Senate Bill 1666 Overview


Child on Child Special Conditions

• Expanded age to include all children 0 to 17+
• Incidents involving dependent children should be reported to the Florida Abuse Hotline
Memo to Florida Sheriffs' Association
 
Child Fatalities
The DCF Child Fatality Prevention website was created to raise public awareness about child fatalities throughout the state and assist communities with identifying where additional resources or efforts are needed to assist struggling families. This website includes information regarding all child fatalities called into the Florida Abuse Hotline alleged to be a result of abuse or neglect. The definitions for abuse, abandonment and neglect can be found in Ch. 39, Florida Statutes.   The creation of this website complies with the mandates prescribed in section 5 of Chapter Law 2014-224 that requires the Department to post on its website all reports of child deaths to the Hotline involving children who have been the subject of a verified report in the last 12 months. Per the new legislation, the Department is required to report at a minimum:
  1. The date of the child’s death
  2. Any allegations of the cause of death or the preliminary cause of death, and the verified cause of death, if known
  3. The county where the child resided
  4. The name of the community-based care lead agency, case management agency, or out-of-home licensing agency involved with the child, family, or licensed caregiver, if applicable
  5. Whether the child has been the subject of any prior verified reports to the Department’s central abuse hotline
  6. Whether the child was younger than 5 years of age at the time of his or her death.

 
 
Critical Response
  • Effective January 15, 2015, the Department must provide an immediate, on-site investigation of certain child deaths or other serious incidents to identify the root causes.
  • The Team: Multi-agency team to include at least five child welfare professionals, the majority of whom must reside outside the judicial circuit where the incident occurred.
  • Timeframes: Investigations must be initiated ASAP—but not later than two business days after the case is reported to the Department. The Team must provide a preliminary report to the DCF Secretary no later than 30 days after the investigation begins. Final Team report must be posted on the Department's website
  • For additional information, contact Lisa Rivera, DCF Statewide Child Fatality Prevention Specialist. Lisa_rivera@dcf.state.fl.us
 

The Florida Institute for Child Welfare (FICW) seeks to promote safety, permanency, and well-being among the children and families of Florida involved with the child welfare system. To accomplish this mission, the FICW proposes to engage in interdisciplinary research and evaluation, the foundation of which lies in partnerships between Florida universities, schools of social work, the Department of Children and Families (DCF), sheriffs, community-based care lead agencies and provider organizations and others across Florida. The FICW proposes to collaborate with community agencies and statewide training resources to translate knowledge generated through research, policy analysis, and evaluation into practical, developmentally appropriate strategies for children and families. The FICW will serve as a resource for policy-makers, programs, and practitioners on best-practices related to safety, permanency, and well-being with attention to diverse and underserved populations. The FICW will also work to strengthen the child welfare workforce through assessing the readiness of workers to assume job responsibilities, evaluating pre- and in-service training, determining adaptive and resilient responses of workers to stressful work environments, developing leadership capacity, and identifying innovative and effective methods in the management of human service organizations.

The Florida Institute for Child Welfare has identified three specific areas of focus:

    1. Research and evaluation with DCF and community-based care organizations to assess the effectiveness of intervention strategies promoting safety, permanency, and well-being among Florida’s children and families;
    2. Policy analysis to interpret and monitor the impact of laws and policies on children and families involved with the child welfare system;
    3. Research and evaluation to promote workforce and leadership development with an emphasis on recruitment, training, retention, and supervision of child welfare workers.
Florida Institute for Child Welfare -Legislation Highlights
 
New Grants and Legislatively Mandated Reports
 

Nonrelative Caregiver Program

The 2014 Florida Legislature amended s. 39.5085, Florida Statutes, to expand the Relative Caregiver Program to include nonrelative caregivers under certain circumstances:
 
Results Oriented Accountability System
The Department contracted with North Highland Consulting to develop a plan for implementation of a Results-Oriented Accountability Program. This plan was completed with involvement and support from the Department of Children and Families and members of the stakeholder community. A link to the completed plan submitted to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House on January 30, 2015 can be found here: http://www.centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/LegislativeMandatedRpts/2015Results-Oriented%20Accountability%20Plan.pdf
 
Rilya Wilson Act
 
Safety Plans
Senate Bill 1666 essentially codifies into law (s. 39.301(9)(a)6.a., F.S.) safety methodology terminology and concepts around the use of safety plans. Child Protective Investigators and Case Managers who have completed safety methodology training should be familiar with 80% of the safety planning language and requirements added to Chapter 39. There are five new safety plan requirements however, that investigators should become familiar with and implement immediately. First, in cases involving domestic violence, investigators must create separate, unshared safety plans for the adult victim of domestic violence and the perpetrator of the violence. Second, if the alleged perpetrator of domestic violence is not the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian the investigator must seek an injunction in dependency court to implement the safety plan for the perpetrator to impose conditions to protect the child. Third, s. 39.501(3)(d), F.S., now allows for the filing of a dependency petition because the parent or legal custodian is not fully complying with the conditions of the safety plan. Fourth, this same section of law now requires all safety plans to be provided to the court when a petition has been filed. Fifth, and finally, Chapter 39 now includes new language directing Community-Based Care Lead Agencies to prioritize the provision of safety services and resources based upon multiple risk factors in families.
  • ACTION for Child Protection Safety Plan Training – April 2014
  • Chapter 39, 2014 Safety Planning Requirements - Webinar, Recorded 8/6/14
  • Coming Soon! New Resources for Domestic Violence Informed Child Welfare Practice
  • FCADV, DCF, and David Mandel and Associates are working collaboratively to develop videos and printed guidebooks on integrating domestic violence informed practice into Florida's Safety Methodology. The materials utilize the principles and critical components of the Safe and Together Model, which is a child welfare practice model that helps to improve our work in domestic violence cases. These materials will be utilized in FCADV and DCF's trainings throughout Florida for child welfare professionals.
 
Specialized Training
  • By 2016, all Child Protective Investigators must complete specialized training either focused on serving a specific population, including, but not limited to, medically fragile children, sexually exploited children, children under 3 years of age, or families with a history of domestic violence, mental illness, or substance abuse, or focused on performing certain aspects of child protection practice, including, but not limited to, investigation techniques and analysis of family dynamics.
 
Student Loan Forgiveness Program
During the 2014 legislative session, the Florida Legislature created section 402.404, Florida Statutes to establish the Child Protection and Child Welfare Personnel Loan Forgiveness Program for the purposes of recruiting and retaining high-performing individuals who have either a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in social work and are employed as child protection or child welfare personnel. This program was not funded in fiscal year 2015-16 (July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016). If you are interested in this program, please check back after June 30, 2016 to see if the program is funded for fiscal year 2016-17.
 
Tuition Exemption
Creates a tuition exemption program for child protection and child welfare personnel who would like to pursue a graduate-level social work program or certificate program related to child welfare that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Allows for exemption of tuition and fees for up to six credit hours per term for high performing employees who work for the Department, CBC or subcontractor. Requires the student to maintain a "B" in each course that they seek the exemption and requires continued employment for 5 years upon graduation to avoid repayment.
The 2014 legislation also expanded the provision of the tuition fee exemption under section 39.5085, Florida Statutes, to students who are or were in the custody of a nonrelative at the time he or she reached his or her 18th birthday. The tuition exemption remains available to the student until his or her 28th birthday.