establish an Adoption Applicant Review Committee. The committee must consist of at least three (3) people who have completed the Department adoption competency training. When the request for committee review is due to a recommended denial of a home study or a Department staff person has knowledge of national criminal results, state sealed or expunged criminal results or child abuse and neglect history results that are unknown to the CBC agency, one (1) member of the committee shall be a Department staff person, preferably with adoption expertise, who has knowledge of the applicant’s national and state criminal history and child abuse and neglect history. The CBC agency will select a committee member to serve as the committee chair.

(a) The committee will provide consultation and assistance to the adoption counselor on any child-specific adoptive home study in which the counselor and supervisor are recommending denial, or adoption case situations which present challenging issues. Requests for committee review may be made by the adoption counselor, the Department or the CBC agency. Requests for committee review must be made in writing and forwarded to the CBC agency. While the committee is available to review any challenging case, all cases with the following issues whether child-specific or non-child-specific, except as set forth below, must be referred to the committee.

1. Multiple families who have approved home studies and have applied to adopt the same child.

2. Health. Applicants in which it is determined that the adoptive applicant is experiencing a serious or chronic medical condition and such condition compromises or could compromise the applicant’s ability to provide the physical, emotional, social and economic support necessary for the child to thrive.

3. Child Abuse, Abandonment and Neglect Record Check. Applicants in which the Child Abuse, Abandonment and Neglect Record Check reveals verified findings of abuse, neglect, or abandonment which did not result in a disqualifying felony conviction, and cases in which abuse or neglect was not substantiated. When an applicant has one (1) or more investigations with findings of verified or not substantiated, all of the investigations that involve the applicant must be reviewed to assess if there are reoccurring circumstances that may affect the safety and well-being of the children in the home.

4. Criminal History. In cases in which the required criminal history checks pursuant to Sections 39.0138 and 39.521, F.S., reveal that the applicant(s) have been convicted of crimes specified in Section 39.0138(2), F.S., their application must be denied. A referral to the Adoption Applicant Review Committee will not be required. The applicant must be advised that he or she cannot be approved. If the criminal history check reveals that the applicant was convicted of a law violation listed in Section 39.0138(3), F.S., within the last five (5) years, the applicant cannot be considered for approval, until five (5) years after the date of conviction. After five (5) years have passed, the applicant shall be referred to the Adoption Applicant Review Committee if the applicant submits a new Adoptive Home Application, CF-FSP 5071, incorporated in subsection 65C-16.004(6), F.A.C.

5. Cases in which the applicant is a current or former foster parent and the review of the foster parent file reveals that there have been care and supervision concerns or a violation of licensing standards.

(b) The review committee chairperson will convene the committee within 30 days of receipt of the request and provide all necessary written documents to the committee members prior to the committee convening. A written recommendation will be submitted to the regional Family Safety Program Office and the CBC agency within 10 days of the committee’s decision. Following input from the regional Family Safety Program Office and the CBC agency, the chairperson will prepare a written report within ten (10) business days summarizing consensus of the committee and the recommendation from regional Family Safety Program Office and the CBC agency. The recommendation to approve the applicant will be submitted to the CBC agency or a designee. The recommendation to deny the applicant will be submitted to the regional managing director or designated Department staff person and the CBC agency or a designee.

(c) The CBC agency will provide the applicant with written notification of the decision to approve within 10 business days of the decision. The regional managing director or designated Department staff person shall provide the applicant with written notification of the decision to deny the application, within 10 business days of the decision. The written notice must include the reason for the denial, and must advise the applicant of his or her option for review of the denial pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S.

(d) The county of jurisdiction shall complete all Adoption Applicant Review Committee staffings on any child or any home study related to the child. If the county of jurisdiction can not complete the staffing due to a conflict, a request shall be made, in consultation with the regional managing director or designee, to transfer the staffing to another county.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 63.233 FS. Law Implemented 39.0138, 63.042, 63.092, 63.207 FS. History–New 2-14-84, Formerly 10M-8.05, Amended 4-28-92, 4-19-94, 8-17-94, 1-8-95, 7-18-95, Formerly 10M-8.005, Amended 12-23-97, 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.

 

65C-16.007 Abuse Hotline and Registry and Criminal Records Checks.

(1) Abuse and neglect history checks must be conducted on all adoptive applicants and other household members 12 years of age and older, pursuant to Sections 39.0138 and 39.521, F.S. The applicants must be informed of this requirement early in the home study process and must provide written consent for the checks to be completed. Abuse and neglect history checks must be current within 30 calendar days of placement of an adoptive child in the home.

(a) When the adoptive applicant or other adult household member has lived in another state within five (5) years of the request for a home study, a child abuse and neglect registry check of the other state must be requested. In states that do not use a centralized intake or state automated child welfare system (SACWIS), the Florida child welfare professional is required to contact the county administered child protection program to complete the record check. If the other state does not have a local or county child abuse and neglect registry, the counselor must determine whether to approve the applicant based on all other information required by Rules 65C-16.002, 65C-16.004, and 65C-16.005, F.A.C.

(b) Any request for information from FSFN must be in writing and must include a statement of statutory authorization to receive the information.

(c) All Department personnel and other agencies and professionals using information from FSFN, or any child abuse case record shall be informed that misuse of such information may cause them to be held personally liable, any person injured or aggrieved by such disclosure may be entitled to damages, and unauthorized release of abuse reports may result in criminal prosecution.

(2) Local, statewide, and national criminal records checks and juvenile records checks must be conducted on all adoptive applicants and other household members 18 years of age and older. Local, statewide, and juvenile records checks must be conducted on all household members 12 through 17 years of age.

(a) If the criminal records checks reveal that the applicant has been convicted of a crime specified in Section 39.0138(2), F.S., the application must be denied.

(b) If the criminal records checks reveal that the applicant has been convicted of a crime specified in Section 39.0138(3), F.S., the applicant can not be considered for adoption until five (5) years after the date of conviction. After five (5) years have passed, the applicant shall be referred to the Adoption Applicant Review Committee if the applicant submits a new Adoptive Home Application, CF-FSP 5071, incorporated in subsection 65C-16.004(6), F.A.C.

(c) If the criminal records checks reveal that the applicant has been found guilty or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere for crimes other than those listed in Section 39.0138(2) or (3), F.S., the applicant shall be evaluated as to the extent of his or her rehabilitation. Factors to be considered will include the severity of the action resulting in the record, how much time has elapsed since the offense, circumstances surrounding the incident, and whether records indicate single or repeated offenses. Referral of these applicants to the Adoption Applicant Review Committee is not required but they must be submitted to the appropriate entity in the community-based-care (CBC) agency or designee for approval.

(d) If the juvenile records check reveals a juvenile record, this information must be addressed in the home study and a determination must be made regarding possible impact on the adopted child.

(3) For foster parents and relative caregivers who are the current caregivers adopting a Department child, federal background checks must be current within five (5) years of the date of adoption placement. For nonrelatives or for potential adoptive parents who are not the current caregivers of the child, federal background checks must be current within one (1) year of the date of adoption placement. All potential adoptive parents must have state and local background checks that are current within 90 days of the date of adoption placement.

(4) Abuse Reports Involving Adoptive Parents.

(a) When the Department receives reports of abuse, neglect or abandonment by adoptive parents whose adoptions have been finalized, they will be handled as any other family on whom a report has been received.

(b) In cases where such reports are received on families whose adoptions are not finalized, the protective investigator will consult with the adoption counselor or supervisor who knows the family and children.

(c) If an allegation of abuse, neglect or abandonment is made directly to the case manager or adoption counselor, the Florida Abuse Hotline must be notified immediately. The report will be transmitted to the local Protective Investigation unit. Complaints which do not contain allegations of abuse, neglect or abandonment and are made directly to the case manager or adoption counselor shall be investigated by the case manager or adoption counselor.

(d) If an investigation of an abuse, neglect or abandonment report by protective investigations reveals that the subject of the report is an adoptive parent whose adoption has not been finalized, the case manager or adoption counselor must be notified within 72 hours and must assume responsibilities in the investigation as outlined above.

(e) If abuse or neglect is established but does not warrant removal of the children, consideration shall be given to providing post adoption services, including a referral to the multidisciplinary team, to the family for a specified period of time. Prior to the expiration of the specified period of time, input from the CBC or subcontractor agency must be sought to assess progress being made and the likelihood that the consent to the adoption will be issued. The CBC or subcontractor agency shall convene a meeting to decide if the placement will be terminated and the child returned to foster care or if a recommendation to issue consent for finalization of the adoption will be given.

(f) Whether the recommendation is finalization of the adoption or removal of the children, information about the report, services provided to the family, and reasons for the final decision must be documented and provided to the court.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 63.233 FS. Law Implemented 39.0138, 39.521(1)(b)1., 39.701, 39.811(8), (9), 63.092(3), 63.125 FS. History–New 5-20-91, Formerly 10M-8.00513, Amended 4-28-92, 4-19-94, 8-17-94, 1-8-95, Formerly 10M-8.0053, Amended 12-23-97, 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.

 

65C-16.008 Dispute Resolutions and Appeals.

Rulemaking Authority 409.145 FS. Law Implemented 409.145 FS. History–New 5-20-91, Formerly 10M-8.00514, Amended 4-19-94, 7-18-95, Formerly 10M-8.0054, Amended 8-19-03, 11-15-06, 11-30-08, Repealed 7-11-16.

 

65C-16.009 Adoption Placement.

(1) The effective date of the adoption placement is the date the child in placed in the physical custody of the adoptive parent or the date the Memorandum of Agreement, CF-FSP 5072, incorporated by reference in paragraph 65C-16.002(2)(c), F.A.C., is signed.

(2) The adoption placement process incorporates the following:

(a) Selection of the family. The counselor will assess the abilities of the approved adoptive family to parent a specific child before considering presentation of the child’s information;

(b) Presentation of all family and medical information to the family regarding the child and to the child regarding the family;

(c) First supervised meeting shall occur with a family who has an approved home study, or with a family who is known to the child, is in the process of having a home study completed, and has cleared all required background checks;

(d) Get acquainted period and pre-placement visits can vary depending on the age and child’s history;

(e) Identify and access needed services prior to the day of placement; and,

(f) Day of placement.

(3) The decision on final placement is based on the child’s readiness and the cues given by the child to the counselor that he or she is ready to move in with his or her new family.

(4) An out-of-state placement for the purpose of adoption shall have the prior authorization of the court and of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).

(5) The mechanics of final placement include:

(a) An assessment of the child and family’s adjustment during the transition activities, all needed services for the child and family have been identified and are active at the time of placement;

(b) The child’s case manager or adoption counselor will be present to facilitate the transition to the adoptive family at the time of placement; and,

(c) An opportunity for the child to say good-bye to significant adults and children as identified by the child.

(6) When it is necessary for the child to travel to the home of the adoptive parent for placement, the child shall be accompanied by the person with whom he or she has the most meaningful relationship. If this person is a member of the foster family, the community-based-care (CBC) agency will provide financial reimbursement for any costs incurred.

(7) At-Risk Placement.

(a) Occasionally it may be in the child’s best interest to be placed in a prospective adoptive applicant’s home prior to completion of legal termination of parental rights. Examples of situations where an at-risk placement may be appropriate include:

1. The child’s termination of parental rights is on appeal and all known relatives have been considered and have been found unavailable or not appropriate;

2. The child has been voluntarily surrendered and termination of parental rights by the court is anticipated;

3. A petition for termination of parental rights has been filed and it appears unlikely that the child can be returned to the biological parents; and,

4. The child must be moved from his or her current foster home placement, and the placement in a pre-adoptive home will result in one less move for the child.

(b) Pre-adoptive families entering into an at-risk placement must have an approved adoptive parent home study and understand that there is no guarantee that permanent commitment to the Department will occur. Families entering into an at-risk placement must indicate in writing that they understand and accept the risks involved.

Rulemaking Authority 39.0212, 63.233 FS. Law Implemented 39.521, 63.092 FS. History–New 4-28-92, Formerly 10M-8.0058, Amended 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.

 

65C-16.010 Adoption Placement - Post-Placement Services.

(1) The Department has a legal responsibility to provide services until the finalization of an adoption. This period shall be a minimum of 90 days from the date the child was placed in the physical custody of the adoptive parent. The first home visit must be made within one (1) week after placement, unless the child has been residing in the home for more than 30 days. There shall be a minimum of three (3) home visits in placements. For placements which do not proceed smoothly, additional and more frequent contacts are necessary. The adoptive child must be contacted a minimum of once every 30 days until adoption finalization. The entire family must be seen together at least once during the post-placement supervision period.

(2) Some placements are, by nature, complex and will require additional services during the post-placement period. All needed services must be identified and accessed prior to the day of finalization of an adoption.

(3) Children with severe emotional and behavioral difficulties who required specialized services to maintain stability in their foster home often need the same services in the adoptive home. An ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of services implemented at the time of placement must be a part of placement supervision to determine if the current services are effective or if additional services are needed.

(4) Multidisciplinary Team. During the post-placement supervision period, adoptive families may access the services of the Multidisciplinary Team. When the services of the team are needed, the case manager or adoption counselor shall initiate contact with the identified single point of access.

(5) At the end of the supervisory period, the case manager or adoption supervisor and the adoption counselor, or the community-based-care (CBC) agency, must make a final assessment of the placement. Before the final adoption hearing, or within 90 days after the adoption petition is filed with the court by the adoptive family, whichever occurs first, a final home evaluation must be completed as directed in Section 63.125, F.S., and a written report on the findings, including a recommendation on the granting of the adoption petition, must be filed with the court. In addition to the requirements of Section 63.125, F.S., the following must be addressed in the written report to the court:

(a) A summary of issues discussed in Rule 65C-16.005, F.A.C., Evaluation of Applicants and Rule 65C-16.007, F.A.C., Abuse Hotline and Registry and Criminal Records Checks.

(b) A full discussion regarding any unusual circumstances in the adoptive family, including health records and findings, and financial problems.

(6) After the post-placement period has been completed, the CBC agency or subcontractor staff, shall sign the consent to adoption and forward it to the adoptive parents’ attorney. Any available or readily obtainable family and medical history of the child and birth parents must be attached to the consent. If the family and medical history contains identifying information about the biological family, that information must be deleted prior to presenting it to the family.

(a) At the time of the adoptive placement, the CBC agency or subcontractor case manager or adoption counselor shall complete the original and two (2) copies of Section A and B of the Certified Statement of Final Decree of Adoption, DH 527, August 2008, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06977, and verify the information with the adoptive parents. The CBC agency or subcontractor case manager or adoption counselor shall then forward the Certified Statement of Final Decree of Adoption to the parent’s attorney.

(b) When a placement disrupts, the CBC agency or subcontractor case manager or adoption counselor shall record a disruption summary, which provides an evaluation and assessment of the reasons for the disruption in FSFN. In addition to assessing and summarizing the reasons for the disruption, the summary must also assess the impact the failed placement had on the child and issues which must be resolved before another placement can be considered. Any specific attributes or skills which will be necessary in the next adoptive parents must also be included. This summary must be recorded within 10 days after the disruption occurs.

Rulemaking Authority 39.0121, 63.233 FS. Law Implemented 39.812, 63.125 FS. History–New 2-14-84, Formerly 10M-8.06, Amended 4-28-92, 4-14-94, 1-8-95, Formerly 10M-8.006, Amended 12-4-97, 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.

 

65C-16.011 Confidentiality - Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infected Clients.

Prior to the adoptive parent’s confirming their decision to adopt, the adoptive parents shall be told that the child being considered by them has tested positive for HIV but cannot be told the child’s identifying information, including the child’s name. Once the decision to adopt has been confirmed, the community-based-care agency or subcontractor agency shall disclose to adopting parents the full name of a child who has been tested positive for HIV.

Rulemaking Authority 381.004(2)(e), (11) FS. Law Implemented 381.004(2)(e), (11) FS. History–New 5-20-91, Amended 4-19-94, Formerly 10M-8.0061, Amended 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.

 

65C-16.012 Types of Adoption Assistance.

(1) The community-based-care (CBC) or sub-contractor agency adoption staff shall inform prospective adoptive parents of the availability of all of the benefits listed below.

*[See also, FS 409.166(4)]

(2) Maintenance Subsidy. A monthly payment may be made for support and maintenance of a special needs child until the child’s 18th birthday.

(3) Post Adoption Services. Post adoption services shall include:

(a) Temporary case management;

(b) Adoptive parents’ support groups or newsletters;

(c) Information and referral requests; and,

(d) Assistance to cover the cost of medical, surgical, hospital and related services needed as a result of a physical or mental health condition of the child which existed prior to the adoption.

(4) Other Medical Services. Other medical services available may include on-going Medicaid coverage and continuing eligibility with Children’s Medical Services for children who were receiving such services prior to adoption.

(5) Reimbursement for Non-recurring Adoption Expenses. Nonrecurring adoption expenses are those necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney’s fees, and other expenses that are directly related to the legal adoption of a special needs child.

(6) Tuition Waiver. Children who were in the custody of the Department and who were adopted from the Department after May 5, 1997, are eligible for an exemption of undergraduate college tuition fees at Florida universities or community colleges as stated in Section 1009.25, F.S.

(7) Federal Adoption Tax Credit. Families that adopt children with special needs are eligible for a tax credit based on expenses related to the adoption or a reimbursable amount based on the year of the adoption finalization. Staff must inform adoptive parents of this tax benefit and the website www.irs.gov to obtain Form 8839 and the instructions for completing Form 8839.

(8) Adoption assistance for eligible children will be paid irrespective of the child’s state of residence. Adoptive parents receiving adoption assistance are obligated to notify the Department or CBC of any change of address.

Rulemaking Authority 409.166(8) FS. Law Implemented 409.166 FS. History–New 2-14-84, Formerly 10M-8.18, 10M-8.018, Amended 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.

 

65C-16.013 Determination of Maintenance Subsidy Payments. 

*[See also, FS 409.166(1) & CFOP 175-71, Ch 5]

(1) The purpose of adoption subsidy is to make available to prospective adoptive parents financial aid which would enable them to adopt a special needs child. Every adoptive family must be advised of the availability of adoption subsidy and the purpose for which it is intended. Except as set forth in subsection (6) below, placement without subsidy must be the placement of choice unless it can be shown that such placement is not in the best interest of the child.

(2) The child’s and the family’s need for subsidy must be determined prior to the adoptive placement and no subsidy payment may be made prior to all parties signing the “Adoption Assistance Agreement,” CF-FSP 5079, PDF October 2010, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06974.

(a) If the Department or community-based-care (CBC) agency has responsibility for placement and care of the child, the CBC agency in the county where the court has jurisdiction is responsible for entering into the Adoption Assistance Agreement and paying the adoption subsidy, even if the child is placed in an adoptive home in another county.

(b) If the Department or CBC agency does not have responsibility for placement and care of the child, the CBC agency in the adoptive parents’ county of residence is responsible for determining whether the child meets the definition of special needs, entering into the Adoption Assistance Agreement and paying the adoption subsidy.

(c) When the need for subsidy is not determined prior to placement, and the adoptive parents feel they have been wrongly denied subsidy benefits on behalf of an adopted child, they have the right to appeal the denial pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S. If it is found that the subsidy was wrongly denied, retroactive payment will be made dating back to the date the family officially requested subsidy in writing. Retroactive payment dating back to the date of placement will not be approved.

(3) Medical or mental health evaluations shall be required to document the need for maintenance subsidy that exceeds the statewide standard foster care board rate. When this is the case, these evaluations must be no more than 12 months old at the time of initial subsidy determination.

(4) Efforts to place the child in a non-subsidized placement must be documented in the child’s record. Documentation shall include at least one (1) of the following:

(a) List of other families considered;

(b) Letters to agencies specifically seeking a home for the child, or

(c) Registration of the child on the statewide adoption website.

(5) No child shall remain unnecessarily in foster care while the Department searches for a non-subsidized placement, if a family who can meet the special needs of the child is available, but requires a subsidy.

(6) The CBC or subcontractor agency adoption staff shall inform the caregiver that adoption subsidy, unlike foster care board rate payments, is not intended to cover the complete cost of the child’s care. The maintenance subsidy payment is intended to assist the adoptive parent in supporting the extra costs associated with adopting a child with special needs.

(7) Initial Maintenance Subsidy. The initial determination of the monthly maintenance subsidy shall be based on the needs of the child at the time of the negotiation and the projected future needs of the child based on the family and medical history of the child and birth family or, for adoptions finalized on or after July 1, 2007, as stated in Section 409.166, F.S. Negotiations for the initial maintenance subsidy shall begin at $417 monthly.

(8) A maintenance subsidy may be negotiated up to 100% of the statewide foster care board rate. A subsidy may exceed 100% of the statewide foster care board rate when an exception is granted by the Department’s regional managing director or designee and documented on the “Maintenance Adoption Subsidy Approval” form, CF-FSP 5077, July 2016, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-07485. Requests for exceptions must be in writing. In determining whether to grant an exception, the regional managing director or designee shall consider the medical, behavioral, and therapeutic needs of the child at the time of the negotiation, as well as the projected future needs of the child based on the family and medical history of the child and birth family. In no case shall the subsidy exceed the foster care maintenance payment for which the child is or would be eligible if the child had been in placed in a family foster home. Maintenance subsidy is not intended to cover services which can be obtained through family insurance, Medicaid, Children’s Medical Services, medical subsidy, or through special education plans provided by the public school district.

(9) The “Adoption Assistance Agreement,” incorporated in subsection (2) of this rule, must be signed and dated by all parties prior to the finalization of the adoption. The effective date of the agreement is the date the child was placed with the family as an adoptive placement and the Memorandum of Agreement to Adopt, CF-FSP 5072, incorporated by reference in paragraph 65C-16.002(2)(c), F.A.C., was signed by the potential adoptive caregiver and the CBC or subcontracted agency. If not completed on the same date, the effective date will be the latter of the two. Payments may not be made for any months in which there is no adoption assistance agreement in place.

(10) The family must be advised by the adoption case manager that it is their responsibility to notify the Department or CBC of any change in circumstances, including moving out of state, no later than 48 hours after the change.

(11) The adoption subsidy agreement remains in effect until:

(a) The child dies.

(b) The child reaches 18 years of age or is emancipated.

(c) The parents are no longer legally responsible for the support of the child, including the death of a parent when the adoption is by a single parent or both parents when the adoption is by a married couple, or the parental rights of the adoptive parents have been terminated.

(d) The parents are no longer providing any support to the child. Support includes emotional and/or financial support, even in situations when the child is no longer living in the home.

(12) Adoptive parents may request an increase in the maintenance subsidy after the initial subsidy agreement was approved due to increased needs related to conditions of the child that were identified as current or future needs of the child prior to the adoptive placement or the circumstances of the family have changed in order to meet the increased needs of the child.

(a) The negotiation of this increase shall be based on the family foster, therapeutic foster or medical foster home board rate at the time of the request. Requests for increases must be provided in writing by the adoptive parents and approval shall be based on the merit of each case.

(b) If the increase request is approved, retroactive payment will be made dating back to the date the family officially requested the increased subsidy in writing.

(c) If the increase request is denied, the designated Department staff shall send a denial letter with notification of the adoptive parents’ right to appeal the denial pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S. If it is found that the increase was wrongfully denied, the effective date of the new subsidy will be the date the increase request was received. A new subsidy agreement must be signed by all parties with the new approved amount documented.

(13) No child will have his or her subsidy payment reduced based on application of this rule.

(14) Any child who has been determined eligible for adoption subsidy whose adoption has been dissolved by termination of parental rights or by the death of the adoptive parents will retain his or her original subsidy eligibility if subsequently placed for adoption.

(15) No change shall be made to a maintenance subsidy without concurrence of the adoptive parents except as provided by federal regulation or state law. The subsidy agreement is not transferable to another caregiver.

Rulemaking Authority 409.166(8) FS. Law Implemented 409.166(4) FS. History–New 2-14-84, Formerly 10M-8.20, Amended 5-20-91, 4-19-94, Formerly 10M-8.020, Amended 12-23-97, 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16, 10-30-16, 12-18-16, 9-25-17,2-5-18.

 

65C-16.014 Post Adoption Services

(1) After finalization, the adoptive family may require temporary case management support, information and referral assistance and related post adoption services. Each community-based-care (CBC) agency shall provide post adoption services that include the following:

(a) At least one (1) full-time designated post adoption services staff;

(b) At least one (1) monthly adoptive parent support group(s) or monthly newsletters; and,

(c) Information and referral services.

(2) The need for medical assistance, formerly known as medical subsidy, must be established prior to the adoption placement, although the service might not actually be needed until a later date. The type of service and estimated cost must be documented on the signed initial Adoption Assistance Agreement prior to adoption finalization. When this need is not established prior to the placement and the adoptive parents feel they have been wrongly denied a service on behalf of an adopted child, they have the right to to appeal the denial pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S. If it is found the service was wrongfully denied, the effective date of the service will be the date the family officially requested the service. Retroactive payment dating back to the date of placement will not be approved.

(3) An individualized service must be terminated when the condition for which it was granted no longer exists or on the child’s 18th birthday, whichever occurs first. Children needing residential mental health services will be referred to the Department’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Office.

(4) The cost for a service will not be paid when those costs can be or are covered by the adopting family’s medical insurance, Children’s Medical Services, Children’s Mental Health Services, Medicaid, Agency for Persons with Disabilities or local school districts.

(5) The adoptive parents must obtain the approval of the CBC agency or subcontractor agency prior to planning for the use of a service if the adoptive parents will be seeking reimbursement.

(a) Once approval has been obtained, the adoptive parents must submit a copy of the bill for the service to the CBC agency or subcontractor agency to initiate reimbursement. The bill must be clearly legible and must specify the name of the child, the service rendered, the date of the service, and the charge for the service.

(b) If the adoptive parents and the CBC agency are in agreement, payments can be made directly to the service provider.

(6) When a request for a post-adoption service(s) is denied, the CBC agency shall notice the Department of the denied service. The Department shall notify the adoptive parent(s) of any denial of post-adoption services and advise them of the option for review of the denial pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 120, F.S.

Rulemaking Authority 409.166(8) FS. Law Implemented 409.166 FS. History–New 2-14-84, Formerly 10M-8.21, 10M-8.021, Amended 12-23-97, 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16, 1-22-18.

 

65C-16.015 Non-Recurring Adoption Expenses.

(1) Under any adoption assistance agreement with adoptive parents of a special needs child, the state is authorized to make payments to the adoptive parents for non-recurring, one time, expenses the adoptive parents have incurred in connection with adoption of the special needs child. Nonrecurring adoption expenses are those adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses which are directly related to the adoption of the special needs child. Such costs may include expenditures for physical and psychological examinations of the adoptive parents if required as a part of the adoption process, as well as transportation, lodging and food for the child or adoptive parents when necessary to complete the placement or adoption process.

(2) Agency adoption fees shall be established by written agreement between the agency and family prior to the performance of the requested service. If these children are otherwise eligible, agency fees shall be counted as an allowable expense under non-recurring adoption expenses. It is not necessary that the family be receiving maintenance adoption subsidy to be eligible for reimbursement of non-recurring adoption expenses.

(3) In cases where siblings are placed and adopted either separately or as a unit, each child is treated as an individual with separate reimbursement for nonrecurring expenses up to the maximum amount of $1,000 per child.

(4) There can be no income eligibility requirements for adoptive parents in determining whether payments for non-recurring expenses of adoption will be made.

(5) Adoptive parents cannot be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses for which they have been otherwise reimbursed.

(6) Except where it would be contrary to the best interest of the child, an effort must be made to place the child without adoption assistance prior to reimbursement for non-recurring adoption expenses.

(7) The following procedures will initiate payments for reimbursement of nonrecurring adoption expenses:

(a) All adoptive parents of special needs children will be advised by the staff person conducting the home study of the availability of nonrecurring expense reimbursement;

(b) Reimbursement for eligible costs may be made to the adoptive parent or directly to a vendor. All adoptive parents will be advised by the staff person conducting the home study to keep copies of receipts of expenditures related to the adoption. Copies of such receipts must be available in the subsidy record. Eligible expenses include court costs, attorney fees, birth certificates, costs of required physicals and psychological examinations, costs of transportation, lodging and food for the child and/or adoptive parents when necessary to complete the adoption process, and the cost of the home study if the child is in the custody of a private agency;

(c) When a placement decision has been made, the adoption assistance agreement shall be negotiated with the family and must include a statement of the projected cost to be reimbursed for nonrecurring adoption expenses, as well as proposed maintenance and medical subsidy amounts if appropriate;

(d) Payments for nonrecurring expenses can be made up to one (1) year following the finalization of the adoption.

Rulemaking Authority 409.166(8) FS. Law Implemented 409.166 FS. History–New 5-20-91, Amended 4-19-94, Formerly 10M-8.0221, Amended 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.

 

65C-16.016 Access to Closed Adoption Records.

*[See also, FS 63.162]

(1) The confidentiality of adoption records, original birth records, and adoption court files is protected by sealing them upon adoption finalization. Persons seeking information from those records will be referred to the Office of Child Welfare, Florida Adoption Reunion Registry for assistance.

(a) Non-identifying information

1. The Department, community-based-care (CBC) agency, or other adoption entity shall disclose all available non-identifying information to adoptive parents before the adoption becomes final or upon the adoptive parent’s request.

2. The Department or CBC shall release all available non-identifying information to adult adoptees who were former foster children upon their request after they reach the age of majority.

3. The Department or private adoption entity shall release only non-identifying information to adult adoptees who were placed for adoption through a private adoption.

(b) Identifying information

1. Identifying information shall only be released pursuant to a court order.

2. Prior to releasing identifying information to an adult adoptee who was in foster care, any information that is confidential pursuant to state or federal law must be redacted, such as social security numbers, HIPAA information, reporter information in child protective investigations and information related to domestic violence centers.

a. Final release approval of the redacted record shall be by the Department’s legal counsel or designated reviewer.

b. A log of all redacted information, including the page number where the redaction is located and a brief description of what was redacted, shall be attached to the redacted record when it is provided to the Department’s legal counsel or designated reviewer for final release approval.

c. Redacted records of child protective investigations with the log of all redacted information shall be forwarded to the regional legal counsel for final release approval.

(2) The Department or CBC agency shall retain as confidential all records relating to each child who was adopted through the Department or contracted provider. These confidential records shall be referred to as “Department closed adoption records” and shall be retained in the circuit/region or with the CBC agency until requested by the Department.

(3) The Department, CBC agency, or private adoption entity shall index all closed adoption records by the names of the adoptive parents, and, where available, the files must be cross-referenced by the birth and adoptive names of the minor.

(4) Requests for information from closed adoption records must be made in writing. Written requests for the release of closed adoption records must include the following:

(a) A form of identification from the requestor, such as a photocopy of the requestor’s driver’s license or birth certificate;

(b) The name of the adoptive parents, if known; and,

(c) The birth or adoptive name of the child, if known.

(5) No information will be released by telephone.

(6) In the event that a licensed child-placing agency closes, the agency shall provide all closed adoption records to the Department. Upon receipt of the adoption records, the Department shall assume all further responsibility for the records.

Rulemaking Authority 63.233 FS. Law Implemented 39.00145(1), (2), 63.162(2)-(4), (6) FS. History–New 5-20-91, Amended 4-28-92, 4-19-94, Formerly 10M-8.024, Amended 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.

 

65C-16.017 Florida Adoption Reunion Registry.

*(See also, FS 63.165)

(1) The state registry of adoption information created in Section 63.165 F.S., is also known as the Florida Adoption Reunion Registry. The Department shall retain and maintain the registry records on a permanent basis.

(2) Any person may register by completing and submitting the “Application for Adoption Registry Services,” CF 1490, January 2017, hereby incorporated by reference, and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08061, indicating to whom they consent to release identifying information about themselves.

(3) Adoptee birth data shall be verified by registry staff, with the assistance of the Vital Records section of the Office of Vital Statistics in the Department of Health. In cases where birth information cannot be verified and registration is not possible, applicants will be notified of data used as a basis for search and given opportunity to correct or change that data for resubmission. Should verification of the birth information still not be possible, no further attempts will be made to process that application. If the applicant desires to submit new or different information, a new application must be submitted.

(4) The applications, signed by registrants, will be placed on file and kept for 99 years.

(5) The Department shall mail a letter to registrants acknowledging receipt of the application.

(6) Updating of Registry Information.

(a) Any registrant may change the name, address or telephone number associated with their registration, may limit or restrict their consent to release information, or may completely withdraw from the registry at any time using the “Application to Update Information on File with Adoption Registry,” CF 1491, January 2017, hereby incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08062. A copy of the form is also available upon request by contacting the Adoption Information Center.

(b) Responsibility for update rests with registrants and only the most current information on file will be disclosed to designated recipients upon their completion of registration procedures.

(7) The Department shall offer counseling services to registrants at the time of registration. Counseling, as referenced in Section 63.165(2), F.S., shall consist of professional advice provided by the Department, by designated staff employed by the Department, by agencies licensed by the State of Florida to provide adoption services, or by other persons who have adoption training or experience.

Rulemaking Authority 63.233 FS. Law Implemented 63.165 FS. History–New 8-19-03, Amended 11-30-08, 7-7-16, 4-20-17, 7-20-17.

65C-16.019 Intervention in Dependency Cases.

(1) This rule applies when:

(a) The child is in the custody of the Department;

(b) Parental rights have not been terminated;

(c) A parent executes a consent for the child’s placement with an adoption entity; and,

(d) An adoption entity files a petition to intervene in the dependency case.

(2) Intervention. An adoption entity’s intervention does not relieve the Department of its responsibility to assess whether the best interest of the child is met. At the time of the intervention hearing, the Department shall inform the court as to whether it opposes or supports the motion for intervention. The Department shall oppose the adoption entity’s intervention if the adoption entity fails to provide the Department with the intervention preliminary home study.

(3) The intervention preliminary home study shall be completed by the private adoption entity and shall include the following:

(a) When a prospective adoptive family is identified, the home study must document that the family and medical history of the child’s family and the current and projected needs of the specific child were discussed.

(b) When a prospective adoptive family is identified, the preliminary home study must be updated to include a determination that the family has the strengths to meet the identified current and projected needs of the specific child including the adoptive parents’ willingness to access needed services.

(4) The Department shall evaluate the intervention preliminary home study of the adoption entity’s prospective adoptive parent and any other relevant information available to the Department to determine whether the placement will be in the child’s best interest based on the following factors:

(a) Each parent’s compliance with the case plan at the time of consent;

(b) Any concerns about the parent’s reason for executing the consent;

(c) Any reservations about the mental capacity of the parent who executed the consent;

(d) The status of notification of relatives that adoption is the new permanency goal;

(e) The status of notification of the adoptive parents of siblings that adoption is the new permanency goal;

(f) The quality and length of the child’s relationship with the child’s current caregiver;

(g) The quality and length of the child’s relationship with any prospective adoptive parents;

(h) The current placement and status of other siblings;

(i) The wishes of the child, if the child is of the appropriate age and maturity to express a preference;

(j) The length of time the child has been in his or her current placement;

(k) All special needs of the child, including the child’s physical health, mental health, educational needs, and attachment concerns;

(l) The Department or community-based care agency (CBC) shall check the child abuse and neglect registries of all states where the prospective adoptive parents and other adults living in the prospective adoptive home resided in the previous five (5) years.

(5) If the court grants the intervention, the CBC or subcontractor shall terminate their supervision and end the removal episode of the child in FSFN with a discharge reason of transferred to another agency. The CBC or subcontractor shall not close the case in FSFN until finalization of the adoption.

(6) If the court grants the intervention, the adoption entity shall prepare a transition plan in conjunction with the CBC or subcontractor, the current caregiver, and prospective adoptive parents. The transition must respect the child’s developmental stage and psychological needs, ensure the child has all of his or her belongings, and allow for a gradual transition from the caregiver’s home.

(7) If the court grants the intervention, the adoption entity shall provide monthly supervision reports to the Department through Children’s Legal Services until the finalization of the adoption. The adoption entity’s monthly supervision reports shall contain:

(a) Date and location of each face-to-face contact with the child;

(b) A summary of the child’s academic performance, if the child attends school;

(c) A summary of the child’s current health status, including mental health, the dates of any health related appointments in the previous month, the identity of any health providers seen, and a list of the child’s current medications, if any;

(d) The type and frequency of the child’s interactions with his or her siblings;

(e) A description of any unmet needs and recommendations for meeting the identified needs; and,

(f) A description of how the child is attaching with the prospective adoptive parent.

(8) Until the child’s adoption is finalized, the Department shall continue to report the child’s status to the court and shall continue to collect the information necessary for its dependency case and for its efforts to ensure a permanent placement for the child. This information shall be contained in documents the adoption entity provides to the Department, CBC or its subcontractor, including the adoption entity’s monthly supervision reports and the intervention preliminary home study of the prospective adoptive parents.

(9) After the child is placed with the adoption entity’s prospective adoptive parent, the Department, through an attorney for the Department, shall schedule regular status reviews with the court to monitor the child’s progress with the prospective adoptive placement until the adoption finalization. CLS or the OAG shall file the adoption entity’s monthly supervision reports with the court for these status reviews and shall provide a copy of all monthly supervision reports to the CBC agency or its subcontractor for its case record.

(10) Department’s Case Record. When an adoption entity intervenes in a dependency court case, the Department, CBC agency, or its subcontractor shall maintain an open inactive case record on the child until the adoption is finalized. For this case record, the Department, CBC agency, or its subcontractor shall collect and maintain the following:

(a) The intervention preliminary home study;

(b) Other documentation relating to the placement with the prospective adoptive parents; and,

(c) A copy of all monthly supervision reports provided to an attorney for the Department.

(11) If the adoptive family requests subsidy and the child is determined eligible for maintenance adoption subsidy, all required documentation supporting the request must be provided to the CBC or subcontractor and the private adoption screen in FSFN must be completed if the subsidy is approved.

(12) Department’s Legal Case File. When an adoption entity intervenes in a dependency court case, the Department, through an attorney for the Department, shall maintain a legal case file until the adoption is finalized. For this file, the Department shall collect and maintain the following:

(a) The intervention preliminary home study;

(b) Any other evidence presented during the intervention hearing relating to the placement with the prospective adoptive parents;

(c) Monthly supervision reports from the adoption entity until the adoption is finalized;

(d) The final home study; and,

(e) The final order of adoption.

(13) Final Home Study. The intervening adoption entity shall provide the court and the Department with a final home study before a final order of adoption is granted. The final home study shall meet the following requirements:

(a) The final home study must be performed by a licensed child-placing agency, a child-caring agency registered under Section 409.176, F.S., a licensed professional, or an agency as described in Section 61.20(2), F.S., unless the petitioner is a stepparent or relative.

(b) The final home study shall contain:

1. The information from the intervention preliminary home study;

2. Documentation of a minimum of two (2) scheduled visits with the child and the child’s adoptive parent after the child is placed in the prospective adoptive home to determine the safety and well-being of the child. One of the visits must be in the home;

3. Relevant information about the child’s needs and the services accessed by the adoptive parents to meet those needs; and,

4. Any other information relevant to the prospective adoptive family.

(14) A determination of eligibility for maintenance adoption subsidy and, if eligible, the signing of the Adoption Assistance Agreement, CF-FSP 5079, incorporated in subsection 65C-16.013(2), F.A.C., shall be completed prior to finalization of the adoption. The adoption entity with custody of the child shall provide all documentation regarding eligibility to the CBC. See Rule 65C-16.013, F.A.C., for more information of determination of maintenance adoption subsidy payments.

(15) The Department must be given notice of the adoption finalization hearing.

(16) The intervening adoption entity shall file the final order of adoption in the child’s dependency case for purposes of case closure.

(17) If at any time the child is returned to the custody of the Department, the intervening adoption entity shall provide the Department will all legal filings from the adoption case.

Rulemaking Authority 63.233 FS. Law Implemented 63.082(6), 63.092 FS. History—New 7-7-16.



6565C-16.020 Communication or Contact.

(1) This rule applies to communication or contact between a child who is the subject of a petition for adoption under Chapter 63, F.S., and his or her siblings or other relatives, after:

(a) The parents’ rights to the child have been terminated; and,

(b) The child’s custody has been awarded to the Department pursuant to Section 39.811, F.S.

(2) Communication or Contact Pending Adoption.

(a) The Department shall make a recommendation to the court regarding the appropriateness of communication or contact with the child’s siblings and other relatives for the period of time after the termination of parental rights and prior to adoption.

(b) The Department’s recommendation shall include:

1. A statement and rationale as to why the recommended communication or contact with each specified relative is in the best interest of the child and does not interfere with the permanency goal for the child.

2. A recommendation for the nature and frequency communication or contact with each specified relative.

3. A justification for any recommendations against communication or contact with siblings and grandparents.

(3) Communication or Contact Post-Adoption.

(a) Prior to the termination of parental rights, the Department shall have discussions with the child, if age appropriate, and the prospective adoptive parent, if known, to identify any siblings or other relatives who may be appropriate for post-adoption communication or contact with the child. When the prospective adoptive parent is identified after the termination of parental rights, this discussion must occur prior to adoptive placement. During these discussions, the Department shall convey the following information to the prospective adoptive parent:

1. That the Department shall make a recommendation regarding post-adoption communication or contact to the court.

2. That the adoptive parent shall retain the right to petition for a review of the communication or contact order issued in the final order of the adoption at any time.

3. That the validity of the adoption shall not be contingent upon the adoptive parent following the terms of the post-adoption communication or contact arrangement stated in the final order of adoption.

4. That the adoptive parent shall not have his or her ability to change residence within or outside the State of Florida restrained because of the post-adoption communication or contact arrangement stated in the final order of adoption.

(b) The Department shall make a recommendation to the court regarding post-adoption communication or contact with the child’s siblings and other relatives.

1. Siblings. The Department’s recommendation to the court regarding post-adoption communication or contact with the child’s siblings shall address communication or contact with each sibling known to the Department at the time of the adoption’s finalization, regardless of whether the sibling has been previously adopted.

a. If the child’s sibling has been previously adopted, the Department must take into account the provisions regarding post-adoption communication in the final order of adoption for that sibling. The Department shall not recommend post-adoption communication or contact with a sibling where the communication or contact will violate the sibling’s final order of adoption.

b. The Department shall provide a justification for all recommendations against communication or contact with siblings known to the Department at the time of the adoption’s finalization.

2. Other Relatives. Excluding siblings, the Department shall not recommend post-adoption communication or contact with any relative without the agreement of the prospective adoptive parent. The Department, in making its recommendation to the court, shall provide a recommendation for the nature and frequency of post-adoption communication or contact with the specified relatives.

Rulemaking Authority 63.233 FS. Law Implemented 63.0427 FS. History — New 7-7-16.



65C-16.021 Adoption Benefits for Qualifying Employees of State Agencies and Other Eligible Applicants.

(1) The adoption benefit is a non-qualified plan under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code, subject to withholding taxes.

(2) The Department shall hold an annual open enrollment period for submission of applications between the first business day of March and the last business day of April. To apply for this benefit, the applicant shall use the “Application for Adoption Benefit” form, CF-FSP 5327, September 2017, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08857.

(a) The applicant shall complete Part I of the application.

(b) The applicant shall then deliver the application to his or her agency head to complete Part II of the application. Upon completion, the agency head shall return the original application to the applicant.

(c) The applicant shall then deliver the application to the community-based care agency that facilitated or subcontracted the facilitation of the adoption to complete Part III of the application.

(d) The applicant shall submit the completed application to the Department’s email address provided on the application before the close of the annual open enrollment period.

(e) For multiple adoptions, the applicant shall submit a separate application for each child.

(3) The Department shall review all timely applications and determine who is eligible to receive the benefit.

(a) Applications will be processed in the order they were received during the open enrollment period.

(b) If applications are received on the same date, those with the earlier final order of adoption shall have priority.

(c) Eligible applicants who are denied a benefit due to lack of funds must submit a new application during the next annual open enrollment period, if they desire consideration for payment of the benefit from later appropriations.

Rulemaking Authority 409.1664(6) FS. Law Implemented 409.1664 FS. History—New 11-22-15, Amended 1-2-18.



65C 17 Master Trust

65C-17.001 Authority.

Rulemaking Authority 402.17(1)(a)9. (1996 Supp.), 402.33(2), (7)(a) FS. Law Implemented 402.17, 402.17(2)(c) (1996 Supp.) FS. History–New 4-6-99, Amended 5-18-03, Repealed 1-3-16.

 

65C-17.002 Definitions.

For purposes of this rule, the following definitions contained within the Master Trust Declaration shall apply:

(1) “Account” means the client beneficiary’s trust account within the Master Trust.

(2) “Child support” means either a court-ordered obligation, enforced under Chapter 61 and Sections 409.2551-.2557, F.S., or a court-ordered or voluntary contribution paid directly to the child’s current needs trust account pursuant to Section 402.17(2)(a), F.S., for monetary support for the care, maintenance, training, and education of a child. For purposes of this rule chapter, child support does not include benefit payments such as Supplemental Security Income, Social Security, Veterans’ Administration, or other benefits which do not require a court order for collection.

(3) “Current needs” of a client beneficiary means:

(a) The cost of providing the particular residential services being utilized by the client, as determined by the department in accordance with the procedures established in Chapter 65-6, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.);

(b) Expenses for medical, psychological, psychiatric, or dental treatment which cannot, after reasonably diligent search or inquiry, be provided from other sources, including Medicaid;

(c) Personal comfort items or expenses including clothing, radio, television, tape player, alarm clock, books, art supplies, sports equipment, and special activity fees.

(d) Transportation (mass transit, cab or carpool) to and from work, school or other activities;

(e) Other expenses approved in writing by the district administrator or designee, or facility administrator or designee.

(4) “Family Safety program client beneficiary class” includes those clients under the age of 18 (or 18 to 23 if enrolled in a full-time educational program under Section 409.145(3), F.S., although not in the custody of the department) who are, or who are considered to be, in the legal custody, care or control of the department, and who have received, or will receive, money and tangible or intangible property for their sole use and benefit from any other person or entity that is placed in the possession or control of the department and for whom a separate trust for such individual does not exist, and who are or who become program clients:

(a) As the result of a dependency proceeding under Chapter 39, F.S.

(b) Because they require foster or other substitute care, whether on a short or long-term basis, or are placed in independent living arrangements, as provided under Chapter 39, 393, 394, 409 or 415, F.S.;

(c) Because they have been placed in the legal custody of the department following the termination of parental rights as to that individual, as provided under Chapter 39 or 409, F.S., and who will not be placed with a relative or other individual for adoption;

(d) Because they are awaiting adoption under Chapter 63, F.S., or placement with a relative or other individual in foster care under Chapter 39, 409, or 415, F.S.;

(e) Because they have a developmental disability, a physical or mental illness, or some other physical or mental incapacity, as defined under Chapter 393, 394, or 409, F.S., and Social Security Act Title XVI requirements, or

(f) Because they come into the legal custody, care, or control of the program for any other reason.

(5) “Fee waiver” means a reduction or deferment of assessed fees pursuant to the procedures established in this chapter and in Rule 65-6.022, F.A.C. Any child who is in the custody, care and control of the department in foster care pursuant to Chapter 39, F.S., is eligible to apply for a fee waiver.

(6) “Foster care allowance” means a monthly stipend which is included in the foster care board payment sent to the foster parent for the personal needs of each foster child living in the home. See Section 402.33(3), F.S. A child is eligible to apply for a change in the allowance through the fee waiver review process established in Rule 65C-17.005, F.A.C.

(7) “Long-term needs” of a Master Trust client beneficiary shall be defined to include the following:

(a) Educational or vocational needs including educational testing, vocational aptitude testing and counseling; therapy; remedial tutoring or classes; tuition, fees, books and supplies for school or training; equipment, tools, uniforms or other special clothing, and safety equipment to do a job; supported employment services, including payments for a job coach; attendant care or child care expenses; prepaid college tuition insurance plan;

(b) Independent living expenses including security, telephone and utilities deposits for an apartment; furniture; driver or chauffeur license fee;

(c) Other expenses approved in writing by the district administrator or designee, or facility administrator or designee.

(8) “Master Trust” means, as the context requires, either the Master Trust Declaration, or the designated client trust accounts or subaccounts created within the Master Trust. In all instances, neither the client, the client’s family, nor the client’s assistance group have any power or authority to alter, modify, change, amend or revoke the Master Trust Declaration as a whole, or as applied to that client’s trust account, or any subaccount(s). The money or property placed in the trust account, or any subaccount, of the client is not available to the client’s family or assistance group for their current needs. The department, as representative payee, shall have access to revocable subaccounts that are created for the benefit of clients who receive Supplemental Security Income benefits or Social Security Act Title II benefits. Funds for the client’s current needs will be disbursed by the department, as Trustee, within the context of Sections 402.17 and 402.33, F.S. As to a particular client’s account or subaccount(s), the Master Trust terminates when the client is no longer a client of the department.

(9) “Personal Allowance” means an amount (in addition to the monthly foster care allowance – See definition (6) above) set aside from a child’s Social Security Administration Title II (SSA), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans’ (VA) or other federal benefit payment for the child’s personal needs before any amounts are applied to the cost of care. See Section 402.33(3), F.S.; Rule 65-6.018, F.A.C. For children in foster care receiving a federal benefit payment, the amount set aside shall be no less than $15.00 per month. The child is eligible to apply for a change in the monthly allowance through the fee waiver review process. The personal allowance, as well as any other portion of the benefit payment not deducted for cost of care, shall be placed in the child’s current needs trust account and shall be available to the child at all times. Pursuant to Section 402.17, F.S., the department is authorized to transfer funds to an account for the long-term and other needs of the child if the amount in the current needs account accumulates to the extent that it endangers the child’s eligibility for benefits (the eligibility limit is $2,000). The personal allowance shall be used to obtain clothing, recreational needs or activities, therapeutic equipment, transportation, and other personal and comfort items for the child. If a child has other special needs which cannot be provided by the department, another local, state or federal source, or from the child’s family members or other responsible party, the fee waiver process established in Rule 65C-17.005, F.A.C., shall be used to document the necessity of providing the essential item to the child.

(10) “Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS)” means a plan submitted to and approved by the Social Security Administration, for a substitute care client who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to enhance the client’s self-sufficiency or independent living skills and goals.

(11) “Plan for Achieving Self-Support (Non-Disabled) (PASS-ND)” means a plan established through the department for a substitute care client who receives benefits or income other than through SSI to enhance the client’s self-sufficiency or independent living skills and goals. A PASS-ND plan need not be submitted to or approved by the Social Security Administration.

(12) “Subaccount” refers to one or more of the subaccounts that may be established within the client’s trust account within the Master Trust. The subaccounts which are currently authorized under the Master Trust Declaration include the current needs subaccount, the long-term needs subaccount, the disabled special needs subaccount(s), the Medicaid income trust subaccount, and the self-sufficiency-independent living plan subaccount.

(13) “Subsidized independent living” means a program in which a minor 16 years of age or older lives independent of the daily care and supervision of a responsible adult, in a setting that need not be licensed, pursuant to the provisions of Section 409.165(4)(b), F.S. In addition to the subsidized independent living program, the department provides other services, such as independent living skills training, to foster children age 15 and older.

Specific Authority 402.17(1)(a)9. (1996 Supp.), 402.33(2), (7)(a) FS. Law Implemented 402.17, 402.17(2)(c) (1996 Supp.) FS. History–New 4-6-99, Amended 5-18-03.

 

65C-17.003 Planning and Budgeting Functions.

Balancing the current and long-term needs of a Family Safety and Preservation program Master Trust client beneficiary shall involve the following planning and budgeting functions which must be cooperatively performed by district caseworkers and fiscal office personnel.

(1) The caseworker shall keep track of the client’s current needs subaccount balance (available from the district fiscal office), monitor the client’s current and anticipated needs in relation to such balance and the best interests of the client, and communicate such needs to the district fiscal office in charge of the client’s trust accounts within the Master Trust so that the district fiscal office can retain sufficient funds for these expenses. The caseworker shall keep the child informed of all purchases. Also, if the expenditure equals $500 or more, the caseworker shall notify the child’s parent(s) (unless termination of parental rights has occurred), the guardian ad litem, and the child’s attorney (if one is appointed) of the purchase.

(2) Family Safety program Master Trust client beneficiaries who are in substitute care, and who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, are eligible to submit a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) to the Social Security Administration for approval. The approved Plan enables the department to set aside funds for long-term educational or vocational needs of the client as enumerated in the Plan, without affecting SSI eligibility. A PASS, Independent Living, or other case plan shall be developed for each member of this Master Trust client beneficiary group. A copy of the plan shall be kept in the client’s case file and a copy shall also be filed with the court exercising jurisdiction over the client. As part of the PASS or Independent Living plan, the caseworker is responsible for ensuring that a vocational aptitude assessment and report is done on each client who is able to participate. Unless waived or performed in-house, costs of such assessment shall be charged against the client’s applicable trust subaccount.

(3) Master Trust client beneficiaries who receive Social Security Act Title II benefits (SSA), Veterans’ (VA) benefits, Railroad Retirement or other benefits are eligible to complete a Non-Disabled Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS-ND). This plan shall serve as all or part of the required case plan preparatory to independent living pursuant to Section 409.165(4)(b)1., F.S. As part of the plan, the caseworker is responsible for ensuring that a vocational aptitude assessment and report is done on each client who is able to participate and placed in the case file. A copy of the plan shall be filed with the court exercising jurisdiction over the client. The PASS-ND is not submitted to or approved by the Social Security Administration.

Specific Authority 402.17(1)(a)9. (1996 Supp.), 402.33(2), (7)(a) FS. Law Implemented 402.17, 402.17(2)(c) (1996 Supp.) FS. History–New 4-6-99, Amended 5-18-03.

 

65C-17.004 Criteria.

Any determination as to whether funds should be transferred to a different subaccount for the client, or whether, subject to availability of funding, a fee waiver or change in allowance should be granted shall be made by utilizing the following criteria to balance current and long-term needs of Family Safety and Preservation program Master Trust client beneficiaries:

(1) Expressed preferences of the client previously made known to the caseworker and documented in a PASS, PASS-ND, Independent Living or other case plan. The department caseworker shall work with each client who is completing a PASS or PASS-ND plan.

(2) Age of the client. Although PASS and the Independent Living program are primarily geared toward clients age 15 and older, younger children are eligible for a fee waiver or change in allowance in order to obtain goods or services linked to goals in the case plan. For example, a young child may exhibit special talents or abilities which would be enhanced by specialized training, classes, or equipment.

(3) Health status and needs of the client. Children who are confined to bed or who have limited mobility benefit from in-home physical therapy, tutoring, visual aids such as television or video cassette recordings, or a specially adapted computer or wheelchair.

(4) Status of the case (such as goal of reunification, long-term substitute care, or independent living). If the goal is reunification, care must be taken to monitor subaccount balances to avoid making the child or family ineligible for benefits when the child returns home. If the goal is long-term substitute care, quality-of-life considerations become more critical. When independent living is the case goal, educational and vocational needs, as well as sufficient funds for such needs as an apartment and transportation become primary.

(5) Amount and duration of benefits, including the amount of money currently available to the child as a personal allowance in his master trust account. If benefits terminate at age 18 (such as Social Security Act Title II benefits) future needs (such as those enunciated in a PASS-ND, subsidized independent living or other case plan) shall be a priority in terms of the amount of money set aside as savings for the child. If a fee waiver is being requested, the child’s own resources shall be considered in the determination of whether to grant the waiver. However, absence of personal resources shall not make the child ineligible to apply for a fee waiver.

(6) Other resources reasonably available to the client such as voluntary or court-ordered child support paid into the child’s current needs account, or other family or community support. A fee waiver shall not be used to purchase goods or services for which the client is eligible from community agencies or other federal and state programs, unless such goods or services are shown to be unavailable.

(7) If a fee waiver is contemplated, the duration of the proposed waiver. A fee waiver shall be subject to availability of funding and shall normally be limited to a sum certain; for example, $250 security deposit plus $100 utilities deposit for a total fee waiver of $350.

(8) Relationship of the proposed transfer or fee waiver to the client’s PASS, PASS-ND, Independent Living or other case plan. The proposed transfer or fee waiver must be directly related to the goal(s) in the plan in one or more of the following ways:

(a) The client’s interests and abilities in relation to the goals expressed in the plan need to be assessed in order to determine if the goals are realistic;

(b) The client’s vocational assessment supports the goals, but the client needs remedial tutoring or classes in specified areas, along with books, supplies or transportation;

(c) As shown by the client’s vocational assessment or academic record, remedial classes are not necessary, but the client needs funding for such things as tuition, fees, books, supplies, supported employment services, attendant or child care expenses, equipment, tools, or uniforms for school, training or to do a job.

(d) The client’s academic record, interests, and motivation clearly support the client’s college potential and justify funding of a prepaid college tuition plan.

(e) The client’s independent living plan includes realistic and practical means for continuing to finance an apartment and other living expenses. In this regard, a fee waiver or change in allowance can be granted to enable the child to accumulate savings as part of the articulated plan for the child’s use upon discharge from foster care.

(9) If the child is applying for an increased personal or foster care allowance, he or she must be able to demonstrate either that his or her necessary expenses are greater than the current foster care or personal allowance or that he or she is incurring increased expenses for clothing, recreational needs or activities, transportation, or other expenses related to the child’s age, current activities and interests (for example, expenses related to sports activities). Approval of requests for increased allowance are subject to availability of funding.

Specific Authority 402.17(1)(a)9. (1996 Supp.), 402.33(2), (7)(a) FS. Law Implemented 402.17, 402.17(2)(c) (1996 Supp.) FS. History–New 4-6-99.

 

65C-17.005 Fee Waiver and Change in Allowance Procedures.

(1) Notice regarding the client’s ability to request a fee waiver or a change in the foster care or personal allowance shall be provided in DCF Form 285D, October, 1997, which is incorporated by reference herein (form is available at the Central Program Office, 1317 Winewood Blvd., Building 7, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0700), at the time of each judicial review to the child, the child’s guardian ad litem (if appointed), the child’s attorney (if appointed), the child’s parents (unless parental rights have been terminated), the child’s foster parents, and the child’s department caseworker. A copy of the notice shall also be filed with the court.

(2) Requests for fee waiver or a change in the foster care or personal allowance shall be directed to the district fee waiver review committee, utilizing CF Form 285, November, 1997, which is incorporated by reference herein (form is available at the Central Program Office, 1317 Winewood Blvd., Building 7, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0700). The request must be case specific and individualized. The person making the fee waiver or change in foster care or personal allowance request shall attach receipts, bills, certified statements or other documentation necessary to substantiate the request.

(3) The district fee waiver committee shall be composed of no less than three district staff members appointed by the district administrator or designee, but shall not include the direct service worker assigned to the client’s case, an individual acting as an advocate of the client, or any person who may have a conflict of interest. The composition of the committee shall be balanced as to representation from fiscal, program, and operations staff.

(4) The fee waiver review shall be conducted in accordance with the guidelines in Rule 65C-17.004, F.A.C. The chairman of the fee waiver committee shall be responsible for audiotaping the proceeding and ensuring that the client’s fiscal file or other location designated by the district. Non-departmental participants shall be required to sign the Certificate and Affidavit of Understanding located at the end of CF Form 285E (form is available at the Central Program Office, 1317 Winewood Blvd., Building 7, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0700).

(5) If the fee waiver or the change in foster care or personal allowance request is denied, the party requesting the fee waiver or change in foster care or personal allowance has the right to request an administrative hearing within 21 days of the date of denial, pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S.

Specific Authority 402.17(1)(a)9. (1996 Supp.), 402.33(2), (7)(a) FS. Law Implemented 402.17, 402.17(2)(c) (1996 Supp.) FS. History–New 4-6-99.

 

65C-17.006 Department Caseworker and Legal Responsibilities.

(1) The department’s caseworker or designee, as defined in Section 39.01(9), F.S., is responsible for monitoring the client’s sub-accounts and ensuring that a copy of the client’s most recent quarterly accounting is included in the Judicial Review Social Study Report.

(2) The department’s attorney shall ensure that a copy of the client’s most current quarterly accounting is filed in the client’s official court record, when the accounting is included in the Judicial Review Social Study Report.

(3) When the child is discharged from the care of the Department, his/her money must be disbursed per the procedures outlined in Section 402.17(7), F.S., and Paragraph 04 of the General Provisions of the Declaration of Master Trust dated May 12, 1997.

Specific Authority 402.17(1)(a)9. (1996 Supp.), 402.33(2), (7)(a) FS. Law Implemented 402.17, 402.17(2)(c) (1996 Supp.) FS. History–New 5-18-03.



65C 19 Certification of Public Agency Funds as Title IV-E Match (Local Match Process)

*(See also, FS 409.166(1) & CFOP 175-71, Chapter 3)



65C-19.001 Definitions.

For purposes of this rule chapter, the following definitions shall apply.

(1) “Allowable expenditures” means those expenditures which meet the requirements of Title IV-E of the Social Security Act and OMB Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments (Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 95, at page 26484 (May 17, 1995) and amended (August 29, 1997)), or OMB Circular A-122, Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations (Federal Register 60 FR 52516), or 45 CFR 74.81 Prohibition against profit (Federal Register 59 at page 43760, Aug. 25, 1994, as amended at 61 FR 11747, Mar. 22, 1996) and Administration for Children and Families ACYF-CB-PA-97-01 Policy Announcement, incorporated by reference. Copies of the documents incorporated by reference can be obtained from the Department of Children and Family Services, Family Safety Program Office,1317 Winewood Boulevard,Tallahassee, FL32399-0700.

(2) “Certification of match” means documented and verified assurances from a local government entity, agency or instrumentality that the local funds used for match were publicly-appropriated funds spent on Title IV-E eligible children for Title IV-E eligible activities.

(3) “Cost allocation plan (CAP)” means a narrative description of the procedures that will be used in identifying, measuring, and allocating all administrative costs to all programs administered and supervised by State public assistance agencies as described in Attachment D of OMB Circular A-87 or attachment A of OMB Circular A-122.

(4) “Cost objective” means a function, organizational subdivision, contract, grant or other activity for which cost data are needed and for which costs are incurred.

(5) “Cost pools” mean either the accumulated costs that benefit a specific program or cost objective (direct cost pool) or accumulated costs that benefit two or more programs or cost objectives.

(6) “Direct cost” means a cost that can be identified specifically with a particular final cost objective.

(7) “Directly allocable” means a cost that is incurred for a common or joint purpose benefiting more than one cost objective.

(8) “Local agency” means a county, municipality, city, township, local public authority, school district, special district, intrastate district, council of governments (whether or not incorporated as a non-profit corporation under state law), any other regional or interstate government entity, or any agency or instrumentality of a local government.

(9) “Public appropriation” means funds appropriated by local governments or agencies.

(10) “Time study” means a method to measure the amount of time spent by staff on multiple activities as part of their daily responsibilities.

Specific Authority 39.0121(7) FS. Law Implemented 409.26731 FS. History–New 7-4-01.

65C-19.002 Claiming Allowable Expenditures.

In order for a local agency to claim Title IV-E reimbursement for an allowable expenditure related to the maintenance and administrative costs for the care of eligible Title IV-E children, the agency must:

(1) Enter into an interagency agreement with the Department of Children and Family Services by executing the Interagency Agreement with the Florida Department of Children and Family Services, CF-FSP 5251, Apr., 2001, which is incorporated by reference. This agreement must be executed prior to submission of any Title IV-E claims. Copies of the documents incorporated by reference can be obtained from the Department of Children and Family Services, Family Safety Program Office, 1317 Winewood Boulevard, Tallahassee, FL32399-0700.

(2) Develop a cost allocation plan (CAP) for any administrative activities and costs which must be submitted to the department and approved prior to submitting claims.

(3) Document Title IV-E eligibility:

(a) Maintenance costs. Document that the expenditure was made for a child who was eligible for Title IV-E at the time the expenditure was made. (See Rule 65C-19.003, F.A.C.)

(b) Administrative costs. Document that the expenditure made was for a Title IV-E eligible activity for an eligible Title IV-E child.

Specific Authority 39.0121(7) FS. Law Implemented 409.26731 FS. History–New 7-4-01.

65C-19.003 Title IV-E Eligibility Criteria.

(1) Removal Situation. Title IV-E stipulates that several conditions must have existed at the time of a child’s removal from the home in order for the child’s costs to be eligible for reimbursement.

(a) If, at the time of the child’s removal, the child’s family was receiving or eligible to receive financial assistance based on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) policy in effect in July, 1996, it shall be assumed that the necessary removal situation existed and this criterion is automatically met. See 42 U.S.C. 606, 607, and 672.

(b) The child must have lived with a parent or other specified relative within the six months prior to the child’s removal or voluntary placement. Specified relatives include parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and step-families. Title IV-E does not stipulate how long the child must have resided with the relative as long as it was within the last six months prior to removal. The residence is defined as the place where the child was actually living and being cared for, even if it was not with the child’s parents.

(c) The child must have been in financial need, meaning that the family income and the child’s income were below federally established poverty levels.

(d) The child must be deprived of one parent either because of death, separation, abandonment, incapacity or disability, unemployment, or under-employment.

(2) Removal Order. Title IV-E requires that a written removal order be entered by the court at the child’s removal from his or her home. The removal order must include the following findings:

(a) The child was removed because leaving the child in the home would have been contrary to the child’s welfare.

(b) Reasonable efforts were made by the department to prevent removal and keep the child at home, or that no reasonable efforts could be made.

(3) Placement Requirements. To satisfy Title IV-E requirements, an out-of-home placement must be a licensed emergency shelter home, licensed foster home, a licensed private not-for-profit or for profit child caring agency; or a public facility with 25 beds or less. If the child is placed in an unlicensed placement or a public facility with over 25 beds, Title IV-E maintenance expenditures cannot be claimed for that child during the period the child is in that placement. Youth in detention facilities, training schools, youth camps, or who are in Subsidized Independent Living status are not eligible for Title IV-E reimbursement.

(4) Ongoing Eligibility for Title IV-E Funds. After the initial eligibility criteria for Title IV-E are met, certain conditions in the child’s life must continue in order for Title IV-E reimbursement to continue. As these conditions change, the child may move in and out of reimbursable status. Because the Department is responsible for determining a child’s on-going eligibility and reimbursability status, the local agency must keep the department apprised of changes that occur in each IV-E case. If Title IV-E is claimed during any period in which a child is temporarily not reimbursable due to a change in the child’s condition, that Title IV-E money must be adjusted as described in (6) of this section. The conditions that must continue in order for a child’s IV-E reimbursability to continue are as follows:

(a) Continued Financial Need. As long as the child is in foster care, the child must remain in financial need.

(b) Continued Parental Deprivation. The child must have been living without the support or care of one or both parents due to death, absence of one or both parents, incapacity, underemployment or unemployment. (Section 406(a) of the Social Security Act)

(c) Continued Placement in Licensed Placements. Eligible foster care placements must be licensed placements. Title IV-E cannot be claimed for any time during which a child is not in a licensed placement.

(5) Runaway Status. When a child is in runaway status, the child is not eligible for IV-E reimbursement because the child is not in a licensed placement. Once the child returns to a licensed placement, the agency can file a claim for reimbursement once again, but not for the time during which the child was in runaway status.

(6) Adjustments to IV-E Claims. Should a claim be filed for a child during a period in which the child is temporarily not eligible for reimbursement, an adjustment must be made to correct the error. The local agency must contact the department every quarter as to any adjustments that must be made for that quarter, and forward a copy of any incorrectly claimed invoice(s) with a written explanation of the error.

Specific Authority 39.0121(7) FS. Law Implemented 409.26731 FS. History–New 7-4-01.

 

65C-19.004 Allowability of Costs.

In order to be reimbursable, costs must:

(1) Be necessary and reasonable for proper and efficient performance and administration of Federal awards. A cost is reasonable if, in its nature and amount, it does not exceed that which would be incurred by a prudent person under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision was made to incur the cost. In determining reasonableness of a given cost, consideration shall be given to:

(a) Whether the cost is of a type generally recognized as ordinary and necessary for the operation of the governmental unit or the performance of the federal award.

(b) The restraints or requirements imposed by such factors: sound business practices; arms length bargaining; federal, state and other laws and regulations; and terms and conditions of the federal award.

(c) Market prices for comparable goods or services.

(d) Whether the individuals concerned acted with prudence in the circumstances considering their responsibilities to the governmental unit, its employees, the public at large, and the federal government.

(e) Significant deviations from the established practices of the governmental unit which may unjustifiably increase the federal award’s cost.

(2) Be allocable to Federal awards under the provisions of OMB Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments, or OMB Circular A-122, Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations, or 45 CFR 74.81 Prohibition against profit and Administration for Children and Families ACYF-CB-PA-97-01 Policy Announcement.

(3) Be authorized or not prohibited under state or local laws or regulations.

(4) Conform to any limitations or exclusions set forth in federal laws, terms, and conditions of Title IV-E program, or other governing regulations as to types or amounts of cost item.

(5) Be consistent with policies, regulations, and procedures that apply uniformly to federal awards and other activities of the governmental unit.

(6) Be accorded consistent treatment. A cost shall not be assigned to a federal award as a direct cost if any other cost incurred for the same purpose in like circumstances has been allocated to the federal award as an indirect cost.

(7) Be determined in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, except as otherwise provided for in OMB Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments, or OMB Circular A-122, Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations, or 45 CFR 74.81 Prohibition against profit, or ACYF-CB-PA-97-01 Policy Announcement.

(8) Not be included as a cost or used to meet cost sharing or matching requirements of any other federal award in either the current or a prior period, except as specifically provided by federal law or regulation.

(9) Be adequately documented as required by OMB Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments, or OMB Circular A-122, Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations.

Specific Authority 39.0121(7) FS. Law Implemented 409.26731 FS. History–New 7-4-01.

65C-19.005 Time Studies.

A time study is a staff time log on which a staff member records his or her activities in 15-minute increments during a day, during a randomly selected week per month, using a menu of activities. The time study must include all activities performed by staff and will be used to calculate the administrative cost reimbursement by the Title IV-E foster care program.

(1) If such staff perform only IV-E eligible staff activities, then no time study is required. The staff charged to Title IV-E must sign a certification stating they work exclusively on Title IV-E eligible activities.

(2) If the staff perform any non IV-E eligible activities, and any of the staff performing IV-E eligible activities also participates in any non IV-E eligible activities, then a time study must be conducted. Time studies must be conducted if there are any staff in the agency who work on:

(a) More than one federal award.

(b) A federal award and a non-federal award.

(c) An indirect cost activity and a direct cost activity.

(d) Two or more indirect cost activities which are allocated using different allocation bases.

(e) An unallowable activity and a direct or indirect cost activity.

(3) The methodology for calculating administrative costs from the time studies as outlined in the interagency agreement.

Specific Authority 39.0121(7) FS. Law Implemented 409.26731 FS. History–New 7-4-01.

 

65C-19.006 Cost Pool.

The administrative cost pool(s) for which Title IV-E reimbursement is being sought shall contain expenses of the local agency as identified below and allowable as stated in OMB Circular A-87, Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments, or OMB Circular A-122, Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations, or 45 CFR 74.81 Prohibition against profit, or ACYF-CB-PA-97-01, Policy Announcement and Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.

(1) The cost of staff, including wages, salaries, and fringe benefits of all staff included in the time study sample. This also includes support staff and supervision.

(2) Overhead cost include:

(a) Costs of office space including rent, maintenance, operations, utilities, and repairs.

(b) Insurance.

(c) Costs of doing business.

Specific Authority 39.0121(7) FS. Law Implemented 409.26731 FS. History–New 7-4-01.

 

65C-19.007 Allowable Maintenance Costs.

Title IV-E maintenance costs are those costs associated with the support of a child while removed from his/her home. In order for a maintenance cost to be reimbursable, it must meet the following criteria:

(1) Costs must be paid through public funds that are not already being used to earn any other federal program dollars.

(2) Costs to be claimed must be made as an individual case payment transaction for a child who is Title IV-E eligible. To be eligible for reimbursement a cost must be linked directly to an identified child (using a case number or Social Security number) who is eligible for IV-E during the month the cost is incurred. The cost must be claimed in the month the cost is incurred, not the payment month.

(3) Costs must be for allowable maintenance activities or services that are eligible for Title IV-E reimbursement. The following are examples of the types of maintenance costs that are reimbursable:

(a) Food.

(b) Clothing.

(c) Shelter.

(d) Daily supervision.

(e) School supplies.

(f) Child’s personal incidentals.

(g) Liability insurance with respect to a child.

(h) Reasonable travel to the child’s home for visitation.

(i) In the case of institutional care, such term shall include the reasonable costs of administration and operation of such institution as are necessarily required to provide the above items.

Specific Authority 39.0121(7) FS. Law Implemented 409.26731 FS. History–New 7-4-01.

 

65C-19.008 Nonreimbursable expenditures.

The following expenditures are not Title IV-E reimbursable:

(1) Medical or psychological treatment or therapy.

(2) School tuition.

(3) Transportation to school.

(4) Social services.

(5) Medical services.

Specific Authority 39.0121(7) FS. Law Implemented 409.26731 FS. History–New 7-4-01.

 

65C-19.009 Accounting/Claiming Procedures.

Upon completion of documentation as set forth in the interagency agreement between the local government and the department, the following reimbursement process shall be initiated:

(1) The public agency must require the provider to submit to the public agency quarterly documentation of Title IV-E expenditures and an estimate of eligible expenditures for the next quarter.

(2) The public agency will submit documentation to a local match liaison of the Office of Family Safety headquarters to certify that the expenditures were made with public funds. The local match liaison will review the documentation for payment approval.

(3) Upon completion of the review of the documentation submitted, the local match liaison will forward the information to Financial Management for a reimbursement of 95% to the public agency. The department retains up to five percent of the reimbursement to cover some of the administrative costs of operating the local match process. The amount retained is posted to the Family Safety Federal Grants Trust Fund.

(4) The expenditures will be claimed and the upcoming quarter estimates will be included on the IV-E-1 Statement of Expenditures Report on a quarterly basis.

Specific Authority 39.0121(7) FS. Law Implemented 409.26731 FS. History–New 7-4-01.

 

65C-19.010 Eligibility/Reimbursability Determination.

The Department of Children and Family Services makes the Title IV-E eligibility determinations for each child and makes that information available.

Specific Authority 39.0121(7) FS. Law Implemented 409.26731 FS. History–New 7-4-01.



65C 20 Family Day Care Standards and Large Family Child Care Homes

65C-20.008Application.

(1) Application for a license or for renewal of a license to operate a family day care home must be made on CF-FSP Form 5133, October 2017, Application for a License to Operate a Family Day Care Home, which is incorporated by reference. CF-FSP Form 5133 may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08748.

(2) Application for a license or for renewal of a license to operate a large family child care home must be made on CF-FSP Form 5238, October 2017, Application for a License to Operate a Large Family Child Care Home, which is incorporated by reference. CF-FSP Form 5238 may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08749. A license to operate a large family child care home may be used to operate a family day care home when the number of children in care meets the definition of a family day care home. A license to operate a family day care home cannot be used to operate a large family child care home.

(3) A completed CF-FSP Form 5133 or CF-FSP Form 5238 for renewal of an annual license must be submitted to the licensing authority at least 45 days prior to the expiration date of the current license to ensure that a lapse of licensure does not occur. Failure to submit a completed CF-FSP Form 5133 or CF-FSP Form 5238 at least 45 days prior to the expiration date of the current license constitutes a licensing violation as defined in paragraph 65C-20.012(3)(d), F.A.C.

(4) A submitted CF-FSP Form 5133 or CF-FSP Form 5238 will not be considered complete until the licensing authority receives proof of background screening clearance on the operator of the family day care home or the large family child care home, substitutes, and on all other household members who are subject to background screening pursuant to Sections 402.313(3) and 402.3131(2), F.S. If the designated substitute changes during the licensure year, prior to taking care of children, the new designated substitute for the operator must comply with background screening requirements and the licensing authority must receive proof of background screening clearances.

(5) The Department may issue a provisional license allowing a home to operate for a designated period of time while working to correct one or more licensing standard(s) not met, provided the operator is making adequate provisions to ensure the health and safety of the children in care. A provisional license may not be issued as the initial license and is a not a disciplinary sanction.

(6) Family Day Care Home and Large Family Child Care Home Standards. Family Day Care Homes and Large Family Child Care Homes must follow the standards found in the “Family Day Care Home and Large Family Child Care Home Licensing Handbook,” October 2017, incorporated herein by reference. The handbook may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08752.

(7) The following documents and forms are also incorporated by reference as part of this rule:

(a) CF Form 5268A, October 2017, In-Service Training Record – Family Day Care Home/Large Family Child Care Home. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08750.

(b) CF/PI 175-28, September 2007, Selecting a Family Day Care Home Provider. A copy may be obatined from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08751.

Rulemaking Authority 402.309, 402.313 FS. Law Implemented 402.309, 402.302(13), 402.313 FS. History–New 7-2-98, Amended 7-13-03, 9-12-04, 4-12-07, 5-1-08, 1-13-10, 10-25-17.

65C-20.009 Staffing Requirements. Repealed eff 10-25-17

Rulemaking Authority 402.313 FS. Law Implemented 402.313 FS. History–New 7-2-98, Amended 5-21-00, 7-13-03, 9-12-04, 4-12-07, 5-1-08, 1-13-10, Repealed 10-25-17.

65C-20.010Health and Safety Related Requirements. Repealed eff 10-25-17

Rulemaking Authority 402.313 FS. Law Implemented 402.313 FS. History–New 7-2-98, Amended 1-4-01, 7-13-03, 9-12-04, 4-12-07, 5-1-08, 1-13-10, Repealed 10-25-17.

65C-20.011 Health Records. Repealed eff 10-25-17

Rulemaking Authority 402.313 FS. Law Implemented 402.313 FS. History–New 7-2-98, Amended 5-21-00, 7-13-03, 9-12-04, 4-12-07, 5-1-08, 1-13-10, Repealed 10-25-17.

65C-20.012 Enforcement.

This rule establishes the grounds under which the Department may issue an administrative fine, deny, suspend, revoke a license or registration or place a licensee or registrant on probation status as well as uniform system of procedures to impose disciplinary sanctions.

(1) Definitions.

(a) “Day” means a weekday, excluding weekends and holidays.

(b) “Probation” is a licensing status indicating the license is in jeopardy of being revoked or not renewed due to violations within the control of the provider. Probation may require the licensee to comply with specific conditions intended to ensure that the licensee comes into and maintains compliance with licensing standards. Examples of such conditions are: a deadline to remedy an existing violation, a specified period during which compliance with licensing standards must be strictly maintained; and, specified conditions under which the home must operate during the probationary period.

(c) “Standards” are requirements for the operation of a licensed family day care home or large family child care home provided in statute or in rule.

(d) “Technical Assistance” means a Department offer of assistance to a licensee or registrant to correct the statutory or regulatory violations.

(e) “Violation” is a noncompliance with a licensing standard as described in an inspection report resulting from an inspection under Section 402.311, F.S., as follows with regard to Class I, Class II, and Class III Violations.

1. “Class I Violation” is an incident of noncompliance with a Class I standard as described on CF-FSP Form 5318, October 2017, Family Day Care Home Standards Classifications Summary and CF-FSP Form 5317, October 2017, Large Family Child Care Home Standards Classification Summary, which is incorporated by reference. A copy of CF-FSP Forms 5318 and 5317 may be obtained from the Department’s website www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following links: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08753, and http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08754. However, any violation of a Class II standard that results in death or serious harm to a child shall escalate to a Class I violation. Class I violations are the most serious in nature.

2. “Class II Violation” is an incident of noncompliance with an individual Class II standard as described on CF-FSP Form 5318 and CF-FSP Form 5317. Class II violations are less serious in nature than Class I violations.

3. “Class III Violation” is an incident of noncompliance with an individual Class III standard as described on CF-FSP Form 5318 and CF-FSP Form 5317. Class III violations are less serious in nature than either Class I or Class II violations.

(2) Authority. The operation of a family day care home is prohibited unless registered or licensed, as required by county ordinance or resolution. The department or local licensing agency shall have the authority to seek an injunction in the circuit court where the home is located to stop the continued operation of a family day care home that is not licensed or registered. For licensed family day care homes, the department or local licensing agency shall also have the authority to seek an injunction in the circuit court where the home is located to stop the continued operation if the family day care home is in violation of the minimum standards. Pursuant to Section 120.60(6), F.S., an emergency suspension order may also be used to stop the continued operation if the family day care home poses immediate serious danger to the public health, safety, or welfare of the children who are enrolled.

(3) Disciplinary Sanctions.

(a) Enforcement of disciplinary sanctions for all Class I violations and for repeated Class II and Class III violations shall be applied progressively for each standard violation. The documents entitled, Reconciliation of 2009 and 2017 Family Day Care Home Standards Classification Summaries and Reconciliation of 2009 and 2017 Large Family Child Care Home Standards Classification Summaries, CF-FSP Form 5422 and CF-FSP 5421, October 2017, which are incorporated into this rule, provide an alignment of the 2009 and 2017 Classification Summaries for purposes of progressive enforcement. A copy may be obtained at the following links: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08755, and http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08756. In addition, providers will be offered technical assistance in conjunction with all violations. The classification of standard violations within the Family Day Care Home Standards and Large Family Child Care Home Classification Summaries and the progressive disciplinary actions prescribed for each class by this rule are based on the provisions of Section 402.310(1)(b), F.S.

(b) Each standard violation has an assigned classification based on the nature or severity of the violation(s) as identified within CF-FSP Form 5318 and CF-FSP Form 5317.

(c) Technical assistance shall be provided for all violations A grace period is provided, wherein a violation that has occurred more than two years prior to a subsequent violation of the same standard will not be counted for purposes of progressive discipline. A violation that has been withdrawn by the Department or has been dismissed as the result of an administrative proceeding held pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S., contesting an administrative complaint will not be counted for purposes of progressive discipline. A violation that is only reflected in an inspection report does not relieve the Department of its burden to prove that violation for purposes of progressive discipline upon the alleged occurrence of a subsequent violation.

(d) Failure to submit a completed CF-FSP Form 5133, Application for a License to Operate a Family Day Care Home, which is incorporated by reference in subsection 65C-20.008(1), F.A.C., or CF-FSP Form 5238, Application for a License to Operate a Large Family Child Care Home, which is incorporated by reference in paragraph 65C-20.013(3)(a), F.A.C., for renewal of an annual license at least 45 days prior to the expiration date of the current license constitutes a licensing violation. The department shall issue an administrative complaint imposing a fine of $50.00 for the first occurrence, $100.00 for the second occurrence, and $200.00 for each subsequent occurrence within a five year period.

(e) Disciplinary sanctions for licensing violations shall be progressively enforced as follows:

1. Class I Violations.

a. For the first and second violation of a Class I standard, the Department shall, upon applying the factors in Section 402.310(1)(e), F.S., impose a fine not less than $100.00 nor more than $500.00 per day for each violation, and may impose other disciplinary sanctions in addition to the fine.

b. For the third and subsequent violation of a Class I standard, the Department shall suspend, deny or revoke the license. The Department, upon applying the factors in Section 402.310(1)(b), F.S., may also levy a fine not less than $100.00 nor more than $500.00 per day for each violation in addition to any other disciplinary sanction.

2. Class II Violations.

a. For the second violation of the same Class II standard, the Department shall issue an administrative complaint imposing a fine of $50.00 for each violation.

b. For the third violation of the same Class II standard, the Department shall impose a fine of $60.00 per day for each violation.

c. For the fourth violation of the same Class II standard, the Department shall place the provider’s license on probation status for a period not to exceed six months, and shall also impose a fine of $75.00 per day for each violation.

d. For the fifth and subsequent violation of the same Class II standard, the Department shall suspend, deny, or revoke the license and shall also impose a fine of $100.00 per day for each violation. However, for a fifth violation of a Children’s Health and/or Immunization standard, the Department will not place the provider’s license on probation status.

3. Class III Violations.

a. For the third violation of the same Class III standard, the Department shall impose a fine of $25.00 for each violation. This violation, and subsequent violations of the same standard within a two year period will be classified as “Class III.”

b. For the fourth violation of the same Class III standard, the Department shall impose a fine of $30.00 per day for each violation.

c. For the fifth violation of the same Class III standard, the Department shall place the provider’s license on probation status for a period not to exceed six months, and impose a fine of $40.00 per day for each violation.

d. For the sixth and subsequent violation of the same Class III standard, the Department shall suspend, deny, or revoke the license, and impose a fine of $50.00 per day for each violation. However, for the sixth and subsequent violation of the same Class III Children’s Health and/or Immunization standard, the Department will place the provider’s license or registration on probation status for a period not to exceed six months in lieu of suspending, denying, or revoking the license or registration.

(4) Imposition of an administrative fine shall be accomplished through an administrative complaint. Denial of a license or registration or conversion to probationary status pursuant to Section 402.310, F.S., may be accomplished through an administrative complaint or a notice of intent to deny a pending renewal application.

(5) Access. The family day care operator must allow access to the entire premises of the family day care home to inspect for compliance with family day care home minimum standards. Access to the family day care home also includes access by the parent, legal guardian, and/or custodian, to their child(ren) while in care.

Rulemaking Authority 402.310, 402.313 FS. Law Implemented 402.310, 402.313 FS. History–New 7-2-98, Amended 7-13-03, 9-12-04, 4-12-07, 5-1-08, 1-13-10, 10-25-17.

65C-20.013 Large Family Child Care Homes (LFCCH). Repealed eff 10-25-17

Rulemaking Authority 402.309, 402.3131 FS. Law Implemented 402.302, 402.302(13), 402.305, 402.309, 402.3131 FS. History–New 5-21-00, Amended 1-4-01, 7-13-03, 9-12-04, 4-12-07, 5-1-08, 1-13-10, Repealed 10-25-17.

65C-20.014 Gold Seal Quality Care Program.

(1) Definitions.

(a) “Class I Violation” has the same meaning as provided for the same term in subparagraph 65C-20.012(1)(e)1., F.A.C.

(b) “Class II Violation” has the same meaning as provided for the same term in subparagraph 65C-20.012(1)(e)2., F.A.C.

(c) “Class III Violation” has the same meaning as provided for the same term in subparagraph 65C-20.012(1)(e)3., F.A.C.

(d) Gold Seal Quality Care Provider means a family day care home or large family child care home licensed by the Department or local licensing authority, that meets the accreditation compliance requirements in Section 402.281(1), F.S.

(e) “Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association” means an accrediting association that has applied to and been approved by the Department as an accrediting association for the purpose of Gold Seal Designation pursuant to Section 402.281(3), F.S.

(2) Gold Seal Quality Care Provider Requirements.

(a) Gold Seal Quality Care Provider Designation. A licensed family day care home or large family child care home program seeking designation as a Gold Seal Quality Care provider shall apply to the Department on form CF-FSP Form 5386, Gold Seal Quality Care Provider Application, April 2015, which is hereby incorporated by reference, and provide all supporting documentation required by the form. This form may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05507. Once reviewed and approved by the Department, the designation will be issued in the name of the provider. The designation will be effective the date approved by the Department through the duration of the provider’s accreditation certification, up to a maximum of five years, unless terminated by the Department or voluntarily surrendered by the provider, or if accreditation is revoked by the accrediting association.

(b) In order to obtain and maintain Gold Seal designation, the applicant must: 1. Be accredited by an approved Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association. The name on the accrediting association certificate required by CF-FSP Form 5386 must be the same as that on the provider’s license. A list of approved accrediting associations may be obtained from the Department website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare. 2. Meet the criteria of Section 402.281(4), F.S.

(c) To renew a Gold Seal Quality Care designation, the provider must submit CF-FSP Form 5386 at least 30 days prior to expiration of the current designation. The Department cannot guarantee late-filed renewal forms will be processed in time to avoid a lapse in the designation.

(3) Gold Seal Quality Care Enforcement.

(a) Gold Seal Quality Care providers must maintain accreditation and continuously meet the standards established by their Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association in order to retain their designation. A provider’s Gold Seal designation will be terminated upon expiration of its accreditation, or when its accreditation is surrendered or lost. The Gold Seal designation termination will be effective on the expiration date or on the date the accrediting association no longer acknowledges the provider’s accreditation.

(b) A provider’s Gold Seal designation will be terminated if the Department or local licensing agency determines the provider has committed a disqualifying minimum standards violation as defined in Section 402.281(4), F.S. The termination will be effective as of the date of final agency action on the termination.

(c) The Department will notify providers accredited by a Gold Seal accrediting association that has lost its status as an approved accrediting entity and will afford such providers 180 days from the date of notification, to obtain a new accreditation certificate from an approved Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association. The Department will thereafter terminate the Gold Seal designation of any provider that is not accredited by an approved accrediting association at the conclusion of the 180 day period.

(4) Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association Requirements.

(a) An accrediting association seeking recognition as a Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association must:

1. Have been active and accrediting child care programs in Florida for a period of five years prior to submission of an application to the Department.

2. Hold an active corporation registration with the Florida Department of State to do business in Florida.

3. Submit and meet all requirements outlined on the CF-FSP Form 5315, Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association Application, April 2015, which is incorporated by reference. CF-FSP Form 5315 may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05506.

4. Submit a crosswalk of the Accrediting Association’s standards with the Department’s Gold Seal Quality Standards.

(b) Applications will be accepted only in January and July each year. An accrediting association whose application is denied cannot reapply until at least six months from the date of the denial.

(c) An application and all supporting documentation submitted by an accrediting association for approval as a Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association will be reviewed in consultation with entities described in Section 402.281(3), F.S. Applicants must obtain an overall compliance percentage of 85% or higher of the standards outlined on form CF-FSP 5390, Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association Evaluation Manual for Family Day Care Homes and Large Family Child Care Homes, April 2015, this form is incorporated by reference and a copy of this form may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05509. The Department will evaluate applications in the manner described in the Gold Seal Quality Care Program Review Process and Procedures, April 2015 document, which is incorporated by reference and may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05512.

(d) The Department’s Gold Seal Quality Care Standards are established in CF-FSP Form 5388, Gold Seal Quality Care Standards for Family Day Care Homes and Large Family Child Care Homes, April 2015. This form includes the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Program (USDA’s CACFP) guidelines, N-050-06 Child Care Food Program Meal Pattern for Children, August 2013, and Adult Care Food Program Adult Meal Pattern, November 20, 2012. This form and the USDA’s CACFP guidelines are, incorporated by reference and copies may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following links: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05508, http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05510, and http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05511.

(e) A Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association approval is valid only for the entity to which it is issued for a maximum of five years, unless terminated by the Department or voluntarily surrendered during the approved period.

(f) A Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association must annually submit the Attestation on page 5 of the Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association Application, CF-FSP 5315. If changes have occurred, the appropriate supporting documentation of the change must accompany the Attestation.

(g) The following acts or omissions are grounds for revocation of an accrediting association’s approval.

1. Failure to notify the Department of a change in the association’s administration, corporate structure or any condition under which the accreditation association was initially approved by the Department.

2. Any changes resulting in the Association’s inability to meet the criteria provided in Section 402.281, F.S.

(h) A Gold Seal Accrediting Association must notify the Department, in writing, within fifteen days of a revocation or expiration of the accreditation of a family day care home or large family child care home in Florida. The notification must include a copy of the revocation or expiration letter issued to the provider, stating the specific reasons for revocation or expiration. Failure to provide the Department such written notification will be grounds for terminating the association’s approval as a Gold Seal Accrediting Association, and the association will be precluded from reapplying for approval for a period of two years.

(i) Gold Seal Quality Care Associations must apply to renew approval by submitting CF-FSP Form 5315 a minimum of six months prior to end of the five-year approval period. A current Gold Seal accrediting association whose approval expires prior to July 1, 2015, and which timely applies for renewal, will not be required to complete the standards crosswalk described in subparagraph (4)(a)4., above, or otherwise demonstrate its accreditation standards meet or exceed the Department’s Gold Seal standards in order to have its approval renewed.

(j) An accrediting association approved under this rule must notify the Department and all of its accredited providers in writing 6 months in advance of any intent to surrender its approval or to allow it to expire. An approved accrediting association which fails to comply with this requirement will be precluded from re-applying for approval for a period of five years from the lapse of the existing approval.

(k) The Department will not recognize Gold Seal accreditations issued by an entity that has not been approved as a Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association.

(l) An Accrediting Association approved by the Department as a Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association may not contract with or otherwise authorize any other entity or parties, including affiliated groups, and membership groups or subgroups, to issue accreditations to Florida child care providers for the purposes of Gold Seal designation.

Rulemaking Authority 402.281 FS. Law Implemented 402.281 FS. History–New 5-1-08, Amended 1-13-10, 7-7-15, 10-25-17.



65C 22 Child Care Standards


65C-22.001 General Requirements.

(1) Application.

(a)Application for a license or for renewal of a license to operate a child care facility must be made on CF-FSP Form 5017, October 2017, Application for a License to Operate a Child Care Facility, which is incorporated by reference. CF-FSP Form 5017 may be obtained from the department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08728.

(b) Each completed CF-FSP Form 5017 must be submitted with the licensure fee pursuant to Section 402.315, F.S.

(c) The completed CF-FSP Form 5017 must be signed by the individual owner, prospective owner, or the designated representative of a partnership, association, or corporation, and must include background screening clearance documents for the owner/operator/director, and an approved fire inspection. Child care facilities that have a well system must maintain current written records indicating the well system meets the requirements of the Department of Health on an annual basis.

(d) A completed CF-FSP Form 5017 for renewal of an annual license must be submitted to the licensing authority at least 45 days prior to the expiration date of the current license to ensure that a lapse of licensure does not occur. Failure to submit a completed CF-FSP Form 5017 at least 45 days prior to the expiration date of the current license constitutes a licensing violation as defined in paragraph 65C-22.010(2)(c), F.A.C.

(2) Urban Child Care.

(a). In order to be classified as an urban child care facility, the applicant, prior to submitting an application for licensure must:

1. Obtain written documentation from the local governing body that confirms the geographical area has been declared urban; and

2. Consult with the licensing authority to verify that the required outdoor play space, required by section 3.4.4, B of the Child Care Facility Handbook does not exist or cannot be made available. Urban designation will not be granted if the licensing authority determines space for an outdoor play area is available. Outdoor play space is “available” if appropriate space:

a. Is adjacent to the facility, or

b. Can be reached by a route that is free of hazards and is within 1/8 mile of the facility.

(b) If requirements in subparagraph 1., above, are met, the applicant must complete and submit the CF-FSP Form 5017. 

(c) No application for an urban child care facility designation will be approved by the licensing authority without the above criteria being met.

(3) License.

(a) A child care facility license is issued in the name of the owner. The owner may be an individual, partnership, association, or corporation. The license is non-transferable between owners and locations.

(b) During the hours of operation, the child care facility must not be used for any business or purpose unrelated to providing child care that can interfere with compliance with child care standards or permit the presence of individuals who do not meet screening and training requirements when children are present. A child care facility that utilizes any area that is subject to use by persons outside of the program must have exclusive control of such area when used by the program and provide effective measures to exclude individuals who do not meet screening and training requirements from that area.

(c) The child care facility must include their license number in any advertisement about their services.

(d) The Department may issue a provisional license allowing a facility to operate for a designated period of time while working to correct one or more licensing standard(s) not met, provided the owner is making adequate provisions to ensure the health and safety of the children in care. A provisional license is a not a disciplinary sanction.

(4) Change of ownership.

(a) At least one week prior to changing ownership of a child care facility, in compliance with Section 402.305(18), F.S., one of the following methods of notification to custodial parents or legal guardians must be observed:

1. Posting a notice in a conspicuous location at the facility,

2. Incorporating information into an existing newsletter, or

3. Distribute individual letters or flyers.

(b) A completed CF-FSP Form 5017 for a change of ownership must be submitted by the new prospective owner to the licensing authority prior to the final sale of the business. The Department has 45 days from receiving a completed application to issue a license to the new prospective owner.

(5) Supervision.

(a) Children that are delivered to a location offsite from the facility by someone other than the parent or guardian become the responsibility of the child care program at that designated location and time as agreed upon by the provider and the parent/guardian. The provider is responsible for the supervision of the child upon the child’s arrival at the designated point. If a child is not present at the time of pick-up, prior to leaving the designated location, child care personnel must verify the whereabouts of the child.

(b) Direct supervision means actively watching and directing children’s activities within the same room or designated outdoor play area, during transportation, any activity outside of the facility, and responding to the needs of each child while in care. Child care personnel at a facility must be assigned to provide direct supervision to a specific group of children, and be present with that group of children at all times.

(6) Child Care Standards. Child care programs must follow the standards found in the “Child Care Facility Handbook,” October 2017, incorporated herein by reference. The handbook may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08747.

(7) The following documents and forms are also incorporated by reference as part of this rule:

(a) CF-FSP Form 1649A, October 2017, Child Care Attestation of Good Moral Character. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08727.

(b) CF-FSP Form 5131, October 2017, Background Screening and Personnel File Requirements. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08729.

(c) CF-FSP Form 5191, October 2017, Birth Through Five Florida Child Care Professional Credential (FCCPC) Training Program Application. A copy may be obtained from the following link:

http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08730.

(d) CF-FSP Form 5211, October 2017, Staff Credential Application. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08731.

(e) CF-FSP Form 5217, October 2017, Volunteer Acknowledgement. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08732.

(f) CF-FSP Form 5219, October 2017, Child Care Application for Enrollment. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08733.

(g) CF-FSP Form 5252, October 2017, Florida Child Care and Education Program Director Credential. A copy may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08734.

(h) CF-FSP Form 5257, October 2017, School-Age Florida Child Care Professional Credential (FCCPC) Training Program Provider Application. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08735.

(i) CF-FSP Form 5268, October 2017, Child Care In-Service Training Record. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08736.

(j) CF-FSP Form 5270, October 2017, Florida Child Care Professional Credential Certificate. A copy may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08737.

(k) CF-FSP Form 5290, October 2017, Florida Child Care Director Credential and Renewal Application. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08738.

(l) CF-FSP Form 5337, October 2017, Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Requirements. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08740.

(m) CF/PI 175-24, March 2014, Know Your Child Care Facility. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08017.

(n) CF/PI 175-70, June 2009, Influenza Virus, Guide to Parents. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08018.

(o) DH 680, July 2010, Florida Certificate of Immunization. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08744.

(p) DH 681, July 2008, Religious Exemption From Immunization. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08745.

(q) DH 3040, July 2013, School Entry Health Exam. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08746.

(r) N-050-06, Child Care Food Program Meal Pattern for Children (CCFP), September 30, 2019. Copies may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05510.

(s) N-051-04, Child Care Food Program Meal Pattern for Infants, September 2016. Copies may be obtained form the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08742.

(t) USDA MyPlate, August 2011. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-03036.

(u) Center for Disease Control guidelines, January 2013. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-03037.

(v) Caring for Our Children Basics, Health and Safety Foundations for Early Care and Education, June 2015. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08726.

(w) Title 16, Parts 1219, 1220 &1221 Code of Federal Regulations, 2014. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08743.

Rulemaking Authority 402.305, 402.309, 402.310 FS. Law Implemented 402.305, 402.309, 402.319, 402.3054, 402.3055, 402.308, 402.310 FS. History–New 6-1-97, Amended 3-17-99, 7-26-00, 1-4-01, 7-13-03, 9-12-04, 4-12-07, 5-1-08, 1-13-10, 8-1-13, 10-25-17.

65C-22.0011 Definitions. Repealed eff 10-25-17

Rulemaking Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 8-1-13, Repealed 10-25-17.

65C-22.002 Physical Environment. Repealed

Rulemaking Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 6-1-97, Amended 7-2-98, 3-17-99, 7-13-03, 9-12-04, 6-30-05, 4-12-07, Repromulgated 5-1-08, Amended 1-13-10, 8-1-13, Repealed 10-25-17.

65C-22.003 Training. Repealed eff 10-25-17

Rulemaking Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 6-1-97, Amended 7-2-98, 3-17-99, 7-26-00, 10-10-01, 4-2-02, 7-17-03, 9-12-04, 6-30-05, 4-12-07, 5-1-08, 1-13-10, 8-1-13, Repealed 10-25-17.

65C-22.004 Health Related Requirements. Repealed eff 10-25-17

Rulemaking Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 6-1-97, Amended 3-17-99, 7-26-00, 4-2-02, 7-13-03, 9-12-04, 4-12-07, 5-1-08, 1-13-10, 8-1-13, Repealed 10-25-17.

65C-22.005 Food and Nutrition. Repealed eff 10-25-17

Rulemaking Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 6-1-97, Amended 3-17-99, 7-26-00, 1-4-01, 7-13-03, 9-12-04, 4-12-07, Repromulgated 5-1-08, Amended 1-13-10, 8-1-13, Repealed 10-25-17.

65C-22.006 Record Keeping. Repealed eff 10-25-17

Rulemaking Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 6-1-97, Amended 7-2-98, 3-17-99, 7-26-00, 1-4-01, 7-13-03, 9-12-04, 4-12-07, 5-1-08, 1-13-10, 8-1-13, Repealed 10-25-17.

65C-22.007 Evening Child Care.

(1) Hours of Care. Evening Child Care, as defined in Section 402.302(7), F.S., means child care provided during evening hours and may encompass the hours of 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

(2) Supervision. During evening child care hours, staff must remain awake at all times. While children are awake, direct supervision as described in paragraph 65C-22.001(5)(a), F.A.C., must be provided. When children are sleeping, supervision, as defined in paragraph 65C-22.001(5)(b), F.A.C., is required.

(3) Exemptions. Child care standards, as outlined in Sections 402.301 through 402.305, F.S., and Rules 65C-22.001 through 65C-22.006, F.A.C., apply to Evening Child Care with the following exceptions:

(a) Outdoor Play Area. For facilities that provide only evening child care, outdoor play space is not required. An open area within the existing indoor floor space designated for play that promotes the development of gross motor skills must be available.

(b) Credentialed staff, pursuant to Section 402.305(3), F.S., are not required for Evening Child Care.

(c) Director credentialed staff are not required for Evening Child Care.

Rulemaking Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 7-2-98, Amended 9-12-04, 4-12-07, Repromulgated 5-1-08, Amended 1-13-10, 8-1-13.

65C-22.008 School Age Child Care.

(1) Application for licensure. Application for a license or for renewal of a license to operate a school-age child care program must be made on CF-FSP Form 5272, March 2017, Application for a License to Operate a School-Age Child Care Facility, which is incorporated by reference. CF-FSP Form 5272 may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08022.

(2) Licensing: A school-age child care program must be licensed prior to operation and for continued operation, unless the program demonstrates that it is exempt pursuant to subsection (3), below. The license is issued in the name of the owner. The owner may be an individual, partnership, association, company or corporation, and the license must be posted in a conspicuous location where the school-age child care program is operating.

(3) Exemptions: A school-age child care program is not required to be licensed as long as the program complies with the minimum background screening requirements provided in Sections 402.305 and 402.3055, F.S., and if the program demonstrates that conditions of one of the following criteria outlined in paragraphs (a)-(e) below, are met. A school-age program exempted under paragraph (3)(a), (c) or (d) below, may become licensed if it chooses to meet all of the applicable licensing standards in subsection (4), below.

(a) Programs on School Sites. The program is located on a public/nonpublic school site; and:

1. Is operated and staffed directly by that school or through a formal agreement, such as a contract, between the school (or school district, when the latter reserves authority for such agreements) and a provider which names the school/school district as the responsible party for the operation of the program. A lease for space or user agreement, with or without the endorsement of the program by the school/school district, does not meet the formal agreement requirement.

2. Serves only the school-age children attending the school during the school day. The program may provide services during any out-of-school time, including before school, after school, on teacher planning days, holidays, and intercessions that occur during the school district’s academic calendar year.

3. Follows the standards set forth by the Florida Building Code State Requirements for Public Educational Facilities pursuant to Section 402.305(5), F.S., programs operated in public school facilities, regardless of the operator.

(b) Instruction/Tutorial Programs. The program is not designated as a Gold Seal Quality Care provider and has a single instructional/tutorial purpose and that purpose is the only service that the program provides. Some examples of these programs include, but are not limited to, tutoring; a computer class; a ballet class; a karate class; baseball instruction or other sport; the program cannot provide any service beyond the instructional and tutorial/academic activity; and:

1. Does not cater, serve or prepare meals. The program may choose to provide drinks and ready-to-eat snacks that are individually pre-packaged and do not require refrigeration.

2. Does not advertise or otherwise represent that the program has attributes of child care, as defined in Section 402.302(1), F.S.

3. Enrollment information shall clearly define the duration of the instructional sessions. Session time may not exceed two hours. If tutoring is provided in multiple academic areas, the total combined session times cannot exceed three hours per day.

4. Does not contract to deliver a school readiness program pursuant to Section 1002.88, F.S.

(c) Open Access Programs. The program is not designated as a Gold Seal Quality Care provider and meets all of the following criteria:

1. Operates/Serves children for less than four hours per day; however, the program may provide services during any out-of-school time, including before school, after school, on teacher planning days, holidays, and intercessions that occur during the school district’s official academic calendar year.

2. Does not advertise or otherwise represent that the program is an afterschool child care program or that the program offers supervision.

3. Allows children to enter and leave the program at any time without permission, prior arrangements, or supervision, and the program does not assume responsibility for supervision.

4. Does not provide transportation, directly or through a contract or agreement with an outside entity, during the hours of operation for the purposes of field trips; and,

5. Does not serve or prepare any meals, except those provided through the USDA Afterschool Meal Program (AMP) administered by the Florida Department of Health, pursuant to Section 402.305(1)(c), F.S. Programs not participating in the AMP may choose to provide drinks and ready-to-eat snacks that are individually pre-packaged and do not require refrigeration.

6. Does not contract to deliver a school readiness program pursuant to Section 1002.88, F.S.

(d) Any program that is not designated as a Gold Seal Quality Care provider and is providing care for school aged children that is operated by, or in affiliation with a national membership non-profit or not for profit organization that certifies membership organizations, as of February 1, 2017, in at least ten states, that was created for the purpose of providing activities that contribute to the development of good character or good sportsmanship or to the education or cultural development of minors in this state, that charges a membership fee for children and may receive grant funding for services. Such is certified by its national association as complying with the association’s purposes, procedures, minimum standards and mandatory requirements for all of its before school, after school or out-of-school time programs. The program must notify the Department prior to operating and annually, thereafter, of any operation of before school, after school or out-of-school time programs, provide verification of certification and good standing by its national association for all of its before school, after school or out of school time programs, and complete an annual attestation for compliance with background screening requirements. Failure by a program to comply with such reporting, providing required verifications, and screening requirements shall result in the loss of the program’s exemption from licensure.

(e) The program is not designated as a Gold Seal Quality Care provider and provides child care exclusively for children in grades six and above.

(4) School-Age Child Care Standards. School age child care programs must follow the standards found in the School-Age Child Care Licensing Handbook, March 2017, incorporated herein by reference. The handbook may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08023.

(5) Definitions for terms used in this rule are contained in the “School-Age Child Care Licensing Handbook.”

(6) The following documents and forms are also incorporated by reference as part of this rule:

(a) CF-FSP Form 5270, March 2017, Florida Child Care Professional Credential Certificate. A copy may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08054.

(b) N-050-06 Child Care Food Program Meal Pattern for Children (CCFP), September 30, 2019. Copies may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08004.

(c) USDA MyPlate, August 2011. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-03036.

(d) Center for Disease Control Guidelines, January 2013. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-03037.

(e) CF-FSP Form 5268, March 2017, Child Care In-Service Training Record. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08007.

(f) CF-FSP 5337, March 2017, Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Requirements. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08010.

(g) CF-FSP 5217, March 2017, Volunteer Acknowledgement. A copy may be obtained at the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08013.

(h) CF Form 1649A, March 2017, Child Care Affidavit of Good Moral Character. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08015.

(i) CF/PI 175-24, March 2014, Know Your Child Care Facility. A copy can be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08017.

(j) CF/PI 175-70, June 2009, Influenza Virus, Guide to Parents. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08018.

(k) CF-FSP 5219, March 2017, Child Care Application for Enrollment. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08019.

(l) CF-FSP Form 5131, March 2017, Background Screening and Personnel File Requirements. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08020.

(m) CF-FSP Form 5290, March 2017, Florida Child Care Director Credential and Renewal Application. A copy may be obtained from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08055.

(n) CF-FSP Form 5252, March 2017, Florida Director Certificate. A copy may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08053.

Rulemaking Authority 402.305 FS. Law implemented 402.305 FS. History-New 9-12-04, Amended 4-12-07, 5-1-08, 1-13-10, 8-1-13, 3-30-17.

65C-22.009 Gold Seal Quality Care Program.

(1) Definitions.

(a) “Class I Violation” has the same meaning as provided for the same term in paragraph 65C-22.010(2)(d)1., F.A.C.

(b) “Class II Violation” has the same meaning as provided for the same term in paragraph 65C-22.010(2)(d)2., F.A.C.

(c) “Class III Violation” has the same meaning as provided for the same term in paragraph 65C-22.010(2)(d)3., F.A.C.

(d) Gold Seal Quality Care Provider means a child care program, regulated by the department or local licensing authority, that meets the accreditation compliance requirements in Section 402.281(1), F.S.

(e) “Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association” means an accrediting association that has applied to and been approved by the Department as an accrediting association for the purpose of Gold Seal Designation pursuant to Section 402.281(3), F.S.

(f) “Regulated by the Department” means a child care facility that has been licensed by the Department or a child care facility that is exempt from licensure pursuant to Sections 402.3025 or 402.316, F.S., that has agreed to periodic inspection by the Department as part of the application process.

(2) Gold Seal Quality Care Provider Requirements.

(a) Gold Seal Quality Care Provider Designation. A child care program regulated by the Department seeking designation as a Gold Seal Quality Care provider shall apply to the Department on form CF-FSP Form 5386, Gold Seal Quality Care Provider Application, April 2015, which is hereby incorporated by reference, and provide all supporting documentation required by the form. This form may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05542. Once reviewed and approved by the Department, the designation will be issued in the name of the provider. The designation will be effective the date approved by the Department through the duration of the provider’s accreditation certification, up to a maximum of five years, unless terminated by the Department or voluntarily surrendered by the provider, or if accreditation is revoked by the accrediting association.

(b) In order to obtain and maintain Gold Seal designation, the applicant must:

1. . Be accredited by an approved Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association. The name on the accrediting association certificate required by form CF-FSP Form 5386, must be the same as on the provider’s license. A list of approved accrediting associations may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare.

2. Meet the criteria of Section 402.281(4), F.S.

(c) To renew a Gold Seal Quality Care designation, the provider must submit CF-FSP Form 5386 at least 30 days prior to expiration of the current designation. The Department cannot guarantee late-filed renewal forms will be processed in time to avoid a lapse in the designation.

(3) Gold Seal Quality Care Enforcement.

(a) Gold Seal Quality Care providers must maintain accreditation and continuously meet the standards established by their Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association in order to retain their designation. A provider’s Gold Seal designation will be terminated upon expiration of its accreditation, or when its accreditation is surrendered or lost. The Gold Seal designation termination will be effective on the expiration date or on the date the accrediting association no longer acknowledges the provider’s accreditation.

(b) A provider’s Gold Seal designation will be terminated if the Department or local licensing agency determines the provider has committed a disqualifying minimum standards violation as defined in Section 402.281(4), F.S. The termination will be effective as of the date of final agency action on the termination.

(c) The Department will notify providers accredited by a Gold Seal accrediting association that has lost its status as an approved accrediting entity and will afford such providers 180 days from the date of notification to obtain a new accreditation certificate from an approved Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association. The Department will thereafter terminate the Gold Seal designation of any provider that is not accredited by an approved accrediting association at the conclusion of the 180-day period.

(4) Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association Requirements.

(a) An accrediting association seeking recognition as a Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association must:

1. Have been active and accrediting child care programs in Florida for a period of five years prior to submission of an application to the Department.

2. Hold an active corporation registration with the Florida Department of State to do business in Florida.

3. Submit and meet all requirements outlined on the CF-FSP Form 5315, Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Application, April 2015, which is incorporated by reference. CF-FSP Form 5315 may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05541.

4. Submit a crosswalk of the Accrediting Association’s standards with the Department’s Gold Seal Quality Standards.

(b) Applications will be accepted only in January and July each year. An accrediting association whose application is denied cannot reapply until at least six months from the date of the denial.

(c) An application and all supporting documentation submitted by an accrediting association for approval as a Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association will be reviewed in consultation with entities described in Section 402.281(3), F.S. Applicants must obtain an overall compliance percentage of 85% or higher of the standards outlined on form CF-FSP 5389, Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association Evaluation Manual for Child Care Facilities, April 2015. This form is incorporated by reference and a copy may be obtained from the Department’s website www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05514. The Department will evaluate applications in the manner described in the Gold Seal Quality Care Program Review Process and Procedures, April 2015 document, which is incorporated by reference and may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05545.

(d) The Department’s Gold Seal Quality Care Standards are established in CF-FSP Form 5387, Gold Seal Quality Care Standards for Child Care Programs, April 2015. This form includes the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Program (USDA’s CACFP) guidelines, N-050-06 Child Care Food Program Meal Pattern for Children, August 2013 and Adult Care Food Program Adult Meal Pattern, November 20, 2012. This form and the USDA’s CACFP guidelines are incorporated by reference and may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following links: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05513, http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05543, and http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05544.

(e) A Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association approval is valid only for the entity to which it is issued for a maximum of five years, unless terminated by the Department or voluntarily surrendered during the approved period.

(f) A Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association must annually submit the Attestation on page 5 of the Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association Application, CF-FSP 5315. If changes have occurred, the appropriate supporting documentation of the change must accompany the Attestation.

(g) The following acts or omissions are grounds for revocation of an accrediting association’s approval.

1. Failure to notify the Department of a change in the association’s administration, corporate structure or any condition under which the accreditation association was initially approved by the Department.

2. Any changes resulting in the Association’s inability to meet the criteria provided in Section 402.281, F.S.

(h) A Gold Seal Accrediting Association must notify the Department, in writing, within fifteen days of a revocation or expiration of the accreditation of a child care provider in Florida. The notification must include a copy of the revocation or expiration letter issued to the provider, stating the specific reasons for revocation or expiration. Failure to provide the Department such written notification will be grounds for terminating the association’s approval as a Gold Seal Accrediting Association, and the association will be precluded from reapplying for approval for a period of two years.

(i) Gold Seal Quality Care Associations must apply to renew approval by submitting CF-FSP Form 5315 a minimum of six months prior to end of the five-year approval period. A current Gold Seal accrediting association whose approval expires prior to July 1, 2015, and which timely applies for renewal, will not be required to complete the standards crosswalk described in subparagraph (4)(a)4., above, or otherwise demonstrate its accreditation standards meet or exceed the Department’s Gold Seal standards in order to have its approval renewed.

(j) An accrediting association approved under this rule must notify the Department and all of its accredited providers in writing 6 months in advance of any intent to surrender its approval or to allow it to expire. An approved accrediting association which fails to comply with this requirement will be precluded from re-applying for approval for a period of five years from the lapse of the existing approval.

(k) The Department will not recognize Gold Seal accreditations issued by an entity that has not been approved as a Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association.

(l) An Accrediting Association approved by the Department as a Gold Seal Quality Care Accrediting Association may not contract with or otherwise authorize any other entity or parties, including affiliated groups and membership groups or subgroups, to issue accreditations to Florida child care providers for the purposes of Gold Seal designation.

Rulemaking Authority 402.281 FS. Law Implemented 402.281 FS. History–New 5-1-08, Amended 1-13-10, 8-1-13, 7-7-15, 10-25-17.

65C-22.010 Enforcement.

This rule establishes the grounds under which the Department shall issue an administrative fine, deny, suspend, revoke a license or registration or place a licensee or registrant on probation status as well as uniform system of procedures to impose disciplinary sanctions.

(1) Definitions.

(a) “Day” means a weekday, excluding weekends and holidays.

(b) “Probation” is a licensing status indicating the license is in jeopardy of being revoked or not renewed due to violations of licensing standards. Probation may require the licensee to comply with specific conditions intended to ensure that the licensee comes into and maintains compliance with licensing standards. Examples of such conditions are: a deadline to remedy an existing violation, a specified period during which compliance with licensing standards must be strictly maintained; and specified conditions under which the facility must operate during the probationary period.

(c) “Standards” are requirements for the operation of a licensed facility provided in statute or in rule.

(d) “Technical Assistance” means a Department offer of assistance to a licensee or registrant to correct the statutory or regulatory violations.

(e) “Violation” means noncompliance with a licensing standard as described in an inspection report resulting from an inspection under Section 402.311, F.S., as follows with regard to Class I, Class II, and Class III Violations.

1. “Class I Violation” is an incident of noncompliance with a Class I standard as described on CF-FSP Form 5316, October 2017. Child Care Facility Standards Classification Summary, which is incorporated by reference. A copy of the CF-FSP Form 5316 may be obtained from the Department’s website at www.myflfamilies.com/childcare or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08739. However, any violation of a Class II standard that results in death or serious harm to a child shall escalate to a Class I violation. The effective date of a termination of a provider’s Gold Seal Quality Care designation is the date of the Department’s written notification to the provider. However, any violation of a Class II standard that results in death or serious harm to a child shall escalate to a Class I violation. Class I violations are the most serious in nature.

2. “Class II Violation” is an incident of noncompliance with an individual Class II standard as described on CF-FSP Form 5316. Class II violations are less serious in nature than Class I violations.

3. “Class III Violation” is an incident of noncompliance with an individual Class III standard as described on CF-FSP Form 5316. Class III violations are less serious in nature than either Class I or Class II violations.

(2) Disciplinary Sanctions.

(a) Enforcement of disciplinary sanctions for all Class I violations and for repeated Class II and Class III violations shall be applied progressively for each standard violation. The document entitled, Reconciliation of 2012 and 2017 Child Care Facility Classification Summaries, CF-FSP Form 5420, October 2017, which is incorporated into this rule, provides an alignment of the 2012 and 2017 Child Care Facility Classification Summaries for purposes of progressive enforcement. A copy of the CF-FSP Form 5420 may be obtained from the Department’s website or from the following link: http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08741. In addition, providers will be offered technical assistance in conjunction with all violations. The classification of standard violations within the Child Care Facility Standards Classification Summary and the progressive disciplinary actions prescribed for each class by this rule are based on the provisions of Section 402.310(1)(b), FS.

(b) A grace period is provided, wherein a violation of a standard that has occurred more than two years prior to a subsequent violation of the same standard will not be counted for purposes of progressive discipline. However, for the purposes of continued licensure or registration, the program’s violation history will be considered. A violation that has been withdrawn by the Department or has been dismissed as the result of an administrative proceeding held pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S., contesting an administrative complaint will not be counted for purposes of progressive discipline. A violation that is only reflected in an inspection report does not relieve the Department of its burden to prove that violation for purposes of progressive discipline upon the alleged occurrence of a subsequent violation.

(c) Failure to submit a completed CF-FSP Form 5017, Application for a License to Operate a Child Care Facility, which is incorporated by reference in paragraph 65C-22.001(1)(a), F.A.C., for renewal of an annual license at least 45 days prior to the expiration date of the current license constitutes a licensing violation. The Department shall impose an administrative fine of $50.00 for the first occurrence, $100.00 for the second occurrence, and $200.00 for each subsequent occurrence within a five year period.

(d) Disciplinary sanctions for licensing violations shall be progressively enforced as follows:

1. Class I Violations.

a. For the first and second violation of a Class I standard, the Department shall, upon applying the factors in Section 402.310(1), F.S., impose a fine not less than $100.00 nor more than $500.00 per day for each violation, and may impose other disciplinary sanctions in addition to the fine.

b. For the third and subsequent violation of a Class I standard, the Department shall suspend, deny or revoke the license. The Department, upon applying the factors in Section 402.310(1), F.S., may also impose a fine not less than $100.00 nor more than $500.00 per day for each violation in addition to any other disciplinary sanction.

2. Class II Violations.

a. For the second violation of the same Class II standard, the Department shall impose an administrative fine of $50.00 for each such violation.

b. For the third violation of the same Class II standard, the Department shall impose an administrative fine of $60.00 per day for each such violation.

c. For the fourth violation of the same Class II standard, the Department shall place the provider’s license on probation status for a period not to exceed six months, and shall also impose a fine of $75.00 per day for each such violation.

d. For the fifth and subsequent violation of the same Class II standard, the Department shall suspend, deny, or revoke the license, and shall also impose an administrative fine of $100.00 per day for each such violation.

3. Class III Violations.

a. For the third violation of the same Class III standard, the Department shall impose an administrative fine of $25.00 for each such violation.

b. For the fourth violation of the same Class III standard, the Department shall impose an administrative fine of $30.00 per day for each such violation.

c. For the fifth violation of the same Class III standard, the Department shall place the provider’s license on probation status for a period not to exceed six months, and shall also impose an administrative fine of $40.00 per day for each such violation. However, for the fifth violation of a Children’s Health and Immunization standard, the Department will not place the provider’s license on probation status.

d. For the sixth and subsequent violation of a Class III standard, the Department shall suspend, deny, or revoke the license, and the Department shall also impose an administrative fine of $50.00 per day for each such violation. However, for the sixth and subsequent violation of the same Class III Children’s Health and Immunization standard, the Department will place the provider’s license or registration on probation status for a period not to exceed six months in lieu of suspending, denying, or revoking the license or registration.

(3) When the Department has reasonable cause to believe that grounds exist for the denial, suspension, or revocation of a license or registration, the conversion of a license or registration to probation status, or the imposition of an administrative fine, it shall determine the matter in accordance with procedures prescribed in Chapter 120, F.S. Imposition of an administrative fine shall be accomplished through an administrative complaint. Denial of a license or registration or conversion to probationary status pursuant to Section 402.310, F.S., may be accomplished through an administrative complaint or a notice of intent to deny a pending renewal application.

Rulemaking Authority 402.305, 402.310 FS. Law Implemented 402.305, 402.310 FS. History–New 5-1-08, Amended 1-13-10, 8-1-13, 10-25-17.

65C 23 WAGES Hardship Exemption and Prevention Services



65C-23.001 Assessment.

*(See also, CFOP 175-77)

The department will conduct an assessment to determine if a minor child of a participating WAGES family that has reached the end of the eligibility period for temporary cash assistance should be recommended for a hardship extension. This recommendation will result from a review using Substitute Care Review form, CF-ES 2089, Jul. 98, incorporated by reference, to determine if the termination of the child’s temporary cash assistance would likely result in the child being placed into emergency shelter or foster care.

Specific Authority 414.45 FS. Law Implemented 414.105(3) FS. History–New 4-21-99.

65C-23.002 Healthy Families Florida.

Rulemaking Authority 445.019 FS. Law Implemented 409.153 FS. History–New 7-23-01, Repealed 11-16-15.



65C 25 Specialized Child Care Facilities for the Care of Mildly-Ill Children

65C-25.001 Definitions.

(1) “Child Care for Mildly Ill Children” – means the care of children with short term illness or symptoms of illness or disability, provided either as an exclusive service in a center specialized for this purpose, or as a component of other child care services offered in a distinct part of a regularly licensed child care facility, for a period of less than 24 hours per day.

(2) “Specialized Child Care Facilities for the Care of Mildly Ill Children” – Any child care facility, which provides child care for more than five mildly ill children unrelated to the operator and, which receives a payment, fee, or grant for any of the children receiving care, wherever operated, and whether or not operated for profit, for a period of less than 24 hours per day.  Specialized child care facilities may provide care for mildly ill children in a facility specialized for this purpose, or as a component of other child care services offered in a distinct and separate part of a regularly licensed child care facility.

(3) “Contagious disease” – for the purpose of this rule, refers to a type of infectious disease caused by receiving living germs directly from the person afflicted with the disease, or by contact with a secretion of the afflicted person, or by some object handled or used by an afflicted person.

(4) “Health Provider Consultant” – for the purpose of this rule, means a Florida licensed pediatric physician; a Florida licensed family practitioner; a physician’s assistant; an advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) with appropriate pediatric experience; or a registered nurse with experience in pediatric nursing, who supervises or provides direction to the licensed health caregiver, and is available for consultation.

(5) “Isolation area” – refers to a room or a series of rooms within the child care facility for mildly ill children, which provides separate airflow, and physical separation, from the rest of the facility. The isolation area must include a separate toilet, handwashing facility and diaper changing area. This area shall be utilized when caring for children with contagious diseases.

(6) “Licensed Health Caregiver” – for the purpose of this rule, shall mean at a minimum a licensed practical nurse who has knowledge and experience in the routine medical needs of mildly ill children, is trained to perform the written physical assessment, and is under the direction of a health provider consultant.

(7) “Mildly Ill children”' – refers to children exhibiting illnesses or symptoms of illnesses which have caused or would cause them to be excluded from regular child care settings, as defined in subparagraphs 65C-22.004(2)(a)1.-10., F.A.C., and who need special attention and supervision, and meet the admission criteria for mildly ill programs as described in Rule 65C-25.002, F.A.C., of this rule.

(8) “Sanitize” – for the purpose of this rule, and as it refers to linen, shall mean adding one quarter cup of bleach per gallon of water, to the final rinse cycle of the wash, in an effort to eliminate children’s exposure to disease microorganisms.

(9) “Single-service articles” – any cups, containers, closures, plates, straws, place mats, napkins, doilies, spoons, stirrers, paddles, knives, forks, wrapping materials and all similar materials which are constructed wholly or in part from paper, paperboard, molded pulp, foil, wood, plastic, synthetic or any other readily destructible material, and are intended by the manufacturer to be for one-time, one-person use, and then to be discarded.

Specific Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 5-21-00, Amended 7-13-03.

65C-25.002 Admission and Assessment.

(1) General Requirements.

(a) A child care facility for mildly ill children shall have at a minimum on ongoing agreement with a Health Provider Consultant, as defined in subsection 65C-25.001(3), F.A.C., for continuing medical or nursing consultation. The health provider consultant shall perform the following services:

1. Oversee the development of written policies and procedures.

2. Review, approve, and update annually, such policies and procedures.

3. Provide at least quarterly on-site monitoring of the implementation of such policies and procedures.

4. Provide ongoing consultation to the facility in its overall operation and management.

(b) A child care facility for mildly ill children shall have at a minimum one licensed health caregiver, as defined in subsection 65C-25.001(5), F.A.C. The licensed health caregiver shall be responsible for performing the written physical assessment, and periodic child evaluations, per paragraph 65C-25.002(2)(b), (c), and (d), F.A.C.; provide ongoing daily oversight; make decisions as to the exclusion of any child; and be present at the facility at all times during the hours of operation.

(2) Admission.

(a) No child shall be accepted to a child care facility for mildly ill children without written parental or guardian permission. However, permission may be obtained by telephone if a child in attendance at a regular child care facility becomes mildly ill and is admitted to that same facility’s program for mildly ill children. Where the child is in care under telephone permission, written parental permission must be obtained prior to the child’s admittance to the program for mildly ill children the following day.

(b) The program director or licensed health caregiver shall have the authority to require a written medical evaluation for a child to include diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, if such evaluation is necessary to determine the appropriateness of a child’s attendance prior to admission and upon worsening of the child’s symptoms.

(c) Prior to admission, the child care facility for mildly ill children shall require a written description, signed by the parent, of the child’s current and recent illnesses; immunization history, habits, special diets, allergies, medication needs; symptoms requiring notification of parent or health care provider, and where and how the parent or health care provider is to be notified.

(d) An initial written physical assessment on each child shall be completed by the licensed health caregiver, as defined in subsection 65C-25.001(5), F.A.C., based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria outlined in subsections 65C-25.002(3) and (4), F.A.C., to determine appropriateness of admission to the facility. A parent must remain on the premises until admission has been determined.

(e) The written physical assessment shall at a minimum include vital signs and observation of the child’s general appearance, head, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, skin, abdomen, arms and legs, and breathing pattern for symptoms of illness.

(f) Once admitted, children shall be periodically monitored by the licensed health caregiver and evaluated according to policies and procedures established and approved by the facility operator and the health provider consultant. Evaluations on each child’s condition shall be documented, and shall include the following plus additional information that the facility operator and the health provider consultant may add if they deem it is necessary to evaluate the children:

1. Temperature.

2. Respiration.

3. Pulse.

4. Amount of food or fluid intake.

5. Color, consistency and number of stools.

6. Color of urine and frequency of urination.

7. Skin color and alertness.

8. Activities such as amount of sleep, rest, and play.

(g) The condition evaluations must be maintained in each child’s record and retained by the facility for a minimum of four months. Copies shall be provided to parents daily.

(h) Children with communicable illnesses (e.g., chicken pox) may be accepted in a child care facility for mildly ill children, only if there is an isolation area as defined in subsection 65C-25.001(4), F.A.C., of this rule, and provided the isolation area has a separate outside entrance from the rest of the child care facility.

(3) Inclusions. A child care facility for mildly ill children may consider for admission, and accept children exhibiting illnesses or symptoms for which they can be excluded from child care provided for well children, but who do not meet exclusion criteria as outlined in subsection 65C-25.002(4), F.A.C., of this rule. Children exhibiting the following symptoms or illnesses, or disabilities, shall be deemed eligible to participate in child care facilities for mildly-ill children:

(a) Not feeling well, unable to participate in regular child care activities, or has other activity restrictions;

(b) Recovering from prior day surgical procedure or hospital admission;

(c) Controlled fever of 102o orally; 101o axillary, or 103o rectally, or below. If the child’s temperature is higher than the temperatures listed above a physician must give written approval for admission; or verbal approval with written follow up for admission;

(d) Respiratory infections such as cold or flu, virus;

(e) Vomiting less than three times without dehydration;

(f) Diarrhea (more than one abnormally loose stool within a 24 hour period) without signs of dehydration, and without blood or mucus in the stool;

(g) Gastroenteritis without signs of severe dehydration;

(h) Diagnosed asthma;

(i) Urinary tract infections;

(j) Ear infections;

(k) Orthopedic injuries;

(l) Diagnosed rash;

(m) Tonsillitis; or

(n) Strep throat or conjunctivitis after 24 hours of appropriate medication, if isolation is unavailable. Strep throat or conjunctivitis prior to 24 hours of appropriate medication is included only if isolation area is available.

(4) Exclusions. Any child exhibiting the following symptoms or combination of symptoms, shall be excluded from child care facilities for mildly ill children;

(a) Unresponsive temperature of 104° orally;

(b) Undiagnosed or unidentified rash;

(c) Respiratory distress;

(d) Major change in condition requiring further care;

(e) Contagious diseases, if no isolation room is available;

1. Strep throat or Conjunctivitis prior to 24 hours of treatment.

2. Diarrhea due to diagnosed shigella, salmonella, rota virus, giardia, or campylobacter.

3. Chicken pox, mumps, measles, rubella, pertussis, diphtheria.

4. Head lice, scabies prior to 24 hours of treatment, or

5. Other conditions as determined by the director or health provider consultant.

Specific Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 5-21-00.

 

65C-25.003 General Information.

(1) Application.

(a) Application must be made on CF-FSP Form 5237, Dec. 99, Application For A License To Operate a Specialized Child Care Facility for Mildly Ill Children, which is incorporated by reference.

(b) Each completed application must be submitted to the licensing authority, with the statutory licensing fee pursuant to Section 402.315(3), F.S.

(c) The completed application must be signed by the individual owner, prospective owner, or the designated representative of a partnership, association, or corporation.

(d) A completed application for renewal of an annual license must be submitted to the department or local child care licensing agency at least 45 days prior to the expiration date of the current license to ensure that a lapse of licensure does not occur. The renewal application and required forms may be obtained from the local child care licensing office.

(2) License.

(a) A license to operate a child care facility for mildly ill children is issued in the name of the owner, partnership, association, or corporation.

(b) Facilities providing both regular child care for well children and child care for mildly ill children must procure and maintain two separate licenses.

(c) Hospitals maintaining current Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) accreditation, operating hospital based child care for mildly ill children, shall be exempt from licensure under this rule.

(d) In compliance with Section 402.305(18), F.S., at least one week prior to changing ownership of a child care facility, one or more of the following methods of notification to parents or guardians must be observed:

1. Posting a notice in a conspicuous location at the facility.

2. Incorporating information in any existing newsletter.

3. Individual letters, or fliers.

(e) The license must be posted in a conspicuous location at the facility.

(3) Ratios.

(a) The following staff to child ratios are based on primary responsibility for the supervision of children and applies at all times, when mildly ill children are in care:

1. For children from birth up to 1 year of age, there must be one child care personnel for every three children.

2. For children 1 year of age up to 4 years of age, there must be one child care personnel for every four children.

3. For children 4 years of age and older, there must be one child care personnel for every six children.

(b) Mixed Age Groups.

1. In groups of mixed age ranges, where one or more children under 1 year of age are in care, one child care personnel shall be responsible for a maximum of three children of any age group.

2. In groups of mixed age ranges, where one or more children 1 year of age and older are in care, the staff to child ratio shall be based on the age of the largest numbers of children within the group. When equal numbers of children in each group are in care, the most restrictive staff to child ratio shall apply.

(4) Supervision.

(a) Direct supervision means watching and directing children’s activities within the same room or designated outdoor play area and responding to each child’s need. Child care personnel at a child care facility for mildly ill children must be assigned to provide direct supervision to a specific group of children and be present with that group of children at all times.

(b) No operator, owner or employee of a child care facility for mildly ill children shall be under the influence of narcotics, alcohol, or other impairing drugs, which affects their ability to provide supervision and safe child care.

(5) Schedule of Activities.

(a) The facility shall include a daily schedule tailored to each child’s symptoms, energy level, and parent’s instructions.

(b) The daily schedule shall be flexible and provide age appropriate activities without over stressing the children.

(6) Access.

(a) Child care facilities for mildly ill children, shall provide the custodial parent or legal guardian access to the facility in person and by telephone, during hours of operation and at all times that the child is in care.

(b) Access to the facility shall be provided to the licensing authority, pursuant to Section 402.311, F.S.

(7) Child Discipline.

(a) Child care facilities for mildly ill children shall adopt a discipline policy consistent with Section 402.305(12), F.S.

(b) All child care personnel of the child care facility for mildly ill children must comply with the facility’s written discipline policy. Such policies shall include standards that prohibit children from being subjected to discipline which is severe, humiliating, frightening, or associated with food, rest, or toileting. Spanking or any other form of physical punishment is prohibited by all child care personnel.

(c) A copy of the discipline policy must be available for review by the licensing authority.

Specific Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 5-21-00, Amended 7-13-03.

65C-25.004 Physical Environment.

(1) Sanitation and Safety.

(a) A child care facility for mildly ill children, if located in a regular licensed child care facility, shall utilize rooms or areas which are physically separated by floor to ceiling walls, from all other components of the regular licensed child care facility.

(b) The physical indoor and outdoor space, and equipment designated for use by the mildly ill children, shall not be used by children and child care staff from any other component of the regular licensed child care facility.

(c) Child care facilities for mildly ill children, which serve children with contagious diseases as defined in Rule 65C-25.002, F.A.C., shall have separate isolation areas, ventilation systems, and entrances.

(d) Child care programs for mildly ill children shall make provisions to prevent the participating mildly ill children from coming in contact with all other areas and components of the child care facility where well children are in care.

(e) Child care facilities for mildly ill children must be in good repair, free from health and safety hazards, and clean and free from vermin infestation. During the hours the facility is in operation, no portion of the building shall be used for any activity which could endanger the health and safety of the children.

(f) All areas and surfaces accessible to children shall be free of toxic substances and hazardous materials.

(g) No animals shall be allowed on the premises of programs caring for mildly ill children.

(h) All potentially harmful items including cleaning supplies, flammable products, and poisonous, toxic, and hazardous materials must be labeled. These items as well as knives and sharp tools must be stored in locations inaccessible to the children in care.

(i) No firearms shall be kept on the premises.

(j) No narcotics, alcohol, or other impairing drugs shall be present or allowed on the premises, unless prescribed for any of the children in care.

(k) Pursuant to Chapter 386, F.S., smoking is prohibited within the child care facility, all outdoor play areas, and in vehicles when transporting children.

(l) Design and construction of a new child care facility or modifications to an existing facility, must meet the minimum requirements of the applicable local governing body.

(2) Rooms Occupied by Children.

(a) All rooms must have lighting the equivalent of 20 foot candles at three feet from the floor to allow for supervision and for safe methods of entering and exiting each room. At all times lighting must be sufficient enough to visually observe and supervise children, including during naptime.

(b) An inside temperature of 65° to 82° F must be maintained at all times.

(c) All rooms shall be kept clean, adequately ventilated and in good repair. Cleaning shall not take place while rooms are occupied by children except for general clean-up activities which are a part of the daily routine.

(d) Rodents and vermin shall be exterminated. Pest control shall not take place while rooms are occupied by children.

(3) Indoor Floor Space.

(a) There shall be a minimum of 35 square feet of usable indoor floor space per child.

(b) Usable indoor floor space refers to that space available for indoor play, classroom, work area, or nap space. Usable indoor floor space is calculated by measuring at floor level from interior walls and by deleting space for stairways, toilets and bath facilities, permanent fixtures and non-movable furniture. Kitchens, offices, laundry rooms, storage areas, and other areas not used by children in normal day-to-day operations are not included when calculating usable indoor floor space.

(c) Shelves or storage for toys and other materials shall be considered as usable indoor floor space if accessible to children.

(4) Outdoor play space.

(a) Child care facilities for mildly ill children are not required to provide outdoor play space.

(b) Should a facility choose to provide outdoor play space, it shall be physically separated from that space provided for well children, and all equipment shall meet all safety requirements as outlined in paragraph 65C-25.006(3)(b), F.A.C.

(5) Napping and Sleeping Space. For the purpose of these standards, sleeping refers to the normal overnight sleep cycle while napping refers to a brief period of rest during daylight or early evening hours.

(a) Each child care facility for mildly ill children must include a designated area where a child can sit quietly and lie down to rest or nap. When not in use, napping space and usable indoor floor space may be used interchangeably.

(b) Each child in care must be provided safe and sanitary bedding to be used when napping or sleeping. Bedding means a cot, bed, crib, or playpen. Playpens may not be used for care when children are sleeping. Bedding must be appropriate for the child’s size.

(c) Linens, if provided by the facility, must be sanitized daily, per subsection 65C-25.001(7), F.A.C., and more often if soiled or dirty. Linens and blankets must be provided when children are napping or sleeping. Pillows must be available except for infants under 24 months of age. When napping or sleeping, young infants that are not capable of rolling over on their own should be positioned on their back and on a firm surface to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), unless an alternate position is authorized in writing by a physician. The documentation shall be maintained in the child's record.

(d) Linens must be stored in a sanitary manner.

(e) A minimum of 3 feet separation between bedding must be maintained at all times bedding is in use. Exit areas must remain clear in accordance with fire safety regulations.

(f) Children up to one (1) year of age must be in their own crib, port-a-crib or playpen with sides. Crib sides must be raised and secured while an infant is in the crib. Cribs must meet the construction regulations as outlined in Title 16 code of Federal Regulations, Parts 1508 & 1509.

(g) No double or multi-deck cribs, cots or beds may be used.

(6) Toilet and Bath Facilities.

(a) Child care facilities for mildly ill children shall provide toilet and bath facilities, which are easily accessible and at a height usable by the children. Platforms are acceptable when safely constructed and easily cleaned and sanitized.

(b) The facility shall provide a minimum of one toilet and one wash basin for every ten children. For design and construction of a new child care facility or modification to an existing facility, paragraph 65C-25.004(1)(l), F.A.C., shall apply.

(c) Toilet and bath facilities shall be designated for the exclusive use of the mildly ill children in care and their caregivers, and shall be accessible from within the room where care is being provided. If the specialized child care facility for mildly ill children is located within a child care facility, the toilet and bath facilities used by the mildly ill children and their caregivers shall be separate from those utilized by children and caregivers from other components of the child care facility.

(d) Toilet and bath facilities shall provide privacy to all users.

(e) Toilet facilities shall not open directly into an area where food is prepared. A toilet facility may open directly into an area used by children where food is served.

(f) Children must receive supervision and care in accordance with their age and required needs and be accounted for at all times while bathing or using the toilet facilities.

(g) At least one portable or permanent bath facility shall be provided and be available for bathing children.

(h) Running water, toilet paper, disposable towels, liquid soap and trash receptacles shall be available to and within reach of children using the toilet facility.

(i) Each basin and toilet must be maintained in good operating condition and sanitized after each use.

(j) Hand washing sinks shall not be used for food service preparation or food clean up.

Specific Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 5-21-00, Amended 7-13-03.

65C-25.005 Personnel Requirements.

(1) Minimum Requirements. All child care personnel in facilities for mildly ill children shall meet the requirements outlined in Section 402.305(2), F.S., and the following additional requirements.

(2) Minimum Age Requirements.

(a) Operators or Directors of a child care facility for mildly ill children shall be at least 21 years of age.

(b) In the absence of the operator or director, there must be a staff person in charge of the facility, who is at least 21 years of age and remains on the premises at all times during the hours of operation.

(c) No person under the age of 18 shall be allowed to provide care for mildly ill children.

(3) Minimum Training Requirements.

(a) All child care personnel caring for mildly ill children shall have current certification in child cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid prior to caring for the children at the facility.

(b) In addition to the required training outlined in Section 402.305(2)(d), F.S., and Rule 65C-22.003, F.A.C., all child care personnel caring for mildly ill children shall complete 8 hours of annual in-service training relating to care of sick children and the prevention of communicable diseases. Operators or Directors shall complete at least 2 hours of training relating to sick children as part of their 8 hours annual in-service training.

Specific Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 5-21-00.

65C-25.006 Health and Safety.

(1) General Requirements.

(a) When window or doors of the child care facility for mildly ill children are left opened, they must be screened to prevent entrance of any insect or rodent. Screens are not required for open air classrooms and picnic areas.

(b) Following personal hygiene procedures for themselves or when assisting others, and immediately after outdoor play, employees, volunteers, and children shall wash their hands with soap and running water, drying thoroughly with disposable towels. Only soap from a liquid soap dispenser shall be used for hand washing.

(c) A child care facility for mildly ill children shall ensure that safe drinking water and other fluids consistent with the child’s physical condition are available at all times to all children in care. Drinking fountains shall not be used.

(d) Only single-service articles, per subsection 65C-25.001(8), F.A.C., may be used for eating and drinking. Children may bring labeled items for their exclusive use, which must be returned to the parent or legal guardian on a daily basis.

(e) If the children are sleeping overnight in the facility, child care staff must ensure accepted bedtime routines are maintained, such as brushing teeth and face and hand washing. Toothbrushes, towels and wash cloths may not be shared.

(2) Diapering Requirements.

(a) Hand washing facilities, which include a basin with running water, disposable towels, disposable gloves, liquid soap, and trash receptacle, shall be available in the infant room or in the room where children with special needs in diapers are in care. Hands shall be washed and dried thoroughly after each diapering or toileting procedure to prevent the transmission of diseases or illnesses to other children in the facility’s care.

(b) When children in diapers are in care, there shall be a diaper changing area with an impermeable surface which is cleaned with a sanitizing solution after each use. Children must be attended at all times when being diapered or when changing clothes.

(c) Diaper changing shall be in a separate area from the feeding or food service area.

(d) There shall be a supply of clean disposable diapers, clothing and sanitized linens at all times, which shall be changed or removed promptly when soiled or wet.

(e) Soiled disposable diapers shall be disposed of in a plastic lined, securely covered container, which is not accessible to children. The container shall be emptied and sanitized at least daily.

(f) When children require cloth diapers, only those brought from the child’s home may be used, and must be returned to the parent at the end of the day.

(g) Soiled cloth diapers shall be emptied of feces in the toilet and placed in a securely covered container which is not accessible to children. The container shall be emptied and sanitized daily.

(h) Disposable gloves shall be used during all diaper changing activities. Gloves shall be discarded after use on each child, following disposal of disposable diapers or rinsing and sanitizing of cloth diapers. After gloves are discarded, personnel shall wash their hands and the hands of the child prior to sanitizing the diaper changing station.

(3) Equipment and Furnishings.

(a) Indoor Equipment.

1. A child care facility for mildly ill children shall make available toys, equipment and furnishings suitable to each child’s age and development and of a quantity for each child to be involved in activities.

2. Toys, equipment and furnishings must be safe and maintained in a sanitary condition.

3. All washable toys, equipment and furniture used for one group of children with similar diagnosis in a child care facility for mildly ill children shall be washed and disinfected before being used by another group of children.

4. Non-washable toys brought from home may not be shared, and shall be sent home daily.

(b) Outdoor Equipment.

1. If the facility chooses to provide outdoor play space, equipment shall be securely anchored, unless portable by design, in good repair, maintained in safe condition, and placed to ensure safe usage by the children. Maintenance shall include checks at least every other month of all supports, above and below the ground, all connectors, and moving parts.

2. Permanent playground equipment must have a ground cover or other protective surface under the equipment which provides resilience and is maintained to reduce the incidence of injuries to children in the event of falls.

3. All equipment, fences, and objects on the facility’s premises shall be free of sharp, broken and jagged edges and properly placed to prevent overcrowding or safety hazards in any one area. Fencing, including gates, must be continuous and shall not have gaps that would allow children to exit the outdoor play area. The base of the fence must remain at ground level, free from erosion or build-up, to prevent inside or outside access by children or animals.

4. All equipment used in the outdoor play area shall be constructed to allow for water drainage and maintained in a safe and sanitary condition.

(4) Fire Safety.

(a) Unless statutorily exempted, all child care facilities for mildly ill children shall conform to state standards adopted by the State Fire Marshal, Chapter 4A-36, F.A.C., Uniform Standards for Life Safety and Fire Prevention in Child Care Facilities and shall be inspected annually. A copy of the current and approved annual fire inspection report by a certified fire inspector must be on file with the department or local licensing agency.

(b) There shall be at least one operable, corded telephone readily accessible in the child care facility which is neither locked nor located at a pay station and is available to all staff during the hours of operation, even in the event of a power outage.

(c) Child care facilities for mildly ill children shall conduct monthly fire drills when children are in care. Subject to local fire authority’s approval, evacuation of the premises shall not be required, however, facilities shall ensure that the children are taken at least to the point of exit. A current attendance record must accompany staff during a drill or actual evacuation and be used to account for all children.

(5) Emergency Procedures.

(a) At least one first aid kit containing materials to administer first aid must be maintained on the premises of all child care facilities for mildly ill children, at all times. Each kit shall be in a closed container and labeled “First Aid”. The kit(s) shall be accessible to the child care staff at all times and kept out of the reach of children. Each kit must include:

1. Soap,

2. Band-aids or equivalent,

3. Disposable latex gloves,

4. Cotton balls or applicators,

5. Sterile gauze pads and rolls,

6. Adhesive tape,

7. Thermometer,

8. Tweezers,

9. In date syrup of ipecac, labeled “DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING UNLESS DIRECTED TO DO SO BY A PHYSICIAN OR POISON CONTROL 1(800)222-1222”,

10. Pre-moistened wipes,

11. Scissors, and

12. A current resource guide on first aid and CPR procedures.

(b) Procedures and Notification.

1. Emergency telephone numbers, including ambulance, fire, police, poison control center, Florida Abuse Hotline, and the address of and directions to the facility, must be posted on or near all facility telephones and shall be used as necessary to protect the health, safety and well-being of any child in care.

2. Custodial parents or legal guardians shall be notified immediately in the event of any significant change in a child’s illness or symptoms, accident or injuries sustained at the facility, which are more serious than minor cuts and scratches, and their specific instructions regarding action to be taken under such circumstances shall be obtained and followed. If the custodial parent or legal guardian cannot be reached, the facility operator will contact those persons designated by the custodial parent or legal guardian to be contacted under these circumstances, and shall follow any written instructions provided by the custodial parent or legal guardian on the enrollment or registration form.

3. Child care facilities for mildly ill children shall make arrangements with the parent or legal guardian for obtaining medical evaluation or treatment for a child, if necessary as determined by the licensed health caregiver and program policies.

4. Child care facilities for mildly ill children shall obtain emergency medical treatment without specific parental instruction when the parent or legal guardian cannot be reached, and the nature of the illness or symptoms or injury is such that there should be no delay in obtaining medical treatment, as determined by the licensed health caregiver or other qualified health professional.

5. Child care facilities for mildly ill children shall call the parent or legal guardian immediately when a child’s illness or symptoms worsen to the degree that the child meets criteria for exclusion from the program, as outlined in subsection 65C-25.002(4), F.A.C.

6. All accidents and incidents which occur at a facility must be documented and shared with the custodial parent or legal guardian on the day they occur.

(6) Dispensing of Medication.

(a) Prescription and non-prescription medication brought to the child care facility for mildly ill children by the custodial parent or legal guardian must be in the original container. Prescription medication must have a label stating the name of the physician or ARNP, child’s name, name of the medication, and medication directions. All prescription and non-prescription medication shall be dispensed according to written directions on the prescription label or printed manufacturer’s label. For the purposes of dispensing non-prescription medication that is not brought in by the parent, in the event of an emergency, non-prescription medication can only be dispensed if the facility has written authorization from the parent or legal guardian to do so. Any medication dispensed under these conditions must be documented in the child's file and the parent or legal guardian must be notified on day of occurrence. If the parent or legal guardian notifies the child care facility of any known allergies to medication, written documentation must be maintained in the child's file. Special restrictions to medication must be shared with staff and posted with stored medicines.

(b) All medicines must have child resistant caps and shall be stored separately and locked or placed out of a child’s reach.

(c) Medication shall be returned to the parent or legal guardian at the end of each day.

Specific Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 5-21-00, Amended 7-13-03.

65C-25.007 Food and Nutrition.

(1) Nutrition.

(a) If a child care facility for mildly ill children chooses to supply food, it shall provide nutritious meals and snacks of a quantity and quality to meet the daily nutritional needs of the children. The USDA Food Guide Pyramid for Young Children, March 1999, shall be used to determine what food groups to serve at each meal or snack and the serving size of the selected foods for children one year of age or older, if tolerated by the medical condition. The fats and sweets category within the USDA Food Guide Pyramid for Young Children cannot be counted as a food group. Copies of the USDA Food Guide Pyramid for Young Children may be obtained from the district child care licensing office or local licensing agency. Using the USDA Food Guide Pyramid for Young Children; breakfast shall consist of at least three different food groups; lunch and dinner shall consist of at least four different food groups and snacks shall consist of at least two different food groups.

(b) If a facility chooses not to provide meals and snacks, arrangements must be made with the custodial parent or legal guardian to provide nutritional food for the child.

(c) Child care facilities for mildly ill children shall ensure that menus for children can be modified to meet the individual needs of each child in care. If a special diet is required for a child by a physician, a copy of the physician’s order, a copy of the diet, and a sample meal plan for the special diet shall be maintained in the child’s facility file. If the parent notifies the child care facility of any known food allergies, written documentation must be maintained in the child’s file. Special food restrictions must be shared with staff and must be posted in a conspicuous location.

(2) Food Preparation Area.

(a) All licensed child care facilities for mildly ill children, approved by the Environmental Health Section to prepare food, shall meet the applicable requirements as specified in Chapter 64E-11, F.A.C., Food Hygiene.

(b) A kitchen area may be shared with other components of the facility, however, staff providing child care for the mildly ill children shall not be involved in food preparation.

(3) Food Service.

(a) Children shall be individually fed or supervised at feeding and offered foods appropriate for their ages and physical condition.

(b) There shall be no propped bottles. There shall be no automatic feeding devices unless medically prescribed. Formula shall be refrigerated and handled in a sanitary manner before and after use. All bottles shall be individually labeled.

(c) Heated foods and bottles must be tested before feeding to ensure heat is evenly distributed and to prevent injury to children.

(d) All meals and snacks provided for children participating in child care facilities for mildly ill children must be served on single-service articles, per subsection 65C-25.001(8), F.A.C.

Specific Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.305 FS. History–New 5-21-00, Amended 7-13-03.

65C-25.008 Record Keeping.

(1) General Requirements.

(a) All records required to document compliance with Section 402.305, F.S., shall be maintained at the facility, available during the hours of operation for the licensing authority to review.

(b) Copies of required records are acceptable for documentation. Original documents are the property of the party providing the information.

(2) Children’s Records.

(a) Each child’s record shall contain a signed statement from the parent, attesting to the child’s immunization status, either current or religiously exempt from immunization, as required by Chapter 64D-3, F.A.C.

(b) Enrollment/Registration Information. The facility operator shall obtain enrollment information from the child’s custodial parent or legal guardian, prior to accepting a child in care. This information shall be documented on CF-FSP Form 5241 Dec. 99, Application for Enrollment in Specialized Child Care Facilities for Mildly Ill Children, which is incorporated by reference, or an equivalent from that contains all the following information required by the department’s form:

1. Child’s name, age, date of birth, sex

2. Parent or legal guardian’s name.

3. Employer name.

4. Home, work and beeper telephone numbers.

5. Person and telephone number to call in case parent cannot be reached.

6. Child’s physician and telephone number.

7. Allergies and type of reaction and specific interventions in case of allergic reaction.

8. Present and past prescriptions and childhood diseases.

9. Current Diet.

10. Special areas of concern and special needs of assistance.

11. Diapering requirements.

(c) The child shall not be released to any person other than the person(s) authorized, or in the manner authorized in writing by the custodial parent or legal guardians.

(d) Children’s files shall contain signed statements that the child care facility for mildly ill children has provided the following information to parents:

1. Admission policy.

2. The program’s infection control procedures.

3. Methods for the daily care of children, including the child’s progress.

4. Procedures for the care and referral for a medical evaluation for children who exhibit worsening symptoms, including a listing of those symptoms.

5. Policy and procedure for staff communication with parents and health care providers.

6. Discipline poli.

(3) Medication Records.

(a) A written record documenting the child’s name, the name of the medication, date, time, dosage to be given, and signature of the custodial parent or legal guardian, shall be maintained at the facility. This record shall be initialed or signed by and at the time the facility personnel dispenses the medication.

(b) This record shall be maintained for a minimum of four months after the last day the child received the medication.

(4) Personnel Records. Records shall be maintained and kept current on all child care personnel, as defined by Section 402.302(3), F.S., and household members if the facility is located in a private residence. These shall include:

(a) An employment application with the required statement pursuant to Section 402.3055(1)(b), F.S.

(b) Position and date of employment.

(c) Signed statement that the employee understands the statutory requirements for professionals’ reporting of child abuse and neglect.

(d) Level 2 screening information documented on CF-FSP Form 5131, Oct. 02, Background Screening and Personnel File Requirements. An employment history check for the previous two years or last three jobs is required as part of background screening.

(e) Copies of all required training information or certificates and credentials.

(5) Other Records.

(a) Daily attendance of children shall be taken and recorded by the child care facility’s personnel, documenting when each child enters and departs a child care facility for mildly ill children. Such records shall be maintained for a minimum of four months.

(b) Record of accidents and incidents shall be documented daily and maintained for four months. Documentation shall include the name of the affected party, date and time of occurrence, description of occurrence, actions taken and by whom, and required signatures of facility staff and custodial parent or legal guardian.

(c) The operator shall prepare an emergency evacuation plan, including a diagram of safe routes by which the personnel and children may exit each area of the facility in the event of fire or other emergency requiring evacuation of the facility, and shall post a copy of the plan in each room of the facility.

(d) The operator shall maintain a written record of monthly fire drills showing the date, number of children in attendance, and time taken to evacuate or simulate evacuation of the premises. Each monthly record shall be maintained for a minimum of a year from the date of the fire drill.

Specific Authority 402.305 FS. Law Implemented 402.302, 402.305, 402.3055 FS. History–New 5-21-00, Amended 7-13-03.



65C 27 Suitability Assessment

65C-27.001 Definitions.

(1) “Behavioral Health Care Coordinator” means the person designated by the community-based care lead agency who is responsible for coordinating multi-disciplinary meetings related to the behavioral health needs of children served by the agency and who facilitates the local suitability assessment process.

(2) “Independent Review” means an assessment by a qualified evaluator that includes a personal examination and assessment of the child in residential treatment. The assessment includes an evaluation of the child’s progress toward achieving the goals and objectives of the treatment plan which must be submitted to the court.

(3) “Qualified Evaluator” is defined in Section 39.407(6)(b), F.S.

(4) “Qualified Evaluator Network” means services that are contracted by the Department as of July 1, 2016, and includes the maintenance of a network of independent qualified evaluators, coordination of initial and 90-day suitability assessments, and quality assurance activities to ensure that standardized criteria are applied by the evaluators. The Agency for Health Care Administration maintains responsibility for registering qualified evaluators as described in Rule 59G-4.266, F.A.C.

(5) “Residential Treatment” is defined in Section 39.407(6)(a)1., F.S.

(6) “Suitability Assessment” means a determination by a qualified evaluator as to whether a child or adolescent meets the criteria in Sections 39.407(6)(a)3.a.-c., F.S., for needing placement in a residential treatment center. The assessment includes a personal examination and assessment of the child and results in written findings.

Rulemaking Authority 39.407(6)(i) FS. Law Implemented 39.407(6) FS. History–New 12-30-01, Amended 3-12-17.

65C-27.002 Timeframes.

(1) When a child is in need of an initial suitability assessment for residential treatment, a representative of the Department or community-based care lead agency (CBC) must coordinate the referral for assessment through the CBC’s behavioral health care coordinator.

(2) It is the responsibility of the behavioral health care coordinator to:

(a) Obtain from the Department’s contracted Qualified Evaluator Network provider appointment information for the evaluation and provide notification to the parties necessary to arrange transport of the child; and,

(b) Provide copies of the required clinical records to the appointed qualified evaluator.

(3) The guardian ad litem and attorney for the child shall be provided notice to allow for the opportunity to meet the child, if applicable, and speak with the Qualified Evaluator. The person reponsible for said notification shall be determined by local agreement.

(4) The Qualified Evaluator Network provider will provide notice of the scheduled appointment within two (2) business days of referral receipt. The initial suitability assessment appointment will be scheduled to occur within five (5) business days of the completed referral.

(5) The Qualified Evaluator Network provider will provide a copy of the completed suitability assessment, with findings, to the behavioral health coordinator within eight (8) business days of the appointment.

(6) For all children in the custody of the Department who are placed in residential treatment, an independent review must be conducted at least every 90 days after the child’s initial placement so long as the child remains placed in a residential treatment center. It is the behavioral health coordinator’s responsibility to request a 90-day review from the Qualified Evaluator Network provider no later than 60 days from the child’s initial placement in residential treatment and every 90 days thereafter so long as the child remains placed in a residential treatment center.

Rulemaking Authority 39.407(6)(i) FS. Law Implemented 39.407(6) FS. History–New 12-30-01, Amended 3-12-17.



65C 28 Out of Home Care

65C-28.017 Exit Interviews

65C-28.018 Meeting the Child's Educational Needs

65C-28.019 Normalcy

65C-28.001 Definitions.

All definitions for this rule are located in Rule 65C-30.001, F.A.C.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 39.5085(2)(a), 63.233, 409.175(5), 394.4781(3)(c) FS. Law Implemented 39.401(3), 39.407, 39.5085, 39.521, 39.701, 409.145(1), 409.165(1), 409.175, 409.401 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16.

65C-28.002 Family Time.

(1) Family Time between a Child in Out-of-Home Care and Parents.

(a) Family Time between the child and the child’s parents shall occur in accordance with court orders. If the court order conflicts with the safety plan, the child welfare professional shall contact Children’s Legal Services to determine what steps will be taken to modify family time. If at any time the safety of the child can not be assured, family time shall be suspended for up to 72 hours and the child welfare professional shall contact Children’s Legal Services to determine what steps will be taken to modify family time.

(b) The Department or contracted service provider shall arrange for family time when the child or parent is out of the home. The family time plan details will be addressed and included in any child safety plan established.

(c) When a child welfare professional or designee either supervises or is a part of a visit, the activities and interactions between the child and parent during the visit shall be documented in FSFN within 48 hours of the visit.

(2) Family Time among Siblings. The child welfare professional responsible for the case shall ensure that separated siblings under supervision maintain family time unless the family time would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the children. Sibling family time shall only be limited or terminated by order of the court.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(13) FS. Law Implemented 39.402(9) FS. History– New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16.

65C-28.003 Medical Treatment.

*[See also, FS 39.407 (1)-(14)]

(1) If a child in out-of-home care appears to be suffering from illness or injury requiring medical intervention, the child welfare professional, upon notification, or the out-of-home caregiver shall take the child to the child’s health care provider for a health care screening or treatment. If there is a medical emergency or an urgent need for medical attention, the child shall be taken to the nearest available health care provider or hospital.

(2) Ongoing health care and treatment shall include physical, dental and vision examinations as required by Rule Chapter 59G-4, F.A.C., “Medicaid Services.”

(a) If a child is Medicaid eligible, these services shall be sought first through Medicaid providers. If a child is not Medicaid eligible, or if a Medicaid provider is not available or appropriate, then necessary services shall be obtained using other providers.

(b) If the child welfare professional responsible for the case receives a notice for a scheduled child health check-up, he or she shall immediately send copies to the child’s custodial parent, the child’s licensed out-of-home caregiver or relative or non-relative caregiver. Information pertaining to the child’s health check-up shall be documented in FSFN by the child welfare professional responsible for the case within 48 hours of notification of completion of the medical appointment.

(3) The parents shall remain financially responsible for the medical care and treatment of a child in out-of-home care when that medical care and treatment is not covered by Medicaid. For children who are not covered by Medicaid but have private insurance coverage, the child welfare professional and the out-of-home caregiver shall cooperate with the child’s health insurance provider in identifying medical providers that will accept the insurance coverage. Unless the child is Medicaid eligible, the parent is responsible for payment in all situations in which the child receives a medical examination or treatment, irrespective of the parent’s consent to such examination or treatment. However, the inability or failure of the parent to meet this payment responsibility shall not delay the receipt of a medical exam or treatment. The financial responsibility of the parent ends when parental rights are terminated.

(4) The child welfare professional and licensed caregivers shall receive training in regard to and comply with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act which provides procedures regarding the management and protection of personal health information. The child welfare professional shall inform relative and non-relative caregivers regarding the requirements of HIPAA.

(5) Required Actions to Gain Medical Consent at Time of the Shelter Hearing. The Children’s Legal Services attorney shall request a blanket court order authorizing the custodian, as named in the order, to give consent for ordinary medical treatment and medication on an ongoing basis. No consent is needed for treatment or medication rendered in the event of an emergency as documented by the attending physician.

(6) Consent for Medical Care of Children in Out-of-Home Care When Parental Rights Have Not Been Terminated. There are three types of medical care and treatment, each of which requires its own method to obtain consent for medical treatment. This may include a relative or non-relative who has been granted custody by the court. The attending physician shall determine the type of care needed.

(a) Ordinary Medical Care and Treatment. After a child is adjudicated dependent, the contracted service provider may delegate authority to consent to ordinary medical care and treatment to the out-of-home caregiver if the child remains in the custody of the Department. Children’s Legal Services shall request the court order placing the child in out-of-home care specify individuals who are authorized to consent to ordinary medical care and treatment for the child.

(b) Extraordinary Medical Care and Treatment. If the health care provider determines that an illness or injury requires medical treatment beyond ordinary medical care and treatment, but is not an emergency, the express and informed consent of the child’s parent for the treatment shall be sought. If a parent provides express and informed consent for any extraordinary medical procedure, the form and content of the consent shall be as directed by the prescribing health care professional.

1. If the parent is unavailable, unwilling or unable to provide informed consent for the proposed medical care, the child welfare professional shall consult with the medical provider to determine if the treatment should be required. If consultation with the medical provider results in a determination that the treatment should be required, the child welfare professional shall seek and obtain an order of the court authorizing the treatment prior to the treatment being rendered. In cases when the child is prescribed psychotropic medications, the procedures established in Section 39.407(3), F.S., will be followed.

2. If a court order is required to obtain authorization for any extraordinary medical procedure, the following information shall be included in the request for a court order:

a. Present diagnosis and known past medical interventions for the treatment of this condition;

b. A statement that the prescribing health care professional has reviewed all medical information concerning the child that has been provided;

c. The name and requested administration range for any medication requested;

d. A statement recommending the proposed procedure signed by the attending physician;

e. An analysis of the risks and benefits of the prescribed treatment for the particular child;

f. Alternatives to the treatment being recommended and the rationale for selecting the particular treatment recommended; and,

g. Interventions other than the extraordinary medical care and treatment that are or shall be ongoing in conjunction with the care and treatment.

(c) Emergency Medical Care and Treatment. Although parents shall be involved whenever possible, obtaining consent is not required for emergency care and treatment. If the emergency care and treatment is provided without parental consent, the child welfare professional shall ensure the parent and the guardian ad litem, if appointed, are notified no later than 48 hours from the time the child welfare professional was notified of the care and treatment. The child’s case file shall contain a statement signed by the attending physician that the situation was an emergency and the care was needed to ensure the child’s health or physical well-being. The case file shall also contain documentation that the parent and guardian ad litem, if appointed, were notified after the treatment was administered. If the parents are unable to be located all attempts to locate and notify parents shall be documented in the child’s case file.

(7) Consent for Medical Care for Children in the Custody of the Department when Parental Rights Have Been Terminated.

(a) Ordinary and Emergency Medical Care and Treatment. When a child is placed in the custody of the Department following the termination of parental rights, the Department or contracted service provider shall provide consent for ordinary medical care or emergency care of the child. The child welfare professional responsible for the case shall provide documentation of the consent for the ordinary medical care or emergency care and document in FSFN.

(b) Extraordinary Medical Care and Treatment. When a child is placed in the custody of the Department following the termination of parental rights, the Department or contracted service provider shall not provide consent for extraordinary medical care or treatment. Authorization for the extraordinary medical care or treatment shall be obtained by the Department or contracted service provider from the court.

(8) Required Documentation for Medical Care and Treatment

(a) During the initial removal or no later than the first court proceeding thereafter, the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall request the following information from the child’s parents, family members, other caregivers, or health care providers: medical history of the child; medical history of the child’s family and medical consents from the child’s parent or guardian. This information shall be placed in the Child’s Resource Record.

(b) All actions taken to obtain medical history and parental consent for medical screening, treatment, medications or immunizations shall be documented in FSFN and a copy provided to the out-of-home caregiver for placement in the Child’s Resource Record. If parental consent is received, a copy of the “Consent for Treatment and Release of Medical Information,” CF-FSP 4006, Oct 2005, which is incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06738, shall be placed in the child’s case file and a copy provided to the caregiver for placement in the Child’s Resource Record, as defined in Rule 65C-30.001, F.A.C.

(c) A copy of any court orders authorizing treatment shall be documented in FSFN, and a copy provided to the out-of-home caregiver for placement in the Child’s Resource Record.

(d) Any notification provided to parents or others regarding a child’s medical treatment shall be documented in FSFN.

(9) Notification of parents. The child welfare professional shall ensure that the child’s parent is notified of any medical treatment of the child where the parent was not involved in providing consent for the treatment within 48 hours from the time the child welfare professional was notified of the treatment.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(6), (12), (13), 39.407(1), 743.0645 FS. Law Implemented 39.407, 743.064 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16.

65C-28.004 Placement Matching.

(1) Appropriate placement matching begins prior to the child’s placement. When a child is unable to be safely placed with a parent, the most appropriate available out-of-home placement shall be chosen after analyzing the child’s age, gender, sibling status, special physical, educational, emotional and developmental needs, alleged type of abuse, neglect or abandonment, community ties and school placement, and potential responsible caregivers that can meet the child’s needs. The child welfare professional responsible for the case shall gather information about the child and document it in the appropriate section of the child’s FSFN record.

(2) The child welfare professional responsible for the case shall complete the Unified Home Study to determine whether a relative or non-relative is responsible and capable of meeting the child’s needs. When a child is unable to be placed with a relative at the time of initial placement, the Department or contracted service provider shall seek to identify persons with an established relationship with the child for consideration before placing the child in a licensed out-of-home care placement setting. When a child enters care and has a sibling that has been previously adopted or is in an adoptive placement, the adoptive parents of the sibling shall be contacted and, if interested, considered for placement.

(3) Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C.A. §671(a)(18), and the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, P.L. 104-188, 110 Stat. 175. These federal laws require that every placement decision for children in the care or custody of the Department be made without regard to the race, ethnicity, color, or national origin of the child or the adult with whom the child is to be placed.

(4) In the case of a child who is a member of an Indian tribe or an Alaskan Native, placement shall comply with the provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. §1901 et seq. (see Rule 65C-28.013, F.A.C.).

(5) When the case plan goal is reunification, the child shall be placed in a setting in as close proximity as possible to the caregiver with whom reunification is planned. If the child is not placed within close proximity to the caregiver with whom reunification is planned, all efforts made to place the child within close proximity shall be documented in FSFN.

(6) When a child is placed in licensed out-of-home care, the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall:

(a) Review with the out-of-home caregiver the care and supervision needs of the child;

(b) Provide the licensed out-of-home caregiver the Child’s Resource Record. The Child’s Resource Record from previous placement(s) shall be reviewed with the out-of-home caregiver upon the child’s new placement. The child welfare professional responsible for the case shall discuss with the licensed out-of-home caregiver the caregiver’s role in maintaining and updating the Child’s Resource Record;

(c) Sign a copy of the “Partnership Plan for Children in Out-of-Home Care,” CF-FSP 5226, January 2015, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06689, and obtain a signature of the out-of-home caregiver, attesting acknowledgment of the requirements at time of placement;

(d) Place the “Partnership Plan for Children in Out-of-Home Care” in the child’s case record.

(7) Placement of Children with Special Physical, Medical, Emotional or Developmental Needs.

(a) When an assessment identifies that the child has special physical, medical, developmental or emotional needs, the child shall be placed in an environment that is the most appropriate and least-restrictive setting where those needs can be met. The child welfare professional responsible for identifying the placement or placement staff shall document in FSFN all efforts made to secure the most appropriate placement.

(b) The child welfare professional responsible for the case shall provide any formal assessment of the child to the child’s parent, out-of-home caregiver, Children’s Legal Services attorney, and guardian ad litem and child’s attorney, if appointed.

(c) The child welfare professional responsible for the case shall document in FSFN any notification provided to parents and others regarding a child’s assessment and any referrals made as a result of the assessment.

(d) Prior to placement outside of the home, the person making the placement shall explain to the out-of-home caregiver the special needs of the child that must be met.

(e) Whenever a special need is suspected, the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall provide service referrals.

(f) Whenever a special need is suspected, the CPI at time of removal or Services Worker following case opening shall take steps within three working days to address the need. Actions that shall be taken include, as appropriate:

1. If the child is suspected or identified as needing medical foster care, the child shall be referred to the local Children’s Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (CMAT) within five (5) business days. If the CMAT determines the child is eligible for medical foster care services, the child welfare professional or other designated staff shall coordinate with the Medical Foster Care program in the local area regarding arrangements necessary to meet the child’s needs. Services shall be coordinated and provided in accordance with the Medical Foster Care Statewide Operational Plan, April 2014, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06690. The child welfare professional shall also consult with Children’s Legal Services to determine whether the child is eligible for the appointment of an attorney under Section 39.01305, F.S.

2. If the child is suspected or identified as having a developmental delay or condition, the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall ensure that a referral for an assessment and eligibility for developmental services are obtained.

3. If there is any potential that a child may qualify for social security survivor benefits, social security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income due to disability, the child welfare professional shall ensure that an application is made for the benefits on behalf of the child and documented in FSFN.

4. If the child is suspected or identified as having a mental health issue, the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall ensure a referral for an assessment is obtained.

5. The child welfare professional shall encourage and provide necessary support to the parent and out-of-home caregiver in participating in the assessment or medical evaluation process.

(f) When a disability is determined and a need for services is identified, the child welfare professional shall arrange for services for the child and supports for the out-of-home caregiver.

6. Encourage and provide necessary support to the caregiver in participating in the assessment or medical evaluation process.

(8) Placement of Children with Communicable Diseases.

(a) The preferred out-of-home placement for a child with a communicable disease who is exhibiting symptoms related to such disease is with a relative or non-relative or in a licensed out-of-home setting with caregivers specifically trained for such purpose.

(b) When it is necessary for infants born of mothers suspected or known to have communicable diseases to undergo medical treatment or testing immediately after birth, the Department or contracted service provider shall obtain either parental consent or a court order to allow the medical treatment to go forward. If a court order will be necessary, Children’s Legal Services shall be contacted immediately after the birth in order to expedite court involvement.

(c) When a child who has such a disease and is asymptomatic but exhibiting behaviors likely to increase the risk of transmission of the disease to others, such as biting, spitting or the exchange of blood or semen, the child shall be placed in a home where the caregiver has proper training to ensure the safety of other household members.

(d) Confidentiality of Records. The following written statement shall be provided to the out-of-home caregiver or provider: “This information has been disclosed to you from records whose confidentiality is protected by state law. State law prohibits you from making any further disclosure of such information without the specific written consent of the person to whom such information pertains, or as otherwise permitted by state law.”

(9) Placement of Children Who Are Victims of Sexual Abuse.

(a) When a child is identified as a victim of sexual abuse and needs to be placed in out-of-home care, the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall take actions to ensure that the needs of the child for emotional safety and recovery are addressed and that precautions are taken in regards to the safety of other children in the same setting.

(b) The caregiver shall be given detailed and complete information. This information shall include the date of the sexual abuse incident(s), the type of abuse, the nature and history of the child’s relationship to the perpetrator, a brief narrative of the event, the type of treatment the child received and the outcome of the treatment.

(10) Placement of Children With Behaviors That May Result in Harm.

(a) When it is necessary to place a child who is known to have any behaviors that may result in harm, the person making the placement shall implement safeguards to ensure that the needs of the child for supervision, treatment and interventions are addressed and that the safety of other children in the same setting is ensured. The child welfare professional responsible for the case shall document the safeguards in the child’s behavior management plan.

(b) The person making the placement shall provide the caregivers with written, detailed, and complete information regarding the circumstances surrounding the child’s behavior so that they can avoid any unwitting replication of those circumstances. Information given to caregivers shall include the dates of all known incidents; the nature of the relationship between the child and victim; the types of behavior exhibited; a brief narrative outlining the event; the types of treatment needed or provided and any current treatment outcomes.

(11) Therapeutic Foster Care. The child welfare professional shall contact the agency designee for behavioral health services in the region for consultation in accessing services and treatment at levels appropriate to the severity of the child’s condition, including possible placement in a therapeutic foster care setting. The referral guidelines for therapeutic foster care are contained in the Florida Medicaid Community Behavioral Health Services Coverage and Limitations Handbook, March 2014, incorporated by reference in Rule 59G-4.050, F.A.C.

(12) Medicaid Fair Hearing Requirements. When a child or family has had Medicaid funded services denied, suspended or terminated, the child welfare professional shall assist the child or family in requesting a fair hearing. The Florida Medicaid Community Behavioral Health Services Coverage and Limitations Handbook addresses Fair Hearing Notices. Refer to Rules 65-2.042-.069, F.A.C., regarding the conduct of fair hearings.

(13) These placement-matching requirements apply to both initial placements and to any subsequent placements of the child.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(2), (6), (12), (13), 39.307(7), 409.145(5) FS. Law Implemented 39.307(1)(b), 39.407, 39.522, 409.145(2) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16.


65C-28.005 Changing Placements.

(1) Except in emergency situations, the child’s parents, unless contrary to court order, licensed out-of-home caregivers and the guardian ad litem or attorney ad litem, if appointed, shall be given at least two (2) weeks notice prior to moving a child from one out-of-home placement to another and the reason a placement change is necessary. In emergency situations, a change of placement can be made immediately. The child welfare professional shall within 72 hours inform the child’s parents, unless contrary to court order, Children’s Legal Services and guardian ad litem and child’s attorney, if appointed, of the move and the reasons an emergency placement change was necessary.

(a) Parental notification of any placement changes shall be documented in FSFN, unless the court previously excused the Department from further efforts to locate.

(b) If the parent(s) is unable to be located, efforts to locate and notify the parent shall be documented in FSFN.

(2) The child welfare professional shall prepare the child for a move and support the child during the re-placement process.

(3) The child welfare professional shall provide supportive services to the caregiver where the child is residing to avoid a change in placement when possible. When a placement is in danger of disrupting, the child welfare professional shall urge the caregiver to wait to request removal of the child until efforts can be made to remedy the reasons for the child’s instability. When efforts to stabilize a placement have not been successful or there are circumstances that preclude the child’s continued stay, the child welfare professional will work with the caregiver to reach agreement on a move date that takes into consideration the following needs of the child:

(a) There is a break in the school year;

(b) An alternative placement can be located; and,

(c) Arrangements for the child’s transition to the new setting can be made and implemented.

(4) The caregiver at the new placement shall be prepared and informed prior to placement of the child and shall be given needed support to help the child transition and achieve stability. Out-of-home caregivers shall be given all relevant information about the child in their care while maintaining confidentiality requirements. Specifically, the child welfare professional shall:

(a) Inform the caregiver of all identified needs of the child;

(b) Discuss any training the caregiver may need to care for the child, including any special needs of the child and possible reactions to the specific trauma that the child has experienced;

(c) Discuss any services that the child may need and the role of the out-of-home caregiver with regard to transportation, participation in treatment sessions, communication with treatment provider(s) and potential implementation of treatment recommendations in the home;

(d) Inform the out-of-home caregiver about available programs that may provide financial and medical assistance for the child;

(e) Provide the out-of-home caregiver with counseling and information regarding the dependency process and support services available in the community;

(f) Review with the licensed out-of-home caregivers their roles and responsibilities according to the “Partnership Plan for Children in Licensed Out-of-Home Care,” incorporated in paragraph 65C-28.004(6)(c), F.A.C. The child welfare professional shall sign a copy of the Partnership Plan and obtain a signature of the licensed out-of-home caregiver, attesting acknowledgment of the requirements at time of placement; and,

(g) Provide to the out-of-home caregiver the Child’s Resource Record. The Child’s Resource Record from the previous placement(s) shall be reviewed with the out-of-home caregiver upon the child’s new placement. The child welfare professional shall discuss with the out-of-home caregiver the caregivers’ role in maintaining and updating the Child’s Resource Record.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(3), (12), (13), 409.145(5), 409.165(3) FS. Law Implemented 39.522, 409.145, 409.165(4) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16.


65C-28.006 Permanency Staffings.

(1) Permanency staffings shall be held:

(a) When preparing for a permanency hearing; and

(b) As the department or contracted service provider deems necessary.

(2) A family team meeting or conference may be used to achieve the purposes of a permanency staffing.

(3) The appropriateness of concurrent goals shall be evaluated at each permanency staffing.

(4) The following persons shall be invited to attend:

(a) Children’s Legal Services (CLS) attorney;

(b) Child’s out-of-home caregiver;

(c) Guardian ad litem and child’s attorney, if appointed;

(d) Child’s surrogate parent if one is appointed;

(e) Case management staff, including the child’s child welfare professional and his or her supervisor;

(f) Other service providers who are involved with the family and are determined by the child welfare professional to have information pertinent to the issue of permanency;

(g) The child’s parents, if available; and,

(h) The child, depending on his or her age, maturity level, and ability to effectively participate in the staffing.

(5) The child welfare professional shall document in FSFN efforts made to provide the child an opportunity to participate.

(6) Follow-up actions from the staffing shall be documented in FSFN. The child welfare professional and his or her supervisor shall ensure that all follow up tasks are completed and the recommendations from the staffing, details of all services provided since the last review and any recommended changes of the permanency goal are recorded in the Judicial Review Social Study Report (JRSSR) and reported to the court.

(7) A comprehensive JRSSR draft shall be provided to CLS at least 10 business days prior to the judicial review hearing. CLS shall review the draft report for legal sufficiency and, if corrections are necessary, return the draft report to the child welfare professional within eight (8) business days prior to the judicial review hearing. Corrections to the JRSSR shall be completed in order to provide copies to all parties at least 72 hours prior to the hearing.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12), (13) FS. Law Implemented 39.701(2), (3) (4) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16.


65C-28.007 Voluntary Licensed Out-of-Home Care.

(1) Voluntary Non-Medical Licensed Out-of-Home Care.

(a) Before accepting a voluntary non-medical licensed placement, the community-based care lead agency shall ensure a thorough review is done on the circumstances of the child and family including:

1. An evaluation of whether the family’s current situation is temporary and the basis upon which a mutual decision regarding the child’s short-term placement out of the home can be made.

2. A history of the family shall be reviewed, including prior abuse reports and prior out-of-home episodes.

3. A child shall not be accepted for voluntary placement unless current circumstances clearly indicate an out-of-home care placement of 90 days or less is anticipated and no dependency issue exists.

(b) The child welfare professional shall begin to identify available social, physical health, mental health, educational, and other support services within the community that would enable the parent, guardian or relative to adequately provide for the child’s care.

(c) The child welfare professional shall, prior to considering placement in out-of-home care, assist the family in using and coordinating available services, including the identification of relatives and non-relatives able to care for the child.

(d) The child welfare professional shall provide for the child’s educational stability by determining if the child should remain in his or her current school during the time of the placement.

(2) Voluntary Medical Licensed Out-of-Home Care. If a child’s medical complexity is such that the parent is unable to provide or arrange for necessary care for the child and the Department or contracted service provider has determined the child would benefit from out-of-home care, the parent may apply for voluntary placement in licensed medical out-of-home care. Voluntary medical placement is contingent upon:

(a) The child having medical needs identified and eligible for medical foster care as determined by the Children’s Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (CMAT); and,

(b) It appears that the conditions necessitating the voluntary placement can be resolved and reunification with the parent or legal guardian can occur within 180 days.

(3) Once a child has been determined eligible for medical out-of-home care, the child welfare professional shall coordinate with the Medical Foster Care program in the local area regarding arrangements necessary to meet the child’s needs.

(4) Voluntary Placement Agreement. When the child is placed into licensed out-of-home care voluntarily, the parent or, legal guardian or relative requesting the placement and the Department or contracted service provider shall enter into a written “Voluntary Placement Agreement,” CF-FSP 5004, March 2016, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06691.

(5) Return of Child. When a parent or legal guardian requests in writing the return of a child in voluntary licensed placement, the child shall be immediately released once it has been verified the person requesting custody of the child:

(a) Is the same person who placed the child into voluntary placement;

(b) Has resolved the conditions that led to the voluntary placement; and,

(c) Appears to present no risk of harm to the child. If there appears to be a threat, the child shall not be released and the Department or contracted service provider shall seek a judicial determination at a shelter hearing. The child welfare professional shall immediately report allegations to the Florida Abuse Hotline.

(6) Timeframes for voluntary licensed out-of-home length of stay.

(a) A child voluntarily placed in non-medical licensed out-of-home care may not remain in out-of-home care on a voluntary basis beyond 90 days unless the Regional Managing Director, community-based care lead agency Executive Director, or a designee has determined the specific circumstances of a child or family necessitates continued placement beyond 90 days and has given written authorization for continuance. However, a child may not remain voluntarily placed beyond 180 days.

(b) If a child placed voluntarily in non-medical licensed out-of-home care remains in care beyond 90 days, a judicial hearing shall take place within the first 180 days and the resulting court order shall include a judicial determination that the continued placement is in the child’s best interest and that reasonable efforts have been made to reunify the family. This judicial determination shall occur within 180 days of the voluntary service agreement.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12), (13) FS. Law Implemented 39.402(15) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16.

65C-28.008 Relative Caregiver Program Requirements.

*(See also, FS 39.5085 & CFOP 175-79 & CFOP 175-11)

(1) In order for a relative to receive a monthly Relative Caregiver Program (RCP) payment or a nonrelative caregiver to receive financial assistance (NCFA), the requirements of Section 39.5085, F.S., shall be met.

(2) Relative Caregiver Program Payments.

(a) Prior to recommending to the court the placement of a child with a relative, a home study shall be completed in accordance with Section 39.521(2)(r), F.S. In regard to a child in a permanent guardianship or a permanent placement with a fit and willing relative, if a home study has already been completed on the placement, another home study is not required. The following requirements apply regarding the need for a home study:

1. When permanent guardianship or a permanent placement with a fit and willing relative has been granted and supervision of the case has been terminated, a case manager in the geographic area where the child and relative caregiver reside shall be assigned by the contracted service provider to complete a home study, if required, and provide to the Economic Self-Sufficiency Program (ESS) the information necessary to determine whether or not the caregiver is eligible for the RCP payment. The home study shall be completed within 30 days of the relative caregivers’request for a referral for the RCP payment and, if the caregiver is determined to be eligible for the RCP payment, the ESS eligibility office shall be notified in writing within five (5) days following this determination.

2. If the current placement was made prior to October 1998, and the relative caregiver has been granted long-term custody of the child and a home study has already been performed in connection with the child’s placement, a new home study is not required, regardless of the form or content of the home study.

3. However, in placements made prior to October 1998, if a home study has not been performed on the relative caregiver’s home, a home study shall be performed by the child’s case manager within 30 days following a request by the relative caregiver to the case manager to apply for the RCP payment or a referral of the relative caregiver by ESS or the contracted service provider.

4. If the current placement was made after October 1998, and a home study was completed in connection with the placement, a new home study is not required.

5. A copy of a home study completed in connection with the placement of the child in the relative caregiver’s home is required to verify that a home study was completed. Otherwise, a current home study shall be required to establish eligibility for RCP.

(b) The child shall be adjudicated dependent and be in the court-ordered temporary legal custody of the relative pursuant to Section 39.521, F.S., or in the court-ordered permanent guardianship or permanent placement with a fit and willing relative pursuant to Sections 39.6221 or 39.6231, F.S.

(c) The child shall live in an approved home of an adult relative who meets a specified degree of relationship to the parent or stepparent of the child by blood or marriage. If the parent or stepparent of the child is not related to the caregiver or is not within the required degree of relationship to the parent or stepparent of the child, the child must be a half-sibling of another child who is related to the caregiver and both children shall have been court ordered into the same placement.

1. Half-sibling eligibility for RCP payment shall meet the following requirements:

a. The eligibility of a half-sibling who is not related to the caregiver remains in effect only as long as the half-sibling who is related to the caregiver remains in the court-ordered custody of the caregiver. When the half-sibling who is related to the caregiver becomes 18 years of age or leaves the legal custody of the caregiver for any reason, the half-sibling who is unrelated to the caregiver loses eligibility for continued RCP payment.

b. It is not necessary that the half-sibling who is related to the caregiver be receiving the RCP payment for the half-sibling who is unrelated to the caregiver to receive the RCP payment.

2. Termination of marriage for the parent or other relatives affects eligibility for RCP payment as follows:

a. The termination of the marriage of a stepparent from the parent due to death or divorce shall not disqualify relatives of the former stepparent as eligible caregivers if the relatives are within the required degree of relationship to the former stepparent. The former stepparent shall be considered to be within the required degree of relationship to the parent and shall be eligible for the RCP payment if all other eligibility factors are met.

b. The termination of the marriage of a non-blood relative to a blood relative due to death or divorce shall not disqualify the non-blood relative as an eligible caregiver if the blood relative to whom he or she was married is within the required degree of relationship to the blood relative, or if the non-blood relative was within the required degree of relationship to the blood relative prior to the non-blood relative’s death.

(d) The child shall live in a home where neither parent resides. If the parent is in the home 30 consecutive days or longer, the child’s eligibility for the RCP payment ends. However, a relative may receive the RCP payment for a minor parent who is in his or her care, as well as for that minor parent’s child, if both children have been adjudicated dependent and meet all other eligibility requirements.

(e) The child shall reside in the state of Florida. Children who move out-of-state or are placed out-of-state with a relative caregiver, are not eligible for a RCP payment. A child placed with a relative in Florida by another state is not eligible for the RCP payment.

(f) Failure by the relative caregiver to cooperate with the Child Support Enforcement Program in regard to a child shall terminate that child’s eligibility to receive the RCP payment while in that placement.

1. If a child is not eligible for the payment due to the relative caregiver’s lack of cooperation, the child remains eligible for Medicaid and other services necessary to ensure his or her safety and well-being.

2. If a child is not eligible due to the relative caregiver’s lack of cooperation, eligibility for the RCP payment for other children in the same placement is not affected if the relative caregiver is cooperating with the Child Support Enforcement Program in regard to those children.

(g) Once all of the preceding eligibility requirements in this section are met, the eligibility requirements of the temporary cash assistance programs in Chapters 65A-1 and 65A-4, F.A.C., applicable to “child only cases” in the Temporary Cash Assistance Program (TCA) shall be met, with the following exceptions:

1. The basic monthly payment schedule (not including Medicaid, family support services, flexible funds utilized in accordance with Section 409.165, F.S., subsidized child-care and other services available through the Department or contracted service provider or other local, state or federal programs), is based on the age of the child. The monthly amount of the payment, before any deductions for income of the child, shall be:

a. Age zero (0) through five (5) years – $242.

b. Age six (6) through 12 years – $249.

c. Age 13 to 18 years – $298.

2. Financial eligibility is based on a comparison of the income of the child to the benefit payment standard for the child’s age. The difference between the RCP payment standard for the child’s age and the income of the child is the amount of the payment; and,

3. Each child applying for or receiving the RCP payment is a filing unit of one and only the child’s income and assets are considered in establishing or maintaining eligibility. In this regard, a child receiving a Supplemental Security Income grant is ineligible for an RCP payment.

(h) When a relative caregiver is approved as a guardian pursuant to Sections 39.6221 or 39.6231, F.S., or Chapter 744, F.S., after an adjudication of dependency, completion of a home study and placement by the court with the relative, continuing eligibility for the RCP payment shall not be affected.

(i) A child receiving an RCP payment shall not simultaneously receive a TCA grant, except when timely action has not been taken by the Department or a contracted service provider to convert a payment from TCA to RCP. When converting from TCA to RCP, the ESS case will be processed as a change and the payment will be effective the next recurring month. No auxiliaries to restore lost RCP payments may be issued without approval of the circuit/region ESS Program Office.

1. Restoration of RCP benefits must be issued when:

a. An application for RCP payment has been denied in error, or

b. A TCA payment is not terminated timely (the next recurring month) following the establishment of all RCP eligibility requirements. This includes delays by the contracted service provider or regional Department Family Safety program staff following a determination of potential placement eligibility in accordance with Section 39.5085, F.S., to timely communicate the potential placement eligibility within five (5) days of making this determination.

2. A child may not be included in a TCA assistance group and receive full RCP payments in the same month. Any auxiliaries approved for the restoration of RCP payments for months in which the child received TCA payments shall only be authorized for the difference between the amount of the TCA payment and the amount of the RCP payment during the affected months.

(j) In addition to monitoring, evaluating and assessing services and progress of the case plan and keeping the court informed through periodic judicial reviews, the child protective investigator (CPI) at time of initial placement or case manager at time of a change in placement is responsible for the following steps of the RCP payment eligibility process:

1. Informing the relative caregiver in writing, at the time of the child’s placement, of the financial assistance options, including the RCP payment and TCA grant;

2. Immediately providing a referral to the ESS program to apply for a TCA grant when the relative caregiver indicates a desire to apply;

3. Completing a caregiver home study within 30 days after the case transfer staffing, unless the home study has already been completed by the CPI;

4. Completing court preparation;

5. Notifying the ESS eligibility office in writing immediately when it is determined by the case manager that a child in the household of a relative caregiver may be eligible for the RCP payment, unless the relative has decided to not apply for the payment. This notification shall be made whether or not the relative caregiver is already receiving a TCA payment and shall be prepared on “Relative Caregiver Communication”, CF-FSP 5233, March 2015, incorporated by reference and available at www.dcf.state.fl.us/dcfforms/, or communicated by electronic means of notification. A relative caregivers’decision to not apply for the RCP payment shall be documented in FSFN;

6. Petitioning the court, as appropriate, for court ordered placement with the relative under Sections 39.6221 or 39.6231, F.S., and termination of supervision once the child has been in the court ordered placement for a minimum of six (6) months and ensuring service provision; and,

7. Notifying the ESS eligibility office when the case manager becomes aware of changes in the active services case of a child in the household of a relative that may impact the RCP payment. This notification shall be made when:

1. The child is adopted;

2. The child’s age changes, resulting in a change to a new age group;

3. The child leaves the relative caregiver’s household;

4. The child has an increase or decrease in unearned income; or

5. The parent resides in the relative caregiver’s household for over 30 consecutive days.

(k) Relative caregivers may self-refer for TCA or RCP benefits through the ESS program. The ESS Eligibility Specialist shall be responsible for performing the following tasks related to providing information regarding the RCP and determining eligibility, including individuals who self-refer:

1. At time of application or eligibility redetermination, inform all ESS public assistance applicants or recipients caring for children who are relatives about the RCP and allow them to indicate an interest in applying for RCP;

2. Explain the options associated with the RCP to the applicant;

3. Determine the child’s initial and ongoing eligibility for the RCP payment and Medicaid;

4. Determine continuing eligibility for the child’s monthly RCP benefits, including Medicaid, through complete reviews, and scheduled and unscheduled partial reviews;

5. Communicate with the case manager as necessary and provide updates on the status of the eligibility case; and,

6. When the request for RCP payments is originated at the ESS office, the ESS Eligibility Specialist shall provide written notification to the case manager or the Department, within 10 business days. This notification shall be prepared on “Relative Caregiver Communication”, CF-FSP 5233, incorporated by reference in subparagraph (2)(j)5. of this rule, or communicated by electronic means of notification, and shall be documented in FSFN by the CPI or the contracted service provider responsible for determining potential eligibility for RCP in accordance with Section 39.5085, F.S.

a. When a relative caregiver self-refers for the RCP payment and he or she has court ordered temporary custody of the child, the CPI or case manager responsible for the case shall make the determination of potential placement eligibility for RCP.

b. When a relative caregiver self-refers for the RCP payment and he or she has court ordered custody of the child under Sections 39.6221 or 39.6231, F.S., with supervision terminated, Department region staff, or through prior arrangement, contracted service provider staff, shall make the determination of potential placement eligibility for RCP.

c. In either instance, the Department or contracted service provider who makes the determination of potential placement eligibility for RCP in accordance with Section 39.5085, F.S., shall notify ESS staff of this determination. This notification shall be prepared on “Relative Caregiver Communication”, CF-FSP 5233, incorporated by reference in subparagraph (2)(j)5. of this rule, or communicated by electronic means of notification. This notification shall be documented in FSFN by the Department or contracted service provider responsible for determining the potential eligibility for RCP.

(l) When supervision of a child has been terminated due to court ordered custody of the child under Sections 39.6221 or 39.6231, F.S., any documentation required for the relative or child to receive services needed in support of the placement shall be provided by the Department of contracted service provider.

(3) Nonrelative Caregiver Financial Assistance (NCFA).

(a) Eligibility Requirements.

1. NCFA is available to nonrelative caregivers who would be unable to serve as a caregiver without financial assistance.

a. Persons outside the fifth degree by blood or marriage to the parent or stepparent of a child are eligible to receive NCFA provided all other eligibility requirements are met. This does not include the stepparent or a former stepparent of the child.

b. Nonrelative caregivers who receive Supplement Security Income (SSI) on the behalf of the child shall not be eligible to receive NCFA.

c. Nonrelative caregivers who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Social Security Survivor Benefits on the behalf of the child in an amount less than the monthly payments for NCFA, as set forth in paragraph (3)(d) of this rule, shall be eligible to receive NCFA. The amount of the monthly NCFA payment shall be the difference between the monthly NCFA payment set forth in paragraph (3)(d) of this rule, and the amount of the child’s SSDI or Social Security Survivor Benefit.

2. To be eligible for NCFA, the nonrelative caregiver must have the following:

a. A completed Unified Home Study which includes the home study requirements set forth in Section 39.521(2)(r), F.S.;

b. A court order adjudicating the child dependent;

c. A court order placing the child in the care and custody of the nonrelative caregiver and finding that the placement is in the best interest of the child; and,

d. A signed statement by the nonrelative caregiver expressing financial need to continue to care for the child long term.

3. A nonrelative may receive the NCFA payment for a minor parent who is in his or her care, and for that minor parent’s child, if both children have been adjudicated dependent and meet all other eligibility requirements. The minor parent may not receive a TCA payment for him- or herself and his or her child while the nonrelative receives the NCFA payment for either or both of them. If the minor parent applies for TCA for him- or herself and his or her minor child, the NCFA payment must be terminated.

4. A child who is eligible for a Relative Caregiver payment based on his or her placement with a half-sibling who is related to the caregiver is not eligible for NCFA.

5 . Eligibility for NCFA shall be reassessed annually by reviewing the eligibility criteria in subsections (3)(a)1.-2. and subsections (3)(c)1.-2. of this rule.

(b) Application.

1. Nonrelative caregivers seeking financial assistance must complete an “Application for Nonrelative Caregiver Financial Assistance”, CF-FSP 5398, April 2016, incorporated by reference, and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05292.

a. The nonrelative caregiver must sign the financial attestation portion of the application to indicate his or her financial need for assistance to care for the child on a long term basis.

(c) Notification.

1. The Nonrelative Caregiver Payment Administrator shall review the application conduct the eligibility reassessment, and send a completed “Notice of Action”, CF-FSP 5399, February 2015, incorporated by reference, and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05293, to the nonrelative caregiver via e-mail, if available, or by regular U.S. mail within five (5) business days of receipt of the application.

2. The Notice of Action shall indicate whether the application was approved or denied, and if the application was denied, the reason for the denial and the nonrelative caregiver’s right to appeal.

(d) Payment.

1. The monthly amount of the payment shall be:

a. Age zero (0) through five (5) years – $242.

b. Age six (6) through 12 years – $249.

c. Age 13 to 18 years – $298.

3. Payments shall be made using a pro-rated daily amount for the days the child resided in the nonrelative caregiver’s home during the calendar month.

4. Payments shall be issued one (1) month in arrears.

5. Nonrelative caregivers are eligible to receive payments effective the day all eligibility requirements specified in the Application for Nonrelative Financial Assistance, CF-FSP 5398, incorporated in subparagraph (3)(b)1. of this rule, were met or the day the nonrelative caregiver applied, whichever is later.

6. When a child’s absence from the home requires a placement change in FSFN (e.g. placement for treatment services), but the child remains in the care and custody of the nonrelative caregiver, financial assistance payments will be suspended for up to 60 days. If the child remains absent from the home on the 61st day, financial assistance payments will be terminated.

7. The nonrelative caregiver must notify the Nonrelative Caregiver Payment Administrator if the child’s placement changes or if there is a change in the nonrelative caregiver’s ability to care for the child in his or her home.

8. Contingent upon continued availability of funding and continued eligibility, nonrelative caregiver financial assistance payments shall continue until:

a. The child reaches age 18;

b. The child is adopted;

c. The child is no longer placed in the home of the nonrelative caregiver;

d. The child moves from the state of Florida; or

e. The nonrelative caregiver becomes licensed as a foster placement.

9. When a payment ends due to lack of funding or a disqualifying event as listed in sub-subparagraphs (3)(d)8.a.-e. of this rule, the Nonrelative Caregiver Payment Administrator shall complete a Notice of Action, CF-FSP 5399, incorporated in subparagraph (3)(c)1. of this rule, indicating the reason for the termination of payments. The Nonrelative Caregiver Payment Administrator shall send the completed Notice of Action to the nonrelative caregiver via e-mail, if available, or by regular U.S. mail within 30 days of receiving the notice of change.

Specific Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 39.5085(2)(a) FS. Law Implemented 39.5085 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 4-27-15, 8-22-16.

65C-28.009 Adolescent Services.

*[See also, FS 409.1451(1)-(4)]

(1) Independent Living services are available to eligible children and young adults. Independent living services consist of Extended Foster Care, the Road to Independence Program, either through Postsecondary Education Services and Support or Aftercare Services, and life skills development for children in the legal custody of the Department.

(a) For a child age 13 or older who is in the care and custody of the Department and in licensed out-of-home care, the child welfare professional shall include in the case plan a written description of the programs and services which will help the child prepare for the transition from living in out-of-home care to living independently and who is to provide the programs and services.

(b) Older children in foster care who have disabilities or mental health needs shall be provided with an equal opportunity to participate in the continuum of independent living services. Though a youth who has a physical, emotional or learning disability may need additional support, he or she still is eligible for all independent living services from the program.

(c) To ensure the equal participation of these youth, the child welfare professional shall identify older foster children with disabilities or mental health needs and assist them with accommodations for their disabilities.

(2) Independent Living Skills for Children Age 13 and Older who are in an Out-of-Home Placement. The child welfare professional shall have at a minimum monthly discussions with the out-of-home caregiver and child to address life skills needs and the out-of-home caregiver’s responsibility to provide for the life skills needs. The child welfare professional shall document discussions with the out-of-home caregiver and child monthly in FSFN.

(a) Life skills shall include:

1. The child’s educational and work goals, including the child’s progress and any obstacles the child is facing. If the child is enrolled in the Exceptional Student Education program, such goal setting shall be coordinated with the school;

2. What life skills the child needs and the child’s progress toward developing needed skills;

3. The Road to Independence program and Extended Foster Care, including program requirements and benefits, and the tuition fee exemption;

4. For children age 17, the child’s plans for living arrangement after age 18 and the life skills services that may need to be continued past age 18; and,

5. Any other identified obstacles and needs the child has with regard to Independent Living.

(b) Information on the child’s life skills development shall be included in the written report submitted to the court for each judicial review.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(7), (13) FS. Law Implemented 39.6035, 409.701(3) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16.


65C-28.010 Minor Parents in the Custody of the Department.

(1) When a minor child in the custody of the Department becomes a parent or enters licensed out-of-home care with his or her own child, the parent and child shall reside together in the same placement unless the younger child’s safety cannot be managed with an in-home safety plan. A petition for adjudication of dependency shall not be filed for the younger child unless there are grounds for dependency of that child independent of the minor parent’s dependency.

(2) In the event that the minor parent’s child is not dependent, the cost of care of the child of a minor parent shall be included in the maintenance payment for the minor parent. There shall be one (1) payment that is enhanced to include the child’s needs. If the minor parent is Title IV-E of the Social Security Act eligible, the total payment is Title IV-E reimbursable.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(13) FS. Law Implemented 39.402(7) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16.


65C-28.011 Criminal, Delinquency and Abuse/Neglect History Checks for Release to a Parent, Placement with a Relative and Non-Relative and Approval of Informal Safety Management Providers.

(1) The following criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history checks shall be performed when a child is initially placed or remains with a relative or non-relative:

(a) For all household members age 12 or older, an abuse/neglect records check through the Department’s information system containing statewide abuse/neglect records.

(b) For all household members age 12 or older, a local criminal records check which may be requested through local law enforcement or through a search of the Comprehensive Case Information System (CCIS). A request for call outs regarding the household members from police and sheriff’s offices must be made and reviewed prior to placement when results are available.

(c) For all household members age 12 up to 26, a delinquency records check through the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

(d) For all household members age 12 or older, a state criminal records name check through the Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC).

(e) For all household members age 18 or older, a name check through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) when there are exigent circumstances required an emergency placement within 72 hours.

(f) If the child is placed in the household, the fingerprints of these persons age 18 or older shall be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement no later than within 10 calendar days of the FCIC and/or NCIC name check.

(g) For household members age 18 or older who are known to have resided in another state in the preceding five (5) years, a request shall be made to the other state for an abuse and neglect history check.

(h) For any household member whose NCIC check returns an arrest history for a charge that may have implications for child safety, a request shall be made for out-of-state local criminal information.

(2) ) Prior to approval of a relative or nonrelative who agrees to provide informal safety management services, including family-made arrangements, the child welfare professional will conduct background screening to include child abuse history, a Florida Sexual Offenders and Predators registration check and local criminal history check.

(3) The court shall be informed of all results, including the disposition of all criminal offenses that are received regarding any proposed or existing relative or non-relative placement.

(4) Any relatives or non-relatives who wish to become licensed as foster parents must meet the licensing requirements of Rule Chapter 65C-13, F.A.C., including the criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history check requirements for licensed out-of-home caregivers.

(5) Updating Home Study and Recommendation for Court Ordered Custody. Persons who are approved relative/non-relative caregivers, parents, and any adult household members shall be re-screened at least annually and prior to case closure when a child placed is remaining in the home. Annual screening shall include a local criminal records check, an abuse and neglect record check clearance through the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System, records of any responses to the home by law enforcement that did not result in criminal charges, and any 911 calls to the home. Any criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history check results received subsequent to placing a child shall be considered in regard to the child’s safety and shall be provided to the court. If any disqualifying results are received, the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall notify Children’s Legal Services within 24 hours of receipt.

(6) Release of a Child to a Parent. Prior to recommending to the court that a child be released to a parent, the parent and household members shall undergo all criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history checks that are required for placement with relatives and non-relatives.

(7) Criminal, Delinquency and Abuse/Neglect History Check Results. The Department or contracted service provider shall not make or recommend a relative or non-relative placement if the results of criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history checks indicate that the child’s safety may be jeopardized in the placement or if the relative or non-relative has a disqualifying offense pursuant to Section 39.0138(2), F.S.

(a) Results of Abuse/Neglect Records Check. The results of an abuse/neglect records check indicating that a person is named in some capacity in an abuse/neglect report shall not be used to deny placement in the home where that person resides unless that person is identified as a caregiver responsible for the abuse, neglect or abandonment alleged in the report. Factors to be considered in denying placement include how much time has elapsed since the incident, the extent of a person’s rehabilitation, and recent history that supports the person’s changed life circumstances and/or behaviors.

(b) Criminal Offenses.

1. For placements with relatives or non-relatives, Sections 39.0138(2)-(3), F.S., lists criminal offenses that disqualify these persons for placement of the child. If the criminal records checks reveal that the applicant has been found guilty regardless of adjudication for crimes other than those listed in Section 39.0138(2) or (3), F.S., the applicant shall be evaluated as to the extent of his or her rehabilitation. Factors to be considered will include the severity of the action resulting in the report, how much time has elapsed, circumstances surrounding the report, and whether records indicate an ongoing pattern of family conditions or behaviors.

2. For releases to a child’s parent, there are no offenses that automatically disqualify the parent regardless of whether the offense was committed by the parent or a household member. For releases to parents, prior to the release, information obtained from the criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history checks shall be provided by the child welfare professional or Children’s Legal Services attorney to the court, which shall make the final decision regarding the placement decision when the results of the checks raise concerns about the safety of the child.

(c) Delinquency Results. If the juvenile records check reveals a juvenile record, this information must be addressed in the home study and a determination must be made regarding possible impact on the child being placed.

(8) Criminal, Delinquency and Abuse/Neglect History Checks on Additional Persons Subsequent to Placement in a Relative’s or Non-Relative’s Household. The Department shall conduct criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history checks as required in Sections 39.0138 and 39.521(2)(r)2., F.S., on any new household members if they have not otherwise received the checks within the previous 12 months. The court shall be informed of the results within 72 hours of their receipt.

(9) Out-of-State Placements and Releases. Any out-of-state placement or release shall have the prior authorization of the court and of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(1), 39.0138(1) FS. Law Implemented 39.0138, 39.401(3), 39.521(2)(r)2. FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16, 2-5-18.


65C-28.012 Other Parent Home Assessment and Home Studies for Relative and Non-Relative Placements.

(1) Prior to release or placement of a child with another parent, an “Other Parent Home Assessment,” CF-FSP 5411, October 2013, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06741, must be completed.

(2) For each non-licensed placement, a home study shall be completed by the child welfare professional responsible for the case prior to the placement of the child in the out-of-home caregivers’ home. In all instances, the completed home study shall be filed with the court.

(3) In fulfilling the requirements of Section 39.521, F.S., a summary of the results of the home study shall be prepared, which shall include the recommendation to be made to the court. This summary includes the following categories, each of which shall be summarized:

(a) Whether each proposed out-of-home caregiver understands and is able to meet the child’s need for protection.

(b) Whether each proposed out-of-home caregiver understands the child’s need for care and permanency and can provide long-term permanency if needed.

(c) Whether each proposed out-of-home caregiver has been informed regarding rights and responsibilities in the dependency process.

(d) Whether each proposed out-of-home caregiver will provide nurturing care and can ensure a safe home.

(e) Whether each proposed out-of-home caregiver has a history free from child abuse and free of a criminal record

(f) Whether each proposed out-of-home caregiver is financially able to care for the child and a determination of whether the out-of-home caregivers’ financial situation would cause total dependence on financial assistance to care for the child. This shall include a summary of the out-of-home caregivers’ understanding of the financial assistance, if any, and other services that will be available from the Department or contracted service provider to assist in caring for the child.

(g) Whether each proposed out-of-home caregiver has been counseled on available support in the community.

(h) Whether or not the placement is to be recommended and an explanation of the decision.

(4) Unless developmentally inappropriate, a determination shall be made and documented regarding the child’s preferences on the placement.

(5) If the home study is not approved and the child is in the placement, the Department or contracted service provider shall request an emergency hearing to inform the court of the findings and make a recommendation for an alternate placement.

(6) If the child is not in the household where the home study was completed and the proposed out-of-home caregiver is not selected, the proposed caregiver shall be verbally so advised by the child welfare professional responsible for the case within five (5) business days and then documented in FSFN.

(7) If a child is placed in the custody of a relative or non-relative pursuant to order of the court after the Department or contracted service provider recommends against such placement, the relative or non-relative shall be allowed to participate in the Relative Caregiver Program in the same manner as if the Department or contracted service provider had approved the home study.

(8) When a child has been placed in the custody of a relative or non-relative by the court against the recommendation of the Department or contracted service provider, the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall notify his or her supervisor of the court’s determination. The supervisor shall schedule a staffing to be held within three (3) business days of the court decision to discuss the reasons for the negative home study and to develop a plan of action that includes identifying services and/or safety management for the family with whom the child is placed and that addresses the child’s needs.

(9) When a child has been placed in a relative or non-relative household and other children have already been placed in the home by the Department or contracted service provider, an updated Unified Home Study addressing issues surrounding placement of an additional child in the household shall be prepared and provided to the court in conjunction with a recommendation regarding placing an additional child in the home.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12), (13), 39.5085 FS. Law Implemented 39.5085(2), 39.521(2)(r) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16.


65C-28.013 Indian Child Welfare Act.

The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) is federal legislation found in 25 U.S.C. 1901 et seq., that governs child custody proceedings involving children who are members of an Indian tribe or Alaskan Native children as defined by the Act.

(1) The child welfare professional shall determine at the onset of each child protective investigation if the child is a member of an Indian tribe or Alaskan Native child as defined by the Act. If a child involved in a child protective investigation is identified as being eligible for the protections of the Indian Child Welfare Act, all legal proceedings and case planning activities shall be in compliance with the provisions of the Act and with any existing written Tribal Agreements between the Department and the child’s tribe. All child protective investigations, ongoing safety and case management, and legal proceedings activities shall be documented in FSFN.

(2) The Indian child’s parent or Indian custodian and his or her tribe shall be noticed of all legal and case planning activities. All notifications provided to the tribe shall be documented in FSFN. Any correspondence to or from the tribe shall be documented in FSFN and made a part of the court record and the Department or contracted service provider shall request to the court that the child’s eligibility for the protections of the Indian Child Welfare Act be included in all findings and orders of the court

(3) The criteria for enrollment in a tribe is established by the individual tribe and its decision is conclusive.

(4) If the tribe does not respond to written notification by the Department that an Indian child is the subject of an investigation, the Department or contracted service provider shall continue efforts to communicate with the tribe. If the Indian tribe does not respond after continued efforts to communicate with the tribe have been made, the Department or contracted service provider shall write or call the Bureau of Indian Affairs area office located in the geographic region of the United States in which the child’s tribe is located. Cases in which Indian ancestry has been reported to the Department or contracted service provider shall be handled as ICWA cases until shown to be otherwise.

(5) If the tribe does not assume legal jurisdiction, the tribe shall continue to receive notice of all judicial hearings and case planning reviews and be kept informed of changes in the status of the case. The tribe has a right to examine all reports or other documents filed with the court.

(6) If the tribe assumes legal jurisdiction, all case file documents (except the name of the reporter of the abuse, abandonment or neglect) and the child shall be released to the tribe.

(7) Placement of an Indian child shall be made in accordance with the placement preferences outlined in the Act. Attempts to place a child in accordance with the placement preferences outlined in the Act, and any failure to do so, shall be documented in FSFN. The placement preferences apply upon each move of the child while in out-of-home care.

(8) The Department or contracted service provider shall consult with Children’s Legal Services regarding issues related to compliance with the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Consultation and the results of the consultation shall be documented in FSFN.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12), (13) FS. Law Implemented 39.0137 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16.


65C-28.014 Behavioral Health Services.

(1) A child shall be referred for a Comprehensive Behavioral Health Assessment (CBHA):

(2) A child shall be referred for a CBHA:

(a) When a child is in shelter status, the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall refer the child for a CBHA within seven (7) calendar days of being removed from his or her household; or

(b) If a child is already in out-of-home care and is exhibiting emotional or behavioral issues that might result, or may have already resulted, in the child losing his or her placement, the child welfare professional responsible for the case may refer the child for a CBHA to assist in determining services that would allow the child to maintain his or her placement. This may be done if a CBHA has not been conducted on the child within the past year; and,

(c) The child has been determined to be Medicaid enrolled. If the child is not Medicaid enrolled, the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall take all steps necessary to ensure the child becomes enrolled as soon as possible, including assisting the child’s out-of-home caregiver to establish enrollment.

(2) The child welfare professional shall review and consider any interventions or services recommended in a CBHA. The child welfare professional has the primary responsibility throughout the case for coordinating, managing, and monitoring all aspects of the child’s care and treatment. Each referral and the coordinating, managing, and monitoring efforts for the referral shall be documented in FSFN.

(3) The CBHA recommendations will be considered when developing the child’s case plan.

(4) The child welfare professional responsible for the case shall ensure the CBHA is filed with the court.

(5) If the child is also served by the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall document in FSFN attempts to coordinate planning and service delivery with DJJ staff.

*See also, CFOP 175-96)

(6) When service needs are identified, children shall be referred to mental health providers in the community who accept the child’s Medicaid Managed Medical Assistance plan. If a Medicaid provider is not available, the child welfare professional shall refer to a provider that best meets the child’s needs.

(7) When the child welfare professional determines that a Behavioral Health Multidisciplinary Team is needed to address the behavioral needs of the child, the child welfare professional shall convene a meeting of the team. The team shall:

(a) Review all referrals for services to ensure that the child and family receive essential services to assist them in meeting the permanency goals as well as ensuring the child’s safety and well-being and, if needed, make recommendations for any additional referrals;

(b) Provide recommendations for modifications in the case plan. This information is to be placed into the Judicial Review Social Study Report (JRSSR) prior to each judicial review and shall be documented in FSFN.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12), (13) FS. Law Implemented 39.701 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16.


65C-28.015 Residential Mental Health Treatment.

*[See also, FS 39.407 (6) FS 39.523]

(1) Initial Consideration of Need for Residential Treatment. Residential mental health treatment is provided to a child for the specific purpose of addressing the child’s mental health needs through observation, diagnosis and treatment in a therapeutic setting, which includes therapeutic group homes and residential treatment centers as defined in Section 394.67, F.S. Residential mental health treatment shall not be used for emergency placements or to provide secure shelter for the child. If the child is in acute psychiatric crisis, the child shall be referred to a crisis stabilization unit for emergency screening and stabilization in accordance with Sections 394.463 and 394.467, F.S.

(2) Suitability Assessment Process. Definitions and timeframes are provided in Chapter 65C-27, F.A.C.

(3) Behavioral Health Needs of Children in Out-of-Home Care. The behavioral health needs of children shall be addressed on an ongoing basis. Behavioral health services for the child or adolescent shall continue while determining the need for residential treatment and while seeking placement in accordance with recommendations.

(4) Out-of-State Placements.

(a) It is the policy of the Department that children will not be placed in a state other than Florida for residential mental health treatment. Exceptions to this policy must meet the requirements outlined in subparagraph (a)1. or (a)2.:

1.The reunification plan is for the child to join family members who live in the other state; and,

a. The home study on the family in the other state is complete and approved; and,

b. Placement in residential treatment is for a transitional period not to exceed three (3) months.

2. The community-based care (CBC) lead agency has attempted to meet the placement and treatment needs of the child within the state of Florida and in-state placements have failed. The CBC must document:

a. Efforts to locate alternate treatment options in-state,

b. The reasons the out-of-state residential treatment center was selected,

c. A current suitability assessment recommending placement into residential treatment,

d. A plan for ongoing monitoring of the child’s treatment progress, including 90-Day Reviews,

e. A plan for face-to-face contacts by a child welfare professional with the child every 30 days; and,

f. An initial discharge plan.

(b) The CBC Chief Executive Officer or designee must obtain approval from the Department prior to the placement of any child or adolescent in residential mental health treatment outside of Florida. The Department will grant approval of out-of state placement upon documentation that the requirements of paragraph (4)(a), above, have been met.

(c) The CBC must comply with the requirements of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) and shall provide documentation of compliance with this rule as part of its request to the ICPC office. The ICPC office will not process the request without this information.

(d) The CBC will notify Children’s Legal Services (CLS) so that proper notice to all parties and approval from the court can be obtained prior to placement.

(e) Upon placement out-of-state for residential treatment, the child welfare professional and CBC point of contact shall remain involved in the child’s treatment and discharge planning. 90-Day Reviews are an essential component to this monitoring and have the following requirements:

1. 90-Day Reviews to determine the suitability of continued placement in residential treatment must be conducted by an independent evaluator who is a psychiatrist or psychologist licensed in the State of Florida who has at least three (3) years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of serious emotional disturbances in children and adolescents,

2. At a minimum, these reviews must include:

a. A records review of the treatment plan,

b. A review of the treatment record and progress notes to determine the child’s/adolescent’s progress toward achieving the goals and objectives of the treatment plan,

c. An evaluation of the child/adolescent via telephone, video teleconference, or face-to-face,

d. Whether the child/adolescent has been provided with a clinically appropriate explanation of the nature and purpose of the treatment; and,

e. A written report of the independent evaluator’s findings, including recommendations, submitted to the CBC point of contact or designee; and,

f. An opportunity for the guardian ad litem to provide input.

(5) Reviews and Reports of Children in Residential Treatment Centers. The Department or each contracted service provider shall establish systems to ensure that reports required by Section 39.407(6), F.S., and Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure 8.350 are prepared and distributed timely and that all requirements for filing with the court are met. This standard shall also apply to out-of-state residential mental health treatment.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(13), 394.4781(4) FS. Law Implemented 39.407(6), 394.4781, 394.4785, 394.479 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 5-8-16, 11-7-17.


65C-28.017 Exit Interviews.

(1) The Services Worker shall conduct an exit interview with every child age five and older up until the eighteenth birthday who leaves a licensed out-of-home care placement if the child has resided in that placement for thirty days or more.

(a) The interview shall be conducted within five days of the child’s exit from the licensed out-of-home care placement.

(b) If the child alleges abuse, neglect or any maltreatment during the exit interview, the interviewer shall make an immediate report to the Florida Abuse Hotline.

(c) If the child reports issues relating to the quality of care that do not rise to the level of abuse, neglect, or maltreatment, the interviewer shall report these issues to the licensing unit responsible for licensing the out-of-home caregiver or group care facility.

(2) The information gathered during the interview shall be dependent on the age of the child. The interviewer’s observations and any information to explain the child’s responses shall be recorded on the interview form.

(a) For children ages five through eight, a response shall be requested to the following:

1. I felt happy in this foster home.

2. I was given plenty of food in this foster home.

3. I had enough clothing that fit me to wear in this foster home.

4. I was taken care of in this foster home when I was sick or had an accident.

5. When I asked, I got to call my:

a. Counselor;

b. Guardian ad Litem;

c. Others.

6. I was punished fairly when I did something that I was not supposed to do. An explanation shall be requested.

7. I was satisfied with this foster home.

8. I felt safe in this foster home.

(b) For children ages nine to eighteen a response shall be requested to the following:

1. I felt comfortable in this foster home.

2. I was treated with respect by the foster parents.

3. I was given plenty of food in this foster home.

4. I had enough clothing in my size to wear in this foster home.

5. I was taken care of in this foster home when I was sick or had an accident.

6. When I asked, I was allowed to call my:

a. Counselor;

b. Guardian ad Litem;

c. Others.

7. I was disciplined fairly when I did something that I was not supposed to do. An explanation shall be requested.

8. Overall, I was satisfied with the care that I got in this foster home.

9. Overall, I felt safe in this foster home.

(3) When needed as a result of safety or quality of care issue raised by the child, the department or contracted service provider shall develop a corrective action plan. The type of plan can range from providing more intense supervision, support, or training for the caregiver to a more formal corrective action plan or a recommendation for revocation of the license, if appropriate.

(4) When corrective action is necessary, written follow-up shall be due within ninety days.

(5) The completed interview form, department or contracted service provider response, if any, and follow-up tasks shall be handled as follows:

(a) The completed interview form, department or contracted service provider response, if any, and record of follow-up shall be placed in the child’s case record;

(b) A copy of the completed interview form shall be provided to licensing staff and placed in the out-of-home caregiver’s licensing file;

(c) A copy of the completed interview form, department or contracted service provider response, if any, and record of follow-up shall be sent to the District/Region or Zone Program Administrator or Lead Agency Executive Director; and

(d) A summary of exit interviews conducted shall be sent to the Department’s Office of Family Safety as requested by that office.

Specific Authority 39.012, 39.0121(13), 409.1676(10) FS. Law Implemented 409.165(1) FS. History–New 5-4-06.


65C-28.018 Meeting the Child’s Educational Needs.

(1) Maintaining the child’s school stability while in out-of-home care is first priority, unless remaining in the school of origin is not in the best interest of the child as documented in the Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN).

(a) The child welfare professional will work with the caregiver, child’s parent or guardian, guardian ad litem, child’s attorney, educational surrogate (if appointed), teachers, guidance counselors, and school district representative or foster care liaison to ensure school stability for the child:

1. At the time of placement in out-of-home care; and,

2. At the time of any subsequent placement changes.

(b) Educational settings include any setting set forth in Section 1002.20(6), F.S.

(c) Factors to be considered in making a determination that remaining in the school of origin is not in the child’s best interest shall include:

1. The child’s desire to remain in the school of origin.

2. The preference of the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian.

3. Whether the child has a sibling(s), close friends, and/or a mentor at the school of origin.

4. The child’s cultural and community connections in the school of origin.

5. Whether the child is suspected of having a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), or has begun receiving interventions under Florida’s multi-tiered system of supports.

6. Whether the child has an evaluation pending for special education and related services under IDEA or Section 504.

7. Whether the child is a student with a disability under the IDEA who is receiving special education and related services or a student with a disability under Section 504 who is receiving accommodations and services and, if so, the availability of those required services in a school other than the school of origin.

8. Whether the child is an English Language Learner (ELL) student and is receiving language services, and, if so, the availability of those required services in a school other than the school of origin.

9. The impact a change would have on academic credits and progress towards promotion.

10. The availability of extracurricular activities important to the child.

11. The child’s known medical and behavioral health needs.

12. The child’s permanency goal and timeframe for achieving permanency.

13. The child’s history of school transfers and how they have impacted the child.

14. The length of the commute and how it would impact the child.

15. The length of time the child has attended the school of origin.

(d) The cost of transportation cannot be a factor in making the best interest determination.

(e) The child welfare professional shall document and upload in FSFN the best interest determination on the “School Stability Checklist for Children in Out-of-Home Care,” CF-FSP 5417, October 2016, incorporated by reference and available at https://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08263.

(f) If remaining in the school of origin is deemed to not be in the child’s best interest, then the change in educational settings should be made at logical junctures, including during school breaks and at the end of a grading period. Once the decision to transfer the child to another educational setting has been made and a logical juncture identified, the child should be immediately enrolled in the new school at the identified time to avoid any absences in attendance.

(2) School Enrollment and Records. When a child enters care or changes schools as the result of a change in placement or any other reason, the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall immediately prepare and submit the necessary paperwork, in accordance with local agreement, to notify the child’s school that the child is in out-of-home care. If the child changes schools, the child welfare professional shall provide the child’s new school with any documentation in the child’s record that is required for enrollment.

(3) Documentation of the best interest determination to change the child’s school shall be provided by the child welfare professional to the child’s new school.

(4) When a child remains in the school of origin, the child welfare professional shall, in accordance with local agreement, contact the foster care liaison or other designees as identified within the school district for the child’s school of origin to make arrangements for transportation to the school of origin, in accordance with local agreement.

(5) Special Education Considerations.

(a) When a child has, is suspected of having, or is identified in any assessment of having a disability, the child welfare professional shall communicate with the child’s parent or legal guardian to determine if they are willing and able to continue to serve as the child’s educational decision maker.

(b) If the child’s parent or legal guardian is unwilling or unable to serve as the child’s educational decision maker, the child welfare professional shall determine whether the out-of-home caregiver, excluding child-caring agency staff and therapeutic foster parents, is willing and able to attend the necessary training and to serve as the child’s surrogate parent.

(c) If the child’s parent, legal guardian, or out-of-home caregiver is unable to act as the child’s educational decision maker, the child welfare professional shall request the Children’s Legal Services (CLS) attorney seek the appointment of a surrogate parent from the dependency court or the district school superintendent.

(6) Documentation. The child welfare professional shall document in FSFN the following for each child:

(a) Information about the current school or educational setting of the child.

(b) All schools or educational settings the child has attended since the date the child has been in the custody of the Department.

(c) The length of time the child has spent in each school or educational setting.

(d) The number of high school credits each child age 14 years or older has earned.

(e) The child’s surrogate parent, if one has been appointed.

(f) The reason for any change in the child’s educational setting.

(g) Information regarding the child’s educational records, which may include:

1. Report cards,

2. Transcripts,

3. Individual Education Plan; and,

4. A 504 plan.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(13) FS. Law Implemented 39.0016, 39.6012(2)(b)4. FS. History–New 5-8-16, Amended 6-15-17.


65C-28.019 Normalcy.

(1) Caregiver decision-making.

(a) Supervising agency approval is not required for decisions made by the out-of-home caregiver regarding a child’s participation in childhood activities. Childhood activities include attending or participating in:

1. Extracurricular clubs;

2. School and community sports;

3. Youth group activities;

4. Service organizations;

5. Birthday parties and sleep-overs;

6. Outings with peers;

7. Driver’s education;

8. Vacations with the out-of-home caregiver’s family or other families;

9. School or camp field trips; and,

10. Summer and school break camps.

(b) Community-based care lead agencies shall provide training to all foster parents and contracted agencies to ensure normalcy for all children in care, pursuant to Sections 39.4091 and 409.145, F.S.

(2) To ensure quality parenting, out-of-home caregivers shall:

(a) Timely complete all required in-service training;

(b) Mentor and coach birth parents, when available;

(c) Facilitate visits between the child and his or her family, as required;

(d) Refrain from making disparaging remarks to the child about his or her family;

(e) Participate in school parent-teacher conferences;

(f) Ensure the child attends all scheduled health care appointments, including medical and behavioral health;

(g) Deliver age-appropriate life skills training to children ages 13 and older;

(h) As part of progress updates, share information with the supervising agency and Department about the child’s progress, family’s progress, if known, and visitation; and,

(i) Be supportive of transitions, including reunification, another adoptive placement, or any other changes in placement.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.4091(4), 409.145(5) FS. Law Implemented 39.4091, 409.145 FS. History–New 5-8-16.




65C 29 Protective Investigations



65C-29.002 Reports of Child Abuse, Neglect or Abandonment.

*[See also, FS 39.201]

(1) The Department shall maintain an automated master file for all calls received by the Florida Abuse Hotline for screening. This file shall contain information on all calls received concerning a child and be maintained in the Department’s automated system of record.

*[See also, FS 39.202]

(2) The telephone number from which a call to the Florida Abuse Hotline is placed (Caller ID) shall only be used for subsequent contact in the following circumstances:

(a) If the telephone number provided by Caller ID is the same as provided by the reporter.

(b) If the caller is a child who is self-reporting abuse, neglect or abandonment and the child’s immediate location is unclear or not known, the Department employee or agent shall attempt to verify the location.

(c) If all means to locate any child victim and attempts to contact the reporter at the telephone number provided by the reporter are unsuccessful. The purpose of this is to obtain additional information that would allow the child and/or family to be located and seen.

(3) In instances where the alleged perpetrator’s exact relationship to the child is unknown or unclear, a report shall be accepted and an investigation commenced until such time that the alleged perpetrator’s role as a caregiver can be determined.

(4) When a report is being accepted, the Florida Abuse Hotline counselor shall ask all reporters to provide the following information:

(a) Information regarding subjects of the report including name, race, gender, date of birth, social security number, ethnicity, school, employment, address, phone number and/or other acceptable means to locate the victim if the address is not known;

(b) The relationship between the victim and the alleged perpetrator;

(c) Names and contact information for any person who can provide assistance to the child or additional information about the family’s circumstances;

(d) The type of maltreatment alleged and the nature and extent of harm suffered by the victim, including when the incident occurred or whether it is a chronic, ongoing situation;

(e) Any known history of abuse, neglect or abandonment of persons named in the report;

(f) Whether the alleged perpetrator continues to have access to the victim and the possibility of continued maltreatment;

(g) Current condition of the child;

(h) Other children in the environment; and

(i) The name and occupation of the reporter, relationship between the child and the reporter, contact information for the reporter, and any other information the reporter believes will be of assistance.

(5) The Florida Abuse Hotline shall process and document all allegations reported.

(a) The Florida Abuse Hotline counselor shall search for prior reports to determine if the current allegations have been reported in the past.

(b) The Florida Abuse Hotline counselor shall determine if the caller is reporting the exact same incident as that contained in a prior closed report. If the current allegations do not offer new information, additional subjects, new evidence, or additional allegations or incidents, a new report shall not be generated.

(c) The Florida Abuse Hotline counselor shall search the statewide automated child welfare information system to determine if the victim, alleged perpetrator, or other subjects of the report have any active, open investigations or history of prior reports or service provision. The Florida Abuse Hotline counselor shall provide this information to child protective investigation staff at the time of report notification.

(6) Depending upon the timing and type of information received, reports shall be entered into the statewide automated child welfare information system as “Initial” investigations, “Additional” investigations, or “Supplemental” reports.

(a) Initial Investigations: Initial investigations are reports containing allegations of maltreatment that do not concern an active, open investigation.

(b) Additional Investigations: Additional investigations are reports containing new information about one or more subjects of an active, open investigation.

1. An additional investigation includes any of the following:

a. A new alleged perpetrator in the same household;

b. A new victim;

c. A new subject in the same household;

d. A new maltreatment;

e. A new incident of the same maltreatment; or

f. New information that requires an immediate response.

2. If any of the following apply, a new investigation identified by a different report number shall be created:

a. Information involves a different household from the existing report.

b. A child dies due to maltreatment during an active investigation and the suspected cause of death is not related to the initial allegations under investigation. When new incidents of maltreatment are believed to be the cause of the child’s death, the child protective investigator shall immediately report the child’s death to the Florida Abuse Hotline and a new report shall be generated.

c. An institutional investigation can only be sequenced (i.e., added as an “Additional”) to another institutional investigation.

d. Special Conditions Reports which do not contain maltreatment allegations cannot be sequenced to any investigations.

(c) Supplemental Reports: Supplemental reports provide clarifying but non-essential information to active investigations. Child-on-child sexual abuse reports shall only be sequenced as supplemental reports when the inappropriate sexual behavior or juvenile sexual abuse involves the same victim, alleged abuser, and behaviors.

(d) Except for specific circumstances surrounding child deaths, additional allegations of abuse, neglect or abandonment discovered by the investigator during the course of an investigation do not need to be called to the Florida Abuse Hotline as an additional report. The investigator shall add these new maltreatments directly to the investigation.

(e) The following do not constitute reports of abuse, neglect or abandonment but callers shall be given appropriate community referral information if available:

1. Complaints of withholding or misuse of child support which do not allege child abuse, neglect or abandonment;

2. Disputes concerning custody of a child in which there is no reasonable cause to suspect abuse, neglect or abandonment;

3. Complaints concerning infants or children in automobiles who are not in legally required child restraint devices;

4. Requests for service that may require action, such as:

a. Transportation needs;

b. Need for food assistance;

c. Need for housing;

d. Day care needs;

e. Need for employment or public assistance;

f. Need for job training or education;

g. Need for help with utilities or rent;

h. Need for homemaker or housekeeper services; or

i. Adult family members in need of services.

5. Complaints concerning children running away from parents or legal custodians; persistently disobeying reasonable and lawful demands of parents or legal custodians; and being out of control;

6. Complaints concerning licensing violations, such as overcrowding, poor sanitation, inadequate staffing ratios, and lack of a fire sprinkler system;

7. Requests from a hospital to have a home “checked” before a child is released;

8. Requests from a hospital for the Department to grant permission to treat a child due to the hospital’s inability to contact the child’s parent, custodian or legal guardian;

9. Complaints concerning head lice;

10. Complaints that a child is not attending school. These complaints shall be directed to the local school district;

11. Calls from case managers regarding the placement disruption of a child in out-of-home care, whether the child is in a licensed or non-licensed placement. However, if the placement disruption is as a result of an incident of child abuse, neglect or abandonment by the placement caregiver, a report of child maltreatment shall be accepted by the Florida Abuse Hotline;

12. Calls from case managers regarding a family’s failure to comply with the conditions of the voluntary or court-ordered case plan, unless such failure has resulted in a new incident of abuse or neglect. This includes calls involving post-placement supervision case management issues; 13. Calls concerning a married minors; 14. Calls concerning emancipated minors living on their own.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121 FS. Law Implemented 39.201 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 12-31-14.

65C-29.003 Child Protective Investigations.

*(See also, FS 39.301 CFOP 170-5)

(1) Responding to Reports.

The child protective investigator supervisor may downgrade an immediate response to a 24-hour response only if the local investigative unit has obtained additional information from the reporter or law enforcement subsequent to the information collected by the Florida Abuse Hotline that indicates the child is no longer in imminent danger of being harmed. The rationale for this determination shall be approved by the supervisor and documented in the Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN).

(b) When a report is received on a child who is a resident of Florida and the alleged maltreatment occurred in Florida, but the child is temporarily out of state, the investigation shall be commenced by contacting the child welfare agency responsible for child abuse or neglect investigations in the state where the child is temporarily located. The purpose of the contact is to request a timely face-to-face interview with the child in order to ascertain his or her safety, and to determine when the child is expected to return to Florida.

(c) In instances where the Florida Abuse Hotline accepts an abuse report but the child protective investigator subsequently determines through obtaining additional information that the allegations or facts do not meet the criteria for an investigation, the report shall be closed as “No Jurisdiction,” after review and approval by the child protective investigator supervisor.

(2) Investigative Requirements. For every report received, the following actions shall be completed:

(a) A determination shall be made as to whether the reporter should be contacted prior to commencement of the investigation to obtain additional information on the child or family or to clarify information obtained by the Florida Abuse Hotline. When circumstances preclude contacting a reporter prior to commencement (such as when a concern for child safety and the need for expediency warrants a post-commencement contact) or when an attempted contact is unsuccessful, the investigator shall contact the reporter after the initial on-site response is completed.

(b) Information shall be collected describing the physical, developmental and behavioral characteristics and overall functioning of the children in the home and documented in the case record. While interviewing and visually observing the child, the child protective investigator shall be sensitive to issues arising from a child’s age and developmental stage, ethnicity, and gender.

(c) Information shall be collected on the parent’s or caregiver’s overall functioning, parenting style and disciplinary and behavior management practices and documented in the case record. Any person alleged to have maltreated a child shall be interviewed.

(d) If during the course of the investigation it is determined that there is a need to remove physical evidence from the home, other than taking a child into protective custody, the investigator shall request local law enforcement to initiate a criminal investigation.

(e) Abuse history and criminal records checks shall be obtained by the child protective investigator on all household members age 12 or older not screened by the Florida Abuse Hotline at the time the report was accepted. The criminal records and abuse checks shall be initiated within 24 hours of the individual’s identity and presence in the home becoming known to the investigator. Records checks shall also be completed on any adult visitor to the home who provides care or supervision to the child outside the parent’s immediate presence while visiting the home. If the family has lived in another state within the past five (5) years, the child protective investigator shall contact the appropriate child protection agencies in the state where the family resided and request abuse history check on all subjects and household members of the report. The investigator shall contact law enforcement agencies in the other state to request local criminal history information when necessary for assessment purposes.

(f) Safety Assessments.

1.The child protective investigator shall complete a present danger assessment for all investigations, excluding institutional and special conditions investigations. Upon completion of the present danger assessment, the child protective investigator shall complete all additional investigation activities necessary to assess for impending danger threats in the home unless it is determined, with supervisory approval, that the report is:

a. Patently unfounded; or

b. A false report.

Cessation of investigative activities may not occur prior to the investigator obtaining the approval of the child protective investigator’s supervisor.

2. When a child protective investigator identifies the presence of present or impending danger, the investigator shall take the least intrusive actions to ensure the child’s immediate and on-going safety. If the child protective investigator determines the need to engage ongoing services, whether these services are non-judicial or court ordered, a case transfer conference shall be convened between the investigator, contracted service provider and the parent(s) to arrange for the provision of case management services.

(3) Safety Planning Requirements. For every report received in which a danger threat has been identified, the following actions shall be completed:

(a) Upon the identification of a danger threat, the child protective investigator shall determine if, with the provision of safety management services and the implementation of an in-home safety plan, the child can safely remain at home.

1. If the child cannot remain in the home without safety management, the child protective investigator must develop an out-of-home safety plan. If the family has not made a family-made arrangement prior to the Department’s intervention or the family-made arrangement is inappropriate due to the circumstances surrounding the danger threat(s) in the home, the child protective investigator shall take the child into protective custody and determine from the following list the least intrusive protective actions to ensure the child’s safety:

a. Release of the child to the other parent shall be the first safety action considered.

b. When the other parent is unavailable or not an appropriate placement option, the next least intrusive action is placement of the child with a relative.

c. When a relative is unavailable or not an appropriate placement option, the next least intrusive action is placement of the child with a non-relative who is known to the family and who is able to provide for the health and safety of the child and has an established relationship with the child.

d. When non-relatives are not available or are not appropriate placement options, the child shall be placed in licensed care.

2. The child protective investigator shall assess the child’s needs for immediate services and accommodations upon removal and prior to placement, and take steps to ensure those immediate needs are met.

(b) If a child is removed from the home, the child protective investigator shall maintain the child in the current school setting unless it is determined that continuing attendance is not in the child’s best interest, or ongoing safety issues require transfer to a new school.

(c) Supervisors shall review all safety plans within 24 hours of identification of present or impending danger to ensure that the plan appropriately addresses the identified danger threats.

(4) Supervisors shall conduct an initial supervisory consultation with the investigator within five (5) days of the assignment of the investigation to discuss the status of the investigation and the assessment activities conducted to date.

(5) A second tier consultation shall review and document in FSFN all reports in which:

(a) An in-home present danger safety plan is initiated with the family.

(b) There are no identified danger threats in the home, i.e. the child is assessed as “safe,” but the child’s risk assessment score is very high.

(c) There is a child death with surviving siblings in the home.

(6) The child protective investigator shall determine in all investigations whether a child is an Indian child or Alaskan Native child, as defined by the Indian Child Welfare Act, codified at 25 U.S.C. s. 1901 et seq. When it is determined that the child is an Indian child or Alaskan Native child, the child protective investigator shall comply with the provisions of the Act.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 39.301(14)(c) FS. Law Implemented 39.301 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 12-31-14, 12-13-15, 3-29-16, 6-5-16, 12-24-17.

65C-29.004 Institutional Child Protective Investigations.

*[See also, FS 39.302(1) ;Interagency Agreement ]

(1) If the institutional report involves a Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facility or institution, the child protective investigator shall comply with the investigations of abuse or neglect in DJJ program requirements pursuant to the Interagency Agreement between the Agency for Health Care Administration, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Department of Children and Families, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Education, Department of Health, Guardian ad Litem Program, and Florida’s Office of Early Learning To Coordinate Services for Children Served by More than One Agency (Interagency Agreement), signed October 31, 2012, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-04812. The Department and sheriff’s offices shall develop local protocols for the implementation of the Interagency Agreement.

(2) If the report has been assigned an immediate initial response by the Florida Abuse Hotline, it may be downgraded to a 24-hour response, if approved by the immediate supervisor. Approval shall be based on a determination that the child is not currently being harmed or at risk of harm. The rationale for the change shall be approved by the supervisor and documented in FSFN.

(3) Upon receipt of such report, the child protective investigator shall provide the following notifications:

(a) If the institution is exempt from licensing under Section 409.176, F.S., the Florida statewide child care organization responsible for registering non-licensed residential child caring agencies or family foster homes shall be notified;

(b) If the institution is a Department of Juvenile Justice contracted facility or a Department of Juvenile Justice operated facility, immediate notification to the Department of Juvenile Justice State Program Office shall be made;

(c) If the institution is a residential child caring facility, as defined in Sections 409.175 and 409.176, F.S., the facility’s superintendent or designee shall be notified upon initial contact at the institution;

(d) If the institution is a child caring facility, as defined in Section 402.302, F.S., notify the agency responsible for licensing and/or regulatory oversight. Upon initial contact at the facility, the child protective investigator shall verify the name of the licensing or regulatory agency and obtain a contact number for such agency;

(e) If the facility is exempt from licensing, as specified under Sections 409.176 and 402. 316, F.S., notify the owner or operator of the facility;

(f) Notify the child’s attorney, if one has been appointed;

(g) Notify the child’s guardian ad litem of the receipt of the report and ongoing investigation.

(4) For each institutional report he or she receives, the child protective investigator shall:

(a) Review the agency, facility, or program’s prior history of reports and determine which investigations occurred under the current management structure or owner to be able to associate a pattern of reports and responsibility for corrective actions to the appropriate individual or program manager, administrator, or owner.

(b) Conduct a face-to-face contact with the alleged victim. If the child is no longer located at the institution or facility, the on-site visit will occur where the child is located at the time the report is received.

1. For institutional reports where the alleged child victim is no longer located at the institution or facility, the child protective investigation shall be transferred to the county where the institution or facility is located immediately upon completion of the face-to-face contact with the alleged victim and assessment and documentation of the child safety factors.

2. For institutional reports involving multiple alleged victims, only the names and related demographic information of those child victims for whom there has been a determination of not substantiated or verified findings shall be part of the final report.

3. The child protective investigator shall inform the parent or legal custodian of any danger threat(s) to the child and discuss what actions are required on the caregiver’s part to ensure the child’s safety.

4. If the child’s school, daycare, or institution denies the child protective investigator access to the alleged victim, the investigator shall immediately contact a Children’s Legal Services attorney in order to seek court authorization to gain access to the alleged victim.

(c) Determine the nature and extent of the maltreatment. If the child has been examined by either the institution’s medical staff or any other medical professional, the investigator shall consult with such medical staff and obtain a copy of the medical records generated as a result of such examination.

(d) Determine the identity of the person responsible for the maltreatment, including the name, address, gender, and race. In instances which the employee is found to be responsible for abuse, neglect or abandonment in an institutional setting, the child protective investigator (CPI) shall determine whether there is reasonable cause to suspect the employee’s children were abused, abandoned, or neglected by the employee, in which case the CPI must contact the Florida Abuse Hotline.

(e) Determine if immediate safety actions are necessary to protect the child from further abuse, neglect or abandonment. If the program or facility’s owners or administrators have not taken actions to address a situation of harm or threatened harm to a child in their care, the child protective investigator may restrict the alleged perpetrator’s access to the child if:

1. The caregiver has harmed a child or made credible threats to harm a child and continues to have access to the child; or

2. The investigator determines that the safety measures of the facility are insufficient to ensure that a child is not further harmed.

(f) Determine the child’s need for services, if any, and advise the child’s parent or legal custodian of the community resources available to help the child and family cope with the maltreatment.

(g) Discuss the report findings and the child’s need for services or treatment with the child’s parents or legal guardians, case manager and/or DJJ counselor, if assigned and guardian ad litem, if appointed.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121 FS. Law Implemented 39.302 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 12-31-14.


65C-29.005 Children Denied Shelter (Lockouts) - (Repealed).

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121 FS. Law Implemented 39.01, 39.012, 39.201, 39.301 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Repealed 12-31-14.


65C-29.006 Foster Care Referrals.

(1) Foster care referrals involve concerns about possible licensing violations or the manner of care provided for children in emergency shelter, foster, or group homes. Foster care referrals do not contain allegations of abuse, neglect or abandonment. If child maltreatment is identified or suspected during assessment of the foster care referral, the responder shall contact the Florida Abuse Hotline for the purpose of reporting the maltreatment and initiating a separate child protective investigation.

(2) The unit or agency responsible for licensing the foster home, group home or emergency shelter home shall initiate the assessment within 72 hours of receipt of the referral.

(3) The licensing unit or agency staff shall complete the assessment and determine corrective actions required, if any, within five (5) working days of the receipt of the referral.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 39.201, 409.175(8)(b) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 12-31-14.


65C-29.007 Child-on-Child Sexual Abuse.

*(See also, FS 39.307 & CFOP 175-88 & CFOP 170-11)

(1) To reduce the stigma of child-on-child sexual abuse and reduce further harm to the child victim(s), the child protective investigator shall use a family-centered, trauma-informed approach to conduct the assessment process.

(2) Referrals for services shall not be initiated when, in the determination of the protective investigator, the reported incident contains elements of normal sexual exploration that is voluntary, spontaneous, and typically involves same-age children.

(3) Referrals for services shall be initiated when sexual behaviors are documented to be repetitive, unresponsive to adult intervention and supervision, equivalent to adult criminal violations, and pervasive – representative of a wide array of developmentally unexpected sexual acts.

(4) Case planning and determination of treatment needs are to be conducted through a multi-disciplinary staffing approach involving the child’s parents, child protective investigative staff, law enforcement, representatives of the child protection team of the Department of Health or Children Advocacy Centers, and community-based care providers under contract with the Department to provide ameliorative and treatment services as appropriate.

(5) In those situations where the parent or legal guardian does not agree with the multidisciplinary staffing recommendations for further assessment or treatment for the juvenile sexual offender or child exhibiting inappropriate sexual behavior, the child protective investigator will staff the case with Children’s Legal Services for consideration of filing a petition for dependency to address the child’s on-going need for therapeutic interventions.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 39.307(7) FS. Law Implemented 39.307 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 12-31-14.


65C-29.008 Initial Health Care Assessment for Children Alleged to Be Abused, Neglected or Abandoned.

*(See also, FS 39.304)

(1) Unless a child is exhibiting signs or symptoms of illness, an initial health care assessment by a licensed health care professional shall be completed for every child placed with a relative, non-relative, or in licensed care within five (5) working days of the removal. A child who appears to be sick or in physical discomfort shall be examined by a licensed health care professional within 24 hours.

(2) Whenever possible, the assessment should be conducted by the child’s regular pediatrician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner. In instances when the child has not been regularly seen by a pediatrician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner, the assessment shall be completed by one of the following listed in preferential order:

(a) A physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner selected by the parent or legal guardian; or

(b) Medical staff from the Child Protection Team (CPT).

(3) Only non-invasive medical procedures may be used on children during health care assessments unless the child’s parent gives permission or a court order has been obtained authorizing the invasive procedure. Any procedure that involves penetration of the child’s skin or internal body cavity beyond a natural or artificial body orifice is considered invasive.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 39.407 FS. Law Implemented 39.407 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 12-31-14.


65C-29.009 Criminal, Juvenile and Abuse/Neglect History Checks.

*(See also, FS 39.0138 & CFOP 175-94]

(1) For each report received, the child protective investigator shall request a local history check from local law enforcement on all subjects of the report, household members and any adult visitor to the home who provides care or supervision of the child outside the parent’s immediate presence within 24 hours of the person’s identity and demographic information becoming known to the investigator. The request for the local law enforcement history check shall include any call-out history to the family’s residence.

(2) For any persons residing in the household or additional subjects of the report that were not included in the initial record checks completed by the Florida Abuse Hotline, the child protective investigator shall request the Hotline to complete additional checks on these individuals within 24 hours of the person’s identity and demographic information becoming known to the investigator; and

(a) Perform a check of the Department’s statewide automated child welfare system for prior and/or current child protective investigations and/or ongoing services involvement with these persons.

(b) Request a local criminal history check from local law enforcement.

(3) If the family has moved to Florida from another state within the past five (5) years, the child protective investigator shall contact the appropriate law enforcement and child protection agencies in the state where the family resided and request a criminal, including local, and abuse history check on all subjects and household members of the report.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121 FS. Law Implemented 39.301 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 12-31-14.


65C-29.010 False Reports.

*(See also, FS 39.205 , FS 39.206 & CFOP 175-19)

(1) When a child protective investigator suspects that a false report has been made, the investigator shall advise the reporter of the potential administrative fines, civil and criminal penalties associated with the filing of a false report.

(2) In determining whether a report has been filed maliciously, the Department shall consider the following factors:

(a) There are no indicators of abuse, neglect or abandonment as alleged in the report.

(b) The reporter has made contradictory or inconsistent statements when questioned about how the reported information was obtained.

(c) Prior allegations made by this reporter have been determined to be patently unfounded or to have no indicators of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

(d) There is credible evidence that the reporter has a history of disputes or seeking retaliation against the alleged perpetrator or other family members.

(e) There is a history of unresolved custody issues between the reporter and the alleged perpetrator or other family members.

(3) Child protective investigators and child protective investigator supervisors shall, in consultation with the Children’s Legal Services attorney, and with the consent of the alleged perpetrator, refer the suspected false report to the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction along with the following information:

(a) The report number and a copy of the investigative file;

(b) All factors that were considered in the determination that the report constitutes a suspected false report;

(c) The audio recording of the call to the Florida Abuse Hotline; and

(d) The identification of the physical location from where the call originated.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 39.205(7) FS. Law Implemented 39.206, 39.205(7) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 12-31-14.


65C-29.011 Out-of-Town Inquiries.

(1) Out-of-town inquiries (OTIs) are requests for information exchange between child protective investigators working in counties of different jurisdiction.

(a) Requests for interviews of subjects of reports;

(b) Requests for intra-state home studies for relative/non-relative emergency placements; and

(c) Requests for local criminal history checks.

(2) Any request made on behalf of children that lawfully requires the initiation of interstate compact for placement of children procedures are not eligible to utilize the OTI process.

(3) OTIs may be initiated by a child protective investigator, the court, or an out-of-state social service agency.

(4) Upon initiating the request for an OTI, the investigator requesting the OTI shall document the purpose for the request and the specific actions required to be completed in the investigative record.

(5) OTIs shall be commenced within 24 hours of the receipt of the request unless the OTI involves an emergency placement or response to imminent child safety. When an emergency placement is being sought or imminent child safety is involved, the OTI shall be commenced immediately.

(6) OTIs requesting information for planned placements, adult subjects of a report, or children not alleged to be a victim shall be completed within five (5) working days of the receipt of the OTI request, unless otherwise agreed upon at the time of the OTI request. Upon completion of the OTI actions, the child protective investigator shall document all requested information in the investigative record.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121 FS. Law Implemented 39.0121 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 12-31-14.


65C-29.012 Transfer of Child Protective Investigations Within and Between Districts.

(1) The transfer of a child protective investigation within and between circuits shall be initiated by the supervisor requesting the transfer via telephone or e-mail within 24 hours of identification of the need for transfer.

(2) Prior to initiating the request for transfer, the supervisor shall ensure that all information collected to date and the specific circumstances warranting the transfer are fully documented in the investigative file.

(3) Any disagreements regarding the acceptance of a transfer request between supervisors shall be referred directly to each region’s program manager or designee for resolution within 24 hours of the refusal of the transfer request.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121 FS. Law Implemented 39.0121 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 12-31-14.


65C-29.013 Diligent Efforts to Locate.

(1) The child protective investigator shall make diligent efforts to locate a family prior to closing the investigation. When the family cannot be located at the time of the initial visit, the investigator shall conduct follow-up visits to the home during different times of the day and night, including weekends.

(2) If the family has not been located within 72 hours, the child protective investigator shall re-contact the reporter, if known, to determine if the family has recently moved or has fled to avoid the abuse investigation. If the reporter is anonymous and the child protective investigator has made diligent efforts to locate the child, the child protective investigator shall use the caller ID number in the abuse report to contact the reporter for the purpose of locating the child.

(3) When the child protective investigator has reason to suspect that the family has fled to avoid the investigation, the child protective investigator, child protective investigations supervisor, and counsel from Children’s Legal Services shall conduct a legal staffing to determine if sufficient probable cause exists to file a shelter petition based on credible evidence that the child is in imminent danger.

(4) When the child protective investigator has made a preliminary determination that the family has fled to avoid the investigation, a ‘Statewide Alert’ will be issued in FSFN.

(5) Prior to closing an investigation when a family cannot be located, the supervisor must determine if “diligent efforts to locate” the family have been expended. The supervisor must assess the following in making that determination:

(a) A thorough investigative search has been completed in an attempt to locate the family.

(b) A Statewide Alert has been issued on the family, when needed.

(c) The evidence gathered does not meet the standard for probable cause for the filing of a petition.

(6) Children who have been ordered to be taken into protective custody shall be referred to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Missing Child Tracking System (MCTS) and on-going search activities shall be transferred to the Regional Criminal Justice Coordinator for the purpose of ensuring continuing efforts to locate the child.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121 FS. Law Implemented 39.402 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 12-31-14.


65C-29.014 High Risk Tracking and Review. (Repealed)

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121 FS. Law Implemented 39.01, 39.012, 39.0121 FS. History; New 5-4-06, Repealed 12-31-14.



65C 30 General Child Welfare Provisions

65C-30.016 New Children in Families under Supervision

65C-30.022 Termination of Services



65C-30.001 Definitions.

This rule includes the definitions for the following rules: Chapter 65C-13, F.A.C., “Licensed Out-Of-Home Care”; Chapter 65C-15, F.A.C., “Child-Placing Agencies”; Chapter 65C-28, F.A.C., “Out-Of-Home Care”; Chapter 65C-29, F.A.C., “Protective Investigations”; and Chapter 65C-30, F.A.C., “General Child Welfare Provisions.”

(1) “Additional Investigation Report” means a report to the Florida Abuse Hotline, by the same or different reporter, made prior to the date of investigation closure and containing information about one (1) or more subjects of an open report, which adds:

(a) New allegations of maltreatment;

(b) New incidents of the same maltreatment contained in the initial report;

(c) Additional victims or alleged perpetrators if they relate to the initial report;

(d) New information alleging that the immediate safety or well-being of the child is threatened thereby changing the investigation response time from a 24-hour response to an immediate response.

(2) “Adoption Exchange System (AES)” means the Department’s statewide information system of children receiving adoption services, and families seeking to adopt special needs children.

(3) “Adoption process” means any of the following: Recruitment of prospective adoptive parents; recruitment of individuals for the release of a child, including a child not yet born, for the purpose of adoption as part of a plan leading to the eventual placement of a child for adoption; provision of medical care or payment of maintenance costs and expenses during pregnancy in consideration for the release of a child for adoption; assessment and preparation of families before placement as part of a plan leading to the eventual placement of a child for adoption; and supervision of families, after placement and prior to the final adoption, has occurred.

(4) “Adult Household Member” means a person 18 years of age or older who is present in the home on a permanent or indefinite basis or the adult paramour who frequents the home of a household member, regardless of whether the person has unsupervised contact with children.

(5) “Allegation” means a statement by a reporter to the Florida Abuse Hotline that child abuse, neglect or abandonment is known or suspected.

(6) “Application Packet” means the entire set of completed documents required by the child-placing agency that are provided by attestation or in whole to the Department for review when requesting the issuance of a license as an out-of-home caregiver.

(7) “Attestation” means a community-based care lead agency’s certification that supporting documentation for the initial licensure or re-licensure of a family foster home is in compliance Section 409.175, F.S., with Florida state law and Rules 65C-13.023, 65C-13.024, 65C-13.025, and 65C-13.028 of the F.A.C.

(8) “Behavior Management Plan” means an agreement established with substitute caregivers to assist and supervise specific children that have behaviors that may result in harm.

(9) “Behavioral Health Multidisciplinary Team” means the group of people brought together by the child welfare professional to plan and coordinate behavioral health related services.

(10) “Capacity Waiver” means a documented approval, prior to placement, that authorizes exceptions to the licensed capacity and the total number of children or infants to be cared for in a family foster home.

(11) “Case” means a group of one (1) or more persons who are associated with one another and for whom the Department provides services and arranges the provision of services.

(12) “Case File” means all information for a case contained in the Department’s statewide automated child welfare information system (SACWIS), i.e., Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN), as well as the supporting documentation gathered during provision of services to that family. The “case file” may also refer to a duplicate, paper copy of the electronic case file and the supporting paper documentation. The Department’s SACWIS is the official system of record for each intake, investigation, and all subsequent casework to provide a complete, current, accurate and unified case history.

(13) “Case Manager” means a child welfare professional who is responsible for ongoing safety management and service provision of children who, through assessment of a child protective investigator, have been determined to be unsafe.

(14) “Case Transfer” means the process of transferring primary responsibility for a case.

(15) “Child Health Check-up” means regular physical exams, growth measurements, immunizations, vision and hearing screenings, dental screenings and, if necessary, other tests, services, and referrals for diagnosis and treatment as outlined in the Florida Medicaid Child Health Check-Up Coverage and Limitations Handbook, October 2003, incorporated by reference, and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06455.

(16) “Child Maltreatment Index” is a document that defines specific types of abuse, neglect or abandonment; and guides decision making by staff at the Florida Abuse Hotline and Child Protective Investigations regarding screening decisions and investigative findings. The “Child Maltreatment Index,” CF Operating Procedure No. 175-04, October 2015, is incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06454.

(17) “Child-on-Child Sexual Abuse” means any sexual behavior between children which occurs without consent, without equality, or as a result of coercion.

(18) “Child-Placing Agency” means any person, corporation, or agency, public or private, other than the parent or legal guardian of the child or an intermediary acting pursuant to Chapter 63, F.S., that is licensed pursuant to Section 409.175, F.S., and places or arranges for the placement of a child in a family foster home, residential child caring agency, or approved adoptive home, and provides any of the necessary adoptive services listed under subsection (3) of this rule, or any corporation or agency under contract with the Department as a community-based care lead agency.

(19) “Child Protection Services” or “Child Welfare Services” means core child protection programs, such as the Florida Abuse Hotline, protective investigations, protective supervision, post-placement supervision, foster care and other out-of-home care, or adoption services.

(20) “Child Protective Investigator (CPI)” means a child welfare professional who is responsible for investigating alleged child maltreatment and conducting assessments regarding the safety of children.

(21) “Child’s Resource Record” means a standardized record developed and maintained for every child entering out-of-home care that contains copies of the basic legal, demographic, available and accessible educational, and available and accessible medical and psychological information pertaining to a specific child, as well as any documents necessary for a child to receive medical treatment and educational services.

(22) “Child Welfare Professional” means an individual who is primarily responsible for case activities that has met the criteria for Florida Certification as a Child Protective Investigator, Case Manager or a Licensing Counselor.

(23) “Children’s Legal Services (CLS)”means Department of Children and Families attorneys or attorneys from contracted entities dedicated to representing the Department in Chapter 39, F.S., proceedings.

(24) “Children’s Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (CMAT)” means an inter-agency coordinated effort of Medicaid in the Agency for Health Care Administration; the Department of Children and Families; the Agency for Persons with Disabilities; and Children’s Medical Services in the Department of Health. The CMAT makes recommendations for medically necessary services for children birth to 21 years old who are medically complex or medically fragile.

(25) “Collateral Contacts” mean face to face, telephonic or written communication with persons who provide relevant information for a child protection investigation but who are not subjects of the reports.

(26) “Commencement” means the date and time that the investigator attempted or achieved a face-to-face contact with the child victim by visiting the site where the victim was reportedly located.

(27) “Communicable Disease” means any disease caused by transmission of a specific infectious agent, or its toxic products, from an infected person, an infected animal, or the environment to a susceptible host, either directly or indirectly.

(28) “Community-Based Care (CBC)” means the system of care for the provision of all child welfare services – with the exception of child protective investigations and the Florida Abuse Hotline. The delivery model is utilization of privatized contractors that determine the needs and develop the resources for the community being served, in addition to core requirements outlined in Florida Statute or Florida Administrative Code, or as stipulated per contract with the Department.

(29) “Comprehensive Behavioral Health Assessment (CBHA)” means an in-depth assessment of the child’s emotional, social, behavioral, and developmental functioning within the family home, school, and community, as well as the clinical setting.

(30) “Concurrent Case Planning” means working toward a primary permanency goal while at the same time establishing an alternative permanency goal for the child to be utilized in the event reunification does not occur within a time period that is reasonable with the child’s sense of time.

(31) “Conditions for Return” means the specific family conditions or behaviors that must exist or be in place in order to meet the criteria for the child to be returned home safely.

(32) “Consent for Medical Treatment” or “Informed Consent for Medical Treatment” means consent voluntarily given after a sufficient explanation and disclosure of the purpose of the proposed treatment and the alternative treatments available.

(33) “Contracted Provider” means any licensed child-placing agency that has entered into a contract with the Department for the purposes of recruitment, training, evaluation and/or supervision of licensed out-of-home caregivers.

(34) “Contracted Service Provider” means a private agency that has entered into a contract with the Department or with a community-based care lead agency to provide supervision of and services to dependent children and children who are at risk of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

(35) “County of Jurisdiction” means the county where the court of jurisdiction is located, or, in cases of non-judicial supervision, the county where the family has resided for 30 consecutive days.

(36) “Court Ordered Supervision” means the court has ordered the Department or contracted service provider to supervise the child and family over a period of time.

(37) “Criminal, Delinquency and Abuse/Neglect History Check” means the act of assessing the history of persons through a criminal records check pursuant to Section 435.04, F.S., and criminal, juvenile and abuse/neglect history checks pursuant to Section 39.0138, F.S., as described in Sections 39.401(3) and 39.521(2)(r), F.S.

(38) “Critical Junctures” means times during an investigation or services case when events that affect child safety are occurring in the investigation or services case. Critical junctures include the following:

(a) When safety analysis has resulted in a decision to remove a child from home.

(b) At the birth or death of a sibling or the addition of a new family member, including paramours.

(c) Before changing the case plan to include unsupervised visits.

(d) Before a child is returned home from substitute care.

(e) Before the case is closed or dismissal of court jurisdiction is recommended.

(39) “Danger Threat” means caregiver behaviors, attitudes, motives, emotions and/or situations posing a specific threat of severe harm to a child.

(40) “Emergency Medical Care and Treatment” means care or treatment of a child who has been injured or is suffering from an acute illness, disease, or condition if, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, delay in initiation or provision of medical care or treatment would endanger the health or physical well-being of the child.

(41) “Evidence” for the purpose of child protective investigations means any and all materials, documents, first party observations and specific facts that are relevant to prove and support specific allegations of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

(42) “Exigent Circumstances” mean situations in which it is anticipated that a child will be placed with a relative or non-relative within 72 hours.

(43) “Extraordinary Medical Care and Treatment” means care or treatment of a child that is outside of the routine medical and dental care included in the definition of ordinary medical care and treatment. This includes surgery, anesthesia, and administration of psychotropic medications.

(44) “Family Made Arrangement” means a safety action initiated and completed by a parent/legal guardian to temporarily relocate a child from the family’s home to a responsible adult chosen by the parent/legal guardian.

(45) “Family Assessment,” “Family Functioning Assessment,” “Ongoing Family Functioning Assessment” and “Progress Update” means a decision-making and documentation process conducted in response to a child abuse and/or neglect report or any other instances in which safety needs to be assessed throughout the life of an active investigation or ongoing services case to help evaluate danger threats, child vulnerability, parental protective capacities and to determine the safety response, case outcomes and goals.

(46) “Family Preservation Services” mean services provided to children (and their families) that have been found to be unsafe and include safety management services, treatment services and child well-being services.

(47) “Family Support Services” mean services provided to children (and their families) who have been found to be safe and at high or very high risk of future maltreatment.

(48) “Family Team Meeting” means the process that enables families to create and utilize a team of persons and professionals to assist with safety and/or case planning.

(49) “Family Time” means visitation and other forms of contact between children and parents, siblings who are separated, and grandparents.

(50) “Finding” means the investigative determination that there is credible evidence to support or refute the alleged child maltreatment.

(51) “Florida Abuse Hotline” means the Department’s central abuse reporting intake assessment center, which receives and processes reports of known or suspected child abuse, neglect or abandonment 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

(52) “Foster Care Referrals” mean calls to the Florida Abuse Hotline regarding concerns about the care provided in a licensed foster home, group home or emergency shelter that do not meet the criteria for acceptance of a report of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

(53) “Group Care Facility” or “Licensed Group Care Facility” means a “residential child-caring agency” as defined in Section 409.175, F.S.

(54) “Guardianship” means a legally established relationship between a child and adult who is appointed to protect the child’s best interests and to provide the child’s care, welfare, education, discipline, maintenance, and support.

(55) “Home Study” means the written documentation of an on-site assessment completed prior to the child’s placement that evaluates the caregiver’s capacity to provide a safe, stable and supportive home environment, and determines if the physical environment is safe and can meet the child’s needs.

(56) “Household” means a common residence shared by two (2) or more individuals, whether related or not.

(57) “Household Member” means any person who resides in a household, including the caregiver and other family members residing in the home. Household members include adult visitors to the home who provide care of the child outside the parent’s sight and/or sound supervision.

(58) “Immediate” or “immediately” means as soon as possible, but no later than four (4) hours.

(59) “Inappropriate Sexual Behavior” means sexually reactive behaviors of a child including acting-out sexually, engaging in inappropriate sex play for age and maturity or demonstrating a premature understanding of sex.

(60) “Independent Living Services” means services to assist older children in foster care and young adults who were formerly in foster care obtain life skills and education for independent living and employment, have a quality of life appropriate for their age, and assume personal responsibility for becoming self-sufficient adults.

(61) “Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA),” 25 U.S.C. 1901 et seq, means the federal act that governs child custody proceedings involving American Indian or Alaskan Native children in state courts.

(62) “Individual Educational Plan (IEP)” means a written assessment for a child with a disability or special educational needs that is developed and implemented in accordance with the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA),” 20 U.S.C. §1400 et seq.

(63) “Informal safety service provider” means a responsible adult identified by a parent or legal guardian who agrees to provide safety management services as specified in a safety plan.

(64) “Interstate Compact” or “Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)” means a uniform law enacted in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It establishes a contract among the states and jurisdictions that ensures orderly procedures for the interstate placement and post-placement supervision of children and codifies responsibilities for those involved in placing the child.

(65) “Investigative Search” means making inquiries of written records and electronic databases to locate subjects of a report when reasonable efforts to locate the family have been expended, but failed to locate the family.

(66) “Lead Agency” means an “eligible lead community-based care provider” as defined in Section 409.986(3)(d), F.S.

(67) “Licensed family foster home” means “family foster home” as defined Section 409.175, F.S.

(68) “Licensed Out-of-Home Caregiver” means any person licensed under Section 409.175, F.S., to provide 24 hour care. This term also refers to foster parents.

(69) “Licensing Authority” means the Department of Children and Families.

(70) “Licensing Service Agreement” means a written agreement signed by licensed out-of-home caregivers that specifies duties and responsibilities over children served.

(71) “Maltreatment” means behavior that is harmful and destructive to a child’s cognitive, social, emotional, or physical development. This is referenced in the Child Maltreatment Index, incorporated in subsection (16) of this rule, as the harm that occurred as the result of maltreatment.

(72) “Missing Child Emergency” means situations that require immediate actions when a child appears to be missing.

(73) “No Jurisdiction” means a designation given to abuse reports that have been accepted by the Florida Abuse Hotline, but upon further investigation or after the initial contact, the CPI determines that the Department or sheriff’s office does not have the authority to investigate because the allegations and/or facts surrounding the report do not meet statutory criteria including:

(a) The alleged perpetrator is a staff member in a general hospital, while acting in an official capacity (excluding a psychiatric ward);

(b) The alleged perpetrator is a law enforcement officer or employee of a jail, municipal or county detention facilities, Juvenile Bootcamp Facility, or Department of Corrections, while acting in an official capacity;

(c) The alleged perpetrator is a non-caregiver, except in cases of human trafficking;

(d) The allegations are of harm or threatened harm to a child who is residing and located in another state at the time of the report; or

(e) The allegations are of harm or threatened harm to a child who resides on federal property such as an Indian reservation or military base (unless there is an agreement with the appropriate authorities to surrender jurisdiction to the Department).

(74) “Non-judicial case” means the the children have been determined to be unsafe, a safety plan is required and the family has consented to services and supervision aimed at addressing the conditions that make the child unsafe.

(75) “Non-relative” or “non-relative caregiver” means any person who does not meet the definition of a relative and who is caring for a child placed in his or her custody.

(76) “On-Site Visit” means a face-to-face visit by a child welfare professional with the child or other subjects of the report at sites other than the child welfare professional’s office location.

(77) “Other Parent Home Assessment” means the assessment of a parent and the parent’s household prior to the child’s release or placement, in order to determine if the parent will be able to safely care for the child.

(78) “Ordinary Medical Care and Treatment” means ordinary and necessary medical and dental examinations and treatments. Included in this definition are blood testing, preventive care including ordinary immunizations, tuberculin testing, and well-child care.

(79) “Out-of-County Services” mean supervision and/or services provided when case participants reside in multiple counties.

(80) “Out-of-Home Care” means the placement of a child in licensed and non-licensed settings, arranged and supervised by the Department or contracted service provider, outside of the home of the parent.

(81) “Out-of-Town Inquiry (OTI)” means a request for assistance that originates from intrastate, interstate or authorized international sources.

(82) “Partnership Plan” means a written agreement between licensed out-of-home caregivers and the supervising agency representative that specifies each party’s duties and responsibilities to children served and to the Department and/or child-placing agency.

(83) “Patently Unfounded” means incidents reported in good-faith to the Hotline which, after initial contact with participants, are subsequently determined to have no basis in fact as demonstrated by readily observable and corroborated information. This is not the presence of evidence to refute or the absence of evidence to support the maltreatment, but rather the presence of evidence in direct contrast to what was reported.

(84) “Permanency” means achieving a permanent home for a child in accordance with Section 39.621, F.S.

(85) “Permanency Hearing” means a judicial review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 39.621(4), F.S.

(86) “Permanency Staffing” means a case review meeting prior to each permanency hearing for the purpose of permanency goal planning for a child.

(87) “Personal Profile” means the documents from foster parent training that provide the participant’s personal history and are considered in assessing his or her suitability as a licensed out-of-home caregiver.

(88) “Placement” means the supervised placement of a child in a setting outside the child’s own home.

(89) “Placement for Adoption” or “To Place for Adoption” means “placement” as defined in subsection 65C-16.001(24), F.A.C.

(90) “Post-Placement Supervision” means services provided to children and families upon reunification, which aim to support and preserve the family unit during the transition period.

(91) “Primarily Lives and Works Outside of Florida” means anyone who does not meet the definition of “primary residence and place of employment in Florida.”

(92) “Primary Residence and Place of Employment in Florida” means a person who lives and works in Florida at least six (6) months of the year and intends to do so for the foreseeable future or military personnel who designate Florida as their place of residence in accordance with the Service members Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. App. §§501-597b.

(93) “Psychotropic Medication” means any medication prescribed with the primary intent to stabilize or improve mood, mental status, behavioral symptomatology, or mental illness.

(94) “Reasonable Effort to Locate” means that the overall efforts of a child protective investigative unit have been sufficiently thorough to allow for case closure despite the inability to locate the family within 60 days of receipt of the report. Reasonable efforts to locate include contacts to locate the child through the school system, Economic Self Sufficiency records, additional contacts with the reporter or others named in the report, and telephone or city directory checks.

(95) “Receiving County” means the county to which a child or family is relocating or has relocated while supervision and services continue.

(96) “Receiving Unit” means the staff in a child protective investigations unit to which a request for an out-of-town inquiry (OTI) or a report transfer is made.

(97) “Region” means a geographical area through which the Department and community-based care providers plan and administer their programs.

(98) “Relative Caregiver” means a person who meets the definition of a relative as set forth in Sections 39.5085(2)(a)1.-3., F.S.

(99) “Relative Caregiver Program (RCP)” means a program defined in Section 39.5085(2), F.S., and includes non-relative caregiver financial assistance.

(100) “Removal Episode” means the entire period of time a child is in out-of-home care, beginning with the child’s removal from his or her primary residence and ending when permanency is achieved, the child becomes 18 years old, the child is emancipated by marriage or a court order, or the child dies. A new removal episode begins with each reentry into care.

(101) “Report” or “Hotline Report” means the document created from an allegation to the Florida Abuse Hotline alleging knowledge or a suspicion that a child has been abused, neglected, or abandoned by a parent, guardian, adult household member or other person responsible for a child’s welfare.

(102) “Residential Treatment Center” means “Residential treatment center for children and adolescents” as defined in Section 394.67, F.S.

(103) “Respite Care” means the temporary, (over 24 hours) intermittent care of a foster child by an individual other than the child’s out-of-home caregiver, regardless of whether the respite provider is paid by the lead agency.

(104) “Reunification” means the safe return of a child to the child’s home with an in-home safety plan.

(105) “Safe” means the absence of danger threats to a child.

(106) “Safety Management Services” means services that will manage or control the condition that is making a child unsafe.

(107) “Second Tier Consultation” means a consultative process in which additional guidance and feedback related to an open child protective investigation is received from a manager.

(108) “Sending County” means the county of jurisdiction that makes a request for supervision or continuation of non-judicial supervision to a receiving county when a child or family receiving services is relocating or has relocated to another county.

(109) “Sending Unit” means the staff in a child protective investigations unit initiating a request for an out-of-town inquiry (OTI) or an investigation transfer to another unit.

(110) “Shelter Status” means the legal status that begins when the child is taken into protective custody of the Department and ceases when the court grants custody to a parent, or, after disposition of the petition for dependency, the court orders the child released to a parent or placed in the temporary custody of the Department, a relative, or a non-relative.

(111) “Significant Caregiver Responsibility” means that the specific adult household member has taken responsibility for major caregiving duties.

(112) “Special Condition Referrals” means requests brought to the attention of the Department that require a response by the Department, investigating sheriff, or lead agency. These requests do not constitute willful abuse, neglect, or abandonment. These include the following situations:

(a) When the caregiver has been or is about to be incarcerated and plans must be made for the child’s immediate care;

(b) When the caregiver has been or is about to be hospitalized and plans must be made for the child’s immediate care;

(c) When the caregiver has died and plans must be made for the child’s immediate care;

(d) When the caregiver is having difficulty caring for a child to the degree that it appears very likely that without intervention, abuse, neglect, or abandonment will occur;

(e) Foster care referrals; or

(f) Reports of child on child abuse.

(113) “Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS)” (i.e., Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN)), means the Department’s comprehensive, statewide automated case tool that supports child welfare practice. A SACWIS holds the state’s official case file for all children and families served.

(114) “Subject of a Report” means any person named in an abuse, neglect or abandonment report.

(115) “Suitable” or “Suitability” for residential treatment means a determination by a Qualified Evaluator that a child with an emotional disturbance as defined in Section 394.492(5), F.S., or a serious emotional disturbance or mental illness as defined in Section 394.492(6), F.S., meets the statutory criteria for placement in a residential treatment center.

(116) “Supervision” means responsibility for managing a safety plan and a case plan to ensure enhancement of diminished protective capacities and/or permanency for unsafe children.

(117) “Supervising Agency” means any licensed child-placing agency that oversees and supports a family foster home and assists applicants in the licensing process.

(118) “Supplemental Report” means a report, whether by the same or another reporter, pertaining to the same incident currently under investigation, which involves the same subjects and same alleged maltreatments, but improves upon what is already known, such as providing a better address, corrected spelling of names, or other collateral contacts. These reports do not always require additional investigative activity, however upon review may warrant action.

(119) “Therapeutic Foster Care” means a program that provides mental health services for children with emotional and behavioral disturbances living in a family foster home.

(120) “Threatened Harm” means a behavior that is not accidental and which is likely to result in harm to the child.

(121) “Tribal Agreement” means a formal written agreement between the Department and a federally recognized American Indian tribe that guides interaction between the Department and the tribe in matters pertaining to child welfare, including child protective investigations and proceedings involving American Indian and Alaskan Native children in state courts.

(122) “Unified Home Study” means an assessment of a potential caregiver residing in Florida to determine if he or she is responsible and capable of providing a physically safe environment and a stable, supportive home for children under his or her care and that he or she will be able to meet the children’s well-being needs.

(123) “Voluntary Licensed Placement” means placement of a child in licensed out-of-home care when a parent or legal guardian requests the assistance of the Department or contracted service provider in planning for the temporary care and supervision of a child.

(124) “Well-Being” means a child’s emotional, developmental, educational, social, physical and mental health needs.

Specific Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 39.5085(2)(a), 63.233, 409.175(5) FS. Law Implemented 39.401(3), 39.5085, 39.521, 39.701, 409.145(1), 409.165(1), 409.401, 409.175 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16, 6-29-17, 12-4-17.


65C-30.002 Safety Planning and Case Transfer.

(1) Prior to case transfer, the child protection investigator (CPI) is responsible for development, management and modification of safety plans; after case transfer the case manager is responsible for safety management, including safety plan modifications. The CPI will have access to an array of formal safety management services available through the lead agency.

(2) An in-home safety plan will be developed in response to impending danger when all of the following conditions are met:

(a) The parents/legal guardians are willing for an in-home safety plan to be developed and implemented and have agreed to cooperate with all identified safety service providers;

(b) The home environment is calm and consistent enough for an in-home safety plan to be implemented and for safety service providers to be in the home safely;

(c) Safety services are available in order to manage the impending danger that is manifested in the home;

(d) The results of scheduled professional evaluations are not necessary for purposes of safety planning; and,

(e) The parents/legal guardians have a physical location in which to implement an in-home safety plan.

(3) The child welfare professional responsible for the safety plan must determine that any informal provider, including relatives or a parent not in the home, is capable of, and has committed to, implementing his or her role in the safety plan.

(a) The child welfare professional responsible shall ensure that child abuse and criminal history checks are completed on all informal providers.

(b) When an out-of-home plan is initiated, the child welfare professional must complete face-to-face contacts with the child and caregiver at least once every seven (7) calendar days.

(4) When an out-of-home safety plan for impending danger is initiated, the conditions for return and visitation with the parent will be established.

(a) The child welfare professional responsible for the case shall determine the child’s supervision and care needs pursuant to Rule 65C-28.004, F.A.C., to ensure that the child is placed with a responsible adult who can meet the child’s needs.

(b) The child welfare professional responsible for the case shall complete:

1. An Other Parent Home Assessment if releasing or placing the child with a parent; or

2. The Unified Home Study functionality in FSFN if placing the child with a relative or non-relative caregiver.

(5) Once the investigation and family functioning assessment have been completed, the CPI shall schedule a case transfer conference at which time a case manager will assume responsibility for ongoing safety and case management.

(a) The CPI or child protective investigator supervisor shall present the case to the lead agency or its designee at the case transfer conference. In all cases involving an American Indian or Alaskan Native child in which the potential outcome is a dependency action, the parent(s) or Indian Custodian and the child’s tribe shall be notified of the staffing and encouraged to participate.

(b) The case transfer conference shall:

1. Address the identification of danger threats, caregiver protective capacities and child vulnerability, including assessment information provided by the Child Protection Team;

2. Share all critical information on the family, including the parent’s or legal guardian’s level of cooperation in complying with safety actions as part of a lead agency managed safety plan;

3. If a child has been removed from the home by the Department or voluntarily placed outside the family home by a parent as a part of a family made arrangement, discuss the conditions for return related to the reasons for removal; and,

4. Ensure a smooth transition from one component of the child protection/child welfare system to another.

(c) At case transfer, the CPI shall ensure that the child’s FSFN case file provides:

1. Up-to-date investigative activities;

2. A completed family functioning assessment containing sufficient, reconciled and corroborated assessment information. Sufficient means enough information has been gathered to support the identification of danger threats, caregiver protective capacities, and child vulnerability;

3. The name and location of child’s school and/or child care provider, if available;

4. The name and location of child’s medical provider(s) and any health or medical information, if available;

5. Any documented diligent efforts to identify and locate all relatives of the child, to include parents of siblings;

6. The child’s date and location of birth if the child is under court ordered supervision, if available;

7. A photograph of the child who was removed or will be placed under court ordered supervision, if available;

8. Fingerprints of the child placed in out-of-home care, if available;

9. The status of the inquiry into whether the child may have Native American heritage;

10. The results of criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history checks performed on a relative or non-relative caregiver;

11. Any court or other documents related to shelter; and,

12. Any other documentation or actions agreed upon between the Department staff or sheriff’s office performing the investigation and the contracted service provider.

(d) Once the case transfer conference has been completed, full responsibility for the case by the case management provider will begin, including monitoring or modifying the safety plan.

(e) In non-judicial cases, the case manager shall seek court supervision of a case if the parent(s) are not demonstrating efforts to achieve case plan outcomes that address the child’s need for safety or if a higher level of intrusiveness is required to manage child safety.

(f) There shall be no discrimination against a child based on the child’s immigration status.

Specific Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12), (13), 39.5075(8) FS. Law Implemented 39.402(7), (15), 39.522(1) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.


65C-30.003 Diligent Search.

*[See also, FS 39.803 (5)-(6) & CFOP 175-22]

(1) Within 30 calendar days of the removal of a child from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian, the child protective investigator (CPI) shall initiate a diligent search to identify and locate any absent parent.

(a) If the child remains in out-of-home care following closure of an investigation by a CPI, the case manager shall continue diligent search activities until released by the court.

(b) In addition, the CPI shall initiate and the case manager shall continue diligent efforts to locate and provide notice to the following relatives: all adult grandparents, all parents of a sibling of the child, where such parent has legal custody of such sibling, and other adult relatives of the child (including any other adult relatives suggested by the parents).

(2) Other Diligent Search Activities.

(a) When a child is in an out-of-home placement with a relative or non-relative and the placement disrupts, the child welfare professional shall make diligent efforts to locate an adult relative, legal custodian or other appropriate adult willing and able to care for the child.

(b) When the diligent search involves an American Indian or Alaskan Native child, documentation of written correspondence with the child’s tribe and to the Secretary of the Interior through the Eastern Regional Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs shall be included in the case file by the case manager and included in the court record.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12), (13) FS. Law Implemented 39.502(8), (9) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.


65C-30.004 Identification of Children.

(1) Photographing of Children.

(a) Children to be photographed:

1. All children under court ordered supervision in-home shall be photographed within 15 days after the case has been staffed and transferred.

2. All children placed in out-of-home care shall be photographed within 72 hours of the beginning of a removal episode.

3. Upon return to care, any child who has been on runaway status shall have his or her photograph taken immediately.

(b) The child’s identity shall be verified by the child welfare professional or other staff person familiar with the child. The photograph and identifying information shall be maintained in FSFN.

(c) Photographs shall be updated as follows:

1. For children under the age of five (5) years, every six (6) months; and,

2. For all other children, annually.

(2) Fingerprinting of Children.

(a) The fingerprints of each child age three (3) years or older who is placed in out-of-home care shall be obtained within 15 days after initial placement. The record of the fingerprints shall be maintained in the child’s case file. If the child is under age three (3), a means of obtaining the child’s footprints shall be explored.

(b) Fingerprints are not required for children under supervision in-home.

(c) These fingerprints shall be used only to identify a child who is missing.

(3) Birth Verification of Children.

(a) A copy of a birth certificate or birth verification shall be obtained for each child under court ordered in-home supervision within 15 days after the case transfer conference.

(b) A copy of a birth certificate or birth verification shall be obtained for each child entering out-of-home care within 15 days of initial placement.

(c) For children born out-of-state or out-of-country, verification of the child’s birth shall be requested within 15 days from initial placement and documented in the case file. Refer to subsection 65C-30.007(11), F.A.C., regarding the necessary actions when it is determined that a child was born in another country and has not established legal alien status.

(4) At the time of adoption finalization, it is the responsibility of the case manager to coordinate with the adoptive parents to determine whether the child will have a new Social Security Number (SSN) or retain the same SSN after adoption.

Specific Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(3), (13), 39.5075(8), 63.233 FS. Law Implemented 39.5075 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.


65C-30.005 Ongoing Family Functioning Assessment.

*[See also, FS 39.301(6)]

(1) The case manager shall complete an ongoing family functioning assessment within 30 calendar days following the case transfer.

(a) The progress update shall be updated at least every three (3) months or at critical junctures until termination of services.

(b) Ongoing family functioning assessments and progress updates will be documented using FSFN functionality.

(2) The ongoing family functioning assessment involves the case manager and the family in a joint effort to identify and analyze the family strengths and resources, child well-being, as well as the contributing factors and underlying conditions that contribute to the child’s safety and risk of maltreatment. The ongoing family functioning assessment must include information from the Initial Health Care Assessment and Comprehensive Behavioral Health Assessment.

Rulemaking Authority 409.145(5) FS. Law Implemented 409.145(1) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.


65C-30.006 Case Planning.

*(See also, FS 39.601) & FS 39.602)

(1) Each child under Department or contracted service provider’s supervision shall have a case plan developed and documented using the case plan functionality in FSFN using the Ongoing Family Functioning Assessment to guide case plane outcomes.

(2) The case manager shall seek court supervision of a case when the parent(s) are not demonstrating efforts to achieve case plan outcomes that address the child’s need for safety.

(3) Every case involving a child in an out-of-home placement shall be evaluated to determine if concurrent case planning is appropriate.

(4) The case manager shall:

(a) Meet with the parent(s) to discuss plan progress, eliminate barriers to case progress, resolve conflicts or disagreements and discuss the expected frequency of such meetings.

(b) Ensure that tasks and services necessary to meet the child’s well-being needs as identified in the Family Functioning Assessment are documented in the case plan and that services are obtained to meet these needs, including a referral within seven (7) days of removal for a CBHA for any child who is in out-of-home care and has been determined to be Medicaid enrolled, as per Rule 65C-28.014, F.A.C.

(c) Ensure that visitation between a child in an out-of-home placement and his or her separated siblings, parents, relatives and other people of significance in the child’s life is addressed in the case plan.

(5) Case Plan Updates and Amendments.

(a) The case plan shall be updated or amended, as necessary in the following circumstances:

1. The court orders a change or makes decisions that affect the case plan;

2. There is a change in the child’s placement, which affects the case plan;

3. A change occurs with the parents protective capacities;

4. The child’s permanency goal changes;

5. New information concerning the child’s safety or well-being is obtained that was not available at the time the previous case plan was prepared; or

6. There was an error or oversight in the case plan.

(b) Prior to amending the case plan, the case manager shall:

1. Discuss the changes with the parents, guardian ad litem, current caregivers, service providers, the CLS attorney and the child, when appropriate;

2. Provide the CLS attorney with modifications to the case plan for filing with the court.

(c) Extraordinary Circumstances. If circumstances are so extraordinary that an extension of the case plan beyond 12 months is warranted and is in the child’s best interests, the reasons for the extension shall be specifically documented and presented to the court. The request for extension shall be made no later than the 12-month permanency review hearing with supportive documentation contained in the Judicial Review Social Study Report.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12), (13) FS. Law Implemented 39.6011, 39.6012, 39.6013, 39.602 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.


65C-30.007 Case Management Responsibilities After Case Transfer.

(1) Contacts with Children.

(a) The case manager shall make face-to-face contact with every child under supervision and living in Florida no less frequently than every 30 days in the child’s residence. If the child lives in a county other than the county of jurisdiction, this shall be accomplished as provided in Rule 65C-30.018, F.A.C.

(b) Initial contact shall occur within two (2) working days of case transfer or the date of the court order for supervision, whichever occurs first.

(c) Contacts shall include observations and private discussion with the child as to the child’s safety and well-being.

(d) The safety plan shall establish the frequency of visitation by the case manager, but in no case shall the contact be less frequently than every 30 days.

(e) Face-to-face contacts with the child and caregiver shall occur at least once every seven (7) days as long as the child remains in shelter status. The frequency of contact, while in shelter status, may be modified after the case management supervisor documents in FSFN that all of the following conditions have been met:

1. The child is in the care of a relative, non-relative, or a licensed foster parent and is not demonstrating any behaviors that may lead to a placement disruption.

2. The child has not experienced any placement changes and the case has been open to case management for more than 30 days.

3. The child’s needs have been assessed and all therapeutic services needed are being provided.

4. The child, if developmentally appropriate, and the out-of-home caregiver are in agreement with the modification to the frequency of contact with the case manager.

5. The safety plan for the family does not require more frequent face-to-face contact between the child and case manager.

(f) If the frequency of face-to-face visits while in shelter status are modified pursuant to subsection (e) above, the case manager must document the reasons why the child is still in shelter status in FSFN.

(g) After disposition, the frequency of contacts may be modified, but in no case shall contacts be less frequently than every 30 days for a child.

1. The case manager must document all contacts in FSFN, including case plan and safety plan monitoring, no later than 2 business days from the contact.

2. Contact with a child outside the child’s current place of residence shall occur in an environment in which the child is comfortable, such as an early education or child care program, school setting, or child’s therapeutic setting.

(h) At least every 90 days, or more frequently if warranted based on the safety plan, the case manager shall make an unannounced visit to the child’s current place of residence. When a child is with a parent in a certified domestic violence shelter or a residential treatment program, visitation arrangements shall be coordinated with program staff and may occur outside of the facility.

(2) Contacts with Parent or Legal Guardian, and Caregiver Living in Florida.

(a) The case manager shall establish and maintain regular face-to-face contact a minimum of every 30 days with the parents or legal guardians and caregiver of any child unless parental rights have been terminated or the court rules otherwise. If the parent, legal guardian, or caregiver lives in a county other than the county of jurisdiction, this shall be accomplished as provided by Rule 65C-30.018, F.A.C.

(b) During these contacts case manager shall discuss with parents, legal guardians or caregiver the safety plan, the case plan progress and the child’s progress in terms of health, and well-being.

(c) If the case manager learns that a new adult has moved into the child’s home, a state and local criminal, juvenile and abuse/neglect history check shall be performed and documented as part of the ongoing family functioning assessment or progress update and the judicial review and the Unified Home Study will be updated.

(3) Child and parent or caregiver living out of Florida. The office of the Florida Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children shall ensure that the child welfare staff in the receiving state is notified of the Florida requirement for face-to-face contact a minimum of every 30 days with the child and the parent or legal guardian.

(a) The case manager shall maintain contact a minimum of every 30 days with the supervising worker in the other state to obtain updates regarding the child and family’s progress.

(b) Documentation of the contact and progress by the child and family shall be entered in FSFN.

(4) If a face-to-face visit with a child or parent or legal guardian is not completed, the case manager shall document in FSFN alternate contacts completed or attempted. The case manager’s immediate supervisor shall review the circumstances surrounding the attempted visit and expectations as to further efforts to complete the visit.

(5) If a child is on runaway status or his or her whereabouts are unknown, the case manager shall meet the requirements of Rule 65C-30.019, F.A.C. Documentation of the efforts to locate the child shall be documented in FSFN.

(6) All contacts and attempted contacts shall be documented in the case file within two (2) business days of the contact or attempted contact. The documentation shall provide evidence of the following:

(a) Sufficiency of current safety plan and whether it is the least intrusive;

(b) Progress towards completion of case plan outcomes;

(c) Effectiveness of current services and identification of additional services needed;

(d) Observations of the child’s development, physical condition and interaction with the parent or caregiver and household members;

(e) Assessment of progress in tasks and services aimed at ensuring the child’s health, safety and well-being needs; and,

(f) For children in an out-of-home placement:

1. Age 13 and older, documentation shall include comments from the child and caregiver concerning progress in learning identified life skills;

2. Frequency of visitation between the child, siblings and parents, any reason visitation is not occurring, and efforts to facilitate visits.

(7) In addition to the contacts required every 30 days, the case manager shall maintain ongoing communication with all service providers involved with the child and family to determine the sufficiency as well as the effectiveness of any safety management or treatment services. Both progress in and problems with service delivery shall be documented and steps shall be taken to resolve any delays or problems in service delivery or client participation.

(8) While service intervention is in progress, the case manager shall gather information from the parent(s), children and other family members, providers, and other relevant persons to:

(a) Determine whether or not the service is addressing the identified diminished caregiver protective capacities;

(b) Monitor and document whether the safety management services are still sufficiently managing the danger.

(c) Share information with the provider, such as changes in the family situation, changes with the child, any feedback from the family regarding the service and its effectiveness for them;

(d) Request progress reports and updates on problems and successes regarding the treatment; and,

(e) Take actions to modify the case plan when activities are no longer sufficient to support the achievement of case plan outcomes.

(f) Document all contacts with service providers.

(9) A safety plan must be modified to provide the least intrusive safety actions when any of the following changes occur:

(a) Conditions for return of the child have been met.

(b) A new danger threat has been identified.

(c) Danger threats have been eliminated.

(d) There is any change in the required criteria for an in-home safety plan:

1. The parent’s willingness to cooperate with safety service providers.

2. The family conditions or behaviors associated with a calm and consistent home environment.

3. The availability of safety service provider(s).

4. Results of a professional evaluation are necessary or have been received, which inform changes to the current safety plan.

5. The parents have a home location which is adequate for implementation of an in-home safety plan.

(10) If the case manager becomes aware of conditions or activities in the child’s home, current living arrangment or another location that threaten the safety of the child, the case manager shall take such steps as are necessary to protect the child. All concerns shall be relayed to the caregiver and to licensing staff, as appropriate. The case manager shall notify Children’s Legal Services (CLS) of the new placement and CLS shall notify the court.

(11) The case manager is responsible for knowing if a child is at risk of disruption and working with the caregiver to avoid such disruption. Should a placement change be necessary, the child will continue to be placed in the least restrictive setting. The case manager shall notify CLS of the new placement and CLS shall notify the court.

(12) Determination of Citizenship and Required Actions for Children Who Are Not U.S. Citizens.

(a) For each child adjudicated dependent due to abuse, neglect or abandonment, the case manager shall determine whether the child is a U.S. citizen.

1. If the child is not a U.S. citizen, the case manager shall determine whether the permanency plan for the child will include remaining in the United States or whether there is an option for a safe reunification with the parent or legal guardian located in another country. This includes a consideration of whether the parents or legal guardian can successfully complete a case plan.

2. If the permanency plan will include the child remaining in the United States, and the child is in need of documentation to effectuate this plan, the case manager shall refer the case to an authorized legal services immigration provider for a determination as to whether the child “may be eligible” for special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status [see 8 CFR 204.11(a)] or other immigration relief.

3. Within 60 days of an order finding that the child is eligible for SIJ status, the case manager shall assure that contracted or pro bono legal services have sufficient documentation to file a petition for SIJ status and the application for adjustment of status to the appropriate federal authorities on behalf of the child.

a. The case manager shall give the legal services provider proof of the child’s age. This proof may include a passport or some other official foreign identity document issued by a foreign government. Any foreign document must be translated into English. If such a document is not available, the case manager must discuss with either the legal services provider or CLS the possibility of obtaining a court Order with specific findings regarding the child’s age.

b. If a child has also been adjudicated delinquent, the case manager shall obtain all DJJ records and give them to the legal service provider to submit with the federal application for SIJ status. These records must be certified copies of the records of disposition.

(b) Requirement to Inform the Court.

1. During the first judicial review regarding the case, the Department, CBC or contracted service provider shall report to the court whether the child is a U.S. citizen.

2. If the child is not a U.S. citizen, the Department, CBC or contracted service provider shall inform the court of the steps that have been taken to address the child’s citizenship or residency status.

3. The information shall be provided to the court through a Judicial Review Social Study Report or testimony of the case manager, or it may be provided through both means.

4. The child shall be referred to an authorized immigration legal service provider as soon as it is clear that there may be an issue regarding the child’s immigration status.

(c) Provision of Needed Services. Regardless of the citizenship or immigration status of the child, he or she must be provided any needed services. If federally funded programs, such as Medicaid, are dependent on citizenship or a qualified alien status, the benefits and services must be provided with state general revenue funds or with the funding provided to the supervising CBC provider.

Specific Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(13), 39.5075(8) FS. Law Implemented 39.5075, 39.6011, 39.6012 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16, 4-17-16, 8-22-16.

65C-30.008 Child Welfare Professional Responsibilities to Parents.

(1) For children remaining in the home, the case manager shall assist the parents in order to:

(a) Resolve the situation that resulted in the need for a lead agency managed safety plan;

(b) Understand and meet their child’s needs, including the child’s need for safety;

(c) Maintain contact with the family’s service providers, including medical and educational providers; and,

(d) Work toward the case outcomes.

(2) For a child in an out-of-home placement, the case manager shall assist the parents in maintaining continuing contact with the child through visitation, letters, phone calls, and any other methods to maintain contact, when in the best interest of the child. All contact shall be in accordance with any order of the court.

(3) For a child in an out-of-home placement with a case plan goal of reunification, the case manager shall ensure the parents are provided with reunification services. Reunification services shall:

(a) Identify and remedy the problems that have resulted in the removal of the child.

(b) Assist the parents in making changes that will permit a safe reunification of the family and recommend services to ameliorate such problems.

(c) Focus on the specific problem areas related to conditions for return that make it unsafe to return the child home.

(d) Help the parent understand the possibility of permanent separation from the child if that becomes necessary.

(4) The case manager shall document services offered, services utilized and the effects of these services, and shall communicate at least every 30 days with the parents on progress made or lack of progress. This information shall provide the basis for casework decisions and recommendations to the court.

(5) If the court-approved goal of the case plan for a child in an out-of-home placement is not reunification, the case manager must continue reunification services until either released by the court or parental rights are terminated. The case manager has no obligation to offer or provide reunification services to the parents, unless it is necessary for the child’s well-being or is otherwise court ordered.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(13) FS. Law Implemented 39.6012(1) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.

65C-30.009 Least Intrusive Interventions.

(1) When the child welfare professional determines the protective, treatment and remedial services necessary to ensure the child’s safety, well-being and need for permanency, the following shall be the priority order of least intrusive options considered and shall be informed by the safety analysis:

(a) Child remains in home with no judicial actions.

(b) Child remains in home with judicial actions.

(c) Child is placed out of home temporarily.

(2) Prior to a child being removed from the home, the Department or its authorized agent shall determine if, with the provision of appropriate and available safety management services, the child could safely remain at home. If at any time it is determined the child’s safety and well-being are in danger, the safety plan shall be modified to control for the danger, which may include increasing the level of intrusiveness.

(3) The following outlines the tiered protocol to services that allows the Department or its agent to diligently support family continuity prior to placing children in out-of-home care.

(a) In-home Non-judicial Services. In this initial tier, the child will remain at home and the Department or contracted service provider shall manage the safety plan and work in partnership with the family, without judicial intervention, to develop a case plan based on the identified needs in the Family Functioning Assessment. If, during the course of In-home Non-judicial Services, there is no progress in increasing the diminished protective capacities or the safety plan is no longer sufficiently controlling the danger, the case manager shall increase the level of intrusiveness of the safety management services and pursue judicial intervention.

(b) In-home Judicial Services. In-home Judicial Services occur when it has been determined through safety analysis that the child can remain in the home with safety management services while receiving services under the supervision of the court. Judicial oversight is needed for the family to engage in treatment services and to achieve the case plan outcomes.

(4) Court Ordered Relative/Non-Relative Placements. When a child is removed from his or her parents or legal guardian due to abuse, neglect or abandonment, the Department or contracted service provider shall request the names, relationships and addresses of both parents, maternal and paternal relatives, and any non-relatives who are known to the family and who may be able to provide for the health and safety of the child and have an established relationship with the child and will make diligent efforts to identify and locate relatives and any parents of siblings.

(a) Prior to making an emergency placement with a relative or non-relative, an on-site check of the safety and appropriateness of the caregiver’s home and initial criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history check activities shall be performed, followed by the fingerprinting of all adult household members in the caregiver’s home and further criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history check activities as set forth in Rule 65C-28.011, F.A.C.

(b) Prior to the child’s placement the child welfare professional shall complete a home study of the selected caregiver’s home, as set forth in Rule 65C-28.012, F.A.C. When more than one (1) caregiver is being considered for placement, the rationale for the placement decision must be documented in FSFN. When a caregiver is denied placement, a home study will need to be completed to document the reason for denial.

(c) The child welfare professional shall inform the caregiver, in writing, about the:

1. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funded Temporary Cash Assistance Program (TCA) grant through the Office of Economic Self-Sufficiency (ESS) for relatives within the fifth degree of relationship by blood, marriage or adoption to the child, which would include Medicaid eligibility for the child. If the caregiver is a relative of the child, he or she shall be referred to ESS to apply for a TCA grant immediately upon the child’s placement.

2. Relative Caregiver Program payment available for relatives through ESS, post-disposition, if the caregiver is a relative who is within the fifth degree by blood or marriage to the parent or stepparent of the child (this is a broader degree of relationship than for TCA), in accordance with the criteria outlined in Section 39.5085(2)(a)1., F.S. Where there is a half-sibling of the related child whose parent or stepparent does not meet the degree of relationship to the caregiver required for eligibility, the half-sibling shall also be referred in accordance with the criteria outlined in Section 39.5085(2)(a)2., F.S. See paragraph 65C-28.008(2)(c), F.A.C., regarding the degree of relationship requirements for RCP eligibility.

3. Non-Relative Caregiver financial assistance available after adjudication and disposition.

4. The option of becoming a licensed caregiver.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(1), (13) FS. Law Implemented 39.301(9)(b), 39.401(4), 39.5085, 39.6012(1) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.


65C-30.010 Voluntary Protective Services. (Repealed)

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121 FS. Law Implemented 39.301 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Repealed 2-25-16.


65C-30.011 Placement Responsibilities of the Child Welfare Professional.

(1) The person making the placement shall provide or arrange for the transport of the child to the placement, advise the caregiver as to the reason or circumstances that caused the child to be placed and facilitate the adjustment of the child to the placement. The person making the placement shall also be aware of, and attend to, the child’s emotional needs.

(2) The person making the placement shall ensure that the child’s special physical, medical, developmental, educational or emotional needs are met as specified in Rule 65C-28.004, F.A.C. A behavior management plan is required for children with the following behaviors:

(a) Juvenile sexual abuse;

(b) Aggressive behaviors;

(c) Wounding or killing animals; or

(d) Property destruction.

(3) Continuation of Medical Care and Treatment. The child’s medical care and treatment shall not be disrupted by change of placement. To the extent possible, the person making the placement shall arrange for transportation in order to continue the child with his or her existing treating physicians for any on-going medical care. If this is not possible, then the person making the placement shall secure a copy of the child’s medical records from the treating physician within three (3) working days of the change to a new provider. The person making the placement is responsible for the following tasks relating to on-going medical care and treatment:

(a) Discuss with the caregiver all known health care facts regarding the child;

(b) Review with the caregiver all health care and Medicaid information contained in the child’s resource record;

(c) Obtain any prescription medication currently taken by the child. To continue medication as directed, the person making the placement shall obtain the medication in labeled medication bottles, inventory the medications provided, and transport the medications to the child’s caregiver. The inventory shall include:

1. The child for whom the medication is prescribed;

2. The condition and purpose for which the medication is prescribed for this child;

3. The prescribing physician’s name and contact information;

4. The pharmacy from which the prescription was obtained and the contact information;

5. The prescription number;

6. The drug name and dosage;

7. The times and frequency of administration, and if the dosages vary at different times;

8. Any identified side effects;

9. Any other specific instructions regarding the medication; and,

10. A space for the caregiver to sign and date the medication inventory to indicate receipt of the child’s medication.

(d) If the child is taking unlabeled medications or prescription information is insufficient, the person making the placement shall contact the prescribing physician, if available, to ensure the proper identification and labeling of the medication or to arrange for a medical evaluation in order that treatment not be interrupted; and,

(e) If a child uses medically assistive devices, the person making the placement shall ensure that these devices are taken with the child to the out-of-home placement. The person making the placement shall also ensure that the caregiver receives instruction concerning the use of the devices from the child’s health care provider.

(4) The Child’s Resource Record. A child’s resource record shall be developed for every child entering out-of-home care. The child welfare professional making the initial placement is responsible for the initial development, monitoring, updating and transporting of the child’s resource record.

(a) The person making the placement shall review confidentiality requirements with each caregiver. The caregiver is responsible for maintaining confidentiality of the child’s resource record documents.

(b) The resource record shall accompany the child during any change of placement.

(c) Since some of the information necessary in the child’s resource record is not available immediately upon initial removal, the documents required in the child’s resource record shall be placed in the record as available. The child’s resource record shall include the following information:

1. Medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric and behavioral history;

2. Copies of documentation regarding all on-going medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric and behavioral services, including child health check-ups provided through Medicaid;

3. Parental consent for treatment or court order;

4. Copy of the Medicaid card;

5. Copy of the Shelter Order;

6. Copy of the court order or “Voluntary Placement Agreement” placing or accepting the child into out-of-home care. The “Voluntary Placement Agreement,” CF-FSP 5004, October 2005, is incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06451;

7. Copy of the Case Plan;

8. Copy of the most recent Judicial Review Social Study Report;

9. All available school records;

10. An envelope for storing pictures;

11. The most recent photograph available;

12. Copy of the child’s birth certificate or birth verification certified by the Office of Vital Statistics, as appropriate;

13. Documentation of immigration status, including certificate of citizenship, if available; and,

14. The names and phone numbers of staff to be contacted in emergencies.

(d) Where the Department or contracted service provider has originals of documents required to be included in the child’s resource record, the original documents shall be placed in the child’s case file and the copies shall be kept in the child’s resource record.

(e) Where medical or educational information is not available and accessible, written documentation of the efforts made to obtain the information shall be documented in FSFN.

(f) The child’s resource record shall be physically located with the caregiver, whether the child is in licensed care or placed with a relative or non-relative. The child’s caregiver shall ensure that the child’s resource record is updated after every health care, psychological, psychiatric, behavioral and educational service or assessment provided to the child.

(g) The case manager shall ensure that medical and court-related documentation are kept current at each visit that is made at least every 30 days. If additional information is needed in the child’s resource record, the case manager and the caregiver shall work together to ensure that the child’s resource record is updated.

(5) Transportation. The caregiver shall have the primary responsibility for ensuring the transportation of children in out-of-home care to and from hearings, visitation and other activities. If the caregiver cannot arrange or provide transportation, he or she shall contact the child welfare professional who shall be responsible for developing contingency transportation plans. When the licensed caregiver refuses to perform these required transportation responsibilities, the child welfare professional shall notify licensing staff of the refusal.

(6) Review of Licensed Caregiver Performance. At the time of license renewal for a licensed out-of-home caregiver, the case manager shall complete a “Case Manager/Case Worker Review of Foster Parent,” CF-FSP 5223, March 2013, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06452.

(7) Completion and Review of the Partnership Plan. The person making the placement shall complete the “Partnership Plan for Children in Out-of-Home Care,” CF-FSP 5226, January 2015, incorporated by reference and available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-06453, and review with licensed out-of-home caregivers the information provided on the form and its relevance to their responsibilities.

(8) When a child is placed in a relative’s or non-relative’s home, the child welfare professional shall inform the relative or non-relative that he or she may seek licensure as a caregiver in accordance with Chapter 65C-13, F.A.C., to be eligible for payment as a shelter or foster parent and provide information regarding the Relative Caregiver Program, including non-relative financial assistance.

Rulemaking Authority 409.145(5) FS. Law Implemented 409.145(2) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.


65C-30.012 Permanency Goal Selection.

(1) Permanency Goals. Permanency goals, as set forth in Section 39.621(2), F.S., shall be selected based on the best interest of the individual child. The primary permanency option is to maintain a child with his or her parents or legal custodian followed by reunification of the child with his or her parents or legal custodian whenever possible.

(2) Reasonable efforts to achieve the permanency goal shall be made during the first 12 months following the date the child was removed from his or her home.

(3) The following shall be assessed in determining the best permanency goal for a child in out-of-home care:

(a) Whether interventions provided will alleviate the causes of removal;

(b) Current family relationships and other significant relationships that provide the child stability and a sense of connection and provide possible permanent living options. This includes connections with family members from the child’s home of removal;

(c) Physical, Medical, Emotional, Psychological, Developmental and Educational Needs. The child welfare professional shall give consideration to matching the child with caregivers able to provide for the child’s needs on a long-term basis. The child welfare professional shall ensure that the caregivers are provided the education, training and support necessary to enable them to meet the child’s needs;

(d) Placement options that provide the most family-like and least restrictive settings. The child welfare professional shall explore the current caregiver’s ability and willingness to provide a permanent home for the child;

(e) Child’s Preferences. The child welfare professional shall provide youth of sufficient age, maturity, and understanding with information and education regarding permanency goal options to assist the child in making an informed decision as to his or her preference in achieving permanency.

(4) Permanency Goal Requirements. The particular situation of each child and family shall be considered by the child welfare professional in determining the best permanency goal for a particular child. Youth of sufficient age, maturity, and understanding shall be informed of the availability of long-term caregivers or opportunities for independence. Reunification shall be ruled out as an option prior to changing the permanency goal to any other option. The case documentation shall provide justification that the permanency option recommended to the court is the most appropriate one for the child.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12), (13) FS. Law Implemented 39.621 FS. History–New 5-4-06, 2-25-16.


65C-30.013 Judicial Reviews and Court Reports.

(1) Judicial Review Social Study Report.

(a) The case manager will develop Judicial Review Social Study Reports (JRSSR) using the JRSSR functionality in FSFN.

(b) When a combined report is prepared for children who are referenced in court by the same case number, each child shall be addressed individually in the report.

(c) Any event that may impact the child’s placement and educational stability; and Department or contracted service provider actions relating to the child shall be included in the JRSSR.

(d) In addition to the requirements of Section 39.701(2)(a), F.S., the JRSSR shall also include a recommendation to the court as to the child’s placement and supervision until the next review. This recommendation shall be supported by the other information provided in the report.

(e) The JRSSR requirements are the same whether the JRSSR is prepared for a Citizen’s Review Panel, General Magistrate pursuant to Rule 8.257, Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure, or for a hearing held by a judge.

(2) Other Requests for Court Action.

(a) Whenever a need arises for court action outside the regular review period, the Department or contracted service provider shall, through Children’s Legal Services (CLS), request such action from the court. The need for petitioning the court for such action shall include:

1. When the danger threat to the child can be managed through an in-home safety plan or has been ameliorated;

2. When the child’s caregiver or a service provider is failing to perform actions as required and the performance is necessary for reunification and the welfare of the child.

3. When requesting a modification to visitation, such as frequency or change from supervised to unsupervised for a child in out-of-home care.

4. When the conditions for return have been met, reunification should occur prior to the next regularly scheduled review.

(b) The Department or contracted service provider shall, through CLS, request such action from the court and provide the court sufficient information to make an informed decision on the request.

(c) Copies of any petition or report shall be provided by the CLS attorney to the parties as required for any judicial review.

(d) A motion or pleading shall be prepared by the CLS attorney for each request for court action.

(e) Except in the case of an emergency, all pleadings and attachments shall be provided by the CLS attorney to the parties and others as required for a judicial review.

(f) If emergency request is made, notice to the parties and copies of the request shall be furnished by the CLS attorney by the means most likely to provide actual notice, including those notifications required for Indian and Alaskan Native children under the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(13) FS. Law Implemented 39.701 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.


65C-30.014 Post-Placement Supervision and Services.

(1) The child’s best interest and safety considerations, including conditions of return, shall be evaluated prior to recommending reunification and throughout the post-placement supervision period. The child’s adjustment shall be evaluated throughout the post-placement supervision period.

(2) The case plan for post-placement supervision shall be completed, filed with the court and served on all parties at least 72 hours prior to the court hearing in which reunification is recommended. If the court returns custody to the parent contrary to the Department or contracted service provider’s recommendation, the post-placement supervision case plan shall be completed, filed with the court and served on all parties within 14 working days of the court hearing. The effective date is the date custody changed to the parent.

(3) The case plan for post-placement supervision shall include:

(a) Case plan outcomes that are informed by the ongoing family functioning assessment or progress update assessment;

(b) An in-home safety plan;

(c) Routine health care, as well as follow-up care for physical health, mental health or substance abuse service needs that have been identified if related to identified diminished caregiver protective capacities;

(d) Specific provisions regarding the need for child-care or early education programs; and,

(e) Frequency for contacts by child welfare professional.

(4) Post-placement services. Services to be provided by the case manager in reunification cases include:

(a) Continuous monitoring of the in-home safety plan, and modification of the safety plan if necessary;

(b) Exchange of information with parents;

(c) Support, guidance and referrals, as needed;

(d) Return to the parents of original documents, including the child’s social security card and birth certificate;

(e) Determine in accordance with Section 402.17(7), F.S., and subsection 65C-17.006(3), F.A.C., of the disposition of any of Master Trust moneys being held for the child;

(f) Provide a copy of the child’s resource record contents, including any Individual Educational Plans that were approved while the child was in out-of-home care.

(g) Assistance in using community and other family resources;

(h) Coordination with the school district regarding educational stability so, whenever possible, the child can continue attending the same school following reunification;

(i) Evaluation of the family’s progress as a unit; and,

(j) Evaluation of the child’s progress. The case manager shall be aware of the child’s development, school attendance and adjustment, health and medical care, child-care arrangements, treatment plans, nutrition, recreation, community activities and family dynamics.

(5) If not already enrolled in a licensed child care program or licensed early education program, children from birth to age of school entry shall be assessed by the case manager regarding the need for child care services. If additional oversight of the child is determined by the case manager to be needed, intensive in-home services may be recommended to the court as an alternative to a licensed child-care program or licensed early education program.

(6) At every three (3) month period of post-placement supervision, the case manager shall:

(a) Evaluate with the family their adjustment following the return of the child and their progress toward completion of outcomes in the case plan;

(b) Assess any continuing safety concerns;

(c) Update the family functioning assessment through the progress update; and,

(d) Prepare a report that addresses the issues noted in the post-placement supervision case plan and the outcome of the current family functioning assessment with input from service providers. There shall also be provided a recommendation for case termination or extension of supervision.

(7) When requesting an extension of post-placement supervision from the court, specific details explaining safety, risks, service needs and the parent’s case plan accomplishments shall be provided to the court.

(8) Reunification with a parent outside of Florida requires approval through the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, Section 409.401, F.S.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(13) FS. Law Implemented 39.521(1)(a) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.


65C-30.015 New Reports Received, Removal and Placement of Children.

(1) The child protective investigator (CPI) shall, within one (1) business day, notify the case manager of any new reports of abuse, neglect or abandonment received on active cases.

(2) When cause for the immediate removal of the child is discovered during contact with the child or family, the case manager shall call 911 immediately if a dangerous situation is transpiring in the presence of the child and shall remain with the child until the child can be removed by a law enforcement officer or a CPI.

(a) The case manager is not required to remain with the child if the situation threatens the personal safety of the case manager.

(b) In situations involving immediate or life threatening danger to the child, the case manager is authorized to physically remove the child from the situation until physical custody of the child can be given to a CPI or a law enforcement officer.

(3) If the decision is made to leave the child in the home even though other children are currently placed in out-of-home care, written approval of a contracted service provider administrator shall be obtained and documented in FSFN.

(4) In all cases, the new child information shall be added to the family functioning assessment in FSFN.

(5) When a minor child in foster care is pregnant, the case manager shall assist her in arriving at a plan for her future.

(a) The case manager shall staff any decision not to remove the infant from the mother (foster child) with his or her supervisor and document the staffing decision in FSFN.

(b) If the mother chooses to keep her child or is uncertain, placement of the mother and her child shall be, unless contrary to the best interests of the infant, in the same foster home or group home in order to strengthen attachment and provide the mother with the opportunity to learn child-caring skills from the foster parent or residential program staff.

(c) If the mother decides to place the infant for adoption, the case manager shall refer the mother to a licensed child-placing agency.

(d) In cases where the mother’s emotional or mental capacity to parent are in question or the mother has a juvenile delinquency history involving acts of violence, the case manager shall secure a psychological evaluation of the mother to assess coping skills, mental health issues and abilities to protect the child. The findings and recommendations set forth in the evaluation shall be considered in determining if the mother can provide a safe environment for the child.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(2) FS. Law Implemented 39.401 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.

65C-30.016 New Children in Families under Supervision.

(1) The case manager shall immediately report to the supervisor a pending birth, a child born into a family, or any other circumstance adding a new child who is living in a home that is under supervision.

(2) The case manager shall visit the home where the new child will or already resides and conduct an assessment to determine the safety of the new child in the home. The assessment shall be filed with the court.

(3) The case manager shall staff the case with his or her supervisor to determine if any actions are needed, including a consultation with Children’s Legal Services regarding the filing of a petition on the new child.

(4) In all cases, modifications to the existing safety plan shall be made to address the new child.

(5) The new child’s name and demographics shall be entered into FSFN as part of the existing case immediately upon learning of the child’s presence.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(13) FS. Law Implemented 39.6013 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16, 11-12-17.

65C-30.017 Coordination of Services for Youth Involved with the Department of Juvenile Justice. (Repealed)

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12), (13) FS. Law Implemented 39.001(1)(m), 39.601, 39.701 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Repealed 12-13-15.

65C-30.018 Out-of-County Services.

(1) When children and young adults and/or their parents or caregivers relocate to a county outside of the county of jurisdiction, out-of-county services will be provided when requested for:

(a) Completing a home study of an other parent, relative, nonrelative, or prospective adoptive family.

(b) Assisting with case supervision of judicial or nonjudicial cases in accordance with Chapters 65C-28, 65C-30, and 65C-35, F.A.C. The primary case manager will contact the out-of-county case manager every other month, at a minimum, to ensure all F.A.C. requirements are in compliance and collaborate to resolve any barriers. If there is an emergency safety, permanency, or well-being issue that must be addressed, the out-of-county case manager will contact the primary case manager within 48 hours.

(c) Providing and coordinating supervision and/or services to children and young adults receiving Independent Living Services as defined in subsection 65C-30.001(60), F.A.C., to include Postsecondary Education Services and Support (PESS), Extended Foster Care and Aftercare Services. Service Portability for young adults participating in PESS and Aftercare Services is addressed in Section 409.1451(5), F.S.

(2) Procedures shall be developed through a statewide working agreement that is updated as necessary between the community-based care (CBC) lead agencies regarding the request, timely processing, coordination of any services (including requests for home studies and case supervision), and on-going communication. The statewide agreement must be followed by all agencies.

(3) Home studies of other parents, relatives, or nonrelatives shall be conducted as outlined in Rule 65C-28.012, F.A.C. With the exception of adoption home studies, the county completing the home study is responsible for the appoval or denial of the homestudy.

(4) Adoption home studies shall be:

(a) Requested and initiated at the time a petition for termination of parental rights is filed; and,

(b) Conducted as outlined in Rule 65C-16.005, F.A.C.

(5) If the receiving county is recommending a denial of the adoption home study, the case will be reviewed by an Adoption Applicant Review Committee (AARC) in the county of jurisdiction, in accordance with subsection 65C-16.005(9), F.A.C. If the AARC determines that the home study should be approved, the home study must be updated in the Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN) by the receiving county, showing the home study as approved based on the recommendation of the AARC.

(6) Supervised Living Arrangements for young adults in Extended Foster Care shall be assessed as outlined in Section 39.6251(4), F.S.

(7) If supervision services will be requested following completion of a home study the receiving contracted service provider shall be provided an opportunity to visit the placement and review the home study prior to a recommendation being made to the court in the sending county. If the sending and receiving counties are not in agreement, the dispute resolution procedures in subsection (9), of this rule, will be followed.

(8) Once a request has been accepted, communication regarding the case shall be made directly between the contracted service provider service units in the two (2) counties involved.

(9) When disputes arise between the county of jurisdiction and the receiving county and the individual contracted service providers or CBC lead agencies cannot reach a resolution, the regional liaison within the region or the liaisons in the two (2) regions involved shall assist in reaching a resolution. When necessary, the CBC lead agency chief executive officers, or their designees, will be consulted in seeking a resolution. As a last resort, the Regional Family Safety Program Office shall be consulted in reaching a resolution.

(10) Once case supervision and/or coordination of services for the child, young adult, or any other case participant have been accepted by the contracted service provider in the receiving county, the case manager or child welfare professional in the receiving county shall perform all required case supervision and documentation, including providing information for safety planning, case planning, and judicial reviews to the case manager or child welfare professional in the county of jurisdiction.

(a) The responsibility to perform these duties shall continue until the child’s case is closed, the person receiving services is no longer a case participant, or the child moves from the service area.

(b) The case manager or child welfare professional in the county of jurisdiction shall retain primary responsibility and accountability for the case as long as the case remains open in that jurisdiction.

(11) The case managers or child welfare professionals in the county of jurisdiction and the receiving county shall collaborate and reach an agreement prior to taking any significant case actions. If the sending and receiving counties are not in agreement, the dispute resolution procedures in subsection (9), of this rule, must be followed. Significant case actions include the following:

(a) A transfer of jurisdiction to the receiving county. A case may be considered for a transfer of jurisdiction when:

1. It is in the best interest of the child; and,

2. The receiving jurisdiction agrees to the transfer.

(b) Case closure.

(c) A change in permanency goals.

(d) Other actions requiring court approval in a judicial case.

(12) The case manager in the county of jurisdication shall notify the case manager or child welfare professional in the receiving county within two (2) business days of the court’s oral pronouncement granting termination of parental rights. The case manager in the county of jurisdication shall provide the case manager or child welfare professional in the receiving county a copy of a court’s signed termination order no longer than 30 days from the order being signed.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(13) FS. Law Implemented 39.521, 39.6011, 39.6012, 39.701 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16, 12-24-17.

65C-30.019 Missing Children.

(1) Notification to Law Enforcement.

(a) Exigent Circumstances. The child’s caregiver, legal guardian, child welfare professional or designee shall immediately report a child as missing to law enforcement when:

1. The child is under age 13;

2. The child has a physical or mental incapacity, or a developmental or behavioral challenge that renders the situation more dangerous than it would be for a child with more maturity or resources;

3. The child is with others who may endanger his or her safety;

4. The child is known or believed to be in a dangerous or life-threatening situation, or

5. The child is missing under circumstances inconsistent with established behaviors; or

(b) When none of the criteria in paragraph (a), apply, the child’s caregiver, legal guardian, child welfare professional or designee may take up to four (4) hours from the time the child is first discovered missing to actively search for and attempt to locate the child prior to contacting local law enforcement. Active search efforts include:

1. Searching the child’s belongings.

2. Calling/texting the child’s cell phone.

3. Checking the child’s computer, social media accounts, or other online accounts.

4. Contacting the child’s friends, relatives, or known associates.

5. Searching areas that the child is known to frequent.

6. Contacting the child’s school.

7. Contacting the child’s employer.

(C) Caregiver or Legal Guardian Notification to Child Welfare Professional. After notifying law enforcement, the caregiver or legal guardian shall immediately notify the child welfare professional or designee that the child’s whereabouts are unknown. If the child welfare professional learns that the child’s caregiver or legal guardian has not reported the child as missing to local law enforcement within the timeframes set forth in paragraphs (1)(a)-(b), of this rule, the child welfare professional or designee shall immediately report the child as missing to local law enforcement.

(2) Take Into Custody and Pickup Orders. The child welfare professional shall notify Children’s Legal Services or the contracted legal provider as soon as possible, but no later than 4 hours when there is sufficient information to support that a child in an active child protective investigation may be in present or impending danger or a child in a family receiving ongoing case management services is missing and a Take into Custody or Pickup Order is needed when one or more of the following conditions exist:

(a) Law enforcement will not initiate efforts to locate the child without a court order.

(b) The caregiver or legal guardian of a child not in the custody of the Department is refusing to cooperate with efforts to locate the child, including:

1. Has not reported the child as missing to local law enforcement within the timeframes set forth in paragraphs (1)(a)-(b), of this rule, and continues to refuse to do so despite being informed of the requirement to do so.

2. There is reason to believe the child’s whereabouts are known by the caregiver or legal guardian and the lack of cooperation is for the purpose of denying the child welfare professional access to the child, or the family has or is about to flee to avoid further agency intervention.

(c) Children’s Legal Services or the contracted legal provider shall attempt to obtain a court order as soon as possible, but no later than 4 hours, from the point of notification.

(3) Missing Child Reports. A missing child report shall be obtained by the caregiver, legal guardian, or child welfare professional from law enforcement at the time of notification.

(a) The child welfare professional or designee shall enter the electronic missing child report in the Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN) within 24 hours of learning the child is missing.

(b) The Department shall review the missing child report to ensure that it meets reporting criteria for case opening with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)/Missing and Endangered Person Information Clearinghouse and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

(4) Notification Requirements.

(a) When a child in the custody of the Department wherabouts are unknown, the child welfare professional or designee shall notify the child’s caregivers or legal custodians, guardian ad litem and attorney ad litem, if appointed, and Children’s Legal Services within four (4) hours of learning a child’s whereabouts are unknown.

(b) Children’s Legal Services or the contracted legal provider must file notice with the court within one (1) business day after being notified that a child is missing. Notice to the court shall be documented in FSFN within two (2) business days.

(5) Efforts to Locate Missing Child.

(a) The child welfare professional shall make efforts to locate the child at least once a week, until:

1. The child is located,

2. The child turns 18, or

3. If investigation has not yet been transferred to case management and the child protective investigator has obtained sufficient information to close the investigation, including:

(I) The conditions or circumstances which were the basis for the pickup order no longer exist.

(II) Another state child welfare agency with comparable jurisdiction to the Department has interviewed all available subjects of the investigation and reports no concerns with the child’s current living situation and the investigator obtains the issuing court’s approval to dismiss the Take Into Custody or Pickup order.

(b) Child welfare professionals or their designees shall be responsible for conducting both field-based and desk activities to locate the child, including:

1. Onsite visits to locations where the child may be found. Only child welfare professionals and certified designees can conduct onsite visits,

2. Onsite collateral source contact interviews (e.g., interviews of teachers, employers, relatives, etc.),

3. Use of electronic databases and information systems (e.g., parent locator services, ACCESS Florida, Accurint, etc.); and,

4. Checking mobile apps that are popular among youth.

(c) For children reported missing while the family is receiving case management services, the case manager or designee shall make efforts to locate the child at a minimum of once a week for the first three (3) months the child is missing and at a minimum of once a month thereafter.

(d) For children reported missing while the family is involved in a child protective investigation, the investigator or designee shall make efforts to locate the child at a minimum of once a week for 60 days from the time the child is reported missing to law enforcement.

1. After 60 days the weekly efforts to locate the child may be reduced to a minimum of once a month.

2. After 90 days the monthly efforts to locate the child may be transferred to the Regional Criminal Justice Coordinator for continuation of electronic database and information system searches. Certified Regional Criminal Justice Coordinators or their certified designees may perform additional search related activities.

3. The child protective investigator shall keep the investigation open while the Regional Criminal Justice Coordinator conducts searches of electronic databases and information systems until one of the conditions in paragraph (5)(a), of this rule, is identified. Upon closure of the investigation, the child protective investigator or designee shall immediately notify the Regional Criminal Justice Coordinator.

(e) All efforts to locate the child shall be documented as a Missing Child – Attempt to Locate note type in FSFN within two (2) business days of the effort to locate.

(6) Procedures Required When Child is Located.

(a) Upon learning that a child missing in an active child protective investigation has been located, the investigator shall respond immediately to the child’s location to assess the child’s safety. If the child is located outside of the investigator’s service area, the investigator shall immediately make an Out of Town Inquiry (OTI) request to assess the child’s safety.

1. When the child is located, the child protective investigator or designee shall immediately notify the following individuals and agencies:

a. Law enforcement,

b. Guardian ad litem and attorney ad litem, if appointed; and,

c. Children’s Legal Services or the contracted legal provider.

2. If the investigator has reason to believe the child’s caregiver or legal guardian was uncooperative with efforts to locate the child for the purpose of denying the investigator access to the child and immediate notification would further impede the investigation, the caregiver or legal guardian may be notified of the child’s whereabouts after the child’s safety has been assessed. If the investigation would not be compromised or impeded by notification of the child’s caregiver or legal guardian the investigator or designee shall immediately notify the caregiver or legal guardian when the child has been located.

(b) Upon learning that a child missing while a family is receiving case management services has been located, the child welfare professional identified by the community-based care lead agency shall interview the child within 24 hours to determine the child’s need for additional services and/or change in placement. The interview shall:

1. Determine the primary factors that contributed to the child running away (if the child ran away); and,

2. Inquire into the child’s experience while absent from care, including identifying if the child has a history of running away, sexual abuse, prostitution or a current arrest on a charge of prostitution, or the child discloses being trafficked or reporting sexual exploitation. If any one of these indicators are present, the child welfare professional shall screen the child to determine if the child is a possible victim of trafficking pursuant to Chapter 65C-43, F.A.C.

3. When the child is located, the child welfare professional or designee shall immediately notify the following individuals and agencies:

a. The child’s caregiver or legal guardian,

b. Law enforcement,

c. Guardian ad litem and attorney ad litem, if appointed; and,

d. Children’s Legal Services or the contracted legal provider.

(c) All notifications provided in subparagraph (6)(a)1. or (6)(b)3., of this rule, and all efforts to interview the child shall be documented in FSFN as a Missing Child – Debriefing note type within one (2) business day of the attempted interview.

(d) The child’s recovery shall be documented in FSFN by completing the electronic missing child report recovery form within 24 hours upon learning that a missing child has been located. The Department shall review the missing child recovery report to ensure that the case meets case closure criteria with the FDLE/Missing and Endangered Person Information Clearinghouse.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(16), 39.0141 FS. Law Implemented 39.0141 FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16, 1-11-18.


65C-30.020 Child Fatalities.

*(See also, CFOP 175-17 and CFOP 170-6)

(1) Any employee of the Department, the contracted service providers or sheriffs’ offices who conduct child protective investigations, who has knowledge of a child’s death and who has reasonable cause to suspect that the child died as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment shall immediately report the death to the Florida Abuse Hotline. A report is required even when there are no surviving children living in the home.

(2) Whenever a case manager learns that a child under supervision has died, that case manager shall immediately orally report the occurrence through the established chain of command to the community-based care (CBC) lead agency Chief Executive Officer or designee. Upon learning of the death, the CBC Chief Executive Officer or designee shall immediately orally notify the regional managing director and regional child fatality prevention specialist. Written notice shall be made within 24 hours of the death.

(3) The Hotline Director or designee shall provide written notification of all child deaths alleged to have occurred in Florida as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment, within two (2) hours of the oral notification:

(a) Secretary of the Department;

(b) Deputy Secretary;

(c) Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare;

(d) Director of Child Welfare Operations;

(e) Director of Child Welfare Practice;

(f) Assistant Secretary for Operations;

(g) Regional Managing Director;

(h) Regional Family and Community Services Director or designee;

(i) Statewide Child Fatality Prevention Specialist;

(j) Regional Child Fatality Specialist; and,

(k) Legal Services General Counsel.

(4) Upon receipt of a call concerning a child death, Florida Abuse Hotline staff shall:

(a) Screen the call to determine whether the allegation meets the statutory requirement for accepting a report of death due to abuse, neglect or abandonment;

(b) Enter the maltreatment type of abuse or neglect, as well as any other maltreatment type that indicates how the child is suspected to have died as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment;

(c) Enter an additional report when a child died during the investigation of a report that initially alleged an abuse, neglect or abandonment incident that later resulted in the child’s death. If the reporter is repeating information already received in a previous call, a supplemental information report shall be entered. In all other cases, an initial report shall be entered.

(5) Whenever it appears that a child died as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment, or when a child dies for reasons unrelated to abuse, neglect or abandonment during the course of an active child protective investigation, a child protective investigator (CPI) shall notify the regional child fatality prevention specialist and conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death. The investigation shall consist of:

(a) Gathering all information necessary to determine whether the death was due to abuse, neglect or abandonment, including:

1. The child’s death certificate;

2. A copy of the medical examiner’s final report, if an autopsy was conducted;

3. A copy of any law enforcement investigation of the death;

4. All criminal history records and abuse, neglect or abandonment reports pertaining to the caretaker responsible for the child’s death; and,

5. All prior child protection records pertaining to the child and the caregiver responsible for the child’s death.

6. The results of any drug screens completed. The CPI will ask the alleged maltreating caregiver to voluntarily submit to a drug screen during the investigation of all child deaths related to inadequate supervision, unsafe sleep and drowning. This does not preclude the CPI asking the alleged maltreating caregiver for a drug screen during other investigations when substance misuse is suspected and may be a contributing cause to a child’s death. Exceptions to this requirement will be made when law enforcement has already obtained the drug screen.

(b) Reviewing information entered into FSFN for accuracy and completeness prior to closure. For the purposes of documenting the “Victim Seen” time in FSFN, the date and time of the professional collateral contact with medical staff or law enforcement personnel attesting to the child’s death shall suffice to record the “First Seen” date and time for the victim. Appropriate findings shall be entered for maltreatment.

(c) Ensuring that the automated investigative file clearly reflects the cause and circumstances surrounding the child’s death. The date of death and findings from the medical examiner and law enforcement (including the status of criminal prosecution, if applicable) shall be included in the automated investigative file to the extent that information is available prior to closing the report;

(d) Keeping the regional Child Fatality Prevention Specialist informed of significant developments during the investigation and ensuring that the specialist receives copies of all pertinent documentation, such as autopsy and law enforcement reports;

(e) Ensuring that the report is not closed until it has been reviewed by the regional Child Fatality Prevention Specialist and he or she has advised the supervisor that the death report has been approved for closure; and,

(f) Notifying the regional Child Fatality Prevention Specialist when a child dies during an open investigation in which there were no allegations of abuse or neglect.

(6) The Department or any contracted service provider shall cooperate with any law enforcement requests related to an investigation of the child’s death.

(7) Any Department employee, community-based care provider or sheriff’s department staff member providing child protection services shall cooperate with the Department of Children and Families, Critical Incident Rapid Response Team, and participate as needed on the Department of Health local Child Abuse Death Review team.

(8) The Department shall convene a Critical Incident Rapid Response Team when there is a child fatality that meets criteria in accordance with Section 39.2015, F.S. The regional Child Fatality Prevention Specialist shall conduct a case review on all child fatalities in which it is alleged that abuse, neglect or abandonment was or may have been a factor in the child’s death, and in situations where a child died while a participant on an active investigation or while receiving ongoing services without concerns of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(13) FS. Law Implemented 39.201(2)(a), 39.2015(1), (6), 39.301(9)(a), (11), (16), (17) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16, 1-9-17, 7-25-17.

65C-30.021 Child Death Reviews.

*(See also, CFOP 175-17 and CFOP 170-6)

The Department shall conduct multidisciplinary reviews of all child deaths where there was a prior report with a verified finding to the Department within the previous 12 months in accordance with Section 39.2015, F.S. The regional Child Fatality Prevention Specialist shall conduct a death review on all child deaths in which it is alleged that abuse, neglect or abandonment was or may have been a factor in the child’s death, and in situations where a child died while receiving ongoing services.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12) FS. Law Implemented 39.2015(2) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.

 

65C-30.022 Termination of Services.

*[See also, FS 39.521 (1)(b)(3)]

(1) Supervision of a child shall be terminated unless:

(a) A lead agency-managed safety plan is still necessary;

(b) Supervision is court ordered; or

(c) The child has reached age 18 and remains in extended foster care.

(2) Prior to terminating any services case, the case manager shall complete a progress update in FSFN and/or a Judicial Review Social Study Report (JRSSR). The case manager shall also determine whether there is an open or pending child protective investigation or whether within the previous three (3) months a child abuse, neglect or abandonment report has been received on any child in the case. For both court ordered and non-judicial cases, if any of these situations apply, the supervisor of the case manager supervisor shall be required to review and approve the case closure before a non-judicial case may be closed or a recommendation may be made to the court to close a court ordered case.

(a) For court ordered supervision cases, the case manager shall complete a progress update for review by the case manager supervisor and submission to the court through CLS. However, when a JRSSR is prepared at the time of the request to terminate supervision, it may be used as a termination summary to provide the information needed by the court to make the termination decision.

(b) The termination summary or JRSSR shall include:

1. Reason for Department involvement;

2. Progress toward resolving the issues that resulted in Department intervention; current status of safety, and an explanation of case plan outcomes that were met and those that were not; and,

3. The reason for termination.

(3) For court ordered in-home protective supervision, supervision shall not be terminated until authorized by court order.

Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12), (13) FS. Law Implemented 39.701(2)(a) FS. History–New 5-4-06, Amended 2-25-16.

 

65C 31 Services to Young Adults Formerly in the Custody of the Department

*[See also, FS 39.701(6)]

65C-31.001 Definitions.

(1) “Aftercare Support Services” means services intended to assist young adults in developing “the skills and abilities necessary for independent living”. These services specifically include temporary financial assistance, mentoring and tutoring, mental health services and substance abuse counseling, life skills classes, including credit management and preventive health activities, parenting classes, job skills training, and counselor consultations. Temporary assistance to prevent homelessness should be considered emergency assistance.

(2) “Approval Authority” means the staff member(s) designated by the district/region/Community-based care with fiscal authority to approve cash payments. (Note: reviewing and approval authorities may be the same person(s).)

(3) “Case File” means all information for a case contained in the department’s Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS), i.e., HomeSafenet, as well as the supporting paper documentation gathered during provision of services to that family. The “case file” may also refer to a duplicate, paper copy of the electronic case file and the supporting paper documentation. The department’s SACWIS is the primary record for each investigation and case.

(4) “Contracted Service Provider” means a private agency that has entered into a contract with the department or with a community-based care lead agency to provide supervision of and services to dependent children and children who are at risk of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

(5) “Denial” means full denial or partial denial, in cases where the department or its contracted service provider does not approve the full amount of funding or services requested.

(6) “Designated Staff” means those staff assigned by the district/region or its contracted service provider to work with youth age 13 up to the 23rd birthday to implement and conduct a program for independent living as mandated by Section, 409.1451, F.S.

(7) “Education and Training Vouchers” (ETV) means federal funds provided to young adults formerly in foster care eligible to receive independent living services and youth who were adopted from foster care at age 16 or 17. Students receiving ETV funds must be attending an institution of higher education. ETV funds provide financial assistance to young adults to promote educational and vocational training opportunities.

(8) “Fair Hearings” means the appeals process federally mandated for the title IV-E independent living program by 45 C.F.R. 1356.10 and 45 C.F.R. 1355.30. The required details of this appeals process are provided in 45 C.F.R. 205.10. The Department of Children and Family Services has already incorporated this appeals process, in Chapter 65-2, F.A.C., for other federal public assistance programs. However, certain provisions for Independent Living Fair Hearings which differ from those for other programs will be listed in the [next] draft of Rule 65C-28.0200, F.A.C.

(9) “Interim Child Welfare Services Information System (ICWSIS)”, means the department’s automated system containing invoice data pertaining to services provided to children under the department’s supervision. The ICWSIS is the state’s primary audit record for client specific expenditures until such time that the system’s functionality is subsumed by SACWIS.

(10) “Independent Living Benefit” means any type of financial aid or service provided to eligible young adults pursuant to Section 409.1451(5), Florida Statutes. These benefits are categorized as either aftercare support services, transitional services, or the Road to Independence Scholarship.

(11) “Initial Application” means the “Road to Independence Scholarship and/or ETV Funds Application” CF-FSP 5295, September 2005, incorporated by reference, is required for the initial Road to Independence Scholarship, which can be made anytime prior to the young adult’s 21st birthday.

(12) “Institution of Higher Education” means a school that awards a bachelor’s degree or not less than a two year program that provides credit towards a degree or, provides not less than one year of training towards gainful employment or, is a vocational program that provides training for gainful employment and has been in existence for at least two years. The school must be accredited or preaccredited and is authorized to operate in that state.

(13) “Reinstatement Application” means the “Road to Independence Scholarship and/or Education Training Vouchers (ETV) Funds Reinstatement Application”, CF-FSP 5297, September 2005, incorporated by reference, that must be submitted by a former recipient of the Road to Independence scholarship prior to his or her 23rd birthday in order to reinstate their scholarship award after an interruption of benefits.

(14) “Renewal Application” means the “Road to Independence Scholarship and/or ETV Funds Renewal Checklist” CF-FSP 5296, September 2005, incorporated by reference, means the application that must be submitted by Road to Independence scholarship recipients on an annual basis in order to continue his or her scholarship award.

(15) “Reviewing Authority” means the staff member(s) or committee head(s) designated by the district/region or community-based care to review the applications associated with Section 409.1451, F.S., and determine eligibility.

(16) “Road to Independence Scholarship Program” means the financial educational assistance available to qualifying young adults under the eligibility requirements contained in Section 409.1451(5)(b), F.S.

(17) “Services Worker” means an employee of the department or its contracted service provider who is accountable for service delivery regarding safety, permanency, and well-being for a caseload of children and families under supervision. This includes an individual assigned to assist a young adult formerly in the custody of the department who is receiving independent living services.

(18) “Special Immigrant Juvenile Status” means an immigration benefit that allows undocumented children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected to petition for permanent resident status as long as he or she meets the following criteria:

(a) The child is eligible for long term foster care;

(b) It is in the best interest of the child to remain in the United States; and

(c) The child remains under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

(19) “Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS)” (i.e., HomeSafenet), means the department’s statewide automated system containing all reports, investigations, special conditions referrals, child-on-child sexual abuse reports and related child safety assessments and safety actions or plans and cases regarding child abuse, neglect or abandonment and pertinent information regarding all activities involved in investigative and some case management functions, including the Child’s Resource Record. The SACWIS is the state’s primary record for each investigation and case and all documentation requirements of the system shall be met.

(20) “Transition Plan”, CF-FSP 5293, September 2005, incorporated by reference means the required written plan that contains specific strategies to assist the young adult with achieving self-sufficiency and developing a personal support system. This plan is created by the young adult with the assistance of the department or its contracted service provider.

(21) “Transitional Support Services” means “other appropriate short-term services” to be provided if the young adult demonstrates that the services are critical to the young adult’s own efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and to develop a personal support system. These may include financial, housing, counseling, employment, education, mental health, disability, and other services. Financial transitional support services may be provided in increments of up to 3 months. The young adult must apply again to obtain further transitional funds. See paragraph 65C-31.005(4)(b), F.A.C.

Specific Authority 39.5075(8), 409.1451(10) FS. Law Implemented 39.5075, 409.1451 FS. History–New 7-27-06.

 

65C-31.002 Case Management for Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care.

Rulemaking Authority 409.1451(10) FS. Law Implemented 409.1451 FS. History–New 7-27-06, Repealed 1-8-17.


65C-31.003 Aftercare Support Services for Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care.

Rulemaking Authority 409.1451(10) FS. Law Implemented 409.1451(1), (2), (3)(a), (c), (d), (5)(a) F.S. History ;New 7-27-06, Repealed 10-19-15.


65C-31.004 Road to Independence Scholarship.

*[See also, FS 409.1451(5)(b)]

(1) Initial Application for Scholarship Eligibility. Each student, with the assistance of the services worker if requested by the young adult, shall complete an RTI Scholarship Application. This application shall be completed and signed by the student, reviewing authority and approval authority and a copy must be placed in the case file.

(a) For the initial award, a young adult formerly in foster care must:

1. Be age 18, 19 or 20;

2. Have been a dependent child pursuant to Chapter 39;

3. Be or have been in the legal and/or physical custody of the Department of Children and Family Services at the time of his or her 18th birthday.

4. Have spent at least 6 months in foster care before reaching his or her 18th birthday, which may include the time the youth spent in shelter status in state custody;

5. Be a resident of Florida per Section 1009.40, F.S.; and

6. Meet one of the following educational requirements:

a. Earned a standard high school diploma or its equivalent as described in Sections 1003.43 or 1003.435, F.S., or earned a special diploma or special certificate of completion as described in Section 1003.438, F.S., and has been admitted for full-time enrollment in an eligible postsecondary education institution as defined in Section 1009.533, F.S.

b. Is enrolled full time in an accredited high school, unless he or she has a documented disability and has provided documentation that part-time attendance is a necessary accommodation; or

c. Is enrolled full time in an accredited adult education program designed to provide the student with a high school diploma or its equivalent, unless he or she has a documented disability and has provided documentation that part-time attendance is a necessary accommodation.

(b) In addition, young adults age 18 up to their 23rd birthday who were adopted from foster care at age 16 or 17 and are attending an institution of higher education, whether on a full or part time basis, and meet the other criteria set forth for scholarship eligibility are eligible to receive the scholarship award. The same application shall be used for children adopted at age 16 or 17 applying for ETV funds. These funds are intended to assist in meeting the student’s living expenses or provide for basic personal needs.

(c) Application Process for Scholarship.

1. The services worker shall assist each youth between the ages 17 years, 6 months and 18 years of age to apply for the Road to Independence Scholarship. The youth shall:

a. Complete the application.

b. Obtain document of proof of enrollment.

2. Each departmental district/region or contracted service provider shall designate a services worker to assist each young adult applying for or receiving independent living services. The young adult shall submit his or her application to the Independent Living services worker designated by the department or its contracted service provider. The Independent Living services worker shall have 10 working days to review the application and approve or deny the scholarship award or, if not the approval authority, shall forward the request to the approval authority early enough to have it approved within the ten-day period.

3. If approved, the services worker or Independent Living services worker shall notify the youth in writing within 10 working days of the determination. The monthly scholarship award shall be distributed at the beginning of the month that the recipient turns 18 years of age or, if approval occurs after the youth’s 18th birthday, at the beginning of the next month following approval of the application. For youth approved prior to their 18th birthday, the first monthly scholarship award shall not be prorated regardless of the day of the month recipient turns 18 years of age.

4. If the application is denied, the services worker or services worker shall notify the youth in writing within 10 working days of the determination and shall provide the youth the procedure for filing an appeal and the “Independent Living Benefits Due Process Rights” brochure, CF/PI 175-11, September 2005, incorporated by reference, and notify the youth of other available benefits, including transitional support services or aftercare support.

5. If a young adult formerly in foster care did not complete the application process prior to his or her 18th birthday, or if the application was not approved, the young adult may apply once prior to his or her 21st birthday. The eligibility requirements contained in paragraph 65C-31.004(1)(a), F.A.C., apply. No retroactive benefits are available due to delayed completion of the application process by the youth.

(2) Scholarship Renewal. The services worker shall evaluate for renewal each scholarship award annually during the 90-day period before the student’s birthday. In order to be eligible for a renewal award for the subsequent year the student shall:

(a) Complete the number of hours, or the equivalent considered full time by the educational institution, in the last academic year in which the young adult earned a scholarship, except for a young adult who meets the requirements of Section 1009.41, F.S.

(b) Maintain appropriate progress as required by the educational institution, except that, if the young adult's progress is insufficient to renew the scholarship at any time during the eligibility period, the young adult may restore eligibility by improving his or her progress to the required level.

(3) Scholarship Reinstatement. A student who has lost eligibility for the RTI scholarship or who choose not to renew the award may apply for reinstatement one time before his or her 23rd birthday using “Road to Independence Scholarship and/or Education Training Vouchers (ETV) Funds Reinstatement Application”, CF-FSP 5297, September 2005, incorporated by reference. In order to be eligible for reinstatement the student must meet the eligibility criteria and the criteria for scholarship renewal.

(4) RTI Scholarship Needs Assessment. An RTI Needs Assessment must be completed on each student who has been awarded the RTI scholarship.

(a) State Requirements. The amount of the award, whether it is being used by a young adult working toward completion of a high school diploma or its equivalent or working toward completion of a postsecondary education program, shall be determined based on an assessment of the funding needs of the young adult. This assessment shall consider the young adult's living and educational costs and other grants, scholarships, waivers, earnings, and other income to be received by the young adult.

(b) Federal Requirements. The total amount of ETV funds and any other federal educational assistance to the young adult shall not exceed the young adult’s cost of attendance.

(5) Payment Requirements for Scholarship Recipients.

(a) The services worker responsible for the case shall determine how the monthly scholarship awards will be paid according to either of the two following methods:

1. Direct payment to the young adult,

2. Payment of a portion of the scholarship award to a service provider and the balance to the young adult, if requested by the young adult. If the young adult makes this request, it must be made in writing.

(b) ETV funds are available pursuant to the following:

1. For students attending an institution of higher education, including community college, university or vocational education courses. High school or GED attendance does not qualify.

2. For youth adopted at age 16 or 17 from foster care who are attending an institution of higher learning.

3. Part-time attendance at an institution of higher education may qualify young adults under Florida's transitional support services component.

(c) Renewal of Road to Independence Scholarships.

1. Young adults formerly in foster care are required to renew their scholarships on an annual basis.

2. Departmental districts/regions or contracted service provider agencies shall develop a plan for renewal of scholarships. At a minimum, the plan shall address the tracking and scheduling of scholarship renewals and those staff responsible for notifying for these activities as well as notifying the scholarship recipient of his or her obligations during the renewal period.

3. Each approved award shall be evaluated and renewed during the 90-day period prior to the young adult’s birthday.

4. If the young adult is awarded a scholarship within 90 days prior to his or her next birthday, he/she is not required to file for renewal until the following birthday.

5. For young adults who were adopted from foster care at age 16 or 17, the same procedures established above shall be followed when renewing their ETV funds.

(d) Eligibility to Renew Road to Independence Scholarships. The young adult shall:

1. Make one application for the initial award prior to his or her 21st birthday.

2. Complete the number of hours, or the equivalent considered full time by the educational institution, in the last academic year in which the young adult earned a scholarship, except for a young adult who meets the requirements of Section 1009.41, F.S.

3. Maintain appropriate progress as required by the educational institution, except that, if the young adult’s progress is insufficient to renew the scholarship at any time during the eligibility period, the young adult may restore eligibility by improving his or her progress to the required level.

(e) Documentation Requirements for Scholarship Recipients. All eligible recipients shall:

1. Provide documentation of enrollment in a high school or institution of higher education; and

2. Provide documentation of progress made in his or her course of study during the most recently completed school term.

Specific Authority 409.1451(10) FS. Law Implemented 409.1451(1), (2), (3)(a), (c), (d), (5)(b) FS. History–New 7-27-06.


65C-31.005 Transitional Support Services for Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care.

Rulemaking Authority 409.1451(10) FS. Law Implemented 409.1451(1), (2), (3)(a), (c), (d), (5)(c) FS. History–New 7-27-06, Repealed 10-19-15.


65C-31.006 Young Adult Services Documentation Requirements.

*[See also, FS 409.1451(5)(e)]

(1) General Documentation Requirements.

(a) Pursuant to federal documentation requirements, for each young adult receiving funding from the Road to Independence Scholarship, transitional support services and/or aftercare support services the department or its contracted service provider shall have an active case and a case file containing at minimum:

1. A document that contains current demographic information on the student such as, name, address, DOB, social security number, school attending, etc.

2. Completed applications signed by the young adult and review and approval authorities.

3. Follow up renewal applications or evidence of review of transitional support services cases.

4. Completed Needs Assessments for RTI cases.

5. Documentation to support eligibility requirements for the services provided.

(b) When requesting documentation from the young adult, the services worker shall use “Request for Road to Independence Scholarship Documentation” CF-FSP 5302, September 2005, incorporated by reference.

(2) Documentation Requirements for Aftercare Support Services. The following documentation requirements apply to both referrals and cash assistance.

(a) Requests for Aftercare Support service referrals shall be recorded in the young adult’s case file.

(b) Requests for Aftercare support cash assistance shall be recorded in the young adult’s case file. The application shall be kept in a hard copy file.

(c) The services worker shall verify the young adult is in need of services through an eviction notice; utility cut-off notice or similar document; estimate of move-in costs, or by assessing the situation through an interview with the young adult.

(3) Documentation Requirements for Road to Independence Scholarship. The services worker or other designated staff of the department or its contracted service provider shall maintain the following documentation in the case file of each young adult receiving the Road to Independence Scholarship to verify the young adult’s eligibility for the initial application, ongoing eligibility, at renewal and for reinstatement.

(a) Initial Scholarship Approval Documentation Requirements. In order for a student to be eligible for the Road to Independence Scholarship.

1. Documentation of application(s) for the RTI Scholarship, including the initial, renewal and reinstatement applications. The services worker shall maintain the following documentation in the young adult’s case file:

a. Renewal checklists,

b. Chronological entries of contacts made,

c. All completed scholarship applications, including as appropriate, the initial, renewal and reinstatement applications,

d. A log of financial disbursements, and

e. Any other pertinent supporting documentation.

2. Documentation for Eligibility Requirements.

a. Each student, with the assistance of the services worker, shall complete an RTI Scholarship Application. This “application” shall be completed and signed by the student, reviewing authority and approval authority and a copy shall be placed in the case file.

b. Adjudication of dependency shall be documented by placement in the case file of at least one of the following documents:

(I) Adjudicatory Order if there is follow up documentation indicating that the student was placed in foster care.

(II) Dispositional Order if the order placed the student in foster care or if there is follow up documentation indication that the student was placed in foster care.

(III) Judicial Review Order if the order indicates that the student was adjudicated dependent and placed in foster care. The Judicial Review Social Study Report shall be an acceptable source of supporting documentation if information regarding adjudication of dependency and status in foster care are mentioned in the report.

(IV) A Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) if it is a complete report that includes adjudication date and date placed in foster care.

c. Documentation that the student was living in licensed foster care at age 18 shall be provided by placement in the case file of at least one of the following documents:

(I) Judicial Review Order or other Court Order if the order indicates that the student was living in foster care on his or her 18th birthday. The order may contain language releasing child from foster care on 18th birthday. The Judicial Review Social Study Report shall be an acceptable source of supporting documentation if information regarding adjudication of dependency and status in foster care are mentioned in the report.

(II) An Integrated Child Welfare Services Information System (ICWSIS) printout showing child in placement on 18th birthday if other supporting documentation such as orders are in the file verifying that the child was in custody of the department.

d. Documentation that the student spent at least six months in foster care before reaching his or her 18th birthday shall be provided by placement in the case file of at least one of the following documents:

(I) An Integrated Child Welfare Services Information System (ICWSIS) printout providing at least six months of residing in licensed care prior to the students 18th birthday if other supporting documentation such as orders are in the file verifying that the child was in custody of the department.

(II) A Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System printout showing six months of licensed placement.

e. Documentation that the student is a Florida resident shall be provided by placement in the case file of at least one of the following documents:

(I) Driver’s license or Florida Identification card.

(II) Document proving Florida residence, including but not limited to, a copy of an RTI check, an electric bill, a lease, a current school enrollment form.

3. Documentation for Educational Requirements.

a. Full-time enrollment by the student in university, college or community college shall be documented by placement in the case file of at least one of the following documents:

(I) A current enrollment form or letter from the institution clearly showing the student enrolled for at least 12 credit hours.

(II) If the student is enrolled fewer than 12 hours, a current enrollment form or letter from the institution stating that the student is enrolled full-time.

b. Full-time enrollment by the student in vocational school, high school or GED shall be documented by placement in the case file of an enrollment form or letter from the school that states that he or she is a full-time student.

c. Students must be able to periodically prove that they continue to be enrolled and attending school full-time. This shall be verified by placement in the case file of at least one of the following forms of documentation:

(I) A progress report from the school.

(II) Document in case notes that a school official has been contacted and has verified continued full-time enrollment of the student. The name, title, school and phone number for the school official who has been contacted shall also be included in the case note.

d. At the end of each semester the student shall provide the following documents and a copy shall be placed in the case file:

(I) A report card showing completion of classes registered for previously; and

(II) An enrollment form or letter from the educational institution showing full-time enrollment for the following semester.

(b) Scholarship Renewal Documentation Requirements.

1. For each student the services worker shall complete a “Road to Independence Scholarship and/or ETV Funds Renewal Checklist” CF-FSP 5296, September 2005, incorporated by reference. The completed checklist shall be signed by the student, reviewing authority and approval authority and a copy shall be placed in the case file.

2. The case file shall also contain:

a. Proof of full-time enrollment at the institution, unless exempted, and

b. Proof of satisfactory progress at the institution.

(c) Scholarship Reinstatement Documentation Requirements.

1. Each student who wishes to apply for reinstatement shall complete a “Road to Independence Scholarship and/or Education Training Vouchers (ETV) Funds Reinstatement Application”, CF-FSP 5297, September 2005, incorporated by reference.

2. This application shall be completed and signed by the student, reviewing authority and approval authority and a copy shall be placed in the case file.

3. The case file shall also contain:

a. Proof of eligibility,

b. Proof of full-time enrollment at the institution, unless exempted, and

c. Proof of satisfactory progress at the institution.

(d) RTI Scholarship Needs Assessment. An RTI Needs Assessment shall be completed on each student who has been awarded the RTI scholarship. See Rule 65C-31.007, F.A.C., High School Needs Assessment, and Rule 65C-31.008, F.A.C., Postsecondary Needs Assessment.

(4) Documentation Requirements for Transitional Support Services.

(a) A case shall be open in the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System and a hard copy case folder is required for any documentation not contained in the electronic system.

(b) Staff are required to maintain the following documentation in the youth’s case file: chronological entries to document face to face contacts, phone calls, and other contacts such as letters, facsimile transmissions or e-mail correspondence, documentation of referrals for services and documentation of young adults progress in attaining his or her transition plan, including:

1. Completing the attached application,

2. Obtaining a copy of documentation of grade point average,

3. Obtaining document of proof of enrollment,

4. Performing any other specific tasks identified in transition plan.

(c) Other required documentation for Transitional Support Services that shall be maintained in the case file is:

1. The completed transitional support services application,

2. The completed transitional plan, and

3. Documentation that the young adult meets the requirements for eligibility for transitional support services.

Specific Authority 409.1451(10) FS. Law Implemented 409.1451(1), (2), (3)(a), (c), (d), (5)(a), (c) FS. History–New 7-27-06.


65C-31.007 High School Needs Assessment.

(1) The Road to Independence Scholarship Needs Assessment for high school education has been developed to determine the funding needs of a young adult student formerly in foster care attending high school after considering other income sources.

(2) Procedure:

(a) Before completing the Road to Independence Scholarship Needs Assessment, the services worker shall verify that the student has submitted an RTI scholarship application and has been determined eligible to receive an award.

(b) The amount of the monthly scholarship award shall not exceed the federal minimum wage times 40 hours per week times 4.33 weeks per month.

(c) In order to complete the Road to Independence Scholarship Needs Assessment, the services worker shall meet with the student and explain the needs assessment process to the student and obtain the required information and, when applicable, supporting documentation. For students located out-of-state, a phone interview is sufficient.

(d) If the student has not provided all necessary documentation and information the services worker shall provide a written list of items needed for the needs assessment process to be completed. The written list shall also include a due date for all requested items to be submitted to ensure that benefits will not be reduced or interrupted. This list shall include:

1. A statement that the requested information is needed before the needs assessment tool is processed;

2. A date by which the information must be received; and

3. A statement that the student’s benefits will be initially established or reduced to the minimum award amount of $25 until the information is provided. Once the information has been provided the services worker shall have 7 calendar days to process the needs assessment.

(e) No later than 30 days prior to the student’s 18th birthday, or, if the student is 18 years of age or older, within 30 days after receiving the application and all required documentation and information, the department shall notify the student, in writing, of the award amount and the anticipated date of first payment. This notification shall also include the process for appealing the amount of the award (See attachment E).

(3) Elements of the Tool: The elements listed below correspond to the elements in the “Road to Independence Scholarship High School Needs Assessment Tool” CF-FSP 5299, September 2005, incorporated by reference. An explanation of each element and instructions for obtaining the correct figures are included. There is an electronic version of the form that will perform the required calculations as data is entered on the form.

(a) Total Cost of Attendance: The maximum award that a student can receive is equivalent to the amount one would earn by working a full-time federal minimum wage job. The monthly amount has been computed to a yearly amount and has been included in the “cost/need” column on the “Total Cost of Attendance” (COA) line. Deductions will be subtracted from this figure to establish the RTI award amount.

1. In addition to the RTI award, a high school student may apply for aftercare and/or transitional support services, when needed.

2. Funds received from aftercare and transitional support services do not count against the “cost of attendance” for high school students.

(b) Special Needs Allowance: If a student expects to incur special costs during the academic year the services worker shall obtain documentation of the special needs from the student and enter the amount on the “Special Needs Allowance” line on the needs assessment tool.

1. Costs that can be included in the “Special Needs Allowance” include but are not limited to: costs associated with a special field of study requiring additional costs such as nursing uniforms for nursing students, special equipment or assistance needed for disabled students, child care costs for students with dependent children, and medical or dental expenses not covered by medical insurance.

2. The services worker shall determine the validity of the request for special needs allowance, determine that the cost is associated with assisting in educational achievement and that the costs are not already included in the cost of attendance figure.

(c) Earned Income: If the student is employed, a verification of his or her earned income is required.

1. The services worker shall provide the student with two options for verifying earned income:

a. The student may provide recent pay stubs. The pay stubs must be averaged to compute a monthly amount.

b. The student may instead submit a letter from his or her employer stating the average number hours to be worked per month and the hourly wage.

2. Include the amount in the “income” column on the “Student’s Monthly Wages” line. The monthly amount will automatically be calculated into a yearly figure on the next box below.

(d) Income Protection Allowance: The “Income Protection Allowance” figure is already included on the needs assessment form. This figure is equal to what a student would earn by working 20 hours per week at Florida’s minimum wage computed over 12 months. Any student income less than or equal to this amount is disregarded for purposes of computing the scholarship amount. This means that a student may work the equivalent of a part-time job at Florida’s minimum wage without impacting his or her RTI award.

(e) Student’s Available Income: This is the amount of student income after deducting the “Income Protection Allowance.” The electronic version of the form calculates this amount automatically.

(f) Contribution from Income: The federal financial aid application process allows for half of the “Student’s Available Income” to count as a deduction when determining financial need. The electronic version of the needs assessment form automatically calculates the “Contribution from Income”" figure and enters it in the “deductions” column.

(g) Federal Income: The services worker completing the needs assessment shall inquire and verify through available resources whether the student is receiving funds from any other source including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security (SSA). The student shall have a choice, based on his or her individual situation, whether or not to include SSI/SSA benefits in his or her budget as a deduction. The staff shall assist the student in maximizing all benefits to attend school and for his or her living needs. Any child support or other funds received (i.e., WAGES, Food Stamps, etc.) on behalf of the student’s child shall not be included as income in the needs assessment.

(h) Totals: The electronic version of the needs assessment form automatically calculates the totals in the “cost/need” column and the “deductions” column.

(i) Total Need: The electronic version of the needs assessment form automatically subtracts the “deductions” from “cost/need” to get the “total need” amount.

(j) Adjusted Total Need: If the “Total Need” figure exceeds the amount equal to a full-time federal minimum wage job computed over 12 months the electronic version of the needs assessment form will automatically adjust the figure to that amount and enter the adjusted figure in the “cost/need” column.

(k) Aftercare and Transitional Support Services Funds Provided – Year to Date: Indicate the amount of Aftercare and/or Transitional Support Services Funds that have been provided to the student during the fiscal year (July 1st through June 30th). These funds shall not be factored as a deduction for the monthly scholarship award.

(l) Monthly Scholarship Award: The electronic version of the needs assessment form automatically calculates the monthly award amount by dividing the “adjusted total need” by 12 months. The electronic version of the form automatically adjusts the monthly award to $25, in the following row, if the award calculates to less than $25 per month.

(4) Needs Assessment Totals. The bottom of the electronic version of the needs assessment form displays calculations of the total income and benefits for the student. These totals are calculated automatically based on the information input by staff. The totals calculated are:

(a) Total Earned and Unearned Income: This shows the student’s annual amount of Earned Income plus Other Income, without deductions.

(b) Annual RTI Scholarship Award: This is the monthly scholarship award multiplied by 12.

(c) Total Annual Income Available to the Student: This is the amount of income from all sources and represents the total amount of income available to the student for educational and living needs.

(d) Monthly Income Available to the Student: This is the amount of income available to the student on a monthly basis.

(5) Documentation and Signature.

(a) The services worker shall obtain the student’s signature on the “Road to Independence (RTI) Scholarship Needs Assessment Face to Face Consultation Form”, CF-FSP 5298, September 2005, incorporated by reference. By signing the form the student is only certifying that he/she has had a face to face meeting and the appeals process has been explained and provided.

(b) Once each individual needs assessment tool has been fully completed, and an award amount determined, two copies shall be printed. One copy shall be maintained in the student’s case file. The second copy shall be provided to the student, either in person or by mail, with a copy of the “Independent Living Benefits Due Process Rights” brochure, CF/PI 175-11, September 2005, incorporated by reference, attached to the needs assessment tool.

Specific Authority 409.1451(10) F.S. Law Implemented 409.1451(5)(b)4. F.S. History–New 7-27-06.


65C-31.008 Post Secondary Needs Assessment.

(1) The Road to Independence (RTI) Scholarship Needs Assessment for post secondary education has been developed to determine the funding needs of young adults formerly in foster care attending a post secondary institution, after considering other income sources and educational scholarships.

(2) Procedure:

(a) Before completing the Road to Independence Scholarship needs assessment, the services worker shall verify that the student has submitted an RTI scholarship application and has been determined eligible to receive an award.

(b) The amount of the monthly scholarship award shall not exceed the federal minimum wage times 40 hours per week times 4.33 weeks per month. The total amount of federal educational assistance funds provided to a student from all federal sources shall not exceed the “total cost of attendance” figure determined by the educational institution.

(c) In order to complete the Road to Independence Scholarship Needs Assessment, the services worker shall meet with the student and explain the needs assessment process to the student. For students located out-of-state, a phone interview is sufficient.

(d) The student shall provide documentation evidencing the following:

1. Living and Educational Expenses.

a. An individual itemized “Cost of Attendance” (COA) for the academic year from the school the student will attend. The financial aid office at every university, college, community college, and vocational school establishes a COA, also referred to as a “student budget,” for each of its students. Some institutions automatically factor into the individual COA certain qualifying costs, including dependent care and costs associated with a particular course of study. Other institutions will consider adjustments to the COA for certain qualifying costs on a case-by-case basis upon request by the student. The COA will also indicate the length of the academic year considered.

b. It may be necessary for the student to formally request that the financial aid office make adjustments to his or her COA based on individual circumstances. The student is responsible for collecting and transmitting to the financial aid office any information relevant to the COA adjustments sought. The services worker shall make efforts to facilitate this process. The student shall execute such authorizations as may be necessary to enable the services worker to assist with financial aid issues.

c. In addition to establishing the individual COA for each student, many institutions publish an average or estimated COA. If a student fails to provide his or her individual COA, the services worker shall obtain the average or estimated COA published by the institution. The services worker shall make reasonable efforts to obtain the most current COA information by contacting the financial aid office. If COA information cannot be obtained via the financial aid office, the case worker shall use the most current COA information listed on the institution’s website.

d. If the student is unable to obtain an individual COA, and an average or estimated COA is unavailable, the case worker shall contact DCF for further guidance.

2. Fee exemption for the academic year.

3. Federal scholarships received (including Pell Grants).

4. Other Federal Income (SSI, Social Security).

5. Earned Income (pay stubs or other documentation).

6. Other scholarships and grants from all sources.

7. Alternate sources of funds and services.

(e) If the student has not provided all necessary documentation the services worker shall provide a written list of items necessary for the needs assessment process to be completed. The written list shall also include a due date for all requested items to be submitted. The list shall include:

1. A statement that the requested information is needed before each needs assessment tool is processed; and

2. A date by which the information must be received; and

3. A statement that the student’s benefits will be initially established at or reduced to the minimum monthly award amount of $25 until the information is provided. Once the information has been provided the services worker shall have 7 calendar days to process the needs assessment.

(f) No later than 30 days prior to the student’s 18th birthday or, if the student is 18 years of age or older, within 30 days after receiving the application and all required documentation and information, DCF shall notify the student, in writing, of the award amount and the anticipated date of first payment. This notification shall also include the process for appealing the amount of the award (See attachment E).

(3) Calculating Awards for Post Secondary Students. The award for post secondary students shall be calculated no less than twice each year—once for the academic year and once for the summer months. The award may also be recalculated upon a change of circumstance, as provided for under subsection 65C-31.008(5), F.A.C., below. The award shall be calculated as follows:

(a) Academic Year Needs Assessment. The services worker shall use the form “ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE SCHOLARSHIP POST SECONDARY NEEDS ASSESSMENT – ACADEMIC YEAR (FSP 5300 - May 2006), incorporated by reference, DCF has supplied an electronic version of the form that will perform the required calculations as data is entered by the services worker.

1. Living and Educational Expenses: Enter the total academic year COA. (See Rule 65C-31.008(2)(d)1., F.A.C.)

2. Fee Exemption (Tuition and Fees): Enter Tuition and Fee waiver amount. This amount is deducted from the Living and Educational Expenses.

3. Federal Scholarships Received: Enter the total amount of all Federal Scholarships received. This includes the amount of any Pell Grant received. Calculate the monthly amount of Federal Scholarships received by dividing the total amount by 12, then multiply the monthly amount by the number of months in the institution’s academic year. This amount is deducted from the Living and Educational Expenses.

4. Other Federal Income: The services worker completing the needs assessment shall inquire and verify through available resources whether the young adult is receiving federal funds from any other source including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security (SSA). The young adult shall have a choice, based on his or her individual situation, whether or not to include SSI/SSA benefits in his or her budget as a deduction. The staff shall assist the young adult in maximizing all benefits to attend school and for his or her living needs. If the young adult elects to have SSI or SSA benefits included as a deduction, the amount of such benefits shall be calculated on a monthly basis and deducted according to the number of months in the academic year.

5. Available Income:

a. Earned income. Calculate the student’s expected earned income for the academic year on a monthly basis. The student may verify his or her monthly income by providing recent pay stubs or a letter from his or her employer indicating the number of hours to be worked and the hourly wage. Enter the number of months in the academic year. The months of a specific institution’s academic year can be determined from the COA. Multiply to determine the “earned income” for the academic year.

b. Income protection allowance. Calculate 20 hours per week at Florida’s minimum wage on a monthly basis. Multiply by number of months in the academic year to determine the income protection allowance.

c. Total available income is determined by subtracting the income protection allowance from the student’s earned income. This amount is deducted from the Living and Educational Expenses.

6. Other Scholarships and Grants: Enter all other scholarships and grants to be received for the academic year. This amount is deducted from the Living and Educational Expenses, except that a $1,500 disregard shall apply to offset any deduction to the award based on other scholarships and grants.

7. Alternate Sources of Funds and Services: To the extent that any of the expenses contained in the COA can be reduced through alternate funding sources or services at a reduced cost, the services worker shall employ such alternate funding sources and/or services and assist the student as needed in applying for such funding and/or services. Enter the amount of funds from alternate sources employed to pay for any portion of the academic year Living and Educational Expenses. This amount is deducted from the Living and Educational Expenses.

8. Total Academic Year Award: The total academic year award is calculated by subtracting all the deductions from the Living and Educational Expenses.

9. Monthly Academic Year Award: The monthly academic year award is determined by dividing the total academic year award by the number of months in the institution’s academic year.

(b) Summer Months.

1. Student attending school, including internships. The service worker shall use the form “ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE POST SECONDARY NEEDS ASSESSMENT – SUMMER MONTHS – Attending School (FSP 5300a - March 2006).” DCF has supplied an electronic version of the form that will perform the required calculation as the data is entered by the services worker.

a. Living and Educational Expenses: Enter the total summer school COA. The summer school COA is obtained in the same manner as the academic year COA. (See Rule 65C-31.008(2)(d)1., F.A.C., above.) If no summer school COA is available from the financial aid office or the institution’s website, the summer Living and Educational expenses are determined based on the student’s academic year COA. The services worker shall reduce the academic year COA by the academic related costs and divide by the number of months in that institution’s academic year to determine the monthly living expenses. Multiply the monthly living expenses by the number of summer months to determine the summer living expenses, then add the total summer educational expenses to be incurred, including tuition, fees, and books.

b. Fee Exemption (Tuition and Fees): Enter tuition and fee waiver amount. This amount is deducted from the Living and Educational Expenses.

c. Federal Scholarships Received: Enter the total amount of all Federal Scholarships received. This includes the amount of any Pell Grant received. Calculate the monthly amount of Federal Scholarships received by dividing the total amount by 12, then multiply the monthly amount by the number of summer months. This amount is deducted from the Living and Educational Expenses.

d. Other Federal Income: The services worker completing the needs assessment shall inquire and verify through available resources whether the young adult is receiving federal funds from any other source including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security (SSA). The young adult shall have a choice, based on his or her individual situation, whether or not to include SSI/SSA benefits in his or her budget as a deduction. The staff shall assist the young adult in maximizing all benefits to attend school and for his or her living needs. If the young adult elects to have SSI or SSA benefits included as a deduction, the amount of such benefits shall be calculated on a monthly basis and deducted according to the number of summer months.

e. Available Income:

(I) Earned income. Calculate the student’s expected earned income for the summer on a monthly basis. The student may verify his or her monthly income by providing recent pay stubs or a letter from his or her employer indicating the number of hours to be worked and the hourly wage. Enter the number of summer months. The summer months are those not included in the institution’s academic year. Multiply to determine the “earned income” for the summer months.

(II) Income protection allowance. Calculate 20 hours per week at Florida’s minimum wage on a monthly basis. Multiply by the number of summer months to determine the income protection allowance.

(III) Total available income is determined by subtracting the income protection allowance from the student’s earned income. This amount is deducted from the Living and Educational Expenses.

f. Other Scholarships and Grants: Enter all other scholarships and grants to be received for summer school. This amount is deducted from the Living and Educational Expenses, except that a $500 disregard shall apply to offset any deduction to the award based on other scholarships and grants.

g. Alternate Sources of Funds and Services: To the extent that any of the summer Living and Educational expenses can be reduced through alternate funding sources or services at a reduced cost, the services worker shall employ such alternate funding sources and/or services and assist the student as needed in applying for such funding and/or services. Enter the amount of funds from alternate sources employed to pay for any portion of the summer Living and Educational Expenses. This amount is deducted from the summer Living and Educational Expenses.

h. Total Summer Award: The total summer award is calculated by subtracting all the deductions from the summer Living and Educational Expenses.

i. Monthly Summer Award: The monthly summer award is determined by dividing the total summer award by the number of summer months, which is the number of months not included in the institution’s academic year.

2. Student not attending school. The case worker shall use the form “ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE SCHOLARSHIP POST SECONDARY NEEDS ASSESSMENT – SUMMER MONTHS – Not attending school (FSP 5300b - May 2006).” DCF has supplied an electronic version of the form that will perform the required calculation as the data is entered by the services worker.

a. Summer Living Expenses: The summer living expenses are determined based on the student’s academic year COA. The case worker shall reduce the academic year COA by the academic related costs and divide by the number of months in that institution’s academic year to determine the monthly living expenses. Multiply the monthly living expenses by the number of summer months to determine the summer living expenses.

b. Federal Scholarships Received: Enter the total amount of all Federal Scholarships received. This includes the amount of any Pell Grant received. Calculate the monthly amount of Federal Scholarships received by dividing the total amount by 12, then multiply the monthly amount by the number of summer months. This amount is deducted from the Living Expenses.

c. Other Federal Income: The services worker completing the needs assessment shall inquire and verify through available resources whether the young adult is receiving federal funds from any other source including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security (SSA). The young adult shall have a choice, based on his or her individual situation, whether or not to include SSI/SSA benefits in his or her budget as a deduction. The staff shall assist the young adult in maximizing all benefits to attend school and for his or her living needs. If the young adult elects to have SSI or SSA benefits included as a deduction, the amount of such benefits shall be calculated on a monthly basis and deducted according to the number of summer months.

d. Available income:

i. Earned income. Calculate the student’s expected earned income for the summer on a monthly basis. The student may verify his or her monthly income by providing recent pay stubs or a letter from his or her employer indicating the number of hours to be worked and the hourly wage. Enter the number of summer months. The summer months are those not included in the institution’s academic year. Multiply to determine the “earned income” for the summer months.

ii. Income protection allowance. Calculate 20 hours per week at Florida’s minimum wage on a monthly basis. Multiply by the number of summer months to determine the income protection allowance.

iii. Total available income is determined by subtracting the income protection allowance from the student’s earned income. This amount is deducted from the Living Expenses.

e. Alternate Sources of Funds and Services: To the extent that any of the summer Living expenses can be reduced through alternate funding sources or services at a reduced cost, the services worker shall employ such alternate funding sources and/or services and assist the student as needed in applying for such funding and/or services. Enter the amount of funds from alternate sources employed to pay for any portion of the summer Living Expenses. This amount is deducted from the summer Living Expenses.

f. Total Summer Award: The total summer award is calculated by subtracting the deductions from the summer living expenses.

g. Monthly Summer Award: The monthly summer award is determined by dividing the total summer award by the number of summer months, which is the number of months not included in the institution’s academic year.

h. A young adult not attending school is expected to obtain employment for the summer months, and if not employed, has the obligation to diligently seek employment.

i. A young adult seeking employment must provide the case worker with documentation of his or her job search consistent with the documentation required by the office of unemployment compensation on a monthly basis. If the unemployed young adult fails to provide such documentation in a given summer month, no award payment shall issue for the following summer month.

j. The young adult is required to inform the case worker of successful summer job placement within 7 days.

(4) Documentation and Signature:

(a) At the face-to-face meeting with the young adult, the services worker shall obtain the young adult’s, signature on the “Road to Independence (RTI) Scholarship Needs Assessment Face to Face Consultation Form”, CF-FSP 5298, September, 2005, incorporated by reference. By signing the form the young adult is only certifying that he or she has had a face-to-face meeting and the appeals process has been explained and provided.

(b) Once each individual needs assessment tool has been fully completed, and an award amount determined, two copies shall be printed. One copy shall be maintained in the young adult’s case file. The second copy shall be provided to the young adult, either in person or by mail, with a copy of the “Independent Living Benefits Due Process Rights” brochure, CF/PI 175-11, September 2005, incorporated by reference, attached to the needs assessment tool.

(5) Needs Assessment Recalculations.

(a) Changes in circumstances: The needs assessment may be recalculated at any time upon request by the young adult or the services worker to address material changes in the young adult’s circumstances. Such a recalculation shall be completed within 7 working days of the request.

1. Changes in circumstances may include, but are not limited to, changes in the amount of grants, transfer to another academic institution, changes in the amount of earned income, and changes in living and educational expenses.

2. A change in circumstances is material if it is likely to result in a change in the amount of the monthly award of at least $50 per month for the remainder of the award period.

Specific Authority 409.1451(10) FS. Law Implemented 409.1451(1), (2), (3)(a), (c), (d), (5)(b) FS. History–New 7-27-06.


65C-31.009 Independent Living Benefits Due Process Notification.

*[See also, FS 409.1451(5)(c)]

(1) The Independent Living program and its departmental or contracted service provider staff shall seek to treat all young adults fairly and to afford them due process. A young adult applying for or receiving Independent Living benefits has the right to receive adequate written notice of adverse actions by the department or its contracted service provider, to present grievances about adverse actions by the department or its contracted service provider, and to resolve issues about eligibility by meeting informally with representatives of the department or its contracted service provider or through the fair hearing process.

(2) The services worker shall, at the time of application for independent living benefits, provide the applying young adult a copy of the brochure “Independent Living Benefits Due Process Rights”, CF/PI 175-11, September 2005, incorporated by reference. As stated in the brochure, the young adult’s services worker shall be available to help with the request for a fair hearing at any time that an adverse decision is made regarding the benefit.

(3) Actions by the department or its contracted service provider that require due process notification:

(a) The young adult is for any reason initially determined to be ineligible for any Independent Living benefit;

(b) The young adult is denied an Independent Living benefit due to lack of available funding;

(c) The young adult’s services are reduced or terminated for any reason other than at the request of the young adult;

(4) Actions by the department or its contracted service provider that require confirmation: Voluntary reductions or terminations of services by a young adult. Due process notification is not required for these voluntary actions on the part of the young adult.

(a) A voluntary decision made by a young adult to reduce, terminate, or suspend services does not require due process notification. A decision to reduce, terminate, or suspend services is voluntary when the young adult determines that he or she does not need the service or scope of the service at issue and requests a reduction or termination of the service without being pressured to do so by staff of the department or its contracted service provider.

(b) Each young adult who makes a voluntary reduction or termination shall be allowed ten calendar days from the date the letter of confirmation was sent to reconsider. If after ten calendar days the young adult has not contacted the services worker in response to the letter of confirmation, the reduction or termination shall take effect.

(c) If the young adult contacts the services worker within ten (10) days to indicate that he or she does not agree to a voluntary reduction or termination of services, then services shall continue.

(5) Common bases on which Independent Living funding requests may be denied, or otherwise acted on in a manner adverse to the beneficiary. Most often, a request for Independent Living funding may be adversely acted upon (i.e., denied, reduced, or terminated) for one of the three following reasons:

(a) The young adult does not qualify for post-foster care Independent Living benefits;

(b) The young adult is not eligible (or is no longer eligible) for the Road to Independence Scholarship, or is eligible only for a reduced amount; or

(c) There are no available funds for Independent Living benefits.

(6) Determination of Service Denial. A determination regarding eligibility or continued eligibility for an Independent Living benefit shall be made by the young adult’s services worker.

(7) Supervisory review of the determination prior to issuance of a letter denying, terminating, reducing or suspending an Independent Living benefit shall occur as follows:

(a) Before a letter is issued that denies, terminates, or reduces an Independent Living benefit request, the supervisor of the Independent Living services worker shall review the letter.

(b) The supervisory review shall consist of a review of all documents relied upon in denying, reducing, or terminating the service request, to ensure that the necessary documentation is present and to ensure that the decision to deny the service is supported by the documentation and pertinent policies regarding the requested Independent Living benefit.

(c) The purpose of the supervisory review is to ensure that the correct decision has been made with respect to the request for services. If the supervisor determines that an incorrect decision has been made, the service shall not be denied, but rather approved. If the supervisor determines that the denial was appropriate, the supervisor shall document that the supervisory review has occurred.

(d) Only after the supervisory review is successfully completed, and a determination is made by the supervisor that the denial is appropriate, shall the due process notification letter regarding denial, reduction, or termination of Independent Living benefits be issued (See attached Sample Letters, Attachments “A” through “D”). A decision to deny, reduce or terminate benefits shall be documented on “Documentation of Supervisory Review for Notices of Denial, Reduction or Termination of Benefits” or an alternate form that provides the same information (See Attachment G).

(8) Signing the Letter/Notice of adverse action. After the supervisory review is successfully completed, the young adult’s services worker shall sign the letter notifying the young adult of the intended adverse action and providing due process information.

(9) Notification of Adverse Action. The services worker shall provide written notice to the young adult regarding any of the actions listed in subsection 65C-31.009(3), F.A.C.

(a) In the Notice, the young adult shall be advised of his or her right to request a fair hearing in accordance with 45 CFR           § 1355.30 and 45 CFR 205.10.

(b) The Notice shall notify the young adult of the adverse action and the date the young adult can expect that action to be implemented.

(c) The services worker shall inform a young adult of the adverse action regarding eligibility within the following time frames:

1. One (1) calendar day of receiving a request for aftercare assistance to prevent homelessness;

2. Five (5) business days of receiving a request for transitional benefits or aftercare benefits other than assistance to prevent homelessness; OR

3. Ten (10) business days of receiving a request and required documentation for the Road to Independence program.

(d) Notices regarding reduction or termination of benefits shall be sent at least 10 days in advance of the adverse action. The notices shall provide the day prior to the effective date of the reduction or termination as the deadline for a request for a fair hearing to continue benefits until the hearing process is complete. If the day prior to the effective date is on a weekend or holiday, the deadline must be on the effective date itself.

(10) Form of Notification. Notification shall be in writing. One of the attached sample letters shall be used to notify young adults of the adverse action (See Attachments “A” through “D”). All relevant reasons for the adverse action must be indicated on the appropriate notice.

(a) The completed notification shall include notice of action, reason(s) for action, and relevant citations. The form shall be completed in its entirety and all relevant blanks shall be filled in. If there are multiple reasons for denial, reduction, or termination, all shall be listed.

(b) A “Request for Fair Hearing on Denial, Termination, or Reduction of Independent Living Benefits”, CF-FSP 5304, September 2005, incorporated by reference, and the brochure “Independent Living Benefits Due Process Rights”, CF/PI 175-11, September 2005, incorporated by reference, shall be attached to the Notice.

(c) A Notice that pertains to fair hearing rights shall include the name, address and phone number of the services worker responsible for providing Independent Living Services to the young adult.

(d) The Notice shall be sent by Certified Mail or provided to the young adult by hand delivery. Documentation of hand delivery shall be made in the young adult’s file contemporaneously with the hand delivery. The certified mail receipt shall also be placed in the young adult’s file.

(e) Timeframes for response shall be clearly defined.

1. The request for a fair hearing shall be received by the services worker no later than thirty (30) calendar days from the date the notice was mailed or hand delivered to the individual.

2. If a request for hearing is received by the services worker on or before the day prior to the effective date of the reduction or termination of benefits, those benefits shall continue at their current level until the fair hearing process is completed. If the day prior to the effective date of the reduction or termination is on a weekend or holiday, the deadline to request a fair hearing and continue benefits shall be the effective date of the reduction or termination. The deadline shall be clearly stated in the Notice.

3. The right to request a fair hearing shall be exercised within thirty (30) days of the date the notice of adverse action was mailed or hand delivered. However, the issue of whether a request was timely made is one that shall be determined by the hearing officer. A request for a hearing can be rejected or dismissed only by the hearing officer. Therefore, if a request for a hearing is not within the given timeframes, the request shall not be refused. It shall be taken and forwarded to the Florida Department of Children and Family Services Office of Appeal Hearings with a notation on the “Independent Living Fair Hearing Request”, which is used as a Fax cover sheet, (Attachment F) that the request was late. The Office of Appeal Hearings will handle late-filed requests from the central office.

(f) The request for a fair hearing may be made orally or in writing.

1. The form “Oral Request for Fair Hearing” CF-FSP 5303, September 2005, incorporated by reference, shall be used by the services worker to document oral requests for a fair hearing.

2. Written requests shall be prepared by the young adult on “Request for Fair Hearing on Denial, Termination, or Reduction of Independent Living Benefits”, CF-FSP 5304, September 2005, incorporated by reference.

(11) Timeframes.

(a) Response to a Notice of Action of Termination or Reduction of Existing Benefits. When a young adult receives notice of recommended action from the services worker, the following time limitations to request a hearing shall apply:

1. The written or oral request for a fair hearing shall be made no later than thirty (30) days from the date a notice is mailed or hand delivered to the young adult.

2. When a request for a fair hearing is made at least one calendar day prior to the date of the reduction or termination of benefits, (See attached Sample Letters, Attachments “B” and “C”), the request shall suspend or stay the termination or reduction action until the conclusion of the hearing process. If the day prior to the date of the reduction or termination is a weekend day or holiday, a request for a fair hearing received on the date of the reduction or termination shall also suspend or stay the reduction or termination action until the conclusion of the hearing process.

(b) Response to a Notice of Action of Denial of an Application for Benefits. When a young adult receives notice of denial of benefits (for benefits which have not yet been received, rather than the reduction or termination of benefits currently being received) from the services worker, the following time limitations to request a hearing shall apply:

1. The written or oral request for a fair hearing shall be made no later than thirty (30) days from the date a notice is mailed to the young adult.

2. The young adult shall not receive the denied services until the hearing officer rules in favor of the individual (but may receive other services for which he or she has not been denied).

(12) Transmittal of Hearing Request to the Department or Its Contracted Service Provider.

(a) The completed “Oral Request for Fair Hearing “form or the written request on the “Request for Fair Hearing on Denial, Termination, or Reduction of Independent Living Benefits” form and a copy of the Due Process notice letter shall be faxed by the services worker, using as a cover sheet the form “Independent Living Fair Hearing Request” (Attachment F), within one (1) business day of receipt to the District Legal Counsel, the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of Appeal Hearings of the Department of Children and Family Services, whose address and fax number is noted on the cover sheet (Attachment F).

(b) The services worker receiving the request shall forward a copy of all documentation supporting the decision regarding the Independent Living benefit at issue to the District Legal Counsel and the Office of the Attorney General within three (3) business days.

(13) Additional Local Preparation for Fair Hearings.

(a) The services worker receiving the request shall immediately prepare copies of the young adult’s complete Independent Living file to provide to both the young adult and the legal representative for the department or its contracted service provider. The services worker shall provide the complete file to both the young adult and the legal representative for the department or its contracted service provider, whether or not a request has been made.

(b) The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will appear as counsel to defend the adverse action only if the OAG has received copies of the written request, the due process letter, and all the documentation supporting the decision at least 14 days before a scheduled hearing. Otherwise, the District Legal Counsel is responsible for the hearing.

(c) The services worker responsible for the young adult’s Independent Living benefits case (the services worker in the county where the young adult’s involvement in independent living services originated) shall coordinate and participate in the Fair Hearing, even if the hearing takes place in a different county or district. The Fair Hearing will take place wherever the young adult lives.

(d) Staff in each departmental zone shall be available to provide technical assistance regarding Independent Living requirements to counsel for the department and its contracted service provider in preparation for the Fair Hearing. Therefore, the legal representative for the department and its contracted service provider shall be provided access to the young adult’s Independent Living file by departmental zone staff when needed as part of trial preparation.

(14) Update to the department’s Interim Child Welfare Services Information System (ICWSIS) ,or contracted service provider payment system:

(a) Update after initial notice of termination or reduction.

1. No update shall be made to the ICWSIS system to reduce or terminate funding for any service until the 11th day after the notice was sent to the individual, or the effective date of the reduction, whichever occurs later, and only if the individual has not requested a hearing and continuation or reinstatement of services.

2. If the young adult files for a hearing in accordance with the timeframes in subsection 65C-31.009(11), F.A.C., no adjustment shall be made to ICWSIS until after the appeal hearing decision is rendered.

(b) Update after Hearing Officer’s decision.

1. If ICWSIS was not initially adjusted and the decision is in favor of the Department, ICWSIS will be adjusted within five days after the Department receives a copy of the order to reflect the decision of the officer.

2. If the decision is in favor of the individual and ICWSIS had not been adjusted because the individual requested a hearing in accordance with subsection 65C-31.009(11), F.A.C., then no change shall be made to ICWSIS and services will continue.

(15) Local [Informal] Review. Upon receipt of a Request for Hearing, an informal Local Review is mandated prior to the Fair Hearing itself.

(a) In view of the fact that a hearing may be scheduled fairly quickly, the Local Review shall occur no later than 10 days after receipt of the request for hearing. This Review shall mirror the supervisory review done prior to the issuance of the due process letter (subsection (7) above).

(b) The Local Review shall be done by the local department administrator or the administrator of its contracted service provider in charge of the Independent Living program in consultation with the services worker’s supervisor.

(c) The Local Review shall include an informal meeting with the young adult and/or the young adult’s legal representative, if the young adult requests such a meeting.

(d) The young adult or the young adult’s legal representative shall be provided, without charge, with a copy of all of the records and documents of the department or its contracted service provider relating to the denied, reduced, or terminated benefit within three (3) business days of the receipt of the Request for a Hearing by the department or its contracted service provider.

(e) If the Local Review or interview resolves the issue to the satisfaction of the young adult, the request for hearing shall be withdrawn. Should an error be discovered during the Local Review, immediate action shall be taken to rectify it, and the young adult or the young adult’s legal representative shall be advised.

(f) The informal review determination by the department or its contracted service provider, including specific findings, shall be provided in writing to the young adult or the young adult’s legal representative, the District Legal Counsel, the Office of the Attorney General and the Department’s Office of Appeal Hearings.

(16) Hearing Officer Decisions for all due process actions regarding denials, reductions and terminations of service.

(a) Hearing Officer Rules in favor of the department or its contracted service provider.

1. If the hearing officer affirms the decision of the department or its contracted service provider to terminate or reduce services, the services worker shall terminate or reduce services if they were continued or reinstated during the appeals process. The services worker shall implement the order five (5) days after the date the order is received by the department or its contracted service provider. The services worker shall immediately notify the young adult or the young adult’s legal representative in writing informing him or her of the hearing officer's order and the effective date of the termination or reduction.

2. If the hearing officer affirms the decision of the department or its contracted service provider to terminate or reduce services, and the services have not been continued during the appeal process, the department or its contracted service provider does not need to take any further action regarding the services at issue. The Final Order shall be sent directly to the young adult and the young adult’s legal representative as well as to the services worker.

(b) Hearing Officer Rules in favor of the Individual.

1. If services were discontinued pending the hearing officer’s review and the hearing officer’s finding is in favor of the individual, then service(s) shall be reinstated according to the hearing officer’s decision. This decision shall make clear the required corrective action, including retroactive payment. The services worker shall reinstate services according to the hearing officer’s decision within five (5) business days of the date the department or its contracted service provider receives the order.

2. If services were continued or reinstated pending the hearing officer’s review and the hearing officer’s finding is in favor of the individual, then the service(s) shall continue in accordance with the hearing officer’s decision.

3. If services were denied, the services worker shall provide those services, pursuant to the hearing officer’s decision, within five (5) business days of receiving the order.

(17) Termination upon failure to renew Road to Independence Scholarship. When a services worker is unable to update a young adult’s Road to Independence Scholarship during the 3 months prior to the young adult’s birthday due to an inability to either locate or gain the cooperation of the young adult, the following action shall be taken:

(a) The services worker shall document in the case file “due diligence” in trying to locate or secure the cooperation of the young adult to update his or her continued eligibility for the Road to Independence Scholarship. This shall include checking with the post office for a forwarding address and sending the Request for Road to Independence Documentation form to the last known address, requesting forwarding by the post office, and allowing the individual 30 days from date of receipt (or 35 days from date the letter is mailed) to contact the services worker and renew the Road to Independence Scholarship.

(b) If after 35 days, there has been no contact by the young adult, or if it has been verified that the young adult has been terminated from the rolls of the post-secondary school, a letter (See Attachment “C”) shall be sent by U.S. mail, certified, return receipt, to the last known address to notify the young adult that he or she is terminated from the program. The effective date of termination shall be calculated at 35 days following the date the oral request form was mailed.

Specific Authority 409.1451(10) FS. Law Implemented 409.1451(5)(e) FS. History–New 7-27-06.

65C-31.010 Jurisdictional and Service Requirements for Young Adults Formerly in the Custody of the Department.

*[See also, FS 39.013(2)]

(1) Continued Court Jurisdiction for Young Adults Formerly in the Legal Custody Of The Department.

(a) These requirements apply to all staff providing services to children in custody of the department and young adults formerly in foster care who wish to petition the court for continued jurisdiction, as well as, young adults whose jurisdiction has been retained for the purpose of allowing continued consideration of a special immigrant juvenile status petition and application. The young adult shall use the “Petition to Extend Jurisdiction or to Reinstate Jurisdiction and to Schedule Hearing” CF-FSP 5301, September 2005, incorporated by reference.

(b) Reasons for Continuing Court Jurisdiction for Young Adults:

1. A youth may petition the court, for continued jurisdiction, anytime before his or her 19th birthday. This jurisdiction may continue for a period not to exceed one year beyond the youth’s 18th birthday. The youth does not maintain “foster care” status as those who are under the age of 18, but instead the courts maintain jurisdiction for the purpose of determining whether the young adult is receiving appropriate adult services, which may include:

a. Aftercare Support;

b. Road-to-Independence Scholarship;

c. Transitional Support;

d. Mental Health; and

e. Developmental Disabilities Services.

2. The court may retain jurisdiction over a previously dependent young adult solely for the purpose of allowing continued consideration of a petition for special immigrant juvenile status and an application for adjustment that was not granted by the time the youth reached 18 years of age. Court jurisdiction in these cases:

a. Terminates upon the final decision of the federal authorities or upon the young adult’s 22nd birthday.

b. Does not affect the status of the services available to a young adult under Section 409.1451, F.S.

c. Does not require a petition from the youth. Courts themselves may retain jurisdiction.

(c) Judicial Review Responsibilities.

1. Continued jurisdiction to monitor adult services. The services worker and Child Welfare Legal Services attorney shall participate in judicial review hearings for young adults as required by the court and shall provide reports to the court, as requested.

2. Continued jurisdiction to monitor special immigrant juvenile status. Review hearings for the young adults shall be for the sole purpose of determining the status of the petition and application.

(d) Case Management responsibilities.

1. Case management to ensure delivery of appropriate young adult services. Though case management for young adults is not required, the department or its contracted service provider shall assign a services worker to provide any needed case management services and provide reports required by the court. Responsibilities of the services worker shall be to:

a. Monitor the provision of aftercare support, RTI scholarship and transitional support services to ensure that services are being provided as authorized by law.

b. Collaborate with staff from adult mental health and developmental disability services to ensure appropriate services are being provided as authorized by law.

c. Provide judicial review and/or other status reports to the courts as directed.

2. Case management for special immigrant juvenile cases. Once the petition and application has been filed on behalf of a foster child very little case management responsibilities exist once the age of maturity is reached. Disposition of the case rests with the federal authorities and the only case management responsibilities shall be to check the status of the case periodically and report to the court when directed to do so.

(2) Provision of Foster and Group Home Placement for Young Adults Who Are Eligible for the Road-to-Independence Scholarship.

(a) These requirements apply to all staff providing services to children in custody of the department and young adults formerly in foster care and the responsibility to inform the youth of the option for placement in licensed care after reaching age 18 and to arrange for these placements.

(b) Case Management responsibilities for licensed placement after age 18.

1. Children Under the Age of 18. Prior to the youth reaching the age of 18, the services worker shall ensure that the youth is aware of licensed care placement options after the age of 18. In order to ensure that the youth is aware of this option the services worker shall:

a. Provide the youth with all necessary information relating to the RTI scholarship, including eligibility requirements, application forms and assistance in completing the forms.

b. Inform the youth that, if he or she is eligible for the RTI scholarship, he or she may reside in a licensed foster care placement, arranged by the department or its contracted service provider, after the age of 18.

c. Consult with the youth and his or her foster parents or group home provider as early as possible during the youth’s 17th year to discuss the possibility of continued placement after the youth’s 18th birthday.

d. If the youth’s current placement will not be available once he or she reaches age 18 and the youth wishes to be placed in another licensed home that will provide residence after age 18, the services worker shall research other placement options as early as possible in order to provide a smooth transition.

2. Young Adults Age 18 and Over. A young adult formerly in the legal custody of the department is eligible to remain in his or her foster or group home, or another licensed placement arranged by the department or its contracted service provider as long as he or she remains eligible for the RTI scholarship.

(c) Payment of Board Rate. The board rate payment for foster or group home placement shall come from the young adult’s RTI scholarship award.

1. Since group home rates are in many cases higher than the RTI award, when a young adult continues to reside in a group care facility the services worker shall attempt to negotiate a lower rate or make other arrangements, such as young adult contribution from earned income or state or community funds available to the department or its contracted service provider to make up the difference.

2. The services worker responsible for the case shall choose one of two ways to ensure the young adult receives his or her RTI scholarship award and that the board rate payment is made. The young adult shall either:

a. Receive 100% of his or her scholarship award and enter into a contract with the foster parent or group home to make monthly board payments; or

b. Have two checks generated for his or her scholarship award. One check would be generated by the department or its contracted service provider and paid directly to the foster or group for board rate payment and a second check would be generated for any remaining award funds to be sent directly to the young adult.

(d) Conduct and House Rules. Although these students are considered adults they shall be informed of rules that they must follow in order to be able to continue in the placement.

(3) Medical Assistance for Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care.

(a) The department is obligated to enroll in the Florida KidCare Program, outside the enrollment period, specified young adults following foster care placement. Each young adult who has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 19 years of age and who was in licensed foster care when he or she turned 18 years of age is eligible to enroll, with the following exceptions:

1. A young adult who has exited foster care and has health insurance coverage from a third party through his or her employer, or

2. A young adult who is eligible for Medicaid is not eligible for enrollment.

(b) Payment of Premiums. Each young adult who the department or its contracted service provider has enrolled into the Florida KidCare Program is required to pay the coverage premiums.

(c) Procedural Requirements.

1. Notification. The services worker shall provide written notification to assist the young adult in obtaining access to information regarding the availability of Florida KidCare insurance coverage and how to obtain more information about the program.

2. Applications. The services worker shall consult the Florida KidCare website at www.floridakidcare.org for information regarding the application process and required documents to assist, when requested, all young adults under age 19 who have exited the foster care system to apply for Florida’s KidCare Program if they:

a. Have been denied in his or her initial application for the RTI scholarship award; or

b. Are not eligible to apply for the initial RTI scholarship award; or

c. Choose not to apply for the initial RTI scholarship award; or

d. Have had his or her RTI scholarship award terminated, and

e. Have no access to other medical insurance coverage.

(d) Other Medical Insurance/Care Options for Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care. The department or its contracted service provider shall ensure the availability of a current resource list of possible medical insurance/care options for young adults formerly in foster care who do not or no longer qualify for Medicaid or Florida KidCare coverage.

1. This list shall contain eligibility criteria, procedure for application and costs, when available.

2. If a young adult no longer qualifies for Medicaid or Florida KidCare insurance, the services worker shall provide the young adult with the available medical insurance/care resources within the community.

 

[Attachment A] SAMPLE LETTER

[Use this form letter when you are denying any type of Independent Living benefits due to the individual’s ineligibility and/or when no funding currently exists].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Letterhead

 

NOTICE OF DENIAL OF (type of benefit)

AND NOTICE OF RIGHT TO APPEAL

 

Insert date of Mailing