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CHILD WELFARE

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What information is needed in order to complete a background check? What are the background check requirements for reunification with a parent, including other adults in that parent's home? Are there any criminal offenses of household members that automatically disqualify reunification with the parent(s) in that household? What are the specific Background Screening Requirements and Home Study Requirements to grant unsupervised visitation to relatives other than parents, as this practice tends to be different across the state? Are there any specific Background Screening Requirements and Home Studies to designate a relative or nonrelative to supervise visitation for a parent? If an ongoing case manager discovers, in the normal course of supervision of a child in a rel/non-relative setting, that there is a frequent visitor to the home, what level of background screening is to be completed? Are there any circumstances when the fingerprint requirement can be waived for a potential caregiver for a child in care? What should be done, if a caregiver cannot or does not get fingerprinted within the specified time? When is a background check required? What background checks are completed on household members (including paramours) and frequent visitors? What are the required criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history checks that shall be initiated prior to a relative/non-relative placement? Is there a requirement to conduct background checks on a non-custodial parent (and other household members, if any) who has unsupervised visitation with a child that is a victim of an open abuse report? Is it a requirement to conduct background checks on persons that baby-sit (in the home or outside the home)? What kinds of background checks are required for parents? Does a background check include sealed or expunged information? Can sealed or expunged information that is included in background check be shared or used for placement purposes? Who should be subject to a background check in an institutional investigation? What type of background checks are required in emergency placements with a relative or non-relative? When should fingerprints be submitted in an emergency placement situation? Should hard copies of the FDLE criminal check results be scanned into the (FSFN) File Cabinet? Can a parent have a copy of their own FDLE record? Can you provide guidance as to what type of home study and background checks would be needed for both a non-custodial parent and for a family-made out-of-home arrangement? Regarding informal safety providers, what exactly does “Criminal history checks? entail? Who should complete the criminal history checks? When requesting background screenings through FSFN do the results include Department of Corrections, DJJ, and sexual offender information? Or does the case manager need to do requests to the specific agency’s/website to get this information? On a reactivated pro se motion, would we need backgrounds for the parent the child was placed with? For example, a case previously closed PG. The court granted a motion to reopen the case and placed the child with a parent. Would that parent need background screens? Can you provide clarification as to how the state would like the Case Management Agencies (CMA) to run state criminal history checks for informal safety providers as required per CFOP 170-7. Chapter 7, 7-3a.: “After the child welfare professional has conducted an interview to determine if the informal safety plan provider is appropriate, the child welfare professional will conduct background screening to include child abuse history and local and state criminal history.? There has been some questions from the CMA’s whether they can run the state checks through FSFN or do they need to complete the checks via fingerprinting?
When are exit interviews required to be completed and for whom? Is there a policy or law that prohibits someone from completing an exit interview over the telephone? If a child turns 18 and remains in the home for Extended Foster Care (EFC) does an Exit Interview need to be completed since he turned 18 or because he is remaining in the home one is not needed? Also similar situation with adoption, if the child is adopted by a foster parent and doesn’t leave the home is an Exit Interview needed?? How often must children under supervision be visited by the services worker? What is considered an "other location" where a child may be seen? Is a services worker required to make unannounced visits to see children? What is the required contact by the services worker with parent(s) or caregivers of a child under supervision? What are the required actions by a services worker when a new child is added in families under supervision? What is the time frame for the initial contact with children under supervision? How many contacts must a counselor have with a child in shelter status? How long must supervision continue after reunification? How often must a child be visited once reunification occurs? Would the arrest of a 12 year old qualify as a "critical" incident under CFOP 215 - 6, if the child lives with his mother, but is under court ordered supervision? How do you handle separated sibling visitation when maybe one sibling isn’t under jurisdiction? When are Supervisors required to conduct case reviews/consultations with case managers? When a child on runaway status ages out, what must occur with the open MCR? Where may I find how to guide? What is the appropriate way to document a child on runaway in a non-judicial case? I am told that an MCR is not required. Does the child’s service role change to “child not receiving services?? Does the child’s placement need to be updated to reflect “statewide runaway?? Can you provide clarification to updated FAC 65C-30.002(3)(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? as FAC 65C-30 does not provide a definition for “out-of-home plan?; would face-to-face contacts be for sheltered children or does it include family-made arrangements as part of an in-home safety plan? If a child has been removed from one parent and placed in out of home care and then is later placed with the non-maltreating parent (via an Other Parent Home Assessment), what are the face to face contact requirements for the child welfare professional and the child? If a child is in a parent's custody and they are receiving court ordered services and the child runs away should a MCR be generated in FSFN? What are the requirements for the frequency of case manager contacts with the child during post-placement supervision? Can you explain how to address parent contacts in FSFN. I believe previously, the only exception to bio-parent contact was through TPR or if they were deceased. Now we have another exclusionary method and that’s if the court rules otherwise. Parent contact is a DCF Contract Measure, how do we guide our case management agencies on data entry for this item. Can they delink parents that are excluded from the case due to the court ruling? Do pill counts have to occur monthly for a child’s medication? Or is just checking the Medication Log and getting a copy okay?
What exactly does the investigator have to complete and document prior to an emergency placement with a relative/non-relative? What cases must be referred to Child Protection Team (CPT) for assessment? What should happen if the department determines that a report made to the hotline is a false report? What is the timeframe for a protective investigator to complete an investigation? Is it necessary that the reporter is contacted? Is it mandatory that school staff be present with the child when the initial interview occurs at school? Who should be interviewed during an investigation? What constitutes a valid commencement? What procedure does an investigator follow if not allowed access to a home to conduct an investigation? Is there a limit to the number of interviews of a sexual abuse victim? This includes Child Protective Investigators, Law Enforcement, Child Protection Team, and others. Isn't it the parents' responsibility to report a change of residence to the protective investigator? What is the timeframe for the CPI to notify the services worker if a new report is received on a case that is active in the services unit? If an abuse report is assigned a response priority of "immediate," what timeframe does an investigator have to adhere to? When a report is received related to the death of a child several days after his death and face to face contact is not possible I understand that the CPI can enter a law enforcement contact. Is this correct? Also, is it correct to enter the contact at one minute after the receipt of the report? Is there a policy, procedure, administrative code or statute that indicates the frequency a child protective investigator must see a child during an open investigation regardless of whether the risk is low, moderate or high? What Child Protection Certification classifications are currently being offered in the state of Florida? Is a home study required if a child is placed by a Protective Investigator with a non-removal parent? When determining criteria for patently unfounded, are the requirements regarding the use of patently unfounded used for the entire maltreatment narrative or just a portion of the narrative that addresses a maltreatment as identified in the index?
Can fingerprints results be shared? If a child, parent, or other participant in a case is diagnosed with a Chronic Immune Deficiency (such as HIV or AIDS) how would this be documented within the file? Where is it written that we do not release the foster parents' addresses? What are the guidelines and restrictions for publicizing photos of children in Foster Care? Who is required to receive the Management and Protection of Personal Health Information Policy Statement (HIPPA)? What if a parent cannot be provided with the Management and Protection of Personal Health Information Policy Statement (HIPPA)? Child welfare records collected by or held by the Department of Children and Families, or contracted agency are not subject to public record, therefore they can be can only be viewed by criminal justice agencies, right? Can I send the results of a background check by email? I will password protect the file and use a secure network. Can a child placing agency share their background screening information, such as Abuse Hotline checks, local law, FCIC and NCIC with another agency? Can a licensing/placement agency provide information on Criminal Records and/or Florida Abuse History results (reporter information excluded) to the applicant? What information is required to be redacted from a closed child abuse investigative file pertaining to a child death case when requested by an attorney for an ongoing civil suit? Can a protective investigator/case manager obtain medical records for a child if the parent is unavailable, unable to consent or withholds consent for medical records? Are you aware of any guidelines or known restrictions relating to the release of information and record sharing with foster parents for children in their care? Specifically, we would be looking at information ranging from typical Child Resource record material, to the CBHA and possibly information generated from contracted providers.
Who should be involved in the preparation of the case plan? Within what timeframe should a case plan be filed with the court? Is it the same if the court returns custody to the parent contrary to the department/agency recommendation? Is it mandatory that the recommendations from the Comprehensive Behavioral Health Assessment (CBHA) must be included in the child's Case Plan? In preparing a case plan, in which the mother has designated a possible second father as the alleged father to her child, should the alleged father be included on the case plan with tasks when he has not been found or yet tested for paternity? Is there anything in policy/statute that states that the tasks for the parent are to continue on an amended case plan (with the goal of TPR) until TPR has been ordered by the Court? Can foster parents be given a copy of the case plan for a child in their care? Is it required that legal documents (such as JR's) be kept as a hard copy in the case file in addition to the electronic file? What is the timeframe for the initial Judicial Review? Is the special Judicial Review to be held within 90 days of a youth's 17th birthday a requirement? What is "a motion for judicial review"? When may the court make a finding that reasonable efforts are not required? A dependent child is under post-placement supervision & is in the custody of the biological parent. It has been recommended & the parent agrees, that the child requires residential treatment. Legally the child is in the parent's custody. Is a Court order still required to place that child in a program? Does the 17 year old JR apply to all children under court supervision and/ or only children in licensed foster care? Should a step-parent, who is not a parent to any child in the case, be added to a case plan?
According to the ICPC rules and regulations, which state (sending or receiving) is responsible for payment of a child placed in a licensed foster home? If a child is placed through the ICPC into a Foster Home, who determines the amount of the Board Rate to be paid, the sending state or the receiving state? Once a child has been placed in a Foster Home through an ICPC approval, can the receiving state bill the sending state for fees associated with the maintenance of the Foster Home? For a child being placed in a Foster Home through ICPC, if the placement resource needs additional supportive services to meet the needs of the child, can the receiving state negotiate a board rate above the statewide established rate? Does a K12 report card have to be completed for a child on ICPC in Florida if the sending state still has jurisdiction? Do incoming ICPC home study requests, for licensed homes, need to have a case established in FSFN in addition to the Provider screen (so the case has both a Case Number and the resource family, a Provider Number in FSFN)? If we receive an ICPC incoming request to complete a home study on a ‘non-offending’ parent, which home study format should the Florida case manager use? Also, should the prospective parent be created as a provider in FSFN? If a Florida licensed foster family moves to a different state and takes Florida children with them and an ICPC request for foster home license has been completed, how long may Florida pay foster care board to the family while they are working on the new license?
If a child was placed in Permanent Guardianship at the ages of 16-17, do they have to be in foster care for the 6 months immediately prior to their placement with a relative/non-relative to be eligible for full post 18 IL benefits? Are the Road to Independence scholarship funds taxable?  Do the youth that receive the RTI funds as their only source of income need to file this as income for federal income tax purposes? For the Independent Living, "6 months in foster care placement' rule- does this include being in state's custody but on runaway or in detention? What are agency/department responsibilities in assisting a child who has aged out of foster care but is now incarcerated for up to five years? If a youth comes into care at 13 years old, do we have to wait until they have been in care 6 months to begin independent living service planning? If a child was placed with a relative caregiver under FS 39.5085 Relative Caregiver Program, but the caregiver does not access the financial stipend, does this decision impact the child’s eligibility for Tuition Exemption under 1009.25(1)(c)-(d)? Does a young adult considered to have been living in licensed care on the date of his or her 18th birthday have to complete an Extended Foster Care application? Chapter 65C-41 references an “Application for Readmission into Extended Foster Care? application CF-FSP 5377 for those returning prior to the age of 21 but no mention of an initial application for those turning 18. For those youth on runaway status from licensed care on the date of his or her 18th birthday, should the community-based care lead agency, or its contracted service provider, establish policy regarding when the case manager shall file a “Notice of Discharge from Extended Foster Care? CF-FSP 5376? If a young adult applies for readmission into Extended Foster Care (EFC) and is not in a qualifying activity, are we supposed to deny the application, then assist the young adult with enrolling in an activity and have them apply again? Or do we provide a notice of insufficient documentation, then provide assistance? If we provide a notice of insufficient documentation and it takes longer than 10 days to finalize enrollment in an activity, do we send a notice of EFC application denial? Or do we approve the application with the understanding that we are assisting the youth with enrolling in an activity? If a biological parent (from whom the young adult was removed) obtains General Power of Attorney over the young adult, does that disqualify the young adult from EFC? When requesting OTI Services from another area, what is expected/mandated? Face-to-Face contact with the young adult at least monthly is indicated, or more often if necessary, and by phone for those living outside of his or her community-based care lead agency. Is a monthly “home visit? required or can the face to face contact be in the community, school or during service delivery (medical, mental health appointments, school enrollment)? If the young adult intends to leave foster care, has completed the “My Decision to Leave Extended Foster Care? CF-FSP 5375 and the case manager requests attorney to file a motion to terminate jurisdiction and schedule a court hearing, is the young adult eligible to receive financial assistance the following month (not the same month as EFC funding ) per their individualized completed Aftercare application and Aftercare plan or must the young adult wait until after the court hearing to terminate jurisdiction. Concern: it may take anywhere from 1 to 8 weeks or longer to get court hearings in? Is Postsecondary Education Services and Support (PESS) funding for a young adult turning 23 to be prorated up to the day before their 23rd birthday? For example, a young adult’s birthday is on January 5, will their PESS check cover 4 days (Jan 1-Jan 4th) instead of the full $1256? If a young adult submits “Postsecondary Education Services and Support Initial and Renewal application? CF-FSP 5382 and for example, after completing a semester (satisfactory or unsatisfactory) decides to change postsecondary schools, does the young adult have to complete a new PESS application based on the new school or would the young adult submit eligibility documentation for the new school but remain within their previous application AND renewal period based on the initial date of enrollment into PESS? If a child is sheltered and not adjudicated dependent and ordered into state custody do they still qualify for EFC? Does a youth qualify for the Foster Care extended Medicaid until they reach age 26? Does a youth qualify for the Tuition Wavier if not adjudicated dependent and ordered into state custody?
I have a child adjudicated dependent under a private petition about to be placed in a licensed home after being in a non relative placement. She has been on medication for 2 years, from before the private petition. In simple terms, what do I need in writing from the prescribing doctor to indicate informed consent? Or do I need to make an appointment(requires payment) and have mother go in to be given all the information required for informed consent and who is paying for the doctor's time? If a child taking psychotropic medications stays with the same providing agency, but the agency changes staff/psychiatrists, at what point are a new Medical Report (form 5339) and Court order needed? Can a child finish a psychotropic medication prescription from the "previous" agency psychiatrist and at the next appointment (which would be with the "new" psychiatrist) can a new Medical Report be done? Is a new Medical Report (form 5339) required only when the original information changes in the existing Medical Report? When the courts have issued a an order for the administration of psychotropic medication for a child in out-of-home care how often does the court need to be updated? If a child in out-of-home care is prescribed a psychotropic medication for medical purposes, not intended to treat a behavioral and/or mental health diagnosis, is informed consent or court order required? Can a court order for medical screening and/or treatment for a child in out of home care be used when a child is prescribed seizure medication that is included within the definition of a “Psychotropic Medication"? How do you enter psychotropic medication into FSFN when a child has begun taking the medication but we don’t have emergency administration authorization from a physician on a CF-FSP5339 form, parental consent or a court order. How would medications, under these circumstances be documented in FSFN? ?
Are children in licensed out-of-home care allowed to spend the night away from their foster home with, for example, a friend's family or with a church, club or school group on an overnight trip, without the persons with whom they are staying being background screened and/or having a home study completed? Is parental/guardian permission required prior to a child in out-of-home care receiving a haircut? Can a youth in care obtain a learner's permit? When reviewing normalcy memos related to foster youth, there is much mention about foster parents, but not much clarity on the decision making role of group homes.  This is especially important for unsupervised after-school events and/or overnights. Can the role of the group home caregiver be clarified in making these decisions? What liability does a Foster Parent have in allowing a foster youth to participate in age appropriate activities? Does the language for normalcy, Let Kids Be Kids, apply to relative and non-relative caregivers the same as licensed? Is a visitation that is set up by a case manager or protective investigator covered under “normalcy"? For example, a child has relatives in another county, can he/she “visit"? (for an extended time; greater than an overnight visit) without completing the official home study process and notifying the courts? If a child goes on a visit that is approved through normalcy, court order, etc…, is the adult(s) that the child is visiting with authorized to handle medical situations that could occur while on the visit? A foster parent has another licensed foster parent watch a child for one night. We are aware of capacity issues. Does this situation qualify under the reasonable and prudent standard of normalcy, or does official respite need to be set up through the CBC agency?
Can someone who works in child welfare be licensed as a foster parent? Does a foster parent have the right to refuse a child based on things such as religion, race, lice, ADHD and such? What is the current foster care board rate? Can you please direct me to the statute that addresses children in foster care allowance and incidentals? How much should a child in care receive for allowance? Are children in Emergency Shelters and Group Homes supposed to get allowance?  Does the facility pay the allowance out of the room and board that they receive? What is the staff to child ratio requirement for both awake and asleep children for a licensed residential program that cares for children ranging in age 6 to 12? What, if any, are the guidelines to follow when a child in foster care wants to have an abortion? What, if any, are the guidelines to follow when a child in foster care wants to be placed on birth control? Can the foster parent keep the clothes bought for the child during their placement? Can a foster parent spank a foster child? Does the foster parent have to transport the child to medical appointments? How many children can be placed in a foster home? What are the requirements for sleeping arrangements in a foster home? Can a foster parent have a babysitter care for the foster child? What is the current DCF regulation on guns in a foster home?  It has been stated that no one can ask foster parents about guns anymore. Is that correct? From a normalcy perspective, at what point is it appropriate and in agreement with licensing guidelines for a foster parent to leave a foster child home alone to run an errand? When completing a family foster home licensing study is there a requirement that the licensing agency conduct an on-site assessment of the home as a part of the approval process? Who needs to undergo background screening for foster home licensing or re-licensing? How often does background screening occur on licensed foster homes? What background screening records are considered when determining whether to issue a foster care license or whether the license should be revoked? What types of kind of references are required for foster home licensing? What kind of information does the initial foster home study include? How much annual training does a foster parent need to complete? What kind of changes does a foster parent need to report to the licensing agency? What if a licensed foster parent wants to move out of the region? Can an agency that licenses foster homes in the state of Florida choose what curriculum to use for pre-service training? Can student loans be included as part of a foster home licensing applicants documentation of current financial stability and capacity? What are the current requirements regarding children attending daycare, under the Rilya Wilson Act? Can children who are placed in a licensed OHC setting be home schooled? Is there any language in Fl statue, admin code or DCF policy that guides one on children sleeping in the office of the agency or case manager?
Does a parent still have the ability to petition the court to reopen a case when it has been closed out under Permanent Guardianship of a Dependent Child? If a Case Plan with the goal of Reunification if filed with the court, can you also proceed on an expedited Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) petition? If the court has accepted the case plan with the goal of reunification, do you have to wait until the expiration date before you can file a petition to terminate parental rights (TPR)? When is the filing of a Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) petition required? What are the exceptions to the requirement to file a petition to terminate parental rights? When seeking a modification of permanent guardianship, if the case plan has been completed and the reasons for removal corrected, is there a presumption that reunification is in the child's best interest? Are permanent guardian caregivers held to certain guidelines even after the case closes? For example: A caregiver wants to send the child in her custody, her granddaughter, to her ex-husband's home (he is the child's biological grandfather) for a few weeks in the summer to visit. After the case closes, would she be allowed to send her granddaughter freely or would there be restrictions, court orders needed? What are the permanency options listed under Chapter 39? What is Permanent Guardianship? What is the difference between permanent guardianship and fit and willing relative? What are some examples of compelling reasons to recommend Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement as the permanency goal of a child(ren)? Under what circumstances would expedited termination of parental rights(TPR) be filed? When is the goal APPLA appropriate for a child under 16? Does the Statute give a specific age and time when to apply the goal other then the criteria under 39.6241? If a child does qualify for services based on a placement with a relative/non-relative (Permanent Guardianship) at 16 or 17, do we need to continue performing the staffings every 6 months?  Or do we just make them aware of the post 18 services available to them? If a child is removed from one parent and placed with the other parent, is the permanency goal reunification or maintain and strengthen? If a child has reached permanency through court ordered permanent guardianship with a relative/non-relative, does the child’s parent still have rights to review medical records and make decisions regarding the child’s treatment and medication?
If a child is placed voluntarily out of home and there is an out of home safety plan, but the courts are not involved, are home studies required to be completed on the caregivers? Can and should multiple FFA “strings? (for lack of a better term, “string? is being used to describe the series of FFAs related to the same intake) exist in a services case? Where is it documented in Safety Methodology that an “offending caregiver? cannot be the responsible person for the actions in the safety plan? In regards to safety planning, are background checks needed on those persons identified as safety plan providers? For family violence threatens child cases is it always necessary to complete 2 separate safety plans ? Is a safety plan needed up until the case is closed? For cases initiated prior to the Safety Methodology, family assessments are being completed. When the case transfers to adoptions, will the adoption worker discontinue doing Family Assessments and start with an FFA-Ongoing? If we are adding a sibling to an open case where a parent is not reunified and moving forward with voluntary services, is a home study needed per safety methodology? We recognize one is needed for any children under judicial supervision, but want to ensure our practice is in line with Safety Methodology. The 30 Day visit done by case management will be done at which home? For example, if the child lives with the mother but the case plan and FFA-Ongoing is for the father, where will the visit be done? After a case plan has been approved in FSFN and by the court, can it be updated if new impending danger threats are identified (then obviously filed with the court and approved again when the court accepts)? Chapter 39 currently requires the case plan be completed within 60 days from removal, so depending on how long it takes the CPI to complete the FFA and make the safe/unsafe decision, and depending on the sequence of hearings ordered by the judge, DCMs may be unable to complete the FFA-Ongoing in time to know what should be in the case plan based on the danger threats and the primary caregivers needs, child needs, etc. Also, if medication is ordered, we would be developing a case plan without being able to complete any of the FFA? When you have two FFAs (two parents, two households) how does that go into one case plan? What is the procedure for safety plans when the goal has changed to adoption? Would there be an update upon the goal change, or only after the final TPR order? In regards to cases involving parents maintaining separate households, is the case manager required to complete separate FFA-On goings? Or can they address both parents in the one assessment? Where, in FSFN, are safety plans for the domestic violence perpetrator and the family supposed to be maintained, since they may be discoverable if put in a certain place in FSFN? Is there a discrepancy between CFOP 170-9 and CFOP 170-7 regarding the timeframe for supervisor consultation and approval of a modified safety plan? Will we still be required to complete a case plan on non-judicial cases? Will the Child Needs Assessment offer “N/A? as a response on age specific questions? Will commencement time frames change? Where will Conditions for Return be documented? Will the danger statement and family strategy only go on the FFA? Or will it also display in the Case plan or JR? Some concern on danger threat related to child showing serious emotional symptoms as to how it relates to children, who are ungovernable, behaviorally disordered or otherwise problematic due to their own behavior (Child shows serious emotional symptoms requiring intervention and/or lacks behavioral control and/or exhibits self-destructive behavior that parent/legal guardian/caregiver is unwilling or unable to manage.) Examples: Anorexic child who refuse to eat despite the parents' attempts to get help the child is still in danger; a diabetic teen who refuses insulin treatment or medications The definition of Vulnerable Child on the Danger Threat Guide indicates that a Vulnerable Child is one who is 0-6 years old; however past trainings have indicated the child has to be vulnerable to the situation. Some clarification on this is needed. Which one is correct? Can the department file for dependency when a family arrangement, established in response to present danger, is still necessary when impending danger has been determined? When a private petition is filed, is a FFA-Ongoing created? Who creates the FFA-Ongoing? Where there is a family arrangement made to place a child with family members, is there a funding source to assist with care of the child? When a family identifies their own placement arrangement for a child in response to present or impending danger, will a background check and home study still be required? There is a question regarding adding the non-custodial parent on the abuse and neglect petition. The concern was related to the FFA not including information about the non-custodial parent. If we have 2 abuse reports for a family, one for mom's home and one for dad's home, we must do 2 separate FFAs. Will both cases be under the same case shell which is currently named after the mother? Or will there be 2 separate case shells? Will FFA be filed in court? What are the requirements for non-household investigations? How are split cases handled when everyone is in the same household? Do we involve non-maltreating parents in the FFA? What are the times frames for completing the FFA when present danger is identified? If there is an open services case with an open FFA- Ongoing, do we start a new FFA if a new intake comes in? If we do a new FFA on the new intake does it carry over to case management? How will a new investigation on an on-going case be handled? When will case managers be required to scale protective capacities? For scaling of Caregiver Protective Capacities in the FFA- Ongoing, will you be able to see the historical scaling's of Caregiver Protective Capacities and Child Needs scaling? Do we stop doing the FFA-Ongoing when the goal of reunification is eliminated? What does this process look like? When a family is under Permanent guardianship and the court has been notified to re-open supervision, do case managers use the old FFA from previous involvement or create a new one? Who has the ability to do so? If we do a safety plan and someone moves in the home as a informal safety service provider will they need to be added to the FFA and assessed as a household member in a caretaking role through the normal course of assessment? Will the FFA-Investigation, FFA-Ongoing and Progress Update be retained as history or will the FFA have to be updated the way the current Family Assessment is? Can you copy information that has not changed from a prior FFA? Our current practice regarding TPR is for the other parent to also be offered services and a case plan. Based on transformation, if they are a non-offending caregiver and we have no allegations against them, we would not be doing an FFA on the other parent's home, and they would not be part of a case plan. So what happens if the other parent does not want to be or cannot be a placement for the children, and we plan to TPR the primary caregiver? The current policy is that we would have to TPR the other (non-offending) parent as well so that the children are eligible for adoption. If someone moves into the home during ongoing services, would we add them to the case; would the system require us to assess their adult functioning, parenting, parenting general and caregiver protective capacity? Will the information in the FFA transfer over and pre populate in the Pre-dispositional Study (PDS) and Case Plan? What, if any, historical information from the most recent FFA will populate into a new intake? What historical information will populate into the FFA- Ongoing? Can any of the information be edited? If there is a roommate in the home that provides no care for the child would we have to assess their caregiver protective capacity (CPC) as well in FSFN? The “Information collection protocol? in training recommends that parents be interviewed first. Is this still required? What are the requirements for “other? investigations (when a person not responsible for care of child is alleged perpetrator)? Why is the Investigative Summary remaining when the FFA covers all the information regarding the findings and other items in the Investigative Summary? This seems like duplicative work. When a victim is determined to be unsafe from a parent in another county (and the incident occurred at that parents’ house) and judicial intervention is needed, is the petition filed in the county where the victim lives or the county where the “perpetrator? lives? Who has jurisdiction of the child in the following scenarios? -
1. We have abuse reports and 2 FFAs for a family, one for mom's home and one for dad's home. The parents live in different counties. We determine that the child is unsafe at both homes and judicial action is pursued against both parents. Which court has jurisdiction?
2. Would both parents have a case plan and court in their respective counties?
3. If so, which court has jurisdiction over the child once he is adjudicated dependent?
4. Also, would there be 2 primary case managers - one for mom and one for dad? If so, who would be responsible for ensuring the child is seen each month?
If non-custodial parents are not included on the FFA as they are not household members, how will they be assessed and added to the case plan? When we have Present Danger and the Present Danger Plan ends up being a removal, we have 21 days to file the dependency petition. Will the FFA be due prior to that timeframe to determine if impending danger is present, giving us insight on if removal is still warranted? If we determine that there is no impending danger, what will the process look like if we ultimately have a safe child when the present danger plan was removal? Can referrals be made prior to the case plan? If so, when and which ones? What happens in an on-going services case when an in- home safety plan is no longer viable to ensure for child safety? Who is responsible for safety management and what are the professional certification requirements? Who must sign safety plans? How much information can we give safety service providers without violating confidentiality? If we have extended family members as part of our safety plan, we would need to explain why we are utilizing them and for what purpose. In doing this, we would often need to give them information regarding the issues in the family. Does this violate any confidentiality policies? How much information can we give safety service providers without violating confidentiality? If we have extended family members as part of our safety plan, we would need to explain why we are utilizing them and for what purpose. In doing this, we would often need to give them information regarding the issues in the family. Does this violate any confidentiality policies? Policy clarification regarding removal by CPI and CBC related to safety plan: How does the CPI get back in if investigation is closed and the safety plan disrupts? What requires supervisor approval in FSFN system? What are the timeframes for supervisory consultations? Can you provide guidance on the current process for assessing and providing services for mothers who are pregnant on open services cases? I can see that there used to be CFOP 175-72, from April 1, 1999, but it does not look like it exists any longer. Was it replaced by a new CFOP and if so, which one? When a family is engaged in a non-judicial case and decides to move to another state during the course of the case, do you know where in admin code and/or CFPO or even the pre-service trainer guide it states what action is then needed by the case manager assigned? Is CFOP 170-11 replacing the CFOP 175-88 Sexual Safety Plan? Please clarify the role of the Child Protective Investigator as it pertains to Child Placement Agreements. Can we use a LMHC or LCSW as a Qualified Assessor? Can the qualified assessor discussed in CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placement Agreement be asked to contact the GAL if one is involved with the child? In CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placement Agreement, communicable diseases could include flu and many other types of illnesses. Which ones are covered in this definition? Is there still a requirement to inform the foster parent/provider of the known sexual abuse victim/aggressor history? What about timeframes when discovery (of behaviors that will necessitate a Child Placement Agreement) happens after placement by caregiver, and caregiver notifies a case manager? Is a plan optional for therapeutic foster homes? The policy states a “Child Placement Agreement is optional when a child is placed in a facility that is licensed for the specialized treatment, behavior management and protections for other children associated with juvenile sexual abuse, child sexual abuse victims or children’s mental health treatment. Is a facility required to be licensed specifically for the treatment of the special need of the children placed? Where does BHOS fall? What is the basis for not needing a child placement agreement in a therapeutic foster home or other specialized treatment facility? Is the assumption that the foster parent or provider would know what to do to prevent any ongoing issues with respect to child behavior/concerns that are known? Are there provisions to have community partners participate in the development of Child Placement Agreement such as the GAL's? Has there been consideration for the need for a dress code in the child placement agreement? For care precautions for a child who is an alleged victim of sexual abuse, is an agreement needed if there were no findings in an investigation of sexual abuse? Child on Child, Special Condition report does not have a clear ‘verified’ finding so if it’s a child on child incident – do they require a Child Placement Agreement? Section 4-6 states ‘the child welfare professional responsible for placing the child shall establish Care Precautions. Is the agency responsible the agency that makes a placement match or the agency that takes the child for placement in the home? Some current CBC policies identify a victim of sexual abuse as a child that has verified or not substantiated finding of sexual abuse by CPT, verified finding of sexual abuse by a DCF investigation or conviction of the alleged perpetrator for sexually related charges perpetrated against the child. Is this definition appropriate given the requirements in the new CFOP? If the child discloses sexual abuse, or someone discloses on the child’s behalf do they automatically go on a plan? Once we identify a child with a current Sexual Safety Plan who will continue to need a Behavior Management Plan, do they need to have an assessment within 30 days? Does sight and sound mean 24 hours? Does this apply to a foster home, or does it mean awake hours for a foster home? CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, 4-7 (b) does not specifically address terminating a behavior management plan based on an evaluation by a qualified assessor and the absence of concerning behaviors which threaten the safety of other children in the home or the child but you are saying a behavior management plan can be terminated, is that correct? If it is determined that a sibling group can be maintained safely in the same placement, does the requirement for the child (with the behaviors that require a behavior management plan) to be the youngest child in the home still apply? CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Section 4-7 (3)(b). When a child requires a Child Placement Agreement Behavior Management Plan, the policy states the child must be the “youngest child living in the home.? Is this meant to require that the child is the youngest child placed in a room? Can a differentiation be made for sexual abuse vs. behavior? If a relative caregiver wants to provide a placement for a child who needs a behavior management plan, must the child be the youngest in the home? If a child has a new incident during placement, does CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Section 4-9 apply to children on a pre-existing Child Placement Agreement? How does the following requirement work for children placed in group care: “When a new child is placed in the home, a review of any current Agreements will be conducted to determine if any changes are necessary.? There may be multiple residents moving in and out of group care which the case manager may not be aware of or not know about until the next home visit. If a Child Placement Agreement plan has been terminated and subsequently the child experiences a placement change is a new plan automatically required? When a Child Placement Agency is responsible for identifying the placement match, which supervisor is responsible for approving the Child Placement Agreement? If the out-of-home provider does not have access to FSFN, how would we ensure that the Child Placement Agreement is uploaded? Currently, the GAL has limited access to FSFN. Will the GAL have access to these agreements in FSFN? Can you clarify what is required of the services supervisor when a case is transferred to them from a CPI with a child in a family-made arrangement; how does CFOP 170-7, Chapter 6, Section 6-2, Requirements, subsection b. paragraphs (2) & (3) apply? If a minor mother gives birth, is the FFA progress update required in both the minor mother and major mother's case? Is it the same FFA or would it be different?

Question: Is it mandatory that the recommendations from the Comprehensive Behavioral Health Assessment (CBHA) must be included in the child's Case Plan?

 Answer: No, when developing and updating the case plan, the Services Worker shall consider information provided in the CBHA.  However, when referring for services, the worker shall refer the child and family for all services identified through a CBHA.

Date Answered:  8/6/07 

Date Updated/Reviewed: 10/30/12; 1/22/14; 5/8/16

Reference/Resources:   F.A.C.,  65C-28.014 (3) & (4)  F.A.C.; CFOP 155-10/175-40 (Ch 2)

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Question: Is there a Policy or Procedure for Comprehensive Behavioral Health Assessments (CBHA)?

Answer:   Chapter 2 of the DCF policy (155-10/175-40) on Mental Health Services for Children in Out-of-Home Care Placements addresses the CBHA.  DCF policy 175-96 also addresses the CBHA for children also involved with DJJ. The CBHA procedure is also referenced in the Fl Administrative Code (65C-28.014).

Date Answered:   2/22/08        

Date Updated/Reviewed: 10/30/12; 1/22/14; 5/8/16

Reference/Resources:   65C-28.014, F.A.C.; CFOP: 155-10/175-40; CFOP 175-96

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Question: When should a subsequent Comprehensive Behavioral Health Assessment (CBHA) be completed following the initial CBHA for a child in out-of-home care?

Answer:  There is no reference in Florida statute, Administrative Code, or DCF policy that dictates how often the CBHA should be completed.  However, Medicaid does restrict the frequency and will not allow for reimbursement of the CBHA more than once per state fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) per recipient. 

In determining whether or not the CBHA should be updated, the goals of the CBHA should be considered:

• Provide assessment of areas where no other information exists;

• Update pertinent information not considered to be current;

• Integrate and interpret all existing and new assessment information;

• Provide functional information, including strengths and needs, to the referral source, child and family that will aid in the development of long and short-term, culturally sensitive intervention strategies to enable the child to live and receive his or her education in the most inclusive environment;

• Provide specific information and recommendations to accomplish family preservation, re-unification, or re-entry and permanency planning;

• Provide data to promote the most appropriate out-of-home placement, when necessary; and

• Provide information for development of an effective, individualized, strength based, culturally sensitive, comprehensive services plan and a

Medicaid community behavioral health services individualized treatment plan, when indicated.

Date Answered: 7/16/09

Date Updated/Reviewed: 10/30/12; 1/22/14; 5/8/16

Reference/Resources:  F.A.C. 65C-28.014 (Behavioral Health Services); CFOP 155-10/175-40, Mental Health Services for Children in Out Of  Home Placements;  Florida Medicaid Community Behavioral Health Services Coverage and Limitations Handbook

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Question: Do children who are placed with relatives and non-relatives have to have an EPSDT (Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment)?

Answer: According to Standard 61.0 of DCF's Quality of Practice Standards – Case Management Services (2012-2013), all children in out-of-home care must have a physical health needs assessment, evidence for which includes but is not limited to an initial health care screening (EPSDT) or other comprehensive medical examination. FS 39.407, also states "when any child is removed from the home and maintained in an out-of-home placement, the department is authorized to have a medical screening performed on the child..."

Date Answered: 4/30/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/22/14

References/Resources: Family Safety Program Office; FS 39.407(1)

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Question: Upon removal, when must an initial health care assessment be completed for the child?

Answer: 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.

Date Answered:  6/5/07

Date Updated/Reviewed:  7/19/12; 1/22/14; 1/21/15

Reference/Resource: 65C-29.008

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Question:Can your provide clarification regarding timeframes for referrals for services to be submitted after receipt of the CBHA as well as difference between a CBHA and behavior health assessment. In CFOP 155-10 the time frame indicates that within 7 business days referrals are to be submitted after receipt of behavior health assessments. Whereas Admin Code 65C-28.014 states referrals are required within 30 days of receipt of the CBHA.

Answer: Behavioral Health Assessments and CBHAs both identify behavioral health service needs and both are addressed in CFOP 175-40. CFOP requires that any behavioral health services identified from the CBHA or other behavioral health evaluation are integrated in the case plan and referrals completed within 7 days. Florida Administrative Code requires that the child and family be referred for all services identified through the CBHA. 65C-28.014 goes on to specify that services shall be implemented within thirty days of identification. “Referred for? in CFOP is a timeframe for completion of referrals for the identified service needs. Florida Administrative Code expectations are that the identified services are implemented within thirty days.

Date Answered: 3/21/2016

Date Updated/Reviewed:  5/8/16

Reference/Resource: Office of Child Welfare

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Question: What information is needed in order to complete a background check?

Answer:

For investigations: first name, last name, DOB or age, race, sex, role in the intake/report and SSN.

For placement: first name, last name, DOB or age, race, sex, role in the household of

the proposed placement and SSN.

For either: If a SSN is not available for a subject, approval from a CI Unit supervisor is required prior to completing the check. If no CI Unit supervisor or manager is available, a Point of Contact can approve the check.


Date Updated/Reviewed:  6/10/13; 1/21/15
Reference/Resource:    CFOP 175-94

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Question: What are the background check requirements for reunification with a parent, including other adults in that parent's home? 

Answer: Prior to recommending to the court that a child be released to a parent, the parent, household members, frequent visitors and any paramours of household members at the home shall undergo all criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history checks that are required for placement with relatives and non-relatives.


Fingerprinting is now (eff: July23, 2010) required prior to placement of a removed child with a non-custodial parent. Fingerprinting of a parent is discretionary prior to reunification, and for placements made through the ICPC.

Date Answered: 7/11/08

Date Updated/ Reviewed:  7/28/10; 3/3/14; 5/8/16

Reference/Resource: 65C-28.011(5), F.A.C.;  CFOP 175-94 Section 2-3 (a)(3)
see also DCF memo on Background Screening Clarification dated July 23, 2010

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Question: Are there any criminal offenses of household members that automatically disqualify reunification with the parent(s) in that household?

Answer: 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, a household member, a frequent visitor or a paramour of a household member. The department may examine the results of any criminal history records check of any person, including a parent, with whom placement of a child is being considered. The complete criminal history records check must be considered when determining whether placement with the person will jeopardize the safety of the child being placed. For releases to parents, prior to the release, information obtained from the criminal, delinquency and abuse/ neglect history checks shall be provided by the Services Worker or Child Welfare 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.

Date Answered: 7/11/08

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/28/15; 5/8/16, 7/5/16

Reference/Resource: CFOP 175-94; FAC 65C-28.011(6)(b); FS 39.0138

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Question: What are the specific Background Screening Requirements and Home Study Requirements to grant unsupervised visitation to relatives other than parents, as this practice tends to be different across the state?

Answer: Florida Administrative Code 65C-13.023 ("Background Screening Requirements"), which primarily concerns "applicants" for placement, states that "[t]he supervising agency or the department has the discretion to request background screening for other individuals if there is reasonable belief that […] [t]he person has or may have unsupervised contact with the children."  It goes on to detail the screening requirements: "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. […]"

Date Answered: October 13, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: June 13, 2013, 5/21/14

References/Resources: F.A.C. 65C-13.023

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Question: Are there any specific Background Screening Requirements and Home Studies to designate a relative or nonrelative to supervise visitation for a parent?

Answer: No, there are no specific background screening requirements or home studies to designate a relative/nonrelative to supervise parent-child visitation.  The Crime Intelligence(CI) Unit at the Florida Abuse Hotline is responsible for completing background checks for the purpose of investigation and for placement of release of a child to a parent. The CI Unit does not have authority to run criminal history checks for purposes of judicial review, adoption, visitation, baby-sitting, and respite. There is nothing in statute, policy or code that requires or prohibits other checks of local or state criminal or abuse history resources available. note: Private individuals, clients, and requests for state and/or national criminal history checks outside the scope of DCF Operating Procedure 175-94 should be directed to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Post Office Box 1489, Tallahassee, Florida 32302-1489, or call (850) 410-7000, or visit the FDLE internet website at http://www.fdle.state.fl.us.

Date Answered: 10/13/08

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/2013; 1/28/15; 5/8/16; 6/1/16

References/Resources: CFOP 175-94; FS 39.0138; FAC 65C-29.009

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Question: If a case manager discovers during an open/on-going case, in the course of normal supervision of a child in a relative or non-relative setting, that there is a frequent visitor there that warrants a background screening, what level of screening can be done and by what authority?

Answer: Criminal, delinquency, and abuse/neglect history checks are to be completed on new household members, frequent visitors, or paramours of any household member if they have not otherwise received the checks within the previous twelve months and there has been no break in service for over ninety days.

Specifically: (a) A local criminal records check, a child abuse/neglect records check and a delinquency records check are required on new household members, frequent visitors or paramours of any household members; b) A state criminal records check is required on new household members or paramours of any household members;(c) A federal criminal records check, including a name check followed by submission of fingerprints to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, is required for any new household members eighteen years of age or older.

A relative or non-relative home is disqualified as a placement option when a criminal records check reveals any of the felony convictions, listed under 65C-28.011(6), F.A.C. for any of the individuals checked in regard to the home.

Date Answered: 2/17/09

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 1/28/15; 5/8/16, 7/7/16

Reference: FAC 65C-28.011 (2)(b) & (7); CFOP 175-94; FS 39.521(2)(r)2

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Question: Are there any circumstances when the fingerprint requirement can be waived for a potential caregiver for a child in care?

Answer: If fingerprinting would cause the household member undue hardship, the CW/CBC Program Administrator or his or her designee may grant an exception to the person from the NCIC and fingerprinting requirement. Exceptions can only be granted when fingerprinting would cause an individual undue hardship based on the individual's physical and/or mental limitations.

The person's presence in the home, the limitations that justify the exception and access to the child must be addressed in the home study. The court must be advised of any persons who received an exception from the fingerprinting requirement and the reason for such exemption.  All documentation regarding the exception must be retained in the case file and documented on the Purpose Code X audit report.

Date Updated/Reviewed: June 13, 2013; 1/28/15

Reference/Resource:    CFOP 175-94. 8.

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Question: What should be done, if a caregiver cannot or does not get fingerprinted within the specified time?

Answer: If no hardship exception has been issued and fingerprint submission does not occur within the ten calendar days, on the eleventh day the protective investigator or contracted provider must advise the court of the caregiver's failure to comply with the fingerprinting requirement.

If the failure to comply is due to a reasonable or unforeseen circumstance (e.g. caregiver hospitalized the day after the placement), then the protective investigator or contracted provider will advise the court of the date he or she anticipates fingerprints will be submitted.

If the failure to comply does not have a reasonable explanation, then the protective investigator or contracted provider must petition the court to order the subject(s) to submit fingerprints by a given date and, if fingerprints are not submitted by the given date, the petition will ask that the child be removed.


Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 1/28/15

Reference/Resource:    CFOP 175-94

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Question:  When is a background check required?

Answer: The criminal history checks will be obtained for Child and Adult Investigations, child planned placement or emergency placement with a non-licensed relative or non-relative, child release to a parent, and adult planned or emergency placement with unlicensed in home caregivers.

Date Answered:  7/5/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13

Reference/Resource:  CFOP 175-94

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Question: What background checks are completed on household members (including paramours) and frequent visitors?

Answer:   During Investigations, for each report received, the Fl Abuse hotline counselor will search the statewide systems to determine if the victim, alleged perptrator, or other subjects of the report have any active or prior reports or service provisions.
Upon commencement, the CPI will initiate 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. The request for the local law enforcement history check shall include any call-out history to the family’s residence.
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.
If the family has lived in 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.

Other background checks may include:

Juvenile Justice (DJJ) (persons ages 12 - 26)

Local law enforcement call history (DV-check for active DV injunctions)

Department of Corrections (DOC)

Date Answered:  6/5/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 1/21/15, 7/5/16, 7/6/17

Reference/Resource:  FS 39.0138(1); FS 39.521(2)r ; FAC 65C-29.002 & FAC 65C-29.009

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Question: What are required criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history checks that shall be initiated prior to a relative/non-relative placement?

Answer: 

For all persons age twelve or older who are either household members or who are known to be frequent visitors to the home:  abuse/neglect records check through the department's information system containing statewide abuse/neglect records; a local criminal records check through local police and sheriff's offices; a delinquency records check through the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

For all household members and paramours age twelve or older: a state criminal records check through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also required.

For all persons who are age eighteen or older who are household members: a name check through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) is also required.

Fingerprints of these persons shall be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement the next business day but no later than within ten calendar days of the name check.

For household members age twelve and older and frequent visitors age eighteen or older known to have resided in another state:  an attempt shall be made to gather criminal history information from that state

Date Answered: 9/21/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 1/21/15; 5/8/16, 7/5/16

References/Resource:  39.521(2)(r)(2), F.S; 65C-28.011(2)(b)(1-2), F.A.C.

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Question:  Is there a requirement to conduct background checks on a non-custodial parent (and other household members, if any) who has unsupervised visitation with a child that is a victim of an open abuse report?

Answer:  There is no language in statute, code or policy requiring nor precluding conducting background checks on non-custodial parents who have unsupervised visitation with their child(ren).   However, a non-custodial parent may be considered a caregiver, even if only during unsupervised visitation, and therefore background checks would be required on both the parent and other persons in the household. 

Date Answered: July 28, 2009

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 1/21/15

References/Resources: DCF Office of Family Safety; Florida Statutes, Chapter 39.301(9)

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Question: It is a requirement to conduct background checks on persons that baby-sit (in the home or outside the home)?

 Answer: For children in licensed out of home care, it is not a requirement that background checks be completed on babysitters. 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. Babysitters shall be at least sixteen years of age or older except for youth age 14-15 who have completed a recognized babysitting course.

See also the Dept memo on Normalcy,Babysitting, Vacation, and Emergency Care for Children in Out of Home Care (March 5, 2013)

Date Answered:  7/5/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15

Reference/Resource:  CFOP 175-94; DCF memo; FAC 65C- 13.033(4)

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Question: What background checks are required for parents?

Answer: Fingerprinting is now required prior to placement of a removed child with a non-custodial parent. Fingerprinting of a parent is discretionary prior to reunification, and for placements made through the ICPC.  Also, local and state criminal history check and state delinquency check are required on parents and the results reviewed prior to a child being released to the care of his or her parent.

Date Answered:  7/5/10

Date Updated/Reviewed:  8/19/10, 6/10/13; 1//21/15

Reference/Resource: FS 39.0138;  CFOP 175-94; see also DCF memo on Background Screening Clarification dated August  4, 2010

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Question: Does a background check include sealed or expunged information?

Answer: Yes. Protective investigations is the only component of our agency classified as criminal justice in §943.045(10)(d) F.S.; thus criminal history generated for the purpose of an investigation may include sealed and expunged information per §943.0585(4)(c) F.S. and §943.059(4) F.S.

Date Answered:  7/5/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15

Reference/Resource:  CFOP 175-94;  F.S. 943

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Question: Can sealed or expunged information that is included in background check be shared or used for placement purposes?

Answer: Pursuant to Florida law, a criminal history record that has been sealed and information relating to the existence of an expunged criminal history record are deemed confidential and exempt from the provisions of the Florida public records law. This confidential information is not accessible for placement purposes, and cannot be disseminated outside the confines of the criminal justice sector (ie, Protective Investigations). The requestor cannot further disseminate this information verbally, by documenting in the case file, or by sharing the documents with anyone other than the attorney for the Department who is handling the case and the judge hearing the case.

On the other hand, for NCIC background checks fingerprinting results may contain information concerning criminal activity within and outside of Florida. The results may contain sealed and expunged Florida information. This confidential information is only accessible for placement purposes.

(a) Florida sealed and expunged information and national criminal history information from outside of Florida can only be received by the Department. Contracted providers cannot receive this information in any form.

(b) Florida non-sealed and non-expunged information can be received by contracted providers.

(c) If a contracted provider initiated the fingerprinting, the Department will receive any results containing Florida sealed and expunged information and national criminal history information.

(d) The contracted provider will receive any Florida public criminal history without sealed and expunged information.

Date Answered:  7/5/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15

Reference/Resource:  CFOP 175-94

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Question: Who should be subject to a background check in an institutional investigation?

Answer: For institutional investigations, the only persons who should have criminal history checks are the alleged victims who are 12 years of age or older and the alleged perpetrator/alleged caregiver responsible. Even when the facility is a foster home, group home or Assisted Living Facility, the only participants/subjects of the intake/report are the alleged victim(s) and alleged perpetrator(s). If the alleged perpetrator on the intake/report is unknown and the investigation identifies a small number of staff who could reasonably be the alleged perpetrator, the child or adult protective investigator can request criminal history checks for the possible alleged perpetrators as rechecks.The protective investigator should not contact the CI Unit for criminal history checks on all employees of a facility, unless the employees are alleged perpetrators.

Date Answered:  7/5/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13

Reference/Resource:  CFOP 175-94

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Question: What type of background checks are required in emergency placements with a relative or non-relative?

Answer: Whenever an emergency placement with a relative or non-relative is to be made in exigent circumstances, the required criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history checks shall be initiated without undue delay. The following checks shall be performed for all household members, visitors, and paramours: state child abuse registry, local and state criminal history, delinquency records (for persons age 12 - 26) and a name check through NCIC for all household members age 18 and older. If the child is placed in the home the fingerprints of these persons shall be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement the next business day but no later than within ten calendar days of the name check.

Date Answered:  7/5/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 5/8/16; 7/6/17

Reference/Resource:  CFOP 175-94; FAC 65C-28.011(2)

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Question: When should fingerprints be submitted in an emergency placement situation?

Answer: When a child is placed with a non-licensed relative or non-relative due to urgent circumstances, the protective investigator or contracted provider placing the child must advise the adult household members that fingerprints should be submitted the next business day. Fingerprints must be submitted no later than ten calendar days following the NCIC name check. (a) The protective investigator or contracted provider who requested the emergency placement checks is responsible for ensuring that the adult household members submit fingerprints the next business day.  (b) When the placement occurs before or as the case is transitioning from investigations to a contracted provider, and the protective investigator requested the emergency placement checks, they are responsible for following up with the adult household members to ensure they submit fingerprints the next business day. (c) If fingerprinting would cause the household member undue hardship, the CW/CBC Program Administrator or his or her designee may grant an exception to the person from the NCIC and fingerprinting requirement.

Date Answered:  7/5/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 5/8/16

Reference/Resource:  CFOP 175-94; FAC 65C-28.011(2)

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Question: Should hard copies of the FDLE criminal check results be scanned into the (FSFN) File Cabinet?

Answer: No. Criminal history information should not be scanned into FSFN because too many individuals who are not legally authorized to have criminal history records do have access to FSFN for other purposes and might inappropriately read information that is supposed to be confidential and restricted. Criminal check results should only to be placed in a hardcopy file only and locked away in a secure (physical) filing cabinet.

Date Answered:  5/22/15

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference/Resource: DCF Office of Child Welfare

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Question: Can a parent have a copy of their own FDLE record?

Answer: No, Criminal history information is confidential and shall not be disseminated beyond the confines of government personnel directly responsible for adult/child protective investigations and the court. If a parent wishes to obtain their Florida criminal history, they can obtain it themselves by going to the FDLE’s website at: https://web.fdle.state.fl.us/search/app/memorandum?2

Date Answered:  2/18/16

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/22/16

Reference/Resource: DCF CFOP 175-94, Chapter 3, Filing, Dissemination and Documentation of Criminal History Information, CFOP 170-7

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Question: Can you provide guidance as to what type of home study and background checks would be needed for both a non-custodial parent and for a family-made out-of-home arrangement (would all household members, paramours, babysitters and frequent visitors have checks completed?). Specifically, what type of home study would be completed in each circumstance and what background checks would be required (i.e. fingerprints, FDLE, locals, child abuse checks, and etcetera). Does all individuals needing a FDLE check need to listed on the Maintain case page as a participant?

Answer: A non-custodial parent must have a check of prior child abuse history to determine if there is a past incident or pattern of maltreatment as well as in interview to assess the parent’s ability to care for and protect the child. After the interview the worker must conduct local and state criminal history background checks prior to a child’s placement. Release and/or placement with a non-custodial parent requires a walkthrough of the home completed by the worker to ensure that the physical environment provides for safe and reasonable accommodations for the child.

A Family-Made Arrangement requires the worker to conduct an assessment of the temporary caregiver(s) as an Emergency Placement type of Unified Home Study:

a. Check for past child abuse history in FSFN and whether the family arranged caregiver discussed the history, if any, and presented information as to why that history should not preclude their current ability to care for the child.

b. The child welfare professional will conduct background checks of the family arranged caregiver and household members to include national, state and local criminal history. Such checks may be completed through the Unified Home Study in FSFN. The child welfare professional will follow up with fingerprint submission no later than 15 calendar days after relocation of child to ensure compliance with FBI standards.

c. The investigator or case manager will determine whether the results of the background checks provide information that has relevance to the family-arranged caregiver’s ability to care for and/or protect the child, including considerations of major life circumstances that have changed. Current automatic statutory disqualifiers for placement still apply.

Criminal, delinquency, and abuse/neglect history checks are to be completed on household members, frequent visitors and paramours of any household member if they have not otherwise received the checks within the previous twelve months and there has been no break in service for over ninety days.

Specifically: (a) A local criminal records check, a child abuse/neglect records check and a delinquency records check are required on new household members, frequent visitors or paramours of any household members; b) A state criminal records check is required on new household members or paramours of any household members;(c) A federal criminal records check, including a name check followed by submission of fingerprints to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, is required for any new household members eighteen years of age or older.

If the individual is a non-household member, the background check must be requested from the UHS. Only household members should be on the Maintain Case page.

Date Answered:  2/18/16

Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/8/16, 6/27/16, 7/8/16

Reference/Resource: CFOP 170-6, Safety Methodology FAQs, FAC 65C-28.011 (2)(b) & (7); CFOP 175-94; FS 39.521(2)(r)2, Office of Child Welfare  

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Question: Regarding informal safety providers, what exactly does “Criminal history checks? entail? Who should complete the criminal history checks?

Answer: The child welfare professional responsible for the safety plan is responsible for reviewing the criminal history of the identified informal safety provider. The criminal history checks will include child abuse history and local and state criminal history. Prior to case transfer to the case management agency, the investigator is responsible for developing and implementing the safety plan, which may include the identification of any informal safety plan provider and a determination that the provider is capable and dependable, including a review of child abuse and state and local criminal history checks. Once the case has been transferred, the case management agency is responsible for ongoing monitoring of the safety plan and developing and implementing modifications as necessary. Modifications to the safety plan may include changes in safety service providers which would include a determination of the appropriateness of the provider, including a review of child abuse history and state and local criminal history checks.

Date Answered:  3/21/16

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/22/16, 8/16/17

Reference/Resource: CFOP 170-7, F.A.C. 65C-30.002 ; F.S 39.301 (9)

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Question: When requesting background screenings through FSFN do the results include Department of Corrections, DJJ, and sexual offender information? Or does the case manager need to do requests to the specific agency’s/website to get this information?

Answer: Yes, background screens requested through FSFN include queries from the DJJ database, Department of Corrections (DOC) and the FDLE Sexual Offender/Predator websites. These queries are checked by the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) at the Florida Abuse Hotline.

Date Answered:  8/31/16

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference/Resource: CFOP 175-94, 65C-29.009, FS 39.0138

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Question: On a reactivated pro se motion, would we need backgrounds for the parent the child was placed with? For example, a case previously closed PG. The court granted a motion to reopen the case and placed the child with a parent. Would that parent need background screens?

Answer: Release and/or placement with a non-custodial parent requires a walkthrough of the home completed by the worker to ensure that the physical environment provides for safe and reasonable accommodations for the child. In the case of a case that has been reopened on a Pro Se motion, the worker should still complete a check of prior child abuse as well as local and state criminal history checks are required to determine if there is any past incidents or pattern of maltreatment.

Date Answered:  9/12/16

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference/Resource: CFOP 170-7, Section 5-3

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Question: Can you provide clarification as to how the state would like the Case Management Agencies (CMA) to run state criminal history checks for informal safety providers as required per CFOP 170-7. Chapter 7, 7-3a.: “After the child welfare professional has conducted an interview to determine if the informal safety plan provider is appropriate, the child welfare professional will conduct background screening to include child abuse history and local and state criminal history.? There has been some questions from the CMA’s whether they can run the state checks through FSFN or do they need to complete the checks via fingerprinting?

Answer: CMA’s can only request criminal history checks through the hotline for placement purposes. Case Manager’s need to follow their local CBC protocol to obtain local and state criminal histories for informal safety plan providers. story checks are required to determine if there is any past incidents or pattern of maltreatment.

Date Answered:  10/24/16

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference/Resource: CFOP 170-7, Section 7-3

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Question: When are exit interviews required to be completed and for whom?

Answer: Exit interviews are to be completed with every child age five and older up (until their eighteenth birthday) exits the home following a placement of thirty days or more. The interview shall be conducted within five days of the child’s exit from the licensed out-of-home care placement.

Date Answered:  6/29/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 07/16/2012; 1/27/14; 1/21/15; 5/8/16

Reference/Resource: 65C-28.017

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Question:  Is there a policy or law that prohibits someone from completing an exit interview over the telephone?

Answer:  Per Florida Administrative Code, exit interviews are to be completed with the child in a setting outside of the home. Further, the 'observations' of the child are to be documented. While there is no language expressly prohibiting an exit interview being conducted over the telephone, a phone interview would only occur in an extremely rare and unusual circumstance.

Date Answered:  11/16/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 5/8/16

Reference:   F.A.C.  65C-28.017; Family Safety Program Office

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Question:  If a child turns 18 and remains in the home for Extended Foster Care (EFC) does an Exit Interview need to be completed since he turned 18 or because he is remaining in the home one is not needed? Also similar situation with adoption, if the child is adopted by a foster parent and doesn’t leave the home is an Exit Interview needed?

Answer:  Exit interviews are to be completed with every child age five and older (up until their eighteenth birthday) exits the home following a placement for thirty days or more, therefore an exit interview is not required in this situation due to 1) the child is eighteen and 2) the youth did not leave the licensed placement. Similarly, an exit interview is not required for a child remaining in their licensed adoptive placement. However, ongoing conversations with the youth about their safety and well-being should be occurring to address any concerns that might otherwise be revealed during an exit interview.

Date Answered:  7/8/16

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference:   F.A.C. 65C-28.017; Office of Child Welfare

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Question:  How often must children under supervision be visited by the services worker?

Answer: 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.

Date Created:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 2/25/16

Reference/Resource: 65C-30.007 F.A.C.

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Question: What is considered an "other location" where a child may be seen?

Answer:  An environment that is critical to the life of the child and in which the child is comfortable, such as early education or child care program, school setting, or child's therapeutic setting.

Date Created:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 2/25/16

Reference/Resource: 65C-30.007(1)(f)2 , F.A.C.

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Question:  Is a services worker required to make unannounced visits to see children?

Answer: 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.

Date Answered:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 2/25/16; 4/17/16; 1/12/17

Reference/Resource: 65C-30.007(h) F.A.C.; CFOP 170-7, Ch 11-2

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Question:  What is the required contact by the services worker with parent(s) or caregivers of a child under supervision?

Answer: 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.

Date Answered:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 2/25/16; 1/12/17

Reference/Resource: 65C-30.007(2)(a), F.A.C.; CFOP 170-7, Ch 11-2

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Question:  What are the required actions by a services worker when a new child is added in families under supervision?

Answer:  Immediately inform supervisor. Visit the home and conduct an assessment to determine safety of new child. If concerned about safety, risk, or long-term well-being of new child, staff case with supervisor to determine if consultation with Child Welfare Legal Services is needed. Immediately, in all cases, enter new child's name and demographics into FSFN as part of existing case.

Date Answered:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 2/25/16, 4/4/16

Reference/Resource: 65C-30.016, F.A.C.; CFOP 170-5

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Question: What is the time frame for the initial contact with children under supervision?

Answer: Shall occur within two working days of the case being accepted for supervision or the date of the court order for supervision, whichever occurs first.

Date Answered:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 2/25/16

Reference/ Resources: FAC 65C-30.007(1)(b)

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Question: How many contacts must a worker have with a child in shelter status?

Answer: Initial face-to-face contacts with the child and caregiver willl occur at least once every seven (7) days as follows:
For all in-home safety plans, face-to-face contacts every seven days with the child and caregiver will be conducted for the first 30 days from the time the plan was established.
For all out-of-home plans, face-to-face contacts with the child and caregiver will be conducted as long as the child in an out-of-home plan remains in shelter status. The frequency of the face-to-face contacts can be modified IF the case management supervisor documents in FSFN that

  • 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
  • The child has not experienced any placement changes and the case has been open to case management for more than 30 days.
  • The child’s needs have been assessed and all therapeutic services needed are being provided.
  • 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.

Date Answered:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed:   9-7-10, 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 2/25/16; 6/28/16; 1/12/17

Reference/Resource: 65C-30.007(1)(e) ; CFOP 170-7, Ch 11

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Question: How long must supervision continue after reunification?

Answer: CFOP 170-7 dictates that post placement supervision in court-supervised cases will be provided for no less than six (6) months. Current Administrative Code mandates that every 3 (three) months, the case manager will evaluate, with the family, their adjustment to reunification, assess safety concerns and update the FFA and 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.

Date Answered:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed:  10/29/10, 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 2/25/16; 6/21/16

Reference/Resource: 65C-30.014, F.A.C.; CFOP-170-7

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Question: Would the arrest of a 12 year old qualify as a "critical" incident under CFOP 215 - 6, if the child lives with his mother, but is under court ordered supervision?

Answer:  According to CFOP 215-6 (Incident Reporting and Analysis System (IRAS)), the arrest of a child, who is in the custody of a parent, does not meet the definition of a critical incident that must be reported. However, the policy also defines an ‘Other’ category which includes any other major event which is likely to have a significant impact on clients and has led to or may lead to media reports.
Please note that the Center can only answer questions based on written Statute, Rule or Policy. Specific case information and scenarios should be discussed and reviewed by your supervisor/agency leadership.

Date Answered:  May 8, 2014

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference/Resource: CFOP 215-6 (5)(b) & (o)

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Question: How do you handle separated sibling visitation when maybe one sibling isn’t under jurisdiction?

Answer:  Contact between siblings, regardless of who has legal custody, should occur unless the contact would compromise the safety or well-being of either child. Such contact can be via in person visits, mail or telephone. The services worker should ensure that visitation between a child in an out-of-home placement and his or her separated siblings and others of significance in the child’s life is addressed in the case plan, as well as any reason visitation is not occurring and efforts to facilitate visits.
In cases where the court terminates parental rights, it may, if appropriate, order that the parents, siblings, or relatives of the parent whose rights are terminated be allowed to maintain some contact with the child pending adoption. Contact may include, but is not limited to, visits, letters, and cards or telephone calls. The nature and frequency of the communication or contact must be set forth in written order and may be reviewed upon motion of any party, or an identified prospective adoptive parent. If a child is placed for adoption, the nature and frequency of the communication or contact must be reviewed by the court at the time the child is placed for adoption.

Date Answered:  1/27/15

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/22/16

Reference/Resource:FS 39.6012 (3); 39.6221 (2)(e); 39.811 (b); FAC 30.006 (5)(i); CFOP 170-7

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Question: When are Supervisors required to conduct case reviews/consultations with case managers?

Answer:  At least once a quarter during the life of the case, the supervisor will review all open cases in the unit and subsequently facilitate a qualitative discussion with the case manager to assure needed safe guards and services are in place and casework activity is moving the child toward an appropriate safe and permanent living arrangement. It is recommended that the qualitative discussion occur in conjunction with the existing quarterly review that focuses on standing casework requirements.

In addition, Supervisory Case Consultation will be required at critical junctures in the development and updating of family functioning assessments; safety planning and safety monitoring; and case planning and progress assessment.

  • Within five business days of case transfer, the supervisor will conduct a case consultation with the case manager to affirm that the safety plan is reasonable and adequate.
  • Within 5 days of any safety plan modification, the supervisor will conduct a case consultation with the case manager for purposes of affirming the safety plan.
  • At critical junctures, the supervisor will conduct a case consultation with the case to review safety plans, including but not limited to the following situations:
  •     a new child is born or comes into the home
  •     a parent/legal guardian returns to the home
  •     parent/legal guardian becomes involved in new intimate partner relationship
  •    significant changes to household composition
**Local policies may be more restrictive that what is included within this FAQ**

Date Answered:  2/5/15

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/22/16

Reference/Resource:Mentoring Through Qualitative Discussion (Training for Child Welfare Supervisors); CFOP 170-9, Case Management (Summary of Supervisory Case Consultation and Review Requirements)

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Question: When a child on runaway status ages out, what must occur with the open MCR? Where may I find how to guide?

Answer: If the child turns 18 years old while reported as missing, all agencies notified that the child was missing must be contacted by the case manager. The case manager will inform the court and request the case and MCR to be closed. If requested, information from the case file will be given to the local law enforcement agency for their continuing efforts to locate the missing person. When notifying law enforcement, make certain that they understand that the child was never recovered.

 Additional Missing Child Resources can be located below:
Missing Child Resources: http://www.centerforchildwelfare.org/MissingChildren/MissingChildrenResources.shtml
DCF Missing Children Guide: http://www.centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/mssngchld/Missing%20Children%20Guide%20-%20September%202008.pdf

Date Answered:  1/5/16

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference/Resource: DCF Missing Children Guide

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Question: What is the appropriate way to document a child on runaway in a non-judicial case? I am told that an MCR is not required. Does the child’s service role change to “child not receiving services?? Does the child’s placement need to be updated to reflect “statewide runaway??

Answer: A child receiving non-judicial services is not considered a child missing from the care of the department and a MCR is not required nor would their placement reflect “statewide runaway? status. Since the child is not classified as missing the use of missing categories within FSFN as a “placeholder? would not be appropriate. If the safety of the child and/or the parental response appears to be appropriate there is no need for the child to be placed into a “missing? category within FSFN as the child is either with a parent that is safe and/or parent that is doing what is expected of their child/youth went missing. However, it should be assessed whether the case needs to be escalated to a court ordered in-home or out-of-home care case. Examples could include the family leaving with the child while receiving services or a circumstance where the parent does not seem interested in reporting the child or finding the child.  

Date Answered:  2/19/16

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference/Resource: Office of Child Welfare

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Question: Can you provide clarification to updated FAC 65C-30.002(3)(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? as FAC 65C-30 does not provide a definition for “out-of-home plan?; would face-to-face contacts be for sheltered children or does it include family-made arrangements as part of an in-home safety plan?

Answer: The following safety actions involve the use of an “Out-of-Home? Safety Plan:

• Child temporarily lives with someone in the family network, known as a “family-made arrangement? which might include release to another parent

• Child is placed with a relative/non-relative after background checks are completed and the home study initiated

• Child is placed in a licensed emergency shelter/foster care placement due to no appropriate relative/non-relative placement being known or available

Therefore, face to face contacts with the child and caregiver must be completed at least once every seven calendar days for children sheltered and placed with a relative/non-relative, licensed shelter/foster care and children placed in a family arrangement  

Date Answered: 3/4/16

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/27/16

Reference/Resource: CFOP 170-7

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Question: If a child has been removed from one parent and placed in out of home care and then is later placed with the non-maltreating parent (via an Other Parent Home Assessment), what are the face to face contact requirements for the child welfare professional and the child?

Answer: Placement of the child with another parent following the approval of an Other Parent Home Assessment is considered an out-of-home safety plan. For all out-of-home plans, face-to-face contacts with the child and caregiver will be conducted at least once every 7 days as long as the child remains in shelter status. If the child is no longer in shelter status, then the child welfare professional will have face-to-face contact with the child no less frequently than every 30 days. The safety plan will be monitored by the child welfare professional responsible based on the following minimum contact requirements unless the safety plan for the family requires more frequent contact.  

Date Answered: 7/12/16

Reference/Resource: CFOP 170-7, Ch 5 & 11

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Question:If a child is in a parent's custody and they are receiving court ordered services and the child runs away should a MCR be generated in FSFN?

Answer: Yes, a MCR should be completed in FSFN if immediate efforts to locate a child in an investigation or under judicial supervision (which includes in-home care) are unsuccessful.  

Date Answered: 7/18/16

Reference/Resource: 65-C 30.019, CFOP 175-85, DCF Missing Child Guide

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Question:What are the requirements for the frequency of case manager contacts with the child during post-placement supervision?

Answer: Prior to reunification, a safety planning conference will be held with the parent, treatment providers, caregivers and any safety plan providers. During this conference the in-home safety plan will be developed which will determine the supports and services necessary to assure the safety of the child in the home and level of intrusiveness and effort necessary to manage safety threats.
All children must be seen at least once every 30 days unless more frequent contact is determined necessary at the safety planning conference.

Post placement supervision in court-supervised cases will be provided for no less than six (6) months.

Date Answered: 9/29/16

Reference/Resource: FAC 65C-30.007; CFOP 170-7, Ch 11 & 12

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Question: Can you explain how to address parent contacts in FSFN. I believe previously, the only exception to bio-parent contact was through TPR or if they were deceased. Now we have another exclusionary method and that’s if the court rules otherwise. Parent contact is a DCF Contract Measure, how do we guide our case management agencies on data entry for this item. Can they delink parents that are excluded from the case due to the court ruling?

Answer: Yes, FSFN functionality allows the worker to remove ("deactivate") the parent(s) as case participants. See the FSFN User Guide for Maintain Case page 8 under the directions for "Participants group box." The court has always had the discretion to order the department to end parent contacts. This sometimes happens in cases involving worker safety or the incarceration of a parent. However, until Termination of Parental Rights has occurred and the appeals period ends, the parent retains the right to reasonable efforts to achieve reunification and the parent(s) and should remain as a case participant in FSFN.

The case manager can select from a number of drop-down values in FSFN as to why a face-to-face contact did not happen (Reason not Seen). The reasons are:

Absconded/Abducted
Access Not Allowed
Avoiding/Refusing Contact
Deceased
Family Moved
Family Traveling
Hospitalized
Jailed
Judge Issued a No Contact Order
Long Term Licensed Custody
Not Applicable
Not at Home
Not at School
Out of Town/State
Runaway
Situation Resolved (special conditions only)
Unable to Locate

The case worker's case note should back up the value selected. As these values are not defined, you have some discretion to provide case managers with guidance as to what values they should use and under what circumstances.

Date Answered: 10/3/16

Reference/Resource: Office of Child Welfare

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Question: Do pill counts have to occur monthly for a child’s medication? Or is just checking the Medication Log and getting a copy okay??

Answer: Pill counts are not required during monthly home visits with a child; the child’s medication log that is used for documenting the administration of psychotropic medications and any side effects or adverse reactions should be checked on a monthly basis.

Date Answered: 12/9/16

Reference/Resource: 65C-35.011

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Question: What exactly does the investigator have to complete and document prior to an emergency placement with a relative/non-relative?

Answer:  An on-site check of the safety and appropriateness of the caregiver's home.  Determine the sleeping arrangements for the child(ren).  Discuss with the potential caregiver their attitude and relationship to the child(ren) and parent(s).   Determine the caregiver's willingness to protect the child and ensure that the alleged perpetrator does not have access to the child(ren).   Initial criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history check activities shall be performed.

Additionally, F.A.C. 65C-28.011(2)(b) addresses procedures for emergency placement made in exigent circumstances, as follows:

(b) Whenever an emergency placement with a relative or non-relative is to be made in exigent circumstances, the required criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history checks shall be initiated without undue delay to avoid placing the child elsewhere in the interim. Prior to making such an emergency placement in exigent circumstances, the following criminal, delinquency and abuse/neglect history checks, including receipt and consideration of the results of the checks, are required:

1. For all persons who are either household members or who are known to be frequent visitors to the home there shall be an abuse/neglect records check through the department's information system containing statewide abuse/neglect records.

2. Additionally, the following checks shall be performed for specified persons based on his or her role in the household and his or her age:

a. For all household members and frequent visitors age twelve or older, a local criminal records check through local police and sheriff's offices.

b. For all household members or frequent visitors ages 12 through 26, a delinquency records check through the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

c. For all household members and paramours age twelve or older, a state criminal records check through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

d. For all persons who are age eighteen or older who are household members, a name check through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) is also required. If the child is placed in the home the fingerprints of these persons shall be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement the next business day but no later than within ten calendar days of the name check.

e. For household members age twelve and older and frequent visitors age eighteen or older who are known to have resided in another state, an attempt shall be made to gather criminal history information from that state."

Date Answered:  9/21/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/24/11, 6/10/13; 2/29/16; 5/8/16

References/Resources: F.S. 39.401(3)(b);  F.A.C. 65C-30.009(4) and 65C-28.011(2)(b)

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Question: What cases must be referred to Child Protection Team (CPT) for assessment?

Answer:

Injuries to the head, bruises to the neck or head, burns, or fractures in a child of any age

Bruises anywhere on a child 5 years of age or under

Any report alleging sexual abuse of a child

Sexually transmitted disease-in a prepubescent child

Reported malnutrition of a child and failure of a child to thrive

Reported medical neglect of a child

Any family in which one or more children have been pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital or other health-care facility, or have been injured and later died as a result of suspected abuse, abandonment, or neglect, when any sibling or other child remains in the home

Symptoms of serious emotional problems in a child when emotional or other abuse, abandonment, or neglect is suspected

Date Answered:  6/5/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13, 4/4/16

Reference/Resource: s. 39.303(2)(a-h), F.S.; CFOP 170-5

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Question: What should happen if the department determines that a report made to the hotline is a false report?

Answer:  The department may discontinue all investigative activities and shall, with the consent of the alleged perpetrator, refer the report to the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction for an investigation to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to refer the case for prosecution for filing a false report (as defined in FS 39.01).  A person who knowingly and willfully makes a false report of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or who advises another to make a false report, is guilty of a felony of the third degree.

Date Answered:  8/17/12

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13

Reference/Resource: FS 39.205

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Question: What is the timeframe for a protective investigator to complete an investigation?

Answer: Complete within 60 days after receiving the initial report.

Date Answered:  6/5/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13

Reference/Resource: s. 39.301(16), F.S.

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Question: Is it necessary that the reporter is contacted?

Answer: The protective investigator must provide his or her contact information to the reporter within 24 hours after being assigned to the investigation. However, 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. The investigator must also advise the reporter that he or she may provide a written summary of the report made to the central abuse hotline to the investigator which shall become a part of the electronic child welfare case file.

Department employees or first respondents to reports of child maltreatment shall not call the number provided by Caller ID to verify that the report was made from that number or to make inquiries about the content of the report. However, if the telephone number provided by Caller ID is the same as provided by the reporter, telephone contact with the reporter is appropriate.

If all means to locate any child victim and attempts to contact the reporter at the telephone number provided by the reporter are unsuccessful, contacting the reporter at the telephone number provided by Caller ID is appropriate. Utilization of the Caller ID must be approved by the immediate supervisor or other district designated administrative staff. This approval and the reasons for needing to make the call shall be documented in the investigative file.

Date Answered:  6/5/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 1/20/15; 12/11/15, 7/6/16

Reference/Resource: 65C 29.003(2)(a); FS 39.301 (6); FS 39.201

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Question: Is it mandatory that school staff be present with the child when the initial interview occurs at school?

Answer: No.  The department or law enforcement agency may allow a school staff member who is known to the child to be present if:

The department or law enforcement agency believes that the school staff member could enhance the success of interview by his or her presence

The child requests or consents to the presence of the school staff member at the interview

Date Answered:  6/5/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13

Reference/Resource: 39.301(18) F.S.

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Question: Who should be interviewed during an investigation?

Answer:

With few exceptions, household members should be interviewed separately in the home when possible, in the following order, using information gathered from one interview to assist in the development of questions for the next interview:
(1) Identified child victim.
(2) Siblings or other children in the household.
(3) Non-maltreating parents and caregivers, including all adult household members.
(4) Other parent (as a collateral contact when parent no longer lives in the same household).
(5) Maltreating parent/caregiver.

On-site visits and face-to-face interviews with the child, other siblings, other children in the home and family shall be unannounced unless it is determined by the department, designee, the sheriff's office or contract service provider that an unannounced visit would threaten the safety of the child.

Date Answered:  6/5/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 6/21/16, 8/16/17

Reference/Resource: FS 39.301 (9), F.S.; CFOP 170-5

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Question:  What constitutes a valid commencement?

Answer: “Commencement? means the date and time that the investigator attempted or achieved a face-to-face contact with the child victim by actually visiting the site where the victim was reportedly located.

Date Answered:  6/5/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 1/22/15; 2/29/16; 6/17/16

Reference/Resource: FAC 65C-30.001 (26);

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Question: What procedure does an investigator follow if not allowed access to a home to conduct an investigation?

Answer:

When the parent or legal guardian refuses to speak with the investigator and access to the child is denied outright, the investigator should immediately consult with his or her supervisor and determine the most appropriate response, which may include one or more of the following: continue in attempts to gain cooperation from the family, seek assistance from law enforcement if there is a concern of immediate danger to the child, seek a court order if the family is already under court supervision; contact CLS to discuss possible legal options.

Date Answered:  6/5/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 1/22/15; 6/21/17

Reference/Resource: CFOP 170-7

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Question: Is there a limit to the number of interviews of a sexual abuse victim?  This includes Child Protective Investigators, Law Enforcement, Child Protection Team, and others.

Answer:   For sexual abuse victims under age 16 or those who have an intellectual disability, the chief judge of each judicial circuit, after consultation with the state attorney and the public defender for the judicial circuit, the appropriate chief law enforcement officer, and any other person deemed appropriate by the chief judge, shall order reasonable limits on the number of interviews must submit to for law enforcement or discovery purposes. To the extent possible, the order must protect the victim from the psychological damage of repeated interrogations while preserving the rights of the public, the victim, and the person charged with the violation.

Date Created:   9/13/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 1/22/15

Reference/Resources:   F.S 914.16

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Question: Isn't it the parents' responsibility to report a change of residence to the protective investigator?

Answer: Yes.  However, the protective investigator must provide notice to the parents of their duty to report any change in residence or location of the child within two (2) business days of the child's move.

Date Answered:  6/5/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 1/22/15

Reference/Resource: 39.301 (5)(a)(6), F.S.

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Question: What is the timeframe for the CPI to notify the services worker if a new report is received on a case that is active in the services unit?

Answer: The Child Protective Investigator (CPI) shall, within one working day, notify the Services Worker of any new reports of abuse, neglect or abandonment received on active cases.

Date Answered:  6/7/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 1/22/15; 2/29/16

Reference/Resource:  65C-30.015, F.A.C.

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Question:  If an abuse report is assigned a response priority of "immediate," what timeframe does an investigator have to adhere to?

Answer:  According to Florida Administrative Code 65C-30.001 (65), "immediate" or "immediately" means as soon as possible, but no later than four (4) hours.

Date Answered:  08/14/08

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 2/29/16

Reference/Resource: FAC 65C-30.001 (58)-Definitions

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Question: When a report is received related to the death of a child several days after his death and face to face contact is not possible I understand that the CPI can enter a law enforcement contact.  Is this correct?  Also, is it correct to enter the contact at one minute after the receipt of the report?    

Answer:  For the purposes of documenting the "victim seen" time in the statewide automated child welfare information system, 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.     

Date Answered:    10-22-08         

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13

Reference/Resources:   F.A.C. 65C 30.020(5)(b)    

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Question: Is there a policy, procedure, administrative code or statute that indicates the frequency a child protective investigator must see a child during an open investigation regardless of whether the risk is low, moderate or high?

Answer:  Initial face-to-face contacts with the child and caregiver willl occur at least once every seven (7) days as follows:
For all in-home safety plans, face-to-face contacts every seven days with the child and caregiver will be conducted for the first 30 days from the time the plan was established.
For all out-of-home plans, face-to-face contacts with the child and caregiver will be conducted as long as the child in an out-of-home plan remains in shelter status. The frequency of the face-to-face contacts can be modified IF the case management supervisor documents in FSFN that

  • the child is in the care of a a relative, non-relative, or a licensed foster parent and is not demonstrating any behaviors that may lead to a placement disruption
  • The child has not experienced any placement changes and the case has been open to case management for more than 30 days.
  • The child’s needs have been assessed and all therapeutic services needed are being provided.
  • 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.

Date Answered:  September 7, 2010

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 2/29/16; 6/28/16

Reference/ Resource:   CFOP 170-7; FAC  65C-30.007

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Question: What Child Protection Certification classifications are currently being offered in the state of Florida?

Answer: Effective 2011, Florida House Bill 279 amended Florida statutes to require persons who provide child welfare services to be certified by a third-party credentialing entity. There is currently a single 'Child Welfare Certification' for all persons providing services (ie intake, protective investigations, pre protective services, protective services, foster care, shelter and group care, and adoption and related services program, including supportive services and supervision). This bill, now FS 402.731 and 402.40 supersedes Fl Administrative Code 65C-33 (Child Welfare Training and Certification). Currently, the Florida Certification Board awards the Child Welfare Credential for three discipline-specific specialties: Protective Investigator, Case Manager and Licensing Counselor

Date Answered: February 13, 2013

Date Updated/Reviewed: 10/11/13

Reference/ Resource:   FS 402.731, 402.40; see also: The Florida Certification Board (http://www.flcertificationboard.org/Certifications_Child-Welfare-Case-Manager.cfm)

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Question: Is a home study required if a child is placed by a Protective Investigator with a non-removal parent?

Answer: Yes. Non-removal parent(s) being considered for placement of their child must have an approved home study and a criminal history records check, including submission of fingerprints to the Department of Law Enforcement.

Date Answered: 1/31/14

Date Updated/Reviewed: 1/28/15, 7/5/16

Reference/ Resource:   FS 39.0138(1); DCF Policy Memorandum- Status of Children Placed with a Non-Removal Parent (09/26/12)

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Question:  When determining criteria for patently unfounded, are the requirements regarding the use of patently unfounded used for the entire maltreatment narrative or just a portion of the narrative that addresses a maltreatment as identified in the index? For example, a narrative that includes a statement that the child wears a blue shirt and indeed does so.

Answer: In using a Patently Unfounded determination, the investigator would need to document compelling evidence that is contrary to the maltreatment allegation. Additionally, incidents that are determined to be Patently Unfounded were reported to the hotline in good faith. The standard of credible evidence for Patently Unfounded closures requires corroboration of evidence that enables the investigator to understand why the allegation was made in good faith but erroneously. (For example a report indicating that a child wearing a blue shirt lives in a home with hazardous conditions, may be closed as Patently Unfounded if the investigator can document not just the absence of hazardous conditions but also note the home was exceptionally clean and neat with photographs to support the statement, even if the child in the home is in fact wearing a blue shirt.)

Date Answered:3/31/16

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/27/16

Reference/ Resource:   CFOP 170-7; FAC 65C 30.001 (83)

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Question: What forms of identification are required for children under in-home supervision?

Answer: Children shall be photographed within fifteen (15) days after case staffed and transferred to a service unit. There shall be documentation of birth verification within fifteen (15) days after case staffed and transferred to a services unit. Fingerprints are NOT required for children under in-home supervision.

Date Created:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 2/29/16

Reference/Resource:  39.4085(6), F.S.; 65C-30.004, F.A.C;

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Question: What forms of identification are required for children in out-of-home care?

Answer: Children shall be photographed within seventy-two (72) hours of the beginning of a removal episode. Documentation of birth verification shall be obtained within fifteen (15) days after case staffed and transferred to services unit. Fingerprints each child age three (3) years or older obtained within fifteen days after initial placement.  Under three, attempt child's footprints.

Date Created:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 2/29/16

Reference/Resource:  39.4085(6), F.S.; 65C-30.004, F.A.C.; CFOP 175-83

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Question: How often should photographs be updated and is there policy or code that outlines this?

Answer: For children under the age of five (5) years, photographs will be updated every six (6) months. All other children will have photos updated annually.

Date Created:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 2/29/16

Reference/Resource: 65C-30.004, F.A.C.

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Question: What is policy of the Social Security Administration regarding relative caregivers obtaining a duplicate or first time social security card for a child they are caring for under the following scenarios: 1. Court custody assigned to the relative with the child. 2. Child lives full-time with relative and biological parent has given the relative "Power of Attorney" to make ALL decisions on behalf of the child but no court involvement?

Answer: Applicants under age 18 may either sign the SS-5 application (for original or replacement Social Security cards) for themselves, or a parent or legal guardian may sign for them.  In the first scenario, the relative has become the legal guardian and as such may complete and sign the application.  In the second scenario, the Social Security Administration advises that the holder of a power of attorney is not considered the same as a legal guardian or a parent and thus cannot complete the SS-5 application; so only the child or the parent may sign.

Date Answered: November 2, 2010

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13

Reference/Resource: Social Security Administration

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Question: Can fingerprints results be shared?

Answer: Information from fingerprint results is confidential and cannot be disseminated either verbally, by notating results in the case file or any computer systems, or by sharing the documents with anyone other than the Department CWLS attorney who is handling the case and the judge hearing the case.

Department staff shall give the judge hearing the case a copy of the fingerprint results in an envelope. If a judge requests a copy of the national fingerprint results for a placement initiated by a contracted provider, the provider will relay the request to the Department and the Department will supply the judge with a copy. The district/zone will be responsible for determining who will be responsible for receiving and processing these requests.  Results of fingerprinting must not be read into the court record by any

Department or contracted employee.

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13

Reference/Resource:    CFOP 175-94

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Question:  If a child, parent, or other participant in a case is diagnosed with a Chronic Immune Deficiency how would this be documented within the file?

Answer:  Documentation should be recorded as "suppressed immune system" or "suppressed immune disease" and not HIV and/or AIDS.

Reference/Resource:  Child Welfare Pre-service Training Curriculum, Legal I: Legal Basis for Child Protection-Module 4: Confidentiality and Case Records. 

Date Answered:  April 22, 2009

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13

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Question: Where is it written that we do not release the foster parents' addresses?

Answer:   Per Florida Statute, the following information regarding a licensed foster parent and the foster parent's spouse, minor child, and other adult household member is confidential: the home, business, work, child care, or school addresses and telephone numbers; social security numbers; birth dates; medical records; the floor plan of the home; and photographs of licensed foster parents.

Date Answered:  9/22/08 

Date Updated/Reviewed: 8/30/13

Reference/Resources:   409.175 (16)(b), F.S

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Question: What are the guidelines and restrictions for publicizing photos of children in Foster Care?

Answer:  In an effort to promote normalcy, children in Foster Care should be encouraged to participate in age appropriate activities that promote personal and social growth. This may include having their picture taken for newspaper or yearbook publication or for recognition of accomplishments.  Care must be taken to ensure that they are not identified as Foster Children.  Additionally, caregivers are permitted to post pictures of the children in their care on social media. However they may not use the child's last name or otherwise identify the child as residing in out-of-home care. Children have the right to self-disclose information about themselves on social media. However it is the responsibility of the caregiver to educate the children in their care about the potential impact about disclosure of sensitive and personal information.

Additionally, when a child under investigation or supervision of the department or its contracted service providers is determined to be missing a photograph of the child may be released with the concurrence of the law enforcement agency primarily responsible for investigating the incident.

Date Answered:   10/6/08       

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13, 7/7/16; 8/15/16, 8/16/17

Reference/Resources:   F.S 39.202 (4)(a); CFOP 170-11, Ch 6

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Question:  Who is required to receive the Management and Protection of Personal Health Information Policy Statement (HIPPA)?

Answer:  All patients/clients/parents or guardians of the client/patient, caregivers, foster and adoptive parents will receive the Management and Protection of Personal Health Information Policy at the time of initial face-to-face contact with the Department. 

Date: 1/19/11 

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13

Reference:  DCF-CFOP 60-17

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Question:  What if  a parent cannot be provided with the Management and Protection of Personal Health Information Policy Statement (HIPPA)?

Answer:  If unable to provide the Management and Protection of Personal Health Information Policy Statement (HIPPA), the record shall be documented accordingly and the policy shall be provided to the guardian, parent, etc. at the first opportunity.

Date:   1/19/11

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13

Reference:  DCF-CFOP 60-17

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Question: Child welfare records collected by or held by the Department of Children and Families, or contracted agency are not subject to public record, therefore they can be can only be viewed by criminal justice agencies, right?

Answer: While dependency records are not public records, persons other than criminal justice agencies can view them; workers must advise judges of all information that is known and the judge will determine if the information should be included in the court file. All other information, including local and Florida non-sealed and non-expunged criminal history information and any delinquency information, must be included with the filing of the PDS.

See also FS 39.202(2), for a listing of persons and agencies who may be able to receive department records (not including reporter information).

Date Answered:    3/15/11

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13, 7/7/16

Reference/Resource:   FS 39.202(2); CFOP 175-94

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Question: Can I send the results of a background check by email? I will password protect the file or use a secure network.

Answer: FCIC, NCIC and JJIS information cannot be transmitted via email.

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13

Reference/Resource:    CFOP 175-94, 3.3 (3) (c).

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Question: Can a child placing agency share their background screening information, such as Abuse Hotline checks, local law, FCIC and NCIC with another agency?

Answer: Abuse Registry information (reporter information excluded) can be provided to agencies responsible for licensure or approval of adoptive homes, foster homes, child care facilities, facilities licensed under Chapter 39.

Local Law Enforcement clearances are public information and can be shared.

Although generally speaking, FCIC and NCIC history information may not be shared between agencies, exceptions apply only if the purposes of the checks are the same and the agencies are both entitled to the same information. If a district shares criminal history information with another district, they are required to maintain a log of the record shared, to whom it was provided, and the date it was given to the other district.

The FBI clearance letter issued by DCF can be shared as it does not contain specifics regarding whether the individual does or does not have a criminal record nor what the record contains.

See CFOP 175-94, Chapter 3 (page 14) for additional information about limitations on information sharing and which types (purpose code) of FCIC and NCIC information can be shared and with whom.

Date Answered:  8/9/07

Date Updated/Reviewed:  11/3/10, 6/13/13, 7/7/16

Reference/Resources:  FS 39.202 (2); Florida Dept of Law Enforcement; CFOP 175-94

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Question: Can a licensing/placement agency provide information on Criminal Records and/or Florida Abuse History results (reporter information excluded) to the applicant?

Answer:   Florida law prohibits disclosing FCIC or NCIC information to any individual including the subject. Local law enforcement checks are public record and may be shared.

An applicant can obtain Florida Abuse History results if they are listed as a parent or legal custodian of a child who is alleged to have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. Access shall also be granted to any person alleged in the report as having caused the abuse, abandonment, or neglect of a child. If the applicant is an alleged perpetrator, but is not a parent, access shall be limited to information involving the protective investigation only and shall not include any information relating to subsequent dependency proceedings.

Date Answered:  8/9/07         

Date Updated/Reviewed:  11/4/10, 5/13/13, 7/7/16

Reference/Resources:  Florida Dept of Law Enforcement; CFOP 175-94; F.S. 39.202 (2)

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Question: What information is required to be redacted from a closed child abuse investigative file pertaining to a child death case when requested by an attorney for an ongoing civil suit?

Answer: In the event of child death determined to be the result of abuse, abandonment or neglect, the records pertaining to that child may be released to any person. Information pertaining to the identity of the reporter remains confidential, as do any reports from the Child Protection Team, including records or information produced from a Child Death Review, and identifying information regarding a licensed foster parent.

In cases involving the death of a child, the district/region administrator shall consult with the district/region legal counsel in regard to release of the records. Documentation of any such consultations shall be retained in the case files. The district/region legal counsel is responsible for determining if any information must be redacted from the documents.

Date Answered: July 29, 2009

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13, 4/4/16, 7/7/16

Reference/Resources: F.S. 39.202(o) & (6); F.S. 383.402(14); F.S. 409.175(16)(b)(1); CFOP 15-12 and CFOP 175-17

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Question: Can a protective investigator/case manager obtain medical records for a child if the parent is unavailable/unable to consent or withholds consent for medical records?

Answer: Yes. During the shelter hearing the court shall request that the parents' consent to provide access to the child's medical records and provide information to the court, the department or its contract agencies, and any guardian ad litem or attorney for the child. If a parent is unavailable or unable to consent or withholds consent and the court determines access to the records and information is necessary to provide services to the child, the court shall issue an order granting access. The court may also order the parents to provide all known medical information to the department and to any others granted access under this subsection.

Date Answered: September 3, 2013

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference/Resources: FS 39.402(11)(b)

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Question: Are you aware of any guidelines or known restrictions relating to the release of information and record sharing with foster parents for children in their care? Specifically, we would be looking at information ranging from typical Child Resource record material, to the CBHA and possibly information generated from contracted providers.

Answer: The general rule is that foster parents must receive records and information that relate to or assist in appropriately parenting their foster child except when prohibited by law. Full disclosure or comprehensive sharing of information with the foster parent is required by Florida Law and Florida Administrative Code.

Records that cannot be shared include:

Reporter information to the Florida Abuse Hotline, Financial records of the biological parents or any other party or participant, HIPPA protected documents of the biological parents unless the foster parent is part of the treatment team working to achieve the goal(s) of the case plan and Records of domestic violence centers.

Some examples of Records/Information that must be shared with foster families include:

Medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric and behavioral history and on-going treatment evaluation, All Court orders (shelter, adjudicatory, disposition, etc.), Visitation and case plans, Judicial or Citizen review reports, Comprehensive Behavioral Assessments and other social assessments (may require redacting of biological parents information), All school records, Copies of birth certificates and immigrant status documents, Consents signed by the parents and Staffing forms

Date Answered: 2/19/16

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference/Resources: DCF Sharing Case Records/Information with Foster Parents Memo

http://www.qpiflorida.org/pages/Documents/qpi1/docs/SharingRecordsWithFP-2010Memo.pdf

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Question: Case plans frequently include a  requirement for parents to obtain and maintain "stable housing."  Is there a recognized definition of the term "stable housing," or any policy or procedure that requires or explains this task?

Answer: Neither the term "stable housing" nor time frame benchmarks for measuring such stability are found in Florida Statutes, Administrative Code or DCF Operating Procedures.  DCF's Office of Family Safety advises that "time frames will vary according to the circumstances of a case and any time frames or specific benchmarks must be negotiated out among the parties and clearly established at the time the plan is approved by the court."

Date Answered: June 17, 2009

Date Updated/Reviewed:6/13/13

References/Resources: DCF

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Question: What are Child Protection Teams and what services do they provide?

Answer: “Child protection teams" are a team of professionals established by the Department of Health to receive referrals from the protective investigators and protective supervision staff of the department and to provide specialized and supportive services to the program in processing child abuse, abandonment, or neglect cases. A child protection team shall provide consultation to other programs of the department and other persons regarding child abuse, abandonment, or neglect cases.

The specialized diagnostic assessment, evaluation, coordination, consultation, and other supportive services that a child protection team shall be capable of providing include, but are not limited to, the following: medical diagnosis and evaluation services, including provision or interpretation of X rays and laboratory tests; telephone consultation services in emergencies and in other situations; psychological and psychiatric diagnosis and evaluation services for the child or the child's parent or parents, legal custodian or custodians, or other caregivers; expert medical, psychological, and related professional testimony in court cases; and case staffings to develop treatment plans for children whose cases have been referred to the team; and educational and community awareness campaigns on child abuse, abandonment, and neglect in an effort to enable citizens more successfully to prevent, identify, and treat child abuse, abandonment, and neglect in the community.

CPT interviews are one example of child protection team assessments that include, as appropriate, medical evaluations, medical consultations, family psychosocial interviews, specialized clinical interviews, or forensic interviews.

Date Answered: 7/23/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13, 7/5/16, 8/16/17

Reference/Resource: F.S. 39.303; FS 39.01(13) CFOP 175-20

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Question: What does the term "shelter status" mean?

Answer: “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.

Date Answered:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 2/29/16

Reference/Resource: F.A.C. 65C-30.001(110)

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Question:  Who is considered a "child"?

Answer:  In statutory terms, "child" means any unmarried person under the age of 18 years who has not been emancipated by order of the court.  

Date Answered:  9/10/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13, 7/5/16

Reference/Resources:  F.S. 39.01(12)

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Question: What are some examples of Critical Junctures in a case?

Answer:  Critical junctures may include the following: Prior to court hearings (adjudicatory, dispositional, review); At the birth or death of a sibling or the addition of a new family member; including paramours; Before changing the case plan to include unsupervised visits; At case transfer between Services Workers; At receipt of a new CPI referral or report of domestic violence in the home; Before a child is returned home from substitute care; Before the case is closed or dismissal of court jurisdiction is recommended; When the case is no longer designated as high risk; As needed, based on professional judgment.

Date Answered:   9/27/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13

Reference/Resources:  FAC 65C 30.001 (41);

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Question: What is EPSDT?

Answer:  Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) is a comprehensive preventive health screening and corrective treatments for all Medicaid eligible youth under the age of 21. The screening includes health and developmental history, physical assessment, updating of routine immunizations, laboratory tests, developmental assessment, vision, hearing, and dental screening and health education. Services deemed medically necessary to ameliorate the conditions identified through screening may include personal care, private duty nursing, durable medical equipment, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, respiratory therapy, and immunizations.

Date Answered:   9-26-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13

Reference/Resources:  FS 409.905 (2)

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Question:  What is considered "egregious conduct"?

Answer:  As used in this subsection, (pertaining to Termination of Parental Rights), the term "egregious conduct" means abuse, abandonment, neglect, or any other conduct of the parent or parents that is deplorable, flagrant, or outrageous by a normal standard of conduct. Egregious conduct may include an act or omission that occurred only once but was of such intensity, magnitude, or severity as to endanger the life of the child.

Date Answered: 6/11/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13, 7/8/16

Reference/Resource:  F.S. 39.806(1)(f)(2)

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Question: What are "reasonable efforts" to prevent removal?

Answer: A child may not be removed from the home or continued out of the home pending disposition if, with the provision of appropriate and available early intervention or preventive services, including services provided in the home, the child could safely remain at home.
For every report received in which a danger threat has been identified, 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. The department is deemed to have made reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal if:
the first contact of the department with the family occurs during an emergency;
an assessment of the home indicates that the home presents a substantial and immediate danger to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health or safety which cannot be mitigated by the provision of preventive services;
the child cannot safely remain at home, either because there are no preventive services that can ensure the health and safety of the child or because, even with appropriate and available services being provided, the health and safety of the child cannot be ensured; or
the parent or legal custodian is alleged to have committed any of the acts listed as grounds for expedited termination of parental rights in s. 39.806.

Date Answered:  6/5/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 1/28/15; 12/11/15, 7/8/16

Reference/Resource: 65C-29.003(3); FS 39.402 (8)(h)5

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Question: What are "foster care referrals"?

Answer:  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.

Date Answered:  6/7/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 5/21/14; 2/29/16

Reference/Resource: 65C-30.001(52), 65C-13.034 F.A.C.

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Question:  What is the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act that was signed into law by President Bush on July 27, 2006?

Answer:   A law that strengthens federal laws related to protecting children from sexual and violent crimes and the perpetrators of these crimes. The key provision as it relates to child welfare is that it requires that for prospective foster or adoptive placements that have lived in another state in the preceding 5 years, checks of the other state's child abuse and neglect registry will be completed.

Date Answered:  6/7/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13

Reference/Resource: H.R. 4472; P.L. 109-248

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Question:  What is the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) and it's intent?

Answer:  The Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, to address concerns that racial and ethnic matching policies were contributing to placement delays and denials for children waiting for adoption. MEPA was amended in 1996 by the provisions for Removal of Barriers to Interethnic Adoption (IEP) to remove potentially misleading language from the original provisions and to strengthen compliance and enforcement procedures.
It prohibits the delay or denial of any adoption or placement in foster care due to the race, color, or national origin of the child or the foster or adoptive parents, and requires states to provide for diligent recruitment of potential foster and adoptive families that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of children for whom homes are needed.

Date Answered:  6/11/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13

Reference/Resource: CFOP 175-71(2-4)(a)

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Question: Where would one find the "positions designated by law as positions of trust or responsibility" as referenced in Section 435.04(1), Florida Statutes? How would someone determine if a given position met this category if not obvious (such as foster parent or case manager)? What about administrative and managerial positions?

Answer: In compliance with Section 110.1127(1) of Title X of the Florida Statutes ("Public Officers, Employees, and Records"), which states that each employing agency must determine which of its employee positions are "positions of trust or responsibility," the Department of Children and Families in CFOP 60-19 ("Caretaker Screening") lists the program positions which must be screened pursuant to Section 435.04, F.S., and states that the department screening unit will determine whether such applicants are cleared or disqualified pursuant to that Section.  Additionally, CFOP 60-19 designates all non-caretaker employees of the Department of Children and Families to be in positions of special trust and responsibility or special trust because of location.  This would suggest including administrative and managerial positions, as does Section 110.1127(3)(a), F.S., which states that "all positions in programs providing care to children, the developmentally disabled, or vulnerable adults for 15 hours or more per week; all permanent and temporary employee positions of the central abuse hotline; and all persons working under contract who have access to abuse records are deemed to be persons and positions of special trust or responsibility, and require employment screening pursuant to chapter 435, using the level 2 standards set forth in that chapter." 

Date Answered: 6/13/08               

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13

Reference/Resources:  F.S. Chapters 110 and 435; CFOP 60-19

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Question: Who should be involved in the preparation of the case plan?

Answer: The goal should be to have all of the persons involved with the family, the resource network and professionals, working together as a unified team to engage the family and collaborate in family assessment and case planning. This would included the parent(s) of the child; Court appointed guardian ad litem; Relatives and non-relatives that provide support to the family and any other social service providers involved with the family.

Date Answered:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13; 2/29/16; 6/27/16

Reference/Resource:  39.6011(1)(a)(b), F.S.; CFOP 175-79(1-7); CFOP 170-7

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Question: Within what timeframe should a case plan be filed with the court? Is it the same if the court returns custody to the parent contrary to the department/agency recommendation?

Answer: The case plan shall be filed with the court and served on all parties within 60 days from removal or 72 hours prior to the dispositional (reunification, shelter care, etc.) hearing or whichever comes first. It should be re-filed within 30 days from first disposition if it is rejected at the dispositional hearing.
In cases where the court returns custody to the parent contrary to the department/agency recommendations, the case plan should be filed within fourteen (14) working days of the court hearing. It should be completed, filed with the court and served on all parties. The effective date is the date custody changed to the parent.

Date Answered: 6-29-07

Date Updated: 8-17-12; 1/23/14; 2/29/16

Reference/Resource:  39.6011(6)(b)2,3, F.S.; F.A.C. 65C-30.014(2)

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Question: In preparing a case plan, in which the mother has designated a possible second father as the alleged father to her child, should the alleged father be included on the case plan with tasks when he has not been found or yet tested for paternity?

Answer: No, per Florida Statutes the definition of a parent does not include an alleged or prospective parent.  If the alleged/prospective parent is determined to be the parent, then Florida Statutes allows for adding or removing case plan tasks if all parties agree to the change, or there is a preponderance of evidence demonstrating the need for the change.

Date Answered:  May 5, 2009

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13, 7/5/16

References:  F.S. 39.01(10), (49), (50), (51); F.S. 39.6013(4)

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Question: Is there anything in policy/statute that states that the tasks for the parent are to continue on an amended case plan (with the goal of TPR) until TPR has been ordered by the Court?

Answer:  If the court-approved goal of the case plan for a child in an out-of-home placement is not reunification, the Services Worker 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.

Date Answered:  Nov. 1, 2010

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13; 2/29/16

Reference/Resources:  F.A.C. 65C-30.008 (5)

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Question:  Can foster parents be given a copy of the case plan for a child in their care?

Answer:  YES. Foster parents must be given a copy of the approved case plan.

Date:  8/22/11

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13; 5/21/14; 2/29/16

References:  FS 39.6011 (6)(b), FAC 65C-13.029 (1)(n)8, FAC 65C-30.011 (4)(a)(7)

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Question:  Is it required that legal documents (such as JR's) be kept as a hard copy in the case file in addition to the electronic file?

Answer:  No,  the 'case file' is defined as the information contained in the department's statewide automated child welfare information system (SACWIS) which is FSFN (Florida Safe Families Network). The information in FSFN is the single, primary, electronic record for each investigation and case.  There may be additional supporting paper documentation that also constitutes the 'case file' but there is no requirement to keep a hard copy report in addition to an electronic copy stored in FSFN.  

Date Answered:10/31/07

Date Updated:   10/25/10, 8/17/12; 1/23/14; 2/29/16

Resources/References:  F.A.C. 65C-30.001 (12) and FS 39.301(3)

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Question: What is the timeframe for the initial Judicial Review?

Answer: The initial judicial review hearing must be held no later than 90 days after the date of the disposition hearing or after the date of the hearing at which the court approves the case plan, whichever comes first, but in no event shall the review be held later than 6 months after the date the child was removed from the home

Date Answered:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/1, 7/11/16

Reference/Resource:  F.S. 39.701(3)(d)

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Question: Is the special Judicial Review to be held within 90 days of a youth's 17th birthday a requirement?

Answer: Yes, per Fl Statute 39.701(3)(a), the court shall hold a judicial review hearing within 90 days after a youth's 17th birthday. The court shall also issue an order, separate from the order on judicial review

Date Answered: 2/9/09

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13; 2/29/16, 7/11/6

References/Resources:       F.S. 39.701 (3)(a), F.S. 

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Question: What is "a motion for judicial review"?

Answer: A motion is a written request made to the court by a party in a legal proceeding; it is not a report or a notice. However, Florida Statutes do require that the actual JRSSR report is served on all parties A copy of the social service agency's written report and the written report of the guardian ad litem must be served on all parties 72 hours prior to the hearing.

Date Created: 11/5/09

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13, 7/11/16

Reference/Resource: FS 39.701 (5)

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Question: When may the court make a finding that reasonable efforts are not required?

Answer: Reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify families are not required if a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the child has been abandoned; there was egregious abuse; certain factors pertaining to the parent(s) incarceration (see FS39.906 (1)(d)); the parents have history of extensive and serious abuse toward a child; the mother has extensive substance abuse history with a newborn and a previous child *; the child or another child of the parents have been placed in out of home care on three or more occasions.

Date Answered:  6/5/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13, 7/8/16

Reference/Resource: * See FS 39.806 (Grounds for TPR) for details

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Question: A dependent child is under post-placement supervision & is in the custody of the biological parent.  It has been recommended & the parent agrees, that the child requires residential treatment.  Legally the child is in the parent's custody.  Is a Court order still required to place that child in a program?

Answer: Florida Statute governing residential treatment for children states… 'nothing in this section shall be deemed to eliminate the right of a parent, legal custodian, or the child to consent to examination or treatment for the child'.  Unless there is an order prohibiting the residential treatment, a court order would not be required for the child to be placed in residential treatment upon the parent(s) consent.  The Court and the GAL should be notified (in advance if possible) that the child is being placed in residential treatment.

Date Answered:   7/9/08      

Date Updated/Reviewed:  6/17/13, 7/5/16     

Reference/Resources:   F.S. 39.407(8); also confirmation with DCF Children Legal Services, Counsel for Quality Assurance

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Question: Does the 17 year old JR apply to all children under court supervision and/ or only children in licensed foster care ?

Answer:  Review hearings for children 17 years of age are for all youth that age under the court’s jurisdiction.

Date Answered: 8/11/16    

Date Updated/Reviewed:    

Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

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Question: Should a step-parent, who is not a parent to any child in the case, be added to a case plan?

Answer:  No. The Case Plan is to be developed with and for the parents and other Parties to the case. “Party? means the parent or parents of the child, the petitioner, the department, the guardian ad litem, if appointed. The case plan will define the actions that the parent (and other parties to the case) must take to facilitate changes in the parent’s behavior, condition or circumstance so the child will be safe in the parent’s home without ongoing supervision. If there are concerns regarding other persons living in the parent’s home that make the situation unsafe for the child, then they can be addressed in the Conditions for Return. The Conditions for Return describe what must exist or be different with respect to specific family circumstances, home environment, caregiver perception, behavior, capacity and/or safety service resources that would allow for reunification to occur with the use of an in-home safety plan.

Date Answered: 12/22/2016    

Date Updated/Reviewed:    

Reference/Resources: CFOP 170-7, Ch 9; CFOP 170-9, Ch 5; F.S. 39.001 (11), (51); F.S. 39.6012

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Question: Can the Community Based Care provider refuse to pay an allowance to a child in a group home and instead require the child to use his master trust funds as a personal allowance?

Answer:  No, The 'personal allowance' which is kept in the child's Master Trust Fund Account, and made accessible to the child at any time,  is in addition to the monthly 'foster care allowance' that is included in the foster care board payment that is sent to the foster home.

Date Answered:    June 10, 2009

Date Updated/Reviewed:  6/17/13     

Reference/Resources:  F.A.C 65C 17.002 (6) and (9)

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Question: How often do relative or non-relative Home Studies need to be updated?

 Answer:  As minimum requirement, absent a detrimental change to the relative caregiver's home or family, such as, for example, the house demolished by a tornado or a known child abuser moves into the home, the home study needs to only be completed once. An updated home study is necessary when considering placement of additional children in a home.  Subsequent to a home study being performed for the placement of other children in the home, an updated home study addressing issues surrounding placement of an additional child in the home shall be prepared and provided to the court in conjunction with a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of the child's placement.   Florida Statute, Florida Administrative Code, and Department of Children and Families Policy does not preclude additional steps and process that may be included within local policies and procedures.  

Date Answered:  8/23/07

Date Updated: 1/23/14; 5/8/16, 7/7/16

Reference/Resources:  FS 39.521(2)(r);  F.A.C. 65C-28.012 (8 );  CFOP 175-79 

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Question: If a child is placed by a protective investigator on an emergency basis in a relative/non-relative placement, when must the home study be completed?

Answer:  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. For each non-licensed placement, a home study shall be completed by the Services Worker or Child Protective Investigator within thirty (30) days following the placement of the child in the caregiver's home. In all instances a home study shall be completed and provided to all parties to the case within seventy-two hours prior to the disposition hearing,

Date Answered: 9/18/2007

Date Updated:1/23/14; 2/29/16; 5/8/16

References/Resource:  65C-28.012(1), F.A.C.; 65C-30.009 (4) 

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Question: What is included in the home study?

Answer:  At a minimum:

1.  An interview with the proposed legal custodians to assess their ongoing commitment and ability to care for the child.

2.  Records checks through the Florida Abuse Hotline Information System (FAHIS), and local and statewide criminal and juvenile records checks through the Department of Law Enforcement, on all household members 12 years of age or older and any other persons made known to the department who are frequent visitors in the home. Out-of-state criminal records checks must be initiated for any individual designated above who has resided in a state other than Florida provided that state's laws allow the release of these records. The out-of-state criminal records must be filed with the court within 5 days after receipt by the department or its agent.

3.  An assessment of the physical environment of the home.

4.  A determination of the financial security of the proposed legal custodians.

5.  A determination of suitable child care arrangements if the proposed legal custodians are employed outside of the home.

6.  Documentation of counseling and information provided to the proposed legal custodians regarding the dependency process and possible outcomes.

7.  Documentation that information regarding support services available in the community has been provided to the proposed legal custodians.

Additionally, a determination shall be made and documented regarding:

1. the child's feelings on the placement if the child is of sufficient maturity, understanding, and experience to reliably express such feelings concerning placement in this home;

2. whether each proposed caregiver understands and is able to meet the child's need for protection;

3. whether each proposed caregiver understands the child's need for care and permanency and can provide long-term permanency if needed;

4. whether each proposed caregiver has been informed regarding rights and responsibilities in the dependency process;

5. whether each proposed caregiver will provide adequate and nurturing care and can ensure an adequate and safe home;

6. whether each proposed caregiver has a history free of child abuse and free of a criminal record; and

7. whether or not the placement is to be recommended and an explanation of the decision.

Date Answered: 9/21/07

Date Updated: 9/21/09; 1/23/14; 5/18/16, 7/7/16

References/Resource: 39.521(2)(r)(1-7), F.S.;  65C-28.012 (2)(a)(b)(1-8). 

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Question: Do the Florida Statutes address "life span" of home studies for purposes of placement?

Answer: Yes, Chapter 63 ("Adoptions") of the 2016 Florida Statutes says, at paragraph 63.092(3): "A favorable preliminary home study is valid for 1 year after the date of its completion."

Reference/Resource: F.S. 63.092 (3)

Date Answered: 8/18/08

Date Updated: 8/20/12, 7/14/16

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Question: Which type of home studies does the UHS in FSFN support?

Answer: This tool is currently associated with the Provider module in FSFN and supports the Department of Children and Families' (DCF) documentation of the creation and maintenance of home studies created for Adoption Home, Foster Home, Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC), and Relative/Non-relative placements.

Reference/Resource:Unified Home Study User Guide (12/15/13)

Date Answered: 3/19/14

Date Updated: 4/3/14

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Question: Can Child Protective Investigators or Case Managers have the child go on a ‘visit’ (extended, overnight) with a potential non-relative or relative placement while a home study is being completed? (the visit does not involve crossing county or state lines)

Answer:The Department supports "normalcy" for children placed in out-of-home care, which includes visiting and traveling with other parties as deemed appropriate by the child's approved caregiver. It is imperative that the caregiver making the decision to allow the child to visit in another home has been preliminarily approved as the child's placement. If an adult relative or non-family member has not been preliminarily approved via a vetted home study process, then not only should that person not be deciding who the child may visit with; that person also should not have temporary custody of the child at that point, either. Investigators and case managers must not try to circumvent the home study process by identifying short-term stays as "visits," when they are actually placements, which require a home study prior to allowing the child to "visit" there.

Reference/Resource:Office of Child Welfare

Date Answered:2/4/15

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Question: Is there a time frame for when home studies are to be completed for planned placements with the removal parent (reunification)?

Answer:: A timeframe for a planned placement is not specified; however the Parental Reunification Readiness Assessment and Home Study should be completed prior to the child being placed back in the home of the removal parent(s).

Date Answered: 10/08/15

Date Reviewed/Updated: 2/29/16

Reference/Resource:65C-30.001 (55);

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Question: Currently, is there a required home study assessment for the purposes of reunification with a parent?

Answer: No, a new Progress Update will be created to document that the Conditions for Return have been met. A Progress Update is completed to document that the specific Conditions for Return have been met, and an in-home safety plan can be established. CFOP 170-7, Safety Planning and Management, which is in its final leadership review in the Office of Child Welfare, has a specific chapter on "Implement Reunification and Post-Placement Supervision" which will provide greater detail on requirements associated with reunification, including repeal of CFOP 175-38, Reunification, dated December 1, 1998 and also the FSFN Parent Readiness Assessment and Home Study. PLEASE NOTE: This does not preclude additional steps and processes that may be more restrictive within your local agencies policies and procedures.

Date Answered: 5/9/16

Date Reviewed/Updated:

Reference/Resource: Office of Child Welfare

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Question: If we receive an ICPC incoming request to complete a home study on a ‘non-offending’ parent, which home study format should the Florida case manager use? Also, should the prospective parent be created as a provider in FSFN?

Answer:: The Other Parent Home Assessment is the proper tool to use when a sending state is seeking to make a placement of a child with a parent. When another state is seeking reunification with a parent, the proper tool is the FSDMM-Family Functioning Assessment-Ongoing. Parents should not be created as providers in FSFN.

Date Answered: 6/9/16; 10/10/17

Date Reviewed/Updated:

Reference/Resource:DCF, ICPC Compact Administrator

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Question: Is a home study required if there are siblings who are in-home judicial and then a new baby is born into the case who is only under voluntary protective services (VPS)? Would the CMO be expected to complete a home study upon case transfer?

Answer: A formal Home Study is required when a child is removed from a parent/legal guardian and placed outside of the home.

If a new child is added to the case, the case manager is required to 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 which includes assessing the following:

• How the family dynamics and conditions are likely to change as a result of the new infant or child

• Whether the new infant or new child in household contributes to new danger threats

• Whether the new child is vulnerable to new or existing danger threats

• Whether the current caregiver protective capacities are sufficient to manage the physical and emotional demands associated with the care and protection of a newborn infant or additional children

The child welfare professional will add any new children to the case file, including a newborn (whether in the home or still in the hospital) and will update any assessment which is currently under development including the:

• FFA-Investigation

• FFA-Ongoing

• Progress Evaluation

**Please note that local policies may be more restrictive and your agency may require a formal Home Study.

Date Answered: 7/21/16

Date Reviewed/Updated:

Reference/Resource: 65C-30.016, CFOP 170-7

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Question: According to the ICPC rules and regulations, which state (sending or receiving) is responsible for payment of a child placed in a licensed foster home?

Answer:  The sending agency shall continue to have financial responsibility for support and maintenance of the child during the period of the placement. While the child remains in the out-of-state placement, the sending state [district] must retain legal and financial responsibility for the child. Retention of court jurisdiction over the child while the child is in the receiving state ensures legal authority by the district to make financial expenditures on behalf of the child.

Date Answered:  9/11/07

Date Updated:1/23/14

Reference/Resources:  FS 409.401, Article V (a); CFOP 175-54, 8(a)

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Question:  If a child is placed through the ICPC into a Foster Home, who determines the amount of the Board Rate to be paid, the sending state or the receiving state?

Answer:  If the placement resource has been licensed or qualified as a Foster Parent by the receiving state, then the sending state can pay Foster Care payments (either the Florida board rate, or the receiving state board rate) to the resource. Once a Home Study has been approved through the ICPC, the sending and receiving local office workers must work together to clarify or enter into final agreements regarding payment for the child's care.  (NOTE:  some receiving states may require that that their board rate is paid to the Foster Parent, please check with the worker in the receiving state, your local ICPC Specialist, or review the document "Info Bits By State" – this is posted in the Center's Knowledge Base on the ICPC page).

Date Answered:   9/11/07

Date Updated: 1/23/14    

Reference/Resources:   CFOP 175-54, 7(h) & 7(m)

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Question:  Once a child has been placed in a Foster Home through an ICPC approval, can the receiving state bill the sending state for fees associated with the maintenance of the Foster Home?

Answer:  No, The ICPC is a reciprocal agreement between the states, DC, and the Virgin Islands. The receiving state bears the cost of assessing the prospective family, completion of the home study, licensure, etc. and the cost of supervision of the placement. 

Date Answered:   9/12/07

Date Updated:

Reference/Resources:  CFOP 175-54, 6(b); DCF Office of Child Welfare, ICPC Compact Administrator

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Question: For a child being placed in a Foster Home through ICPC, if the placement resource needs additional supportive services to meet the needs of the child, can the receiving state negotiate a board rate above the statewide established rate?

 Answer:  Most states have provisions for enhancements based on the needs of the child to be placed.  Currently in Florida, the posted foster care board rates are identified as "monthly minimum published rates&" However, the The amount of the monthly foster care board rate may be increased upon agreement among the department, the community-based care lead agency, and the foster parent. Generally speaking, the needs of the child will be made known to the resource family and the established board rates will also be made known.  IF the family makes it known that additional funds will be needed to meet the needs of the child, then we ( Florida) as the receiving state will make that known to the sending state.  Ultimately, the sending state (that has jurisdiction) will determine the rate to be paid.

Date Answered:  9/18/07            

Date Updated: 1/23/14

Reference/Resources:  DCF Office of Child Welfare;

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Question: Does a K12 report card have to be completed for a child on ICPC if the sending state still has jurisdiction?

Answer:  Children should not be "excluded" from the K12 report based on their state of jurisdiction as children being served in Florida should be treated the same way. The current parameters of the K12 report include children from another state who are placed here through ICPC and since currently they are included in that report, that practice will be continued.

Date Answered:  1/7/14            

Reference/Resources:  DCF Office of Family Safety

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Question: Do incoming ICPC home study requests, for licensed homes, need to have a case established in FSFN in addition to the Provider screen (so the case has both a Case Number and the resource family, a Provider Number in FSFN)?

Answer: Yes. Incoming ICPC cases should be established in FSFN as any in-state case would be added. A case should be established along with a provider.

Date Answered:  3/10/15          

Reference/Resources:  DCF Office of Child Welfare (ICPC and ICAMA Compact Administrator)

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Question: If we receive an ICPC incoming request to complete a home study on a ‘non-offending’ parent, which home study format should the Florida case manager use? Also, should the prospective parent be created as a provider in FSFN?

Answer:: The Other Parent Home Assessment is the proper tool to use when a sending state is seeking to make a placement of a child with a parent. When another state is seeking reunification with a parent, the proper tool is the FSDMM-Family Functioning Assessment-Ongoing. (*In the case that the provider is not an FSDMM cite, then the parental reunification readiness assessment and home study should be used.) Parents should not be created as providers in FSFN.

Date Answered: 6/9/16

Date Reviewed/Updated:

Reference/Resource: DCF Office of Child Welfare, ICPC Compact Administrator

Question:If a Florida licensed foster family moves to a different state and takes Florida children with them and an ICPC request for foster home license has been completed, how long may Florida pay foster care board to the family while they are working on the new license?

Answer: Payments may be made until the family becomes licensed in the new state at which the receiving state’s board rate should be paid.

Date Answered:  10/18/16          

Reference/Resources:  DCF Office of Child Welfare, ICPC Compact Administrator

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Question:  If a child was placed in Permanent Guardianship at the ages of 16-17, do they have to be in foster care for the 6 months immediately prior to their placement with a relative/non-relative to be eligible for full post 18 IL benefits?

Answer:  Yes.  The department shall serve young adults who have reached 18 years of age but are not yet 23 years of age and who were in foster care when they turned 18 years of age or, after reaching 16 years of age, were adopted from foster care or placed with a court-approved dependency guardian and have spent a minimum of 6 months in foster care within the 12 months immediately preceding such placement or adoption.

Date Answered:  8/28/07

Date Updated/ Reviewed: 8/30/13; 1/30/15

Reference/Resources:  FS:  409-1451 (2)(a)1.

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Question:  Are the Road to Independence scholarship funds (AKA PESS- Postsecondary Education Service and Support) taxable?  Do the youth that receive the RTI funds as their only source of income need to file this as income for federal income tax purposes?

Answer:   No, the Road to Independence scholarship funds is not taxable.   On June 30, 2005 a memo was formulated by then Secretary Luci Hadi and sent to all Road to Independence recipients stating that "the Department of Children and Families does not believe that RTI Scholarship awards are taxable income."

Date Answered: February 28, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 8/30/13; 1/30/15

Reference/Resources: DCF Memo dated 6/30/05

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Question: For the Independent Living, "6 months in foster care placement' rule- does this include being in state's custody but on runaway or in detention?

Answer: The eligibility statute in FS 409.1451 states a "minimum of 6 months in foster care". Therefore, the answer is yes.  When a child is in the custody of the Department and in foster care, even if the child runs away or is in detention, that child is still in Department/State custody. This can only be changed if there is a court order ending the dependency.

 There is a rule in 65C-28.009 (7) which states "Participants in the Subsidized Independent Living program are expected to exhibit responsible behavior. Prospective participants who have displayed irresponsible behavior, such as running away from home, committing violent acts toward others, delinquencies, or property crimes, within six months of requesting entrance into the Subsidized Independent Living program must be strictly evaluated to determine whether SIL placement is in their best interest and if they are at risk of exhibiting future irresponsible behaviors. Letters of reference from school, mental health personnel, foster parents, Services Workers and Department of Juvenile Justice should be requested if there is a history of irresponsible behavior".  As stated this only refers to Subsidized Independent Living, but still does not preclude a youth from the program.

Date Answerd : 4/27/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/8/16

Reference/Resources: FAC 65C-28.009 (7); FS 409.1451

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Question: What are agency/department responsibilities in assisting a child who has aged out of foster care but is now incarcerated for up to five years?

Answer: If a young adult who leaves foster care at age 18 requests services prior to his or her 23rd birthday, he or she shall be eligible for aftercare support services (as much are practical and feasible given the circumstances of incarceration).  Florida Statute requires the Department, its agents, or its CBCs to administer independent living transition services to enable older children in foster care and young adults who exit foster care at age 18 to make the transition to self-sufficiency as adults.  These services include goal-setting, independent living staffings, age 17 assessments, etc.  Additionally, it would be advisable for the young person to apply for RTI prior to turning age 21 since, if for any reason he gets out before age 23 but after age 21 and he has not previously applied for RTI, he will not be eligible.

Date Answered: 11/4/10

Date Updated:

Reference/Resource: F.S. 409.1451; F.A.C. 65-28.009; DCF Family Safety Program Office

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Question: If a youth comes into care at 13 years old, do we have to wait until they have been in care 6 months to begin independent living service planning?

Answer: Each child in the custody of the department shall be referred for independent living services 30 days prior to his or her thirteenth birthday. A child placed in the custody of the department after his or her thirteenth birthday shall be referred within thirty days after the court enters an order placing the child in the custody of the department.

Each child in the custody of the department shall receive a pre-independent living assessment within 30 days after his or her thirteenth birthday. A child placed in the custody of the department after his or her thirteenth birthday shall be assessed within 60 days after the court enters an order placing the child in the custody of the department. The results of the assessment shall be filed with the court and served on all parties.

Date Answered: 8/16/11

Reference/Resource: FAC 65-28.009 (5)

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Question: If a child was placed with a relative caregiver under FS 39.5085 Relative Caregiver Program, but the caregiver does not access the financial stipend, does this decision impact the child’s eligibility for Tuition Exemption under 1009.25(1)(c)-(d)?

Answer: No, the tuition exemption should be available to every student who was placed by the dependency court with a relative, without reference to whether the relative then goes on to collect money for that student. The statutory language simply references the placement/custody of the student. ( § 1009.25(1)(d): A student who is or was at the time he or she reached 18 years of age in the custody of a relative under s. 39.5085 or who was adopted from the Department of Children and Family Services after May 5, 1997.)

Date Answered/Updated:10/24/13; 10/11/17

Reference/Resource: FS 1009.25(1)(d); Tuition Waiver Form (CF-FSP 5220) (http://centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/ilpub/ILtuitionFeeExempFormRev11.pdf); Email correspondence with Deborah A. Schroth, Children's Legal Services Appellate Counsel, Central Region and Counsel for Education, Independent Living and Master Trust

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Question: Does a young adult considered to have been living in licensed care on the date of his or her 18th birthday have to complete an Extended Foster Care application? Chapter 65C-41 references an “Application for Readmission into Extended Foster Care"? application CF-FSP 5377 for those returning prior to the age of 21 but no mention of an initial application for those turning 18.

Answer: No

Date Answered: 1/28/16

Reference/Resource: Ch. 65 C 41.002, Office of Child Welfare

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Question: For those youth on runaway status from licensed care on the date of his or her 18th birthday, should the community-based care lead agency, or its contracted service provider, establish policy regarding when the case manager shall file a “Notice of Discharge from Extended Foster Care"?

Answer: Lead agencies and providers may develop such policies. Best practice would involve making efforts to locate and engage prior to discharging from the program.

Date Answered/Updated: 1/28/16; 10/11/17

Reference/Resource: Office of Child Welfare

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Question: If a young adult applies for readmission into Extended Foster Care (EFC) and is not in a qualifying activity, are we supposed to deny the application, then assist the young adult with enrolling in an activity and have them apply again? Or do we provide a notice of insufficient documentation, then provide assistance? If we provide a notice of insufficient documentation and it takes longer than 10 days to finalize enrollment in an activity, do we send a notice of EFC application denial? Or do we approve the application with the understanding that we are assisting the youth with enrolling in an activity?

Answer: This is a good period of time to consider use of Aftercare to bridge the gap while preparing to participate in a qualifying activity. To reenter extended foster care, the young adult must complete the Application for Readmission into Extended Foster Care and provide proof of participating in a qualifying activity. Designated staff shall offer to assist the young adult with completing the application and/or obtaining necessary documentation. If the young adult does not meet eligibility requirements, designated staff shall offer to assist the young adult in choosing and enrolling in a qualifying activity.

Date Answered:1/28/16

Reference/Resource: Office of Child Welfare

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Question: When requesting OTI Services from another area, what is expected/mandated?

Answer: CBC’s have an OCS Agreement which states: Independent Living and Extended Foster Care Requests should be sent with the request for supervision. The receiving Independent Living Coordinator Liaison will send a copy of the request to the Independent Living Coordinator in the receiving county within three (3) business days. The Independent Living Coordinator in the receiving County will have three (3) business days to contact the sending county Independent Living Coordinator to discuss the child, their needs, and any cost of services required. Independent Living staffings should be coordinated by the Primary Case Manager. The Out of County Case Manager should be contacted for availability to attend these staffings via phone. If there are issues that arise regarding Out of County supervision or services, for a client in the Independent Living Program or Road to Independence, that cannot be resolved by the Independent Living Coordinators, they should refer the issue to the appropriate Liaison. If a resolution is still not forth coming conflict resolution procedures may be initiated.

Date Answered/Reviewed: 1/28/16; 10/11/17

Reference/Resource: Ch. 65C-41, Office of Child Welfare

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Question: Face-to-Face contact with the young adult at least monthly is indicated, or more often if necessary, and by phone for those living outside of his or her community-based care lead agency. Is a monthly “home visit? required or can the face to face contact be in the community, school or during service delivery (medical, mental health appointments, school enrollment)?

Answer: There is no requirement for the visit to be in the home. However, contact should occur in the location the meets the young adult’s needs for supervision.

Date Answered/Reviewed: 1/28/16; 10/11/17

Reference/Resource: Ch. 65C-41.004

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Question: If the young adult intends to leave foster care, has completed the “My Decision to Leave Extended Foster Care? CF-FSP 5375 and the case manager requests attorney to file a motion to terminate jurisdiction and schedule a court hearing, is the young adult eligible to receive financial assistance the following month (not the same month as EFC funding ) per their individualized completed Aftercare application and Aftercare plan or must the young adult wait until after the court hearing to terminate jurisdiction. Concern: it may take anywhere from 1 to 8 weeks or longer to get court hearings in?

Answer: Eligibility and Judicial Action are separate. EFC payments can cease at the end of the eligible period.

Date Answered/ Reviewed: 1/28/16; 10/11/17

Reference/Resource: Ch. 65C-41.005, Office of Child Welfare

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Question: Is Postsecondary Education Services and Support (PESS) funding for a young adult turning 23 to be prorated up to the day before their 23rd birthday? For example, a young adult’s birthday is on January 5, will their PESS check cover 4 days (Jan 1-Jan 4th) instead of the full $1256?

Answer: The young adult will receive a full check unless their birthday falls on the 1st day of the month

Date Answered: 1/28/16

Reference/Resource: Ch.65C-42, Office of Child Welfare

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Question: If a young adult submits “Postsecondary Education Services and Support Initial and Renewal application? CF-FSP 5382 and for example, after completing a semester (satisfactory or unsatisfactory) decides to change postsecondary schools, does the young adult have to complete a new PESS application based on the new school or would the young adult submit eligibility documentation for the new school but remain within their previous application AND renewal period based on the initial date of enrollment into PESS?

Answer: No need for a new application

Date Answered: 1/28/16

Reference/Resource: Ch. 65C-42, Office of Child Welfare

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Question: If a child is sheltered and not adjudicated dependent and ordered into state custody do they still qualify for EFC?

Answer: Yes, a youth who is sheltered and placed in licensed care is considered in the legal custody of the Department, even prior to the adjudication of dependency. As stated in Code, “a young adult is considered to have been living in licensed care on the date of his or her 18th birthday if the young adult was in the legal custody of the Department on the date of his her 18th birthday

Date Answered: 2/27/17

Reference/Resource: FS 39.6251,65C-41.003(2), Office of Child Welfare


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Question: Does a youth qualify for the Foster Care extended Medicaid until they reach age 26?

Answer: Yes, individuals who are under age 26 may receive Medicaid if they were in foster care under the responsibility of the State and receiving Florida Medicaid when they aged out of foster care.

Date Answered: 2/27/17

Reference/Resource: Office of Child Welfare, Ch. 39.6251, 65C-41.003(2), Office of Child Welfare


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Question: Does a youth qualify for the Tuition Wavier if not adjudicated dependent and ordered into state custody?

Answer: Yes, If the youth is in the custody of the department on the date they attain 18 years of age, they are eligible.

Date Answered: 2/27/17

Reference/Resource: Office of Child Welfare, Ch. 39.6251, 65C-41.003(2), Office of Child Welfare


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Question: I have a child adjudicated dependent under a private petition about to be placed in a licensed home after being in a non relative placement. She has been on medication for 2 years, from before the private petition. In simple terms, what do I need in writing from the prescribing doctor to indicate informed consent? Or do I need to make an appointment(requires payment) and have mother go in to be given all the information required for informed consent and who is paying for the doctor's time?

Answer:   DCF form # 5339 is used to document the informed consent by the parent or legal guardian to authorize the medication.  In order to facilitate the consent, the worker will contact the parent and provide them with written information regarding the prescription. The worker will also facilitate and document phone calls or appointments so the parent can provide written consent to the prescribing physician. The parents 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. However, the inability or failure of the parent to meet their financial responsibility should not cause a delay in the child's ability to receive care.

Date Answered:   6-17-09    

Date Updated/Reviewed:        11/24/10; 1/28/14; 10/11/17

Reference/Resources:  F.A.C. 65C-35.007;  CFOP 155-10/175-40 (chapter 3); DCF Form CF-FSP 5339
http://centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/psychmed/fsp5339-adobe8[1].pdf

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Question: If a child taking psychotropic medications stays with the same providing agency, but the agency changes staff/psychiatrists, at what point are a new Medical Report (form 5339) and Court order needed?

Answer:  When a child changes prescribing physicians for any reason, the receiving physician must provide an updated Medical Report to the child’s case manager within three (3) business days of taking over the child’s treatment. If the receiving physician has been provided express and informed consent by the child’s parent or legal guardian, the Medical Report will be filed with the court at the next judicial review. A new court order is not required for a change in staff/psychiatrist, however, if parental/legal guardian express and informed consent has not been obtained by the receiving physician, the DCM will provide the new Medical Report to CLS (see CFOP 155-10 / CFOP 175-40 3-4a(6) ) which must file for a new court order.  

Date Answered: 9/24/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 1/28/14, 7/5/16, 10/11/17

Reference/Resources: F.S. 39.407(3); F.A.C. 65C-35.013; CFOP 155-10/175-40 ch 3-4(a)(3)

Question: Can a child finish a psychotropic medication prescription from the "previous" agency psychiatrist and at the next appointment (which would be with the "new" psychiatrist) can a new Medical Report be done?

Answer: Yes, a child can finish a psychotropic medication prescription if the medication is in its original container and clearly marked as a current prescription for the child.  Yes, the new physician must provide an updated Medical Report to the child’s case manager within three (3) business days of taking over the child’s treatment. If the receiving physician has been provided express and informed consent by the child’s parent or legal guardian, the Medical Report will be filed with the court at the next judicial review. A new court order is not required for a change in staff/psychiatrist, however, if parental/legal guardian express and informed consent has not been obtained by the receiving physician, the DCM will provide the new Medical Report to CLS (see CFOP 155-10 / CFOP 175-40 3-4a(6) ) which must file for a new court order.

Date Answered: 9/24/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 1/29/14, 7/5/16; 10/11/17

Reference/Resources: F.S. 39.407(3), F.A.C. 65C-35.013; CFOP 155-10/175-40 ch 3-4(a)(3)

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Question: Is a new Medical Report (form 5339) required only when the original information changes in the existing Medical Report?

Answer: A new Medical Report will be provided by the prescribing physician when there is any change to the information in the original Medical Report concerning the medication prescribed. This includes the actual medication, dosage, the prescribing physician and administration instructions. However, this does not include when a brand named medication is replaced by a generic.

Date Answered: 9/24/10

Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/24/11; 1/29/14; 10/11/17

Reference/Resources: F.A.C. 65C-35.013; CFOP 155-10/175-40 ch 3-4(a)(4)

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Question: When the courts have issued a an order for the administration of psychotropic medication for a child in out-of-home care how often does the court need to be updated?

Answer:  The court must be updated, at a minimum, every 6 months. Whenever a child in out-of-home care is receiving psychotropic medications pursuant to express and informed consent by the parent or legal guardian or as authorized by an order of the court, the Department shall fully inform the court of the child’s medical and behavioral status at each subsequent Judicial Review hearing, and shall furnish copies of all pertinent medical records contained in the child’s Resource Record that have been generated since the previous court hearing, including the Medical Report. A new Medical Report will be provided by the prescribing physician when there is any change to the information in the original Medical Report concerning the medication prescribed. This includes the actual medication, dosage, the prescribing physician and administration instructions. This does not include when a brand named medication is replaced by a generic.

Date of Response:  May 2, 2013

Date Updated/Reviewed: 1/30/14, 7/5/16; 10/11/17

Reference:   FS 39.407 (3)(f); CFOP 155-10/175-40 - chapter 3-10 (j)

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Question: If a child in out-of-home care is prescribed a psychotropic medication for medical purposes, not intended to treat a behavioral and/or mental health diagnosis, is informed consent or court order required?

Answer:  No, however, the prescribed psychotropic medication (used for medical purposes) should continue to be documented on the 5339 form. This will be official documentation from the prescribing physician in which all information will be explained regarding the purpose, dosage, frequency, and diagnosis surrounding the prescribed medications. While the medication is solely being used for medical purposes, it does not negate the fact it is medically classified as a psychotropic medication. The 5339 form can be uploaded in the FSFN system and documented under the psychotropic medication Module, and the medical box can be checked instead of psychotherapeutic box. By checking the medical box, it will not trigger the system to automatically require a monthly update due to the medication not being used for psychotherapeutic purposes.

Date of Response: 9/27/13, 7/5/16; 7/20/17

Reference: 65C-35.002, Ch.39.407, DCF Office of Child Welfare

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Question: Can a court order for medical screening and/or treatment for a child in out of home care be used when a child is prescribed seizure medication that is included within the definition of a “Psychotropic Medication"?

Answer:  No. The intent of a court order for medical screening and treatment is typically issued for the purpose of “ordinary" medical care and treatment. “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. This does not include surgery, general anesthesia, provision of psychotropic medications, any invasive procedures or other extraordinary medical care and treatment as defined in this rule.

Date of Response:  9/27/13

Date Reviewed/Updated:  2/29/16, 7/5/16; 10/11/17

Reference:   FAC 65C-30.001 (78), (93); FS 39.407 (3)(a).

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Question: How do you enter psychotropic medication into FSFN when a child has begun taking the medication but we don’t have emergency administration authorization from a physician on a CF-FSP5339 form, parental consent or a court order. How would medications, under these circumstances be documented in FSFN?

Answer:  To ensure FSFN records are accurate and current the CM should use the month and day the child began taking the medication and use the year “1900? and in the comment section for the medication document the reasons why they did not have a consent or court order. This workaround is outlined here: DCF Memo:Psychotropic Medication FSFN Documentation: Court Order and Parental Consent (4-25-16)

Date of Response: 8/10/16

Date Reviewed/Updated: 

Reference:  Office of Child Welfare

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Question: Are children in licensed out-of-home care allowed to spend the night away from their foster home with, for example, a friend's family or with a church, club or school group on an overnight trip, without the persons with whom they are staying being background screened and/or having a home study completed?

Answer: Yes, each caregiver shall use the reasonable and prudent parent standard in determining whether to give permission for a child living in out-of-home care to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, or social activities. A caregiver is not liable for harm caused to a child who participates in an activity approved by the caregiver, provided that the caregiver has acted in accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent standard.

Date Answered:  6-29-07

Date Updated: 9/12/13; 2/29/16; 10/11/17

Reference/Resource: FAC 65C-13.029; FS 409.145 (3)d

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Question: Is parental/guardian permission required prior to a child in out-of-home care receiving a haircut? 

Answer: There is nothing in statute, code or policy specifically related to the need for parental consent for haircuts.  However, in the spirit of maintaining a working relationship with the family, 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.

Date Answered:  September 11, 2009

Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/21/14; 10/11/17

Reference/Resource: FAC 65C-13.029 (1)(n)1i;

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Question:  Can a youth in care obtain a learner's permit?

Answer:  Yes.  Allowing a child to learn to drive and get his/her learner's permit and subsequently a drivers license is part of Normalcy for Adolescents and Teenagers in the Custody of the Department. Furthermore, 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.
Youth and caregivers should be directed to Community Based Care - Keys to Independence (www.keystoindependence.org) for information about reimbursement for the cost of of driver education, licensure and other costs incidental to licensure, and motor vehicle insurance for children in licensed out-of-home care who have successfully completed a driver education program.  

Date Answered:  February 21, 2011

Date Updated/Reviewed: 1/31/14; 5/20/14; 8/18/14; 1/22/15; 2/29/16; 10/11/17

Reference:   65C 13.029 (1)(k); FS 409.1454

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Question: When reviewing normalcy memos related to foster youth, there is much mention about foster parents, but not much clarity on the decision making role of group homes.  This is especially important for unsupervised after-school events and/or overnights. Can the role of the group home caregiver be clarified in making these decisions?

Answer: The role of the group home caregiver is no different than that of the foster home parent when it comes to ensuring that youth in care are provided with opportunities to participate in age appropriate activities and responsibilities and develop life skills.  Fl Administrative Code makes no distinction between foster parents and group home caregivers as they are all considered 'Licensed Out of Home Caregivers'.
Additionally,Chapter 409 of Fl Statutes was changed in 2013 to establish a 'reasonable and prudent parent standard', meaning "the standard of care used by a caregiver in determining whether to allow a child in his or her care to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. This standard is characterized by careful and thoughtful parental decision making that is intended to maintain a child’s health, safety, and best interest while encouraging the child’s emotional and developmental growth." The statute also defines caregiver as "a person with whom the child is placed in out-of-home care, or a designated official for a group care facility licensed by the department..."

Date Answered: May 19, 2011

Date Updated/Reviewed: 1/31/14; 10/11/17

References: FAC 65C 14.023 (11); FAC 65C 13.029(1); FS 409.145 (3)(a)(2)&(3)


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Question: What liability does a Foster Parent have in allowing a foster youth to participate in age appropriate activities?

Answer: A caregiver is not liable for harm caused to a child who participates in an activity approved by the caregiver, provided that the caregiver has acted in accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent standard. Additionally, the caregiver is required to promote normalcy for the child to the fullest extent possible and shall allow the child to participate in age-appropriate activities at home, in school, and in the community.

Date Answered: Feb 28, 2011

Date Updated:  09/12/13; 5/20/14; 10/11/17

References: FAC 65C-13.029 ; FS 39.4091 (3)d; FS 409.145 (3)d

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Question: Does the language for normalcy, Let Kids Be Kids, apply to relative and non-relative caregivers the same as licensed?

Answer: Yes, Relative and Non-Relative Caregivers are included under the Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard in section 409.145(3), F.S

Date Answered: 12/5/14; 10/11/17

References: FS 409.145 (3) Definition of Caregiver; DCF Office of Child Welfare

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Question: Is a visitation that is set up by a case manager or protective investigator covered under “normalcy"? For example, a child has relatives in another county, can he/she “visit? (for an extended time; greater than an overnight visit) without completing the official home study process and notifying the courts?

Answer: Such a decision would have to be determined on a case-by-case basis, abiding by parameters in place that require background checks of frequent/extended caregivers. The reasonable and prudent parent standard described in Florida Statutes 409.145, is intended to support the caregiver's parenting decisions, not visitation/extended stays which are arranged or determined by the Protective Investigator or Case Manager.

Date Answered: 12/5/14; 10/11/17

References: FS 409.145; DCF Office of Child Welfare

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Question: If a child goes on a visit that is approved through normalcy, court order, etc…, is the adult(s) that the child is visiting with authorized to handle medical situations that could occur while on the visit?

Answer: Normalcy does not change who has authority to make medical decisions for children. This is determined by the Court. Just as if a parent were to allow the child to spend the night at a friend's house, that friend's parent would not automatically have the authority to make medical decisions for the child.

Date Answered: 12/5/14

References: DCF Office of Child Welfare

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Question: A foster parent has another licensed foster parent watch a child for one night. We are aware of capacity issues. Does this situation qualify under the reasonable and prudent standard of normalcy, or does official respite need to be set up through the CBC agency?

Answer: Yes, this circumstance falls under the reasonable and prudent standard of normalcy. The foster parent is empowered to make decisions as to the appropriateness of a care setting for the child. 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.

Date Answered: 3/2/16

References: FAC 65C-13.029; FS 409.145 (3)d

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Question: How long does an OTI home study remain valid after it has been approved by the receiving county?

Answer: Whereas there are no limitations in policy or statute on specifically how long an OTI home study is valid, Florida Statutes pertaining to adoptions, states that "A favorable preliminary (adoption) home study is valid for 1 year after the date of its completion." 

Date Answered: 8/18/08

Date Updated/Reviewed: 8/20/13; 2/4/14, 7/14/16

Reference/Resource: F.S. 63.092(3)

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Question: When should an OTI home study be completed?

Answer: Within thirty (30) days following assignment of a Case Manager to perform the home study, the receiving county/unit is to provide the sending county/unit with the completed home study or status report.

Date Answered: August 18, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/4/14

Reference/Resource: Working Agreement for Out of County Services, pg 9
(click on the following link to view the agreement: http://centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/trcm/OutOfCountyServicesWorkingAgreement.pdf

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Question:   Is there a process for resolving disagreements between counties involved in Out of County Services requests?  

Answer:   Yes, there is a Conflict Resolution process for resolving disagreements between the sending and receiving counties.  If the individual contracted service providers or CBC Lead Agencies cannot reach a resolution, the zone liaison within the zone or the liaisons in the two zones involved shall assist in reaching a resolution. If necessary, the Family Safety Program Administrator within the zone or the Program Administrators in the two zones involved shall assist in reaching a resolution. If necessary, the Family Safety Program Central Office shall be consulted in seeking a resolution.

Date Answered:   August 25, 2008           

Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/4/14      

Reference/Resources:    F.A.C. 65C 30.018 (10); Working Agreement for Out of County Services, pg 5 (f), pg 19(9)
(click on the following link to view the agreement: http://centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/trcm/OutOfCountyServicesWorkingAgreement.pdf

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Question:  If a child receiving out of county services runs away or is otherwise missing from their placement, is the out of county services worker responsible for entering the efforts to locate the child?

Answer:   If the child runs away or is missing, the Primary Case Manager is ultimately responsible for following up, per required procedures. The out of county worker will assist the primary worker with coordinating the search.

Date Answered:  August 20, 2008           

Date Updated/Reviewed:    10/27/10; 2/4/14

Reference/Resources:   Working Agreement for Out of County Services, pg 21, #15; pg 25, #19
(click on the following link to view the agreement: http://centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/trcm/OutOfCountyServicesWorkingAgreement.pdf

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Question:  Is the Out of County Services worker responsible for attending court hearings for the child?  

Answer:  It is the responsibility of the primary (sending) worker to perform all court activities and inform the out of county worker (receiving) worker of court actions and court ordered requirements.  The primary (sending) worker will request information from the receiving county at least twenty (20) business in advance of when it is needed to prepare for a judicial review. Also, if there is DJJ involvement in the county where the child resides, the DJJ court hearing should be attended by the out of county worker.

Date Answered:  August 20, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed:   10/27/10; 2/4/14

Reference/Resources: Working Agreement for Out of County Services, pg 20 #5; pg 25 #18
(click on the following link to view the agreement: http://centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/trcm/OutOfCountyServicesWorkingAgreement.pdf

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Question:  Could an out of county request for supervision be rejected if it does not include an appropriate home study?

Answer:   The CBC Working Agreement for Out of County Services emphasizes that child safety is paramount.  Once it is known that a child under supervision has relocated from another (sending) county, then that child will be seen by the receiving county.  The final placement recommendation based on a home study rests with the receiving county.  However, once the court in the sending county has ordered the placement of a child, the receiving county will accept the placement as approved.

The primary (sending) worker is responsible for ensuring that all available information, including the completed home study, is provided to the out of county services (receiving) worker at the time of the request for supervision. If any such document is not available at the time of request, it will be sent to the receiving county/unit within sixty (60) days of the request.  If a home study has not been completed for a relative or non-relative placement, the receiving county/unit will conduct a home study within thirty (30) days of learning of the child's relocation and inform the sending county/unit within two (2) working days of the results or provide a status report.

Date Answered:  August 20, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 12/12/08; 2/5/14

Reference/Resources:  F.A.C. 65C 30.018(12); Working Agreement for Out of County Services, pg 4 (4)(a); pg 10 section (d); pg 14 (4)
(click on the following link to view the agreement: http://centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/trcm/OutOfCountyServicesWorkingAgreement.pdf

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Question:  If a judge overrules a denied home study and still places the child in our county, are we still obligated to accept the case?

Answer:   Yes, regardless of the location of a child, family or parent in Florida, the orders of any court of competent jurisdiction in Florida must be fully complied with by authorized agents of the Participating Lead Agencies and community-based care staff in the county where the child, family or parent resides.  The final decision on the home study, recommending for or against placement, rests with the receiving county. However, once the court in the sending county has ordered the placement of a child, the contracted service provider in the receiving county shall accept the placement as approved.

Date Answered: August 20, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/5/14

Reference/Resources: F.A.C 65C – 30.018 (12); Working Agreement for Out of County Services, pg 5(g)
(click on the following link to view the agreement: http://centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/trcm/OutOfCountyServicesWorkingAgreement.pdf

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Question:   Can the Out of County Services worker sign consents for ordinary medical treatment?

Answer:   It would depend on the court order that authorizes treatment. For children in out of home care, a court order is necessary for ordinary medical treatment.  The court order placing the child in out-of-home and in the custody of the care should specify individuals who are authorized to consent to ordinary medical treatment.

Date Answered: August 20, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/5/14

Reference/Resources: F.A.C. 65C – 28.003 (7)(a)

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Question:  Can the primary worker travel to another county to supervise the placement of a child without requesting out of county services?

Answer:   Yes, if the child/family requiring supervision and services lives in or relocated to an adjoining or nearby county and the primary worker elects to continue to perform all necessary case supervision activities without involving the other county. Factors to consider include the relationship of the primary worker and the child and family, knowledge of resources where the family resides and best interests of the child.

Date Answered:   August 25, 2008           

Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/5/14      

Reference/Resources:   F.A.C. 65-C 30.018 (3); CBC Working Agreement for Out of county Services, pg 18 (8)
(click on the following link to view the agreement: http://centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/trcm/OutOfCountyServicesWorkingAgreement.pdf

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Question:   In out of county services cases, who should be completing the Supervisory Reviews; the primary unit or the out of county unit?  

Answer:   Supervisors of both the primary worker and the out of county worker should be completing reviews of out of county cases in their unit. The supervisor is to review all open cases in their unit.  FSFN  does  not  distinguish  between out of county supervisor  reviews  versus  primary  supervisor  reviews.

Date Answered:  Sept 15, 2009

Date Updated/Reviewed:   10/27/12; 2/5/14

Reference/Resources:  2012 Quality of Practice Standards for Case Management

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Question:  If a child is in a relative placement in another district, does the OTI worker for the residence county complete the Relative Caregiver Simplified Application, or is the primary worker responsible? 

Answer: Once a child has relocated to another county, the Services Worker in the receiving county shall perform all case supervision and related documentation requirements upon notification of the placement.  If disputes arise regarding a request for a home study or the provision of services and the CBC Lead Agencies cannot reach a resolution, then the zone liaisons and, if necessary, the Family Safety Program Administrators will become involved to assist in reaching a resolution.

Date of Response:  March 3, 2011

Date Updated/Reviewed:   10/27/12; 2/5/14

Reference:  F.A.C. 65C 30.018(10)&(11); Out of County Services Working Agreement (10)(b) (http://centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/trcm/OutOfCountyServicesWorkingAgreement.pdf)

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Question:  Can someone who works in child welfare be licensed as a foster parent?

Answer:  Regional offices, county sheriff's offices, and lead agencies may choose to license employees, relatives, and sub-contractors as long as the following conditions are met: No conflict of interest exists that may result in preferential treatment concerning the placement and movement of children placed in the potential licensed foster home; The home study is completed by a child-placing agency outside of the lead agency's service delivery system and is then submitted to the Regional Licensing Authority for approval; The lead agency has a procedure, approved by the Regional Licensing Authority, which requires upper level management of the lead agency to review and approve the submission of all such applications to the department.

Date Answered:  May 18, 2008

Date Updated/ Reviewed: 5/20/14 

Reference/Resource:  FAC 65C-13.025(2)(a)-(c)

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Question: Does a foster parent have the right to refuse a child based on things such as religion, race, lice, ADHD and such?

Answer: Yes, a foster parent has the right to refuse to accept for any reason. Further, a child will only be placed with a licensed caregiver who has the ability to care for the child, is willing to accept responsibility for providing care, and is willing and able to learn about and be respectful of the child’s culture, religion and ethnicity, special physical or psychological needs, any circumstances unique to the child, and family relationships. The department, the community-based care lead agency, and other agencies shall provide such caregiver with all available information necessary to assist the caregiver in determining whether he or she is able to appropriately care for a particular child.

With respect to religion, if a family chooses to accept a child of a different "faith", rule specifically requires that arrangements be made to allow the child to attend worship services independent of the placement family's religion.

Date Answered:  8/2/11

Date Updated/ Reviewed: 5/16/14; 5/8/16

Reference: DCF FSPO, 65C-28.004 (2); 65C-13.029 (3)(k); FS 409.145 (2)

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Question: What is the current foster care board rate?

Answer: Effective January 1, 2015, the current board rate is a follows: ages 0-5 years old $439.30, ages 6-12 years old $450.56, and ages 13-21 $527.36.

Additionally, a supplemental payment will be made to foster care parents for providing independent life skills and normalcy supports to children who are 13 through 17 years of age placed in their care. The supplemental payment shall be paid monthly to the foster care parents on a per-child basis in addition to the current monthly room and board rate payment. The supplemental monthly payment shall be based on 10 percent of the monthly room and board rate for children 13 through 21 years of age and adjusted annually.

Date Answered:  11/13/07

Date Updated:   9/12/13; 1/21/15

Reference/Resource:  FS 409.145 (4); DCF Memo: 2015 FP Cost of Living Increase

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Question:  Can you please direct me to the statute that addresses children in foster care allowance and incidentals? 

Answer:  "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. The Services Worker and the licensed out-of-home caregiver shall work together to ensure that children receive an allowance no less frequently than each month, with the amount to be determined by the current board rate schedule.  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.

Date Answered:  11/13/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/16/14; 2/29/16

References/Resources:  65C-13.029 (1)(n)(10) F.A.C.;

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Question: How much should a child in care receive for allowance?

Answer:   Neither Florida Statute nor Administrative Code dictates a specific allowance amount.

Date Answered:   Feb 27, 2008        

Date Updated:5/16/14

Reference/Resources:   F.A.C. 65C-13

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Question: Are children in Emergency Shelters and Group Homes supposed to get allowance?  Does the facility pay the allowance out of the room and board that they receive?

Answer:  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. Allowance shall be provided at least monthly. Allowance shall not be tied to behavior or completion of chores. Children shall not be expected to use their allowance to purchase personal hygiene items, school supplies, clothing, or other necessities. Allowance shall not be withheld as punishment. 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.

Date Answered:   Feb 27, 2008        

Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/18/14; 8/24/16    

Reference/Resources:   65C-14.018 (11), F.A.C.

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Question:  What is the staff to child ratio requirement for both awake and asleep children for a licensed residential program that cares for children ranging in age 6 to 12?

Answer: The facility shall develop and follow a written staff to child ratio formula. The formula shall be appropriate to the facility's purpose, 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.
Specifically the ratios are:
One direct care staff member or trained volunteer to six children, when children six years of age or older are awake and one to 12 when children are sleeping, or
Children under the age of six shall be supervised by a staffing ratio of one to four when children are awake and one to six when children are sleeping.
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.
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.
The child-caring agency shall have and follow a written plan to provide additional emergency staff when only one staff member is on duty.
The child-caring agency shall designate one 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.
The child-caring agency shall count any children living with staff families in the child to staff ratio.
The child-caring agency shall provide supervision to each staff member working with children and parents.

Date Answered:  September 23, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed:   2/18/14; 8/24/16   

Reference/Resource:  65C-14.023 (7)-(13)

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Question: What, if any, are the guidelines to follow when a child in foster care wants to have an abortion?

Answer: The consent to medical treatment shall be obtained from a parent or legal custodian of the child. In no case shall the department consent to sterilization, abortion, or termination of life support.

Date Answered: 11/10/08

Date Updated/Reviewed: 11/18/13; 2/18/14, 7/5/16

References/Resources: F.S. 39.407; F.A.C. 65C-15.

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Question: What, if any, are the guidelines to follow when a child in foster care wants to be placed on birth control?

Answer: DCF's procedure for securing medical care for foster kids does not mention birth control.  Florida Administrative Code requires that "medical procedures which are not considered part of routine medical care must be specifically authorized by the parent of the child, the legal guardian, if one has been appointed, or a court of competent jurisdiction unless the situation is so urgent as to make the delay required to secure authorization potentially dangerous to the health and safety of the child.  In cases where parental rights have been terminated and the child has been committed to an agency for placement in an adoptive home, the agency may consent for medical care without a court order except for abortion or permanent sterilization of the child." 

In addition, Florida Statutes outlines when and how another person (such as relative or case worker), can give consent for "ordinary and necessary medical and dental examination and treatment." Anything outside the definition in this section would require a court order if the parent cannot be located, unless it is an emergency or fits into another exception. Anything related to contraception, pregnancy, etc, would be outside the definition of "ordinary and necessary," therefore, the case worker cannot give consent, even if a parent cannot be located.

Date Answered: 11/10/08

Date Updated/Reviewed:   11/18/13; 2/18/14; 7/17/14, 7/5/16

References/Resources: F.S. 39.407; F.S. . 743.0645;  F.A.C. 65C-15.  (see also resources to help reduce unplanned pregnancy:

../SiteCollectionDocuments/National%20Campaign%20Unveils%20New%20Tools.pdf

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Question:  Can the foster parent keep the clothes bought for the child during their placement?

Answer:  Children are allowed to bring, retain, and acquire personal belongings while in care. Foster parents should 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 foster home all practical clothing and belongings bought for or given to the child must be sent with them. This includes any toys, bicycles, radios, or other things that are the child's possessions.

Date Answered:  May 20, 2008

Date Updated/ Reviewed: 2/18/14; 5/19/14

Reference/Resource:  FAC 65C-13.029 (1)(n)3 c-d

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Question:  Can a foster parent spank a foster child?

Answer:  No. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall not use corporal punishments of any kind.

Date Answered:  May 20, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/18/14, 5/19/14

Reference/Resource:  FAC 65C-13.029 (1)(n)5 d

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Question:   Does the foster parent have to transport the child to medical appointments?

Answer:   It is an expectation of Quality Parenting that children will only be placed with caregivers that have the ability and are willing to accept responsibility for the child's care. Quality caregivers will participate fully in the child’s medical, psychological, and dental care as the caregiver would for his or her biological child.

Date Answered:               May 20, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed:  2/18/14; 5/19/14

Reference/Resource: FS 409.145(2)

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Question: How many children can be placed in a foster home?

Answer:   Generally, there should be no more than five children in a licensed home, including the family's own children.  There shall be no more than two children under the age of two years in a home, including the family's children.  Therapeutic foster homes are limited to the placement of two children.  Over capacity approvals can be given to accommodate a sibling group.

Date Answered: May 20, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/18/14; 5/19/14

Reference/Resource:    FAC 65C-13.030 (1), FAC 65C-13.032 (1)(b), FAC 65C-13.032 (3)

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Question: What are the requirements for sleeping arrangements in a foster home?

Answer: Some of the sleeping arrangement guidelines are:  Each child will have their own bed, and each infant will have their own crib. Children may never share a bed with an adult, regardless of age; 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. Children over the age of twelve months may share a bedroom with an adult when it is deemed to be medically necessary.
see FAC 65C-13.030 for additional specific guidelines and restrictions.

Date Answered:   May 20, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/19/14; 5/19/14

Reference/Resource: FAC 65C-13.030 (3)(i)

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Question:  Can a foster parent have a babysitter care for the foster child?

Answer:   Yes. 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 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. 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. Babysitting does not have to occur in a licensed setting.

Date Answered: May 20, 2008

Date Updated: 5/19/14

Reference/Resource:    FAC 65C-13.033

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Question: What is the current DCF regulation on guns in a foster home?  It has been stated that no one can ask foster parents about guns anymore. Is that correct?

Answer: Florida Statute prohibits the Department and its providers from maintaining information about firearms and their owners. However, statute also requires safe storage of firearms. All potential caregivers must sign an Acknowledgement of Firearms Safety Requirements. (Click here for the acknowledgement form)

Date Answered: 10-18-11

Date Updated/Reviewed: 2-19-14; 5/20/14

Reference: DCF Memo: New Guidance Regarding Firearms (12-2-09), Florida Statute 790.001 and 790.174; FAC 65C-13.030(3)(j)6  

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Question:  From a normalcy perspective, at what point is it appropriate and in agreement with licensing guidelines for a foster parent to leave a foster child home alone to run an errand?

Answer: Leaving a child unsupervised, or without direct supervision, depends on the individual child's age, maturity, and ability to make appropriate decisions.  The licensed out-of-home caregiver's familiarity with the child and the circumstances in which the child shall be unsupervised shall be the primary factors in the decision making.

Date:  January 27, 2012

Date Updated/Reviewed:  5/20/14; 2/29/16

Reference:  65C-13.029(1)(n)1a; Normalcy Memo (January 20, 2012)

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Question:  When completing a family foster home licensing study is there a requirement that the licensing agency conduct an on-site assessment of the home as a part of the approval process?

Answer:  Yes, determination of the appropriateness, safety, cleanliness, and general adequacy of the premises is required for licensure.  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.

Date Answered:  October 15, 2007

Date Updated/Reviewed:  Nov. 9, 2010; 5/20/14

Reference/Resources:  FS 409.175 (5)(a)(3), (6)(a-b); FAC 65C-13.025(1)(b)

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Question: Who needs to undergo background screening for foster home licensing or re-licensing?

Answer:  Background screening must occur on all people considered to be caregivers and all adult household members.  Background screening may also be completed for those who may be considered to be household members, someone whose presence in the home may adversely affect the welfare of the child, or those who may have unsupervised contact with the child. 

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.

Date Answered:  May 18, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/20/14

Reference/Resource:  FAC 65C-13.023(1), (5)

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Question:  How often does background screening occur on licensed foster homes?              

Answer:  Currently licensed foster homes shall be re-screened annually as a part of the application for re-licensing. Annual screenings include a local criminal records check, an abuse and neglect record check, 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.

Every five years a state criminal records check shall be completed through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Abuse and neglect reports, in which the applicant was named in any capacity in three institutional reports, shall be reviewed for relevancy related to the licensing decision and may be used in determining whether to renew or revoke the person's license.

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.

Date Answered:  May 18, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed:  5/20/14

Reference/Resource:  FAC 65C-13.023, (5)(8)

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Question:  What background screening records are considered when determining whether to issue a foster care license or whether the license should be revoked?

Answer:  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. 

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.

Date Answered:  May 18, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/20/14

Reference/Resource:  FAC 65C-13.023 (6),(7), FS 435.04 and FS 435.07

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Question:  What types of kind of references are required for foster home licensing?

Answer:  For each applicant, there must be a minimum of three personal references that cannot be related to the applicant and have known the applicant for at least two years.  Each of the three personal references must provide information related to the applicant’s parenting skills.
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.
 A current employment reference is needed. 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.
There must be references from school personnel of each school age child residing in the home and the childcare providers of any preschool age child enrolled in a childcare program.
If the applicant was previously licensed, then the application mus also include References and documentation regarding any previous licensure as out-of-home caregivers.

Date Answered:  May 18, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/20/14

Reference/Resource:  FAC 65C-13.025(4)12

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Question:  What kind of information does the initial foster home study include?

Answer:  An extensive assessment of each prospective foster home shall include, at a minimum: Demographic information; dates of parent preparation pre-service training and a description of the applicant’s participation in the classes; applicant's motivation to foster and their commitment to the foster care experience including how other family members and extended family feel about the decision to foster.
Physical description of the home, including the number of rooms, sleeping arrangements, and other interior space. Interior and exterior photos must be included; 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; description of any swimming pools, canals, ponds, lakes, streams and other potential water hazards and documentation of the discussion with the applicant regarding the requirements for supervision and how the applicant will ensure safety and adequate supervision;   any household pets, exotic pets, or live stock including immunization verification, observations of their care, behavior, and how they are maintained and secured; social history, to include a description of background and family fistory, marital status and other significant relationships, medical history, parenting exterience, family life, religion, and child care. Transportation; employment and financial capacity.

Please refer to the FAC listed below for additional details

Date Answered:  May 18, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/20/14

Reference/Resource:  FAC 65C-13.025(3), FAC 65C-13.023

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Question:  How much annual training does a foster parent need to complete?

Answer:  Prior to the renewal of a license each foster parent shall successfully complete at least eight hours of approved in-service training. Licensed out-of-home caregivers shall be offered in-service training opportunities by their supervising agency at least quarterly.    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.

Date Answered:  May 18, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/20/14

Reference/Resource:  FAC 65C-13.026; 65C-13.028 (1)(h)1

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Question:  What kind of changes does a foster parent need to report to the licensing agency?

Answer:  The following are circumstances that need to be reported to the licensing agency within 48 hours: Any law enforcement involvement with any household member including arrests, incidents of domestic violence, driving infractions, and any local law enforcement response to the home; A change in marital status; A change in household composition; A change of the home's address (which requires re-licensing); Changes in financial situation such as bankruptcy, repossessions, and evictions; change in employment or significant change in work schedule; A serious health issue such as a debilitating injury, or communicable disease regarding a household member.

Date Answered: May 18, 2008

Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/20/14

Reference/Resource:  FAC 65C-13.027(1)

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Question:  What if a licensed foster parent wants to move out of the region?

Answer:  A licensed foster parent who plans to move from one region to another and wishes to continue being licensed, must notify their licensing agency at least 30 calendar days prior to the planned move. The licensing agency shall assist the foster parent in finding another licensing agency in the region where they plan to relocate. Additionally, 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.

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.

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.

Date Answered: 5/18/08

Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/20/14

Reference/Resource: FAC 65C-13.027(3)(b)

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Question:  Can an agency that licenses foster homes in the state of Florida choose what curriculum to use for pre-service training?

Answer:  Yes, however curriculum must be reviewed and approved by the Regional DCF Office prior to implementation and 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.

Date:  August 9, 2010

Date Updated/Reviewed:  11/22/13; 5/20/14

Reference:  FS 409.175 (14)(a)(b)(1-7); 65C-13.024

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Question:  Can student loans be included as part of a foster home licensing applicants documentation of current financial stability and capacity?

Answer: Yes. The applicant can include the portion of student loans that is remaining after educational costs have been satisfied. The applicant can submit a copy of their financial aid transaction activity report/receipt which demonstrates any refund amounts after all educational costs for the school have been satisfied.

Date:  08/21/2014

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference: FAC 65C-13.025 (3)(i); Office of Child Welfare

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Question: What are the current requirements regarding children attending daycare, under the Rilya Wilson Act?

Answer: A child from birth to the age of school entry, under court-ordered supervision or in the custody of the DCF or a CBC, and currently enrolled in a licensed child care program must attend the program 5 days a week.
Caregivers who have a child placed with them, who is not already enrolled in licensed child care at the time of placement, can choose to send the child to a child care program. Once the child is enrolled, they must attend a child care program 5 days a week.
When a child is enrolled in a licensed child care program, their attendance in the program must be a required action in the safety plan or the case plan developed for the child.

Date:  9/11/2014

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference: FS 39.604; Office of Child Welfare

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Question: Can children who are placed in a licensed OHC setting be home schooled?

Answer: Yes. During the 2015 Legislative Session, a bill was passed which prohibits the Department and CBCs from discriminating against any out of home caregiver who chooses to homeschool any child placed in their home through the child welfare system.

Date:  4/7/2015

Date Updated/Reviewed: 9/16/15

Reference: FS 39.0016 (2)(b)1.e. (9)

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Question:Is there any language in Fl statue, admin code or DCF policy that guides one on children sleeping in the office of the agency or case manager?

Answer: There is no guidance or policy that allows children, who have been removed from their parents’ care, to sleep in agency/case management office. Statutes require that if children are going to be placed in a facility or foster home, then that place must be licensed. Additionally, there has been prior legal action against the DCF and contracted agencies to stop the practice of allowing children to sleep in DCF/CBC offices.

Date: 6/4/2015

Date Updated/Reviewed:

Reference: FS 409.175(4)(a), (2)(d), and (2)(j); FS 29.401(3)(b). See also: DCF Memo – Placement of Children in Licensed Settings http://www.centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/policymemos/PlacementLicensedSettings041114.pdf and Susan C. v. Florida Department of Children and Family Services http://www.ylc.org/our-work/archive/past-litigation/susan-c-v-florida-department-of-children-and-family-services/

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Question:  What are the eligibility requirements for the relative caregiver program?

Answer:  Relatives must be within the fifth degree by blood or marriage to the parent or stepparent; the child(ren) must be under age 18, placed as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment, adjudicated dependent, a U.S. citizen or qualified alien and reside in Florida and placed by a Florida Court; there must be an approved home study; and there must be a court order placing children in temporary legal custody of the relative.

Date Answered:  6/29/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 11/22/13; 2/29/16; 5/8/16

Reference/Resource: 39.5085(2)(a)-(e), F.S.; 65C-28.008, F.A.C.; 65C-30.009 (4)(c)2; CFOP 175-79

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Question: If a home study is completed and denied, but the court places the child over our objections, is the relative still eligible for the Relative caregiver program?

Answer: Yes, if a child is placed in the custody of a relative pursuant to order of the court after the department or contracted service provider recommends against such placement, the 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.

Date Answered:  6/29/07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 11/22/13; 5/8/16

Reference/Resource: 65C-28.012 (6), F.A.C.

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Question: Can a relative get relative caregiver funds under the permanency goal "Fit and Willing Relative?

Answer: Yes, if the relatives meet the TANF relative caregiver eligibility requirements

Date Answered:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 11-22-13

Reference/Resource: 39.5085(1)(c), F.S.

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Question: Can a relative get relative caregiver funds if the parent of the child lives in the home?

Answer: No, the parent and child cannot reside in the same home.  If the parent is in the home 30 consecutive days or more, then the Relative Caregiver Payment must be terminated.  IF the parent is under the age of 18, then the relative may receive the Relative Caregiver Payment if both the minor parent and child have been adjudicated dependent and placed in the home by the court.

Date Created:  6-29-07

Date Updated/Reviewed: 11-22-13

Reference/Resource:  F.A.C. 28.008 1(d); CFOP 175-79 Relative Caregiver Program

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Question: May a child's grandparents, as legal custodians, release the child's parent from paying child support?  And if so, will doing so cause them to forfeit benefits paid to them under Florida's Relative Caregiver Program?

Answer: No, as a condition of eligibility for public assistance, the family must cooperate with the state agency responsible for administering the child support enforcement program in establishing the paternity of the child, if the child is born out of wedlock, and in obtaining support for the child or for the parent or caretaker relative and the child. Cooperation is defined as:

  • Assisting in identifying and locating a parent who does not live in the same home as the child and providing complete and accurate information on that parent
  • Assisting in establishing paternity
  • Assisting in establishing, modifying, or enforcing a support order with respect to a child of a family member
  • Date Answered: November 5, 2008

    Date Updated/Reviewed: November 22, 2013

    References/Resources: 42 U.S.C. 654; F.S. 414.095.

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    Question:  If a dependent child is legally placed with a relative and remains in this placement until he/she reaches 18 years of age are they eligible for post-secondary financial assistance?

    Answer:  Yes.  A student who is or was at the time he/she reached 18 years of age in the custody of a relative under F.S. 39.5085 is exempt from the payment of tuition and fees, at a school district that provides post secondary career programs, community college, or state university.  Click here to access form.

    Date Answered:  June 30, 2009

    Date Updated:  October 22, 2013

    Reference/Resource:  F.S. 1009.25 (2)(c); F.S. 39.5085

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    Question:  Do non-relatives qualify for financial assistance when caring for a dependent child?

    Answer:  Yes.  Due to changes to the Fl Statutes in 2014, non-relatives are now eligible for financial assistance through the Relative Caregiver Program. In order to receive assistance, the non-relatives must meet all requirements of the Relative Caregiver Program except for being a relative within the 5th degree of relationship to the child.

    Date Answered:  8/31/11

    Date Updated/Reviewed: 11/22/13; 9/11/14; 4/16/15; 5/8/16

    Reference:  FS 39.5085; FAC 65C-28.008

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    Question:  Does the State of Florida specify an age at which it is legal to leave a child home alone – for example, when you go to the grocery store, or a part time job, or child gets home before you do, etc.?  What about going to places like public parks or to the mall alone?

    Answer: The state of Florida does not have a law or policy that establishes a specific age at which a child may be left alone, without adult supervision, or be responsible for the care of another child (for example, babysitting). This decision must be based on each child's individual characteristics, such as level of maturity, knowledge, and capabilities. This decision would also depend on other variables, such as the geographic location of the home, proximity to an adult who could help in case of an emergency or other immediate need, or the availability of communication.  Examples to consider would be the distance to the nearest adult neighbor, availability of transportation, and access to a telephone in the event of a crisis. 

    Such variables and considerations, as a part of a parent's or caregiver's overall decision making, apply to circumstances in which children are allowed to participate in activities or to visit certain locations without adult supervision.  Examples are allowing children to visit public parks, pools, malls, movie theatres, etc., without a specific, responsible adult accompanying them. Such places add an additional element of possible harm to children due to the potential for predators or accidents.

    While there is no stated age limitation in the state of Florida for allowing a child to be left without adult or other competent supervision, in general, parental responsibility in evaluating whether his/her child is of sufficient age, competence, maturity, etc., should consider the following factors, noting that this list not exhaustive nor all-encompassing:

     - Child's competence, e.g. age, maturity, behavior, habits, special needs and reaction to the supervision plan

     - Immediate environment, e.g. home conditions, neighborhood, time of day, duration and frequency of time without supervision

     - Presence/accessibility of a capable adult or person to assist with special problems; accessibility of the parent or other parent; plan to handle emergencies

     - Responsibility and expectations; care for other children, cooking and using appliances.

     - Resources available to the parent to improve the supervision plan, if needed

    In essence, a parent or caregiver should consider whether the quality of the supervision plan places the child or children at risk of imminent and serious harm after evaluating his/her child's age, developmental needs, competence, maturity, environment, accessibility to a capable person to assist, etc.

    There are many articles, publications and resources that might help you decide if your child, regardless of age, is mature enough to safely be left at home alone and to help you prepare your child for this step.

    Below are several related online resources for your review:

    http://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/4492d797dc0bd92f85256cb80055fb97/6cf2760cfd1bd2dc85256cc7006977f8!OpenDocument

    Please remember that if at any time you believe any child is being abused and/or neglected, e.g., without adequate supervision, you should immediately call the statewide abuse hotline at 1-800-962-2873.  The

    Florida Abuse Hotline website is also available online at:

    http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/abuse/

    Please note that the Florida Abuse Hotline also provides the following guidance on their website regarding age factors and children left alone or without appropriate supervision.

    Date Answered: 10/14/09

    Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/28/11; 3/3/14

    References/Resources: Family Safety Program Office

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    Question: Are there any rules in law or administrative code surrounding unsupervised visitation, e.g. where they are allowed to go, what they may do, etc.?

    Answer: Neither statute, code nor policy gives guidance on the particulars of unsupervised visitation.  F.A.C. 65C-28.002 ("Visitation"), without distinguishing between supervised and unsupervised visits, states, "If the court does not order particular locations, times, or conditions for visits, the Services Worker shall ensure that all visits between children and parents occur in a neutral and protected setting. To the extent possible, visitation shall occur in a home-like setting and, unless unavoidable, not in an institutional setting or office. However, the safety of the children being visited shall always be the primary consideration.

    Date Answered: 10/15/09

    Date Updated/Reviewed: 11/19/13; 5/8/16

    References/Resources: F.A.C. 65c-28.002

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    Question:  What rights do grandparents have regarding visitation with grandchildren that have been removed from their parents?

    Answer:   Grandparents, including step-grandparents are entitled to reasonable visitation with his or her grandchild who has been adjudicated a dependent child and taken from the physical custody of the parent unless the court finds that such visitation is not in the best interest of the child or that such visitation would interfere with the goals of the case plan.  Reasonable visitation may be unsupervised and, where appropriate and feasible, may be frequent and continuing. When the child has been returned to the physical custody of his or her parent, the visitation rights granted shall terminate.  The termination of parental rights does not affect the rights of grandparents unless the court finds that such visitation is not in the best interest of the child or that such visitation would interfere with the goals of permanency planning for the child.

    Date Answered: 6/7/07

    Date Updated/ Reviewed: 11/19/13, 7/6/16

    Reference/Resources:   F.S. 39.509

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    Question:  Does a parent still have the ability to petition the court to reopen a case when it has been closed out under Permanent Guardianship of a Dependent Child?

    Answer:  Yes, the case can be reopened for the parent to seek reunification or increased contact with the child.
    However, case plan compliance on its own is not enough to presume that reunification is in the child's best interest. The permanency placement is intended to continue until the child reaches the age of majority.  At the hearing on the motion to reopen the case, the parent must demonstrate that the safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional health of the child is not endangered by the modification.

    see also: Case Management FAQ - Permanency (6):

    Date Answered:  6/7/07

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  7/8/11; 11/18/13

    Reference/Resources: s.39.621(9) F.S.; s. 39.621(10)(a)-(f), F.S.

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    Question: If a Case Plan with the goal of Reunification if filed with the court, can you also proceed on an expedited Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) petition?

    Answer:   No, the definition of expedited termination of parental rights means proceedings where a case plan with the goal of reunification is not being offered.  Also, if a TPR petition is filed prior to the expiration of the Case Plan and has the same factual basis as the Case Plan, then the petitioner will need to prove that there was a material breach of the case plan by the parents.

    Date Answered:   5/7/09         

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  11/18/13, 7/5/16

    Reference/Resources:   F.S. 39.802(8), F.S. 39.01 (26)

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    Question:  If the court has accepted the case plan with the goal of reunification, do you have to wait until the expiration date before you can file a petition to terminate parental rights (TPR)?

    Answer:   No, when new circumstances arise that are grounds for TPR, a petition for termination of parental rights may be filed at any time by the department, the guardian ad litem, or any person having knowledge of the facts. 

    Date Answered:   5/7/09     

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  11/18/13, 7/11/16

    Reference/Resources:   Rules of Juvenile Procedure 8.500(a)(2); F.S. 39.806 (1)

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    Question:  When is the filing of a Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) petition required?

    Answer:  A TPR petition shall be filed within 60 days after:

    • The child is not returned to the physical custody of the parents 12 months after the child was sheltered or adjudicated dependent, whichever occurs first
    • the child has been in out of home care for 12 of the most recent 22 months (not including any trial home visits or time during which the child was a runaway)
    • the parent has been convicted of the murder of the other parent or another child of the parent, or a felony battery that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent. 
    • the court determination that reasonable efforts to reunify the child and parent are not required.

    Date Answered:   5/7/09      

    Date Updated/Reviewed:    11/18/13

    Reference/Resources: F.S. 39.8055 (1)

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    Question:  What are the exceptions to the requirement to file a petition to terminate parental rights?

    Answer:  The department may choose not to file a TPR petition if

    • the child is being cared for by a relative under the goal of placement with a fit and willing relative
    • adoption is not an appropriate permanency goal for the child
    • no grounds exist to file a TPR petition
    • the child is an unaccompanied refugee minor
    • There are international legal obligations or compelling foreign-policy reasons that would preclude terminating parental rights.
    • the department has not provided services to the parents in a timely manner

    Date Answered:   5/7/09      

    Date Updated/Reviewed:    11/18/13  

    Reference/Resources: F.S. 39.8055 (2)

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    Question: When seeking a modification of permanent guardianship, if the case plan has been completed and the reasons for removal corrected, is there a presumption that reunification is in the child's best interest?

    Answer: No, once permanency has been achieved, case plan compliance by a parent is not enough to presume that reunification is in the child's best interest. According to F.S. 36.621(9), The permanency placement is intended to continue until the child reaches the age of majority and may not be disturbed absent a finding by the court that the circumstances of the permanency placement or no longer in the best interest of the child. If a parent who has not had his or her parental rights terminated makes a motion for reunification or increased contact with the child, the court shall hold a hearing to determine whether the dependency case should be reopened and whether there should be a modification of the order.  At the hearing, the parent must demonstrate that the safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional health of the child is not endangered by the modification.

    Date Answered:  Jan 26, 2010

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  Nov 18, 2013

    Reference/Resource:  F.S. 39.621 (9), (10)(a-f)

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    Question: Are permanent guardian caregivers held to certain guidelines even after the case closes? For example: A caregiver wants to send the child in her custody, her granddaughter, to her ex-husband's home (he is the child's biological grandfather) for a few weeks in the summer to visit. After the case closes, would she be allowed to send her granddaughter freely or would there be restrictions, court orders needed?

    Answer:  Once permanent guardianship is established, the guardian has authority over the protection, education, care, control, and custody of the child, and decision making as it relates to the child. The permanency order establishing guardianship may specify the frequency and nature of any contact with the parents, grandparents, and siblings.  Also, the guardian can not return the child to the physical care and custody from whom the child was removed.  Unless it is expressly prohibited in the court order, the guardian has the authority to send the child on a summertime visit.

    Date Answered: May 10, 2010

    Date Updated/Reviewed: Nov 18, 2013; 2/29/16

    Reference/Resources: F.S. 39.6221; Rules of Juvenile Procedure 8.425

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    Question: What are the permanency options listed under Chapter 39?

    Answer: Reunification, Adoption, Permanent Guardianship of a dependent child, Permanent Placement with Fit and Willing Relative, Placement in another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA)

    Date Answered:  6/7/07

    Date Updated/Reviewed: 11/18/13, 7/5/16

    Reference/Resources: s. 39.01(52)(a)-(e), F.S.;  s.39.621; 39.6221; 39.6231; 39.6241, F.S.

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    Question: What is Permanent Guardianship?

    Answer:

    Permanency goal if a court determines that reunification or adoption is not in the best interest of the child

    With a relative or other adult approved by the court

    The child has been in the placement for at least 6 months

    Permanent guardian able to provide safe and permanent home for the child

    Court determines that supervision and services by the Department not needed

    Permanent guardian committed to provide for child until child reaches age of majority

    Permanent guardian agrees to give notice of any change in residential address or residence of the child

    Date Answered:  6/7/07

    Date Updated/Reviewed: 11/18/13

    Reference/Resource: s.39.6221(1)(a)-(e)

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    Question: What is the difference between permanent guardianship and fit and willing relative?

    Answer: Permanent guardianship does NOT have continued supervision whereas under fit and willing relative the child is placed with a relative and department supervision and services will continue.

    Date Answered:6/7/07

    Date Updated/Reviewed:11/18/13

    Reference/Resource: s.39.6221 & s.39.6231, F.S.

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    Question: What are some examples of compelling reasons to recommend Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement as the permanency goal of a child(ren)?

    Answer:  Examples may include but are not limited to:

    The case of a parent and child who have a significant bond but the parent is unable to care for the child because of an emotional or physical disability, and the child's foster parents have committed to raising him or her to the age of majority and to facilitate visitation with the disabled parent

    The case of a child for whom an Indian tribe has identified another planned permanent living arrangement for the child

    The case of a foster child who is 16 years of age or older who chooses to remain in foster care, and the child's foster parents are willing to care for the child until the child reaches 18 years of age.

    Date Answered:  6/7/07

    Date Updated/Reviewed: 11/18/13

    Reference/Resource: s. 39.6241(1)(d)1-3, F.S.

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    Question:  Under what circumstances would an expedited termination of parental rights(TPR) be filed?

    Answer:  An expedited TPR petition may be filed under any of the following circumstances:

  • When the parent or parents have voluntarily executed a written surrender of the child and consented to the entry of an order giving custody of the child to the department for subsequent adoption and the department is willing to accept custody of the child.
  • The parents have abandoned the child and their location can not be ascertained by diligent search within 60 days
  • When the parent or parents engaged in conduct toward the child or toward other children that demonstrates that the continuing involvement of the parent or parents in the parent-child relationship threatens the life, safety, well-being, or physical, mental, or emotional health of the child irrespective of the provision of services. Provision of services may be evidenced by proof that services were provided through a previous plan or offered as a case plan from a child welfare agency.
  • When the parent is incarcerated and will be for a significant portion of the child's minority; or the incarcerated parent has been determined to be a violent career criminal, habitual violent felony offender, or sexual predator. Or has been convicted of 1st or 2nd degree murder or felony sexual battery, or convicted of a 'substantially similar offense'
  • The parent or parents engaged in egregious conduct or had the opportunity and capability to prevent and knowingly failed to prevent egregious conduct that threatens the life, safety, or physical, mental, or emotional health of the child or the child’s sibling.
  • When the parent or parents has subjected the child or another child to aggravated child abuse as defined in s. 827.03, sexual battery or sexual abuse as defined in s. 39.01, or chronic abuse.
  • The parent or parents have committed the murder, manslaughter, aiding or abetting the murder, or conspiracy or solicitation to murder the other parent or another child, or a felony battery that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or to another child.
  • When the parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily.
  • The parent or parents have a history of extensive, abusive, and chronic use of alcohol or a controlled substance which renders them incapable of caring for the child, and have refused or failed to complete available treatment for such use during the 3-year period immediately preceding the filing of the petition for termination of parental rights.
  • A test administered at birth that indicated that the child’s blood, urine, or meconium contained any amount of alcohol or a controlled substance or metabolites of such substances, the presence of which was not the result of medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant, and the biological mother of the child is the biological mother of at least one other child who was adjudicated dependent after a finding of harm to the child’s health or welfare due to exposure to a controlled substance or alcohol as defined in s. 39.01, after which the biological mother had the opportunity to participate in substance abuse treatment.
  • On three or more occasions the child or another child of the parent or parents has been placed in out-of-home care pursuant to this chapter, and the conditions that led to the child’s out-of-home placement were caused by the parent or parents.
  • The court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the child was conceived as a result of an act of unlawful sexual battery. It is presumed that termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child if the child was conceived as a result of the unlawful sexual battery.
  • Date Answered:  6/11/07

    Date Updated: 11/18/13, 7/11/16

    Reference/Resource: FS 39.806(b) – (d) and (f) – (m)

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    Question:  When is the goal APPLA appropriate for a child under 16? Does the Statute give a specific age and time when to apply the goal other then the criteria under 39.6241?

    Answer:   Florida Statute does not restrict the use of the permanency goal of placement in another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA) to any particular age. Also, per statute 39.6241, the reasons that are provided in statute are possible scenarios. Other scenarios may present themselves; however, the use of APPLA as a permanency goal should be limited to situations where other more permanent placement options are not in the best interest of the child.

    Date Answered:   10/29/08   

    Date Updated/Reviewed: 11/18/13       

    Reference/Resources:   F.S. 39.621 and 39.6241

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    Question:  If a child does qualify for services based on a placement with a relative/non-relative (Permanent Guardianship) at 16 or 17, do we need to continue performing the staffings every 6 months?  Or do we just make them aware of the post 18 services available to them?

    Answer:  There is no requirement to continue staffings on a child that has been placed with a relative/non-relative through Permanent Guardianship. Under the permanency goal of Permanent Guardianship, the court shall retain jurisdiction over the case and the child shall remain in the custody of the permanent guardian unless the order creating the permanent guardianship is modified by the court. The court shall discontinue regular review hearings and relieve the department of the responsibility for supervising the placement of the child. Not withstanding the retention of jurisdiction, the placement shall be considered permanency for the child.

    Date Answered:   8/28/07

    Date Updated/Reviewed:   11/18/13  

    Reference/Resources:  FS 39.6221 (5)

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    Question:  If a child is removed from one parent and placed with the other parent, is the permanency goal reunification or maintain and strengthen?

    Answer:  If a child has been removed from a parent(a) and is placed with a parent(b) from whom the child was not removed, the court may leave the child in the placement with the parent(b) from whom the child was not removed with maintaining and strengthening the placement as a permanency option.

    Date Answered:   10/9/13

    Date Updated:       

    Reference/Resources:  F.S. 39.6011(2)(c)2.;

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    Question:  If a child has reached permanency through court ordered permanent guardianship with a relative/non-relative, does the child’s parent still have rights to review medical records and make decisions regarding the child’s treatment and medication?

    Answer:  No. Permanent guardianship is a legal relationship that is intended to be permanent and transfers rights to the guardian which allows them to have care, control and custody of the child and to make medical and educational decisions on behalf of the child. The parents retain the right to consent to adoption and continue the responsibility to provide financial and/or medical support as ordered by court continues. The child still has a right to inherit from the parents.

    Date Answered:   3/18/16

    Date Updated:        8/16/17

    Reference/Resources:  FS 39.301 (56); FS 39.6221

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    Question: If a child is placed voluntarily out of home and there is an out of home safety plan, but the courts are not involved, are home studies required to be completed on the caregivers?

    Answer:   A family-made arrangement is a safety action initiated by the parent/legal guardian to voluntarily and temporarily relocate the child from the family’s home to a responsible adult chosen by the parent/legal guardian. The child welfare professional must evaluate whether the family made arrangement is sufficient by conducting an interview with the safety management provider and completing a walk-through of the home. The provider must agree to child abuse and background checks for all household members age 12 and older.

    Date Answered:  12/21/15   

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  6/27/16, 9/22/17

    Reference/Resources: CFOP 170-7, Ch. 6

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    Question: Can and should multiple FFA “strings? (for lack of a better term, “string? is being used to describe the series of FFAs related to the same intake) exist in a services case? We are finding a number of FFA “strings? in service cases where the case was transferred to services with an Information Collection and Family Functioning Assessment, the case worker completed the required Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing and subsequent Progress Updates for the case when a new intake is received. The CPI will begin a new Information Collection and Family Functioning Assessment (new “string?) for the new intake. Is the case manager expected to complete an Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing and subsequent Progress Updates related to this new Information Collection and Family Functioning Assessment (new “string? of FFAs) while maintaining the original “string? of FFAs? If so, may a supervisor make the determination only one “string? of FFAs is needed and “close-down? the other “string? of FFAs?
    For example, Intake “A? has been investigated and transferred to case management with the Information Collection and Family Functioning Assessment “A? completed and approved. The case manager completes the Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing and subsequent Progress Updates for Intake “A?. While still providing services to the family a new intake, Intake “B? is received. The CPI completes the Information Collection and Family Functioning Assessment for Intake “B?; does case management need to complete a Family Functioning Assessment – Ongoing (and subsequent Progress Updates) for Intake “B? or may the case manager update the case from a Progress Update for Intake “A? and add the particulars from Intake “B? to avoid two sets or “strings? of FFAs running concurrently in a case?

    Answer: The case manager would incorporate the information from Intake “B? into there already existing “string? of FFA – Ongoing and Progress Updates. They should not create a new “set? of FFA – Ongoing and Progress Updates.

    Date Answered:  12/11/15   

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-7

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    Question: Where is it documented in Safety Methodology that an “offending caregiver? cannot be the responsible person for the actions in the safety plan? I know it was discussed in training but I can’t find it in writing.

    Answer:   A safety plan may include tasks or responsibilities for a parent, caregiver, or legal custodian. However, a safety plan may not rely on promissory commitments by the parent, caregiver, or legal custodian who is currently not able to protect the child or on services that are not available or will not result in the safety of the child. The certified Child Welfare Professional will manage the safety plan and will leverage informal or formal safety service providers to carry out the specific actions within the safety plan. These actions can be assumed by non – certified individuals fully capable of carrying out the specific task. Child Welfare Professionals are encouraged to look for these tasks to be carried out by natural/informal supports such as a relative, neighbor or church connection. These individuals are not certified but are probably the best equipped to carry out the specific tasks and support the family on an ongoing basis.

    Date Answered:  1/6/16   

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: CFOP 170-7, FS Ch. 39.301(9)

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    Question:In regards to safety planning, are background checks needed on those persons identified as safety plan providers?

    Answer: The child welfare professional is responsible for the safety plan and is expected to determine that any safety plan provider is capable and dependable to implement their role in the safety plan, including a review of child abuse and criminal history checks.
    The child welfare professional will conduct an interview with the safety plan provider to determine if they meet all of the following criteria:

    1. Understand and believe the danger threats.
    2. Are aligned with the child.
    3. Understand the protective actions they are being asked to provide.
    4. Are willing, able and have the time to provide the protective actions requested.
    5. Agree to child abuse and local/state criminal background checks and provide information as to what a records check will reveal.

    Date Answered:  1/20/2016  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  6/27/16

    Reference/Resources: CFOP 170-7

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    Question: For family violence threatens child cases is it always necessary to complete 2 separate safety plans (ex: parents are involved in an altercation; however there is no power and control dynamics)? Chapter 39.301 (9) (a) 6a-b States CPI shall implement separate safety plans for the perpetrator of domestic violence and the parent whom is the victim of domestic violence

    Answer: Power and control dynamics is not required to necessitate the need for 2 separate safety plans in family violence threatens harm cases. “Domestic or Family violence? is defined as any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member. If one of these actions occurred a separate safety plan shall be developed with the perpetrator of the family violence and the parent who is a survivor of the family violence.

    Date Answered:  2/3/2016  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  6/27/16

    Reference/Resources: FS 39.301(9), FS 741.28, CFOP 170-7

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    Question:Is a safety plan needed up until the case is closed? (IE: a child is deemed safe and the FSC wants to monitor for a couple of weeks prior to closing) The way it reads in Safety Methodology; is that a safety plan is needed throughout the life of the case; I interpret that as until the case closes.

    Answer: A safety plan will be in effect as long as a case remains open with a case plan goal of “strengthen and maintain? or “reunification? and parents do not have the protective capacity necessary to protect the child from identified danger threats. Once a determination has been made that the child is safe the safety plan is no longer needed and closing the case is recommended. Ending a safety plan should coincide with termination of services; however there may be times when the safety plan is closed prior to the case being closed (i.e. problems getting a court date for judicial cases)

    Date Answered: 2/3/2016  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  6/27/16

    Reference/Resources: CFOP 170-7

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    Question: For cases initiated prior to the Safety Methodology, family assessments are being completed. When the case transfers to adoptions, will the adoption worker discontinue doing Family Assessments and start with an FFA-Ongoing?

    Answer: Currently, there is no requirement to convert “pre-methodology? cases, so it is not required for adoption workers to use the FFA-Ongoing when those cases (opened pre-Safety Methodology) move to an adoptions worker.

    Date Answered: 2/24/2016  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

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    Question: If we are adding a sibling to an open case where a parent is not reunified and moving forward with voluntary services, is a home study needed per safety methodology? We recognize one is needed for any children under judicial supervision, but want to ensure our practice is in line with Safety Methodology.

    Answer: The child welfare professional is required to 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; which includes assessing the following:

    • How the family dynamics and conditions are likely to change as a result of the new infant or child

    • Whether the new infant or new child in household contributes to new danger threats

    • Whether the new child is vulnerable to new or existing danger threats

    • Whether the current caregiver protective capacities are sufficient to manage the physical and emotional demands associated with the care and protection of a newborn infant or additional child

    The child welfare professional will add any new children to the case file, including a newborn (whether in the home or still in the hospital) and will update any assessment which is currently under development including the:

    • FFA-Investigation

    • FFA-Ongoing

    • Progress Evaluation

    **Local policies may be more restrictive and require a formal HS. Please check with your agency.

    Date Answered:  3/9/16  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  6/27/16

    Reference/Resources: CFOP 170-7, 65C-30.016

    Question:The 30 Day visit done by case management will be done at which home? For example, if the child lives with the mother but the case plan and FFA-Ongoing is for the father, where will the visit be done?

    Answer: Visits every 30 days must occur with: the child in their current placement, Caregiver of the child and Parent(s) who are the focus of the FFA and case plan

    Date Answered:  12/13/13  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: After a case plan has been approved in FSFN and by the court, can it be updated if new impending danger threats are identified (then obviously filed with the court and approved again when the court accepts)

    Answer: Yes, FSFN functionality supports modifying case plans after they have been approved by the court through the use of case plan worksheets

    Date Answered:  12/13/13  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Chapter 39 currently requires the case plan be completed within 60 days from removal, so depending on how long it takes the CPI to complete the FFA and make the safe/unsafe decision, and depending on the sequence of hearings ordered by the judge, DCMs may be unable to complete the FFA-Ongoing in time to know what should be in the case plan based on the danger threats and the primary caregivers needs, child needs, etc. Also, if medication is ordered, we would be developing a case plan without being able to complete any of the FFA?

    Answer: The FFA-Investigation should be completed within 14 days of the identification of present danger and should be prioritized for transfer upon the identification of impending danger (child being determined to be unsafe). The FFA-Ongoing should be completed within 30 days of case transfer to support the timely completion of the case planning process.

    Date Answered:  12/13/13  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: When you have two FFAs (two parents, two households) how does that go into one case plan?

    Answer: FSFN functionality supports merging case plan worksheets that are associated with separate FFAs

    Date Answered:  12/13/13  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: What is the procedure for safety plans when the goal has changed to adoption? Would there be an update upon the goal change, or only after the final TPR order?

    Answer: When a goal has been changed to adoption, the safety plan should remain in place to cover visitation with parent(s) until visitation is no longer occurring. A goal of adoption does not change the department's obligation to continue working with the birth parent(s) on their case plan. Visitation cannot be stopped until ordered by the court.

    Date Answered:  5/26/16  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: In regards to cases involving parents maintaining separate households, is the case manager required to complete separate FFA-On goings? Or can they address both parents in the one assessment?

    Answer: The focus of the FFA is to determine child safety in the household where the alleged abuse occurred. If the child’s parents or legal guardians have established separate households through divorce or separation, only the household in which the maltreatment is alleged to have occurred is assessed for danger threats and family functioning. If an out of home safety plan is being considered, then the non-maltreating parent would be assessed for their ability to care for the child via an Other Parent Home Assessment.

    Date Answered:  5/13/16  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: CFOP 170-7

    Back  

    Question: Where, in FSFN, are safety plans for the domestic violence perpetrator and the family supposed to be maintained, since they may be discoverable if put in a certain place in FSFN?

    Answer: In order to prevent disclosure of the safety plan which is created for the victim of domestic violence, the plan should be saved in the FSFN file cabinet as the ‘Survivor Safety Plan’.

    Date Answered:  4/20/16  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: CFOP 170-7; FS 39.301(9)(a)6a; Children’s Legal Services

    Question: Is there a discrepancy between CFOP 170-9 and CFOP 170-7 regarding the timeframe for supervisor consultation and approval of a modified safety plan?

    CFOP 170-9, Chapter 10, 10-4 Oversight of Safety Plan Management, b. states “Within 5 days of any safety plan modification, the supervisor will conduct a consultation with the case manager for purposes of affirming the safety plan. The supervisor will determine that…?

    CFOP 170-7, Chapter 2, 2-4 Supervisor Consultations and Approval, a. states “Supervisors are required to complete their review of a present danger safety plan or modifications to an existing plan in response to present danger as soon as possible but no later than within two business days of the plan’s development or modification…?

    CFOP 170-7, Chapter 3, 3-5 Supervisor Consultations and Approval, a. states: “The supervisor will hold follow-up consultations as soon as possible but no later than two business days after the establishment or modification of an impending danger safety plan.?

    Answer: The reason there are differences in these timeframes is because the purpose of the supervisor consultations are different. The first one is when you are modifying a safety plan that has already been created in response to impending danger. The next is when you are creating a safety plan in response to present danger and the third is when you are creating the first safety plan in response to impending danger.

    So, the two scenarios that require a consultation within two business days are when a safety plan is initially being created in response to present or impending danger and the five business day scenario is when there is a modification or change to an already existing plan.

    Date Answered:  7/25/16  

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Will we still be required to complete a case plan on non-judicial cases?

    Answer: Yes, we will still do a case plan on non-judicial cases. The case plan is the road map for achieving adequate caregiver protective capacities.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Will the Child Needs Assessment offer “N/A? as a response on age specific questions?

    Answer: An “N/A? option is not available for age specific questions in the Child Needs Assessment. The Child Needs that don’t apply due to age restrictions will be disabled and will not allow for a rated selection to be made.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Will commencement time frames change?

    Answer: Yes, the amended rule, 65C-29 defines an immediate response “as soon as possible, but no more than (4) hours.? Time begins at the time the report is transmitted to the CPI for investigation. Until the amended rule is published, current time frames will apply.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Where will Conditions for Return be documented?

    Answer: Conditions of return will be documented in the FFA-Investigation, FFA-On-going and Progress Updates under the Safety Summary and Planning tab.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Will the danger statement and family strategy only go on the FFA? Or will it also display in the Case plan or JR?

    Answer: The danger statement and the family goal will appear on the case plan. Only the danger statement and identified barriers will appear in the Judicial review. The other elements of the family change strategy (ideas for change and barriers) will be consistently re-evaluated and only displayed in the FFA-Ongoing and Progress Update.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Some concern on danger threat related to child showing serious emotional symptoms as to how it relates to children, who are ungovernable, behaviorally disordered or otherwise problematic due to their own behavior (Child shows serious emotional symptoms requiring intervention and/or lacks behavioral control and/or exhibits self-destructive behavior that parent/legal guardian/caregiver is unwilling or unable to manage.) Examples: Anorexic child who refuse to eat despite the parents' attempts to get help the child is still in danger; a diabetic teen who refuses insulin treatment or medications

    Answer: The focus of the FFA assessment is whether the parent has the requisite caregiver protective capacities to manage the child’s behavior. The caregiver protective capacities assessed would include whether in response to the child’s behavior the parent takes action (which includes being assertive and responsive, having adequate energy, and using resources to meet basic needs); demonstrates adequate skill to fulfill caregiver responsibilities; is adaptive; has a history of protecting; is self-aware (understanding the relationship between their own actions and results for children; what they do and the effect on the child); caregiver is intellectually able/capable; caregiver recognizes and understands threats to the child; recognizes the child’s needs; understands his/her protective role; plans and is able to articulate a plan to protect child; is tolerant as a caregiver; etc.

    If all of the protective capacities are evident as supported by information gathered and validated, there would not be any basis for determining that the child is unsafe as the family would know how to use resources including the use of crisis oriented medical or mental health care when needed.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: The definition of Vulnerable Child on the Danger Threat Guide indicates that a Vulnerable Child is one who is 0-6 years old; however past trainings have indicated the child has to be vulnerable to the situation. Some clarification on this is needed. Which one is correct?

    Answer: Both age and situation should be assessed when determining if a child is vulnerable. All family conditions and other information gathered should be reconciled to determine if you have a vulnerable child.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Can the department file for dependency when a family arrangement, established in response to present danger, is still necessary when impending danger has been determined?

    Answer: Yes, the department may file for dependency when a family arrangement is in place and impending danger has been determined.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: When a private petition is filed, is a FFA-Ongoing created? Who creates the FFA-Ongoing?

    Answer: Case Management staff will have the ability to create an FFA-Ongoing.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: Where there is a family arrangement made to place a child with family members, is there a funding source to assist with care of the child?

    Answer: There are no new funding sources available to relatives or non-relatives who provide an out-of-home family arrangement for a child. They may be eligible for TANF/Cash assistance or one time CBC flexible funds support upon approval.
    The Relative Caregiver Program (RCP) is an option for all relative placements who meet the criteria (removal and placement by DCF) outlined in rule and statute. The RCP provides Medicaid for the child and some Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA).

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: When a family identifies their own placement arrangement for a child in response to present or impending danger, will a background check and home study still be required?

    Answer: Yes, family-designated caregivers must have a complete local, state and national criminal history and abuse history background checks prior to a child's placement.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: There is a question regarding adding the non-custodial parent on the abuse and neglect petition. The concern was related to the FFA not including information about the non-custodial parent.

    Answer: There will be new requirements for conducting an “Other parent home assessment? when a non-maltreating/non- custodial parent is being considered for placement. This assessment will be different from an FFA and will serve the purpose of determining if the other parent can be expected to provide responsible care and be aligned with the safety plan established. The new Case Plan Worksheet functionality in FSFN allows non-custodial parents to be added to the case plan.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: If we have 2 abuse reports for a family, one for mom's home and one for dad's home, we must do 2 separate FFAs. Will both cases be under the same case shell which is currently named after the mother? Or will there be 2 separate case shells?

    Answer: The CPI will create separate FFAs for each household and both would appear under the same case shell named after the mother.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: Will FFA be filed in court?

    Answer: Yes, the FFA will be filed in court when judicial intervention is required and will be part of discovery and when deemed acceptable by the judiciary can be filed in place of a PDS.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: What are the requirements for non-household investigations?

    Answer: FFAs are not completed for a non-household investigation. The requirements for a non-household investigation are:
    * pre-commencement activities;
    * completing all record checks, review all background information provided by the Hotline and available in FSFN or other databases;
    * contact the reporter if additional information is needed Commencement activities;
    * contact the alleged child victim, the non-household alleged perpetrator Parent/legal guardian; and
    * complete Present Danger Assessment - Upon completion of the Present Danger Assessment and supervisory consultation, the supervisor may close the investigation with no further investigative activities recommended.

    The ongoing safety of the child is the responsibility of the parent/legal guardians and as such, it is incumbent upon the investigator to discuss and plan with the parent/legal guardian for the child’s safety and to determine the parent/legal guardian’s responsibility to act.

    The investigator shall reach a finding regarding the allegations and maltreatment related to the non-household investigation on the non-household alleged perpetrator’s household and proceed with closing the investigation.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: How are split cases handled when everyone is in the same household?

    Answer: We must determine if the allegations in the home apply to only one family or both families. If there are victims and alleged perpetrators in both families then it would be handled like a companion case with 2 FFAs, one for each family. If not, then only one FFA is needed. There is no specific caregiver who is evaluated more than the other when they all live in the same home. They all are assessed for the same protective capacities.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: Do we involve non-maltreating parents in the FFA?

    Answer: If they reside in the same home, they are included in the FFA because they are a caregiver in the home. If they reside separately, they would not be added into the FFA; however, should be contacted regarding the report as a collateral.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: What are the times frames for completing the FFA when present danger is identified?

    Answer: For investigations, the timeframe established in the amended 65C-29 is 14 days for completing an FFA once present danger is determined. The law continues to allow up to 60 days for an investigation to be completed. However, given the need for active management and oversight of a safety plan in response to present danger, it is imperative for the investigator to complete information gathering in an expedited manner (within 14 days) in order to determine whether an ongoing safety plan to manage impending danger is needed and a case plan to address diminished caregiver protective capacities.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: If there is an open services case with an open FFA- Ongoing, do we start a new FFA if a new intake comes in? If we do a new FFA on the new intake does it carry over to case management? How will a new investigation on an on-going case be handled?

    Answer: A new investigation on an on-going services case will require the completion of a new FFA Investigations. The case manager will receive a FSFN generated alert that a new investigation is being conducted. The CPI and the case manager will be expected to closely collaborate in the development of the new FFA Investigations as the case manager will know the current status of child functioning, adult functioning, parenting approach, and disciplinary practices. The investigator will be expected to review what was previously learned about the family in past investigations, including any investigations completed using the FFA Investigations.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: When will case managers be required to scale protective capacities?

    Answer: Case managers will be required to scale protective capacities the first time the FFA-Ongoing is created and every 3 months or at critical junctures thereafter in a Progress Update.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: For scaling of Caregiver Protective Capacities in the FFA- Ongoing, will you be able to see the historical scaling's of Caregiver Protective Capacities and Child Needs scaling?

    Answer: Yes. In addition, the case manager will be able to evaluate client progress (daily, monthly, etc.) and when a Progress Evaluation is created, it will automatically pull in previous progress evaluation information.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: Do we stop doing the FFA-Ongoing when the goal of reunification is eliminated? What does this process look like?

    Answer: The FFA-Ongoing will continue; however, some parts will not be assessed, i.e. Protective Capacities, Motivation for Change, etc. Other parts will continue to be assessed, i.e... Child’s Needs, Child Functioning, etc.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: When a family is under Permanent guardianship and the court has been notified to re-open supervision, do case managers use the old FFA from previous involvement or create a new one? Who has the ability to do so?

    Answer: Case managers have the ability to re-open supervision, and should reflect this action in an updated FFA-Ongoing and a Progress Update as applicable.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: If we do a safety plan and someone moves in the home as a informal safety service provider will they need to be added to the FFA and assessed as a household member in a caretaking role through the normal course of assessment?

    Answer: An individual serving as an informal safety service moving into the home is intended to be a temporary safety action. Therefore, the individual would not be considered a household member. They would, however, need to be addressed in the FFA-Ongoing/ Progress Update in terms of the effectiveness of the safety plan in managing the danger threat - their role, observations, and input as part of measuring the effectiveness of the safety plan.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Will the FFA-Investigation, FFA-Ongoing and Progress Update be retained as history or will the FFA have to be updated the way the current Family Assessment is?

    Answer: Each FFA, FFA-Ongoing, and progress update tool will be retained as history as a stand-alone document as created and approved. In addition, the most recent tool will pre-fill into the new tool being created; carrying forward the most recent historical information to be considered/reviewed to inform the most updated analysis as long as the case remains open.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Can you copy information that has not changed from a prior FFA?

    Answer: Information in previous assessment tools can be cut and pasted into new version of the assessment tools for information that does not pre-fill forward (for instance closed investigation with an FFA-investigation a month ago).

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Our current practice regarding TPR is for the other parent to also be offered services and a case plan. Based on transformation, if they are a non-offending caregiver and we have no allegations against them, we would not be doing an FFA on the other parent's home, and they would not be part of a case plan. So what happens if the other parent does not want to be or cannot be a placement for the children, and we plan to TPR the primary caregiver? The current policy is that we would have to TPR the other (non-offending) parent as well so that the children are eligible for adoption.

    Answer: Pursuant to s. 39.806, F.S. there are several grounds to terminate parental rights. The case manager must always staff the case with a CLS attorney to determine the most appropriate grounds for TPR.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: If someone moves into the home during ongoing services, would we add them to the case; would the system require us to assess their adult functioning, parenting, parenting general and caregiver protective capacity?

    Answer: Yes, if someone moves into the home and assumes a caregiver role, we would add them to the case and assess adult, parenting and disciplinary practices and caregiver protective capacities.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Will the information in the FFA transfer over and pre populate in the Pre-dispositional Study (PDS) and Case Plan?

    Answer: Yes. For the elements in the Pre-dispositional Study (PDS) that correspond to the FFA, the PDS says "Refer to FFA." The expectation is that the FFA will be attached to the PDS and submitted to the Court. The Danger Statement and portions of the Family Strategy will pre-populate the Case Plan. Other information, such as Child Functioning, Adult Functioning, Parenting Domains, etc. are available on the Case Plan Worksheet as a reference to support the completion of the Case Plan.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: What, if any, historical information from the most recent FFA will populate into a new intake? What historical information will populate into the FFA- Ongoing? Can any of the information be edited?

    Answer: A new FFA is completed when there is a new intake. Historical information from a separate investigation will not populate into a new investigation. A FFA-Ongoing can be associated/prefilled from an Investigation with an associated FFA-Investigation within the FSFN Case (open or closed). The information would be editable.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: If there is a roommate in the home that provides no care for the child would we have to assess their caregiver protective capacity (CPC) as well in FSFN?

    Answer: No, the CPI or case manager will only assess caregiver protective capacitates on subjects who are in a significant caregiver role for the child.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

     

    Question: The “Information collection protocol? in training recommends that parents be interviewed first. Is this still required?

    Answer: This is incorrect. The information collection protocol does not recommend the parents be interviewed first. The child should be interviewed first.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: What are the requirements for “other? investigations (when a person not responsible for care of child is alleged perpetrator)?

    Answer: “Other “subtypes do not require an FFA. They will be conducted in the same manner that investigations are currently completed. There will be maltreatment findings but a family functioning assessment will not be required. This also includes Human Trafficking cases --CSEC, where the alleged perpetrator is not a parent or legal guardian.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Why is the Investigative Summary remaining when the FFA covers all the information regarding the findings and other items in the Investigative Summary? This seems like duplicative work.

    Answer: The investigative summary is not duplicative in situations where the investigation is an “Other? investigation an FFA is optional. If an FFA is not completed, the Investigative Summary will need to be developed by the CPI. In investigations that require an FFA, the information from Domain 1 (Nature and Extent of Maltreatment) in the FFA will automatically populate the Investigative Summary.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13

     

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: When a victim is determined to be unsafe from a parent in another county (and the incident occurred at that parents’ house) and judicial intervention is needed, is the petition filed in the county where the victim lives or the county where the “perpetrator? lives?

    Answer: The petition is filed in the county where the perpetrator resides.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Who has jurisdiction of the child in the following scenarios?
    1. We have abuse reports and 2 FFAs for a family, one for mom's home and one for dad's home. The parents live in different counties. We determine that the child is unsafe at both homes and judicial action is pursued against both parents. Which court has jurisdiction?
    2. Would both parents have a case plan and court in their respective counties?
    3. If so, which court has jurisdiction over the child once he is adjudicated dependent?
    4. Also, would there be 2 primary case managers - one for mom and one for dad? If so, who would be responsible for ensuring the child is seen each month?

    Answer: Regarding court jurisdiction:
    1. Either or both courts would have jurisdiction since there are two perpetrators of abuse.
    2. Both parents in this situation would have case plans.
    3. Jurisdiction attaches wherever the petition is filed.
    4. The primary caseworker would be the case worker located in the county the petition was filed.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: If non-custodial parents are not included on the FFA as they are not household members, how will they be assessed and added to the case plan?

    Answer: Non-custodial parents will not be assessed by the case management agency unless the non-custodial parent is being considered for placement. If they are considered for placement, an assessment will be completed using the “Other Parent Home Assessment.? If tasks are needed for a non-custodial parent, the case plan has the flexibility to add these tasks.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: When we have Present Danger and the Present Danger Plan ends up being a removal, we have 21 days to file the dependency petition. Will the FFA be due prior to that timeframe to determine if impending danger is present, giving us insight on if removal is still warranted? If we determine that there is no impending danger, what will the process look like if we ultimately have a safe child when the present danger plan was removal?

    Answer: If it is determined that present danger is present and a removal is completed, information collection on the FFA must be done within 14 days. The FFA should be completed prior to filing the dependency petition to ensure all relevant information is presented to the court. If impending danger is not present a staffing will be held to discuss dismissing the dependency action and all parties will work as diligently as possible to ensure reunification is done quickly, while maintaining integrity to the Methodology.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Can referrals be made prior to the case plan? If so, when and which ones?

    Answer: Crisis intervention services are related to safety management services and are to be provided in the interim period during the completion of the FFA. Treatment services occur after complete assessment when the case is transferred to the CBC for ongoing services. Such treatment happens after the FFA is completed and is part of the case plan development. (Feedback from the rules workshop was that we need to allow for the provision of crisis- oriented treatment or treatment when parent is willing, ready and treatment is available.)

    Generally, until the FFA-ongoing is completed we will not have a true understanding of diminished caregiver protective capacities to refer the parent to treatment; however, in crisis situations, whenever a parent is requesting immediate intervention (i.e. substance abuse intervention) the referral can be made.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: What happens in an on-going services case when an in- home safety plan is no longer viable to ensure for child safety?

    Answer: When strengthening an in-home safety plan is no longer possible, the case manager is responsible for working with the CPI and CLS to effect an out-of-home placement.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Who is responsible for safety management and what are the professional certification requirements?

    Answer: The CPI (fully certified) completes an FFA as a part of the investigation process. The CPI will maintain primary Safety Management responsibilities throughout the course of the Investigation and FFA process. At the conclusion of the Investigation, the CPI will make a determination of whether the child(ren) is safe or unsafe. Case Manager/Child Welfare Professional (fully certified) will assume primary safety management responsibilities and will initiate the FFA-Ongoing to continue the assessment of protective capacities and the development of a case plan.

    This is not optional. If the determination is safe, the community has the flexibility to determine the most appropriate course of action for the family. This is community driven and the training requirements for the person responsible for this family must be defined by the CBC Lead Agency. If the family is “served? by the CBC, an open FSFN case will be maintained and will identify the child as a child receiving Family Support Services throughout the duration of the involvement. If at any point during the life of the case, present or impending danger is identified, a safety plan to control for the threats will be developed.

    The certified Child Welfare Professional (as identified above) will manage the safety plan and will leverage informal or formal safety service providers to carry out the specific actions within the safety plan. These actions can be assumed by non-certified individuals fully capable of carrying out the specific task. Actually, we encourage our safety managers (certified Child Welfare Professionals) to look for these tasks to be carried out by natural/informal supports such as a relative, neighbor or church connection. These individuals are not certified but are probably the best equipped to carry out the specific tasks and support the family on an ongoing basis.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Who must sign safety plans?

    Answer: Participants of the safety plan, parents/legal guardians, informal supports and the supervisor. The participants who have a task, who have a responsibility in managing the danger threat or augmenting the diminished parental protective capacity to the extent that such task allows for the child to remain home with the PD or ID Safety Plan.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: How much information can we give safety service providers without violating confidentiality? If we have extended family members as part of our safety plan, we would need to explain why we are utilizing them and for what purpose. In doing this, we would often need to give them information regarding the issues in the family. Does this violate any confidentiality policies?

    Answer: No, this does not violate confidentiality. In some cases, we will be using service providers or case managers as our safety providers. They already have access to the family’s information due to the treatment and services they are providing that were referred by the department. If we use family members, friends, neighbors, etc. as safety providers, then these people would have been identified by the family themselves. If the family has identified specific people to be part of the safety plan, they are in essence allowing these people to be privy to their home situation. A good option would be for workers to encourage the parents to have frank conversations with those designated to be part of the safety plan. This will help the family reach out to their supports and give the safety providers information.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Policy clarification regarding removal by CPI and CBC related to safety plan: How does the CPI get back in if investigation is closed and the safety plan disrupts?

    Answer: The hotline should only be called when there is a new danger threat that must be investigated. An insufficient safety plan that was created to manage specific danger threats is not a reason to call the hotline.
    The new procedures will affirm that investigators must become involved, even when the investigation is closed. When the case manager has determined there are no other actions possible to strengthen an in-home safety plan and no other non-judicial means can be used to keep the child safe, they must act immediately to shelter the child by involving the CPI. There are circuits currently practicing in this manner. Case managers are not authorized to take children into custody. A child protection investigator must be called to the home to assist the case manager in developing a Judicial out of home safety plan to protect the child. Both the investigator and the case manager will collaborate in staffing the case with CLS to develop a placement plan and petition for sheltering the child.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: What requires supervisor approval in FSFN system?

    Answer: Completed FFA-Investigation and Investigation closure, Supervisor Consultations throughout our work with a family, FFA-Ongoing (overall), Case Plan (overall), Progress Update (overall), Case closure, and Unified Home study.

    Date Answered:  12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: What are the timeframes for supervisory consultations?

    Answer: The initial supervisory consultation is required in all investigations within 5 days of receiving the intake. A telephone consultation such as a discussion from the home or field with a supervisor about present danger and/or safety actions will meet this requirement.

    Date Answered: 12/31/13 

    Date Updated/Reviewed: 

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Can you provide guidance on the current process for assessing and providing services for mothers who are pregnant on open services cases? I can see that there used to be CFOP 175-72, from April 1, 1999, but it does not look like it exists any longer. Was it replaced by a new CFOP and if so, which one?

    Answer: Yes, CFOP 175-72 was replaced with CFOP 170-1 on 5/30/16

    There must be prompt action to assess the safety of a child who is expected to be born into a family or the impact of another new child moving into the household. The child welfare professional with primary or secondary responsibility for the household involving a new baby or new child will notify the supervisor as soon as information about a pending birth and/or new child in the home is known. An ongoing assessment as to how the care of the new child will be managed should be completed; to include a study of the family conditions and how those family conditions will be impacted by the birth of the child, as well as the new child’s need for protection. Children’s Legal Services (CLS) should be provided with advance notification as soon as it is known that the mother is expecting and a staffing should be scheduled as soon as the child is born to determine any legal actions necessary. A background screening of any new child in the home over the age of 12 years must be conducted to review and assess any delinquency, child abuse or other child welfare services history. When the parent, including a minor parent, intends to keep and care for a newborn or it is otherwise known that a new child has or will be entering the household, a Progress Update and as necessary an updated home study will be completed as soon as the information has been collected and assessed.

    Date Answered:  8/9/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: CFOP 170-1 (Chapter 9), 65C-30.016

    Question: When a family is engaged in a non-judicial case and decides to move to another state during the course of the case, do you know where in admin code and/or CFPO or even the pre-service trainer guide it states what action is then needed by the case manager assigned?

    Answer: The case manager would need to follow the requirements in CFOP 170-1, Safety Planning and Management, Chapter 1, General Provisions, Paragraph 1-7 Judicial Actions Related to Child Safety,# (5) which states:

    In an on-going services case involving an in-home safety plan, the child welfare professional with primary responsibility for the case must request a staffing with CLS to determine legal actions necessary when either of the following occur:

    (a) The family no longer meets the criteria for an in-home safety plan based on an in-home safety analysis per paragraph 3-2 of this operating procedure.

    (b) When the parent(s) are not demonstrating efforts to achieve case plan outcomes that address the child’s need for safety.

    There are no means to establish or supervise an in-home safety plan in another state. If we have concerns that the family is fleeing to avoid treatment required in a case plan or requirements in a safety plan, the conditions for an in-home plan are no longer met.

    Date Answered:  9/19/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Is CFOP 170-11 replacing the CFOP 175-88 Sexual Safety Plan?

    Answer: Yes. The requirements in CFOP 175-88 were eliminated from Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) 65C-28.004 which was effective May 8, 2016. The new placement matching requirements in 65C-28.004 include care precautions and behavior management plans. CFOP 175-88 will be repealed on September 12, 2016. Note that the F.A.C. trumps operating procedures.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare

    Question: Please clarify the role of the Child Protective Investigator as it pertains to Child Placement Agreements.

    Answer: As for any emergency placement, the CPI's basic responsibilities are:

    Exercise due diligence to gather information to identify any child behaviors of concern

    For children who might need a Child Placement Agreement when they are being evaluated by a CPT, CPI should request that the CPT provide any early information (verbally) from their assessment that will help to inform placement needs. This includes information gathering about the needs of a sibling group in order to plan for each sibling's safety in care.

    Exercise due diligence to gather and assess information about relative/non-relative caregiver, other children in their home, and whether the caregiver can address the child's needs and provide supervision necessary to protect other children in the home

    Share all information with caregiver

    Review with the out-of-home caregiver the care and supervision needs of the child and develop initial Child Placement Agreement

    Complete the Unified Home Study to document information gathered to justify that a relative or non-relative is responsible and capable of meeting the child’s needs.

    Obtain supervisory approval of the relative/non-relative placement

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Can we use a LMHC or LCSW as a Qualified Assessor?

    Answer: CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Section 4.3a provides the following guidance to give Lead Agencies/CBCs the flexibility to identify which local assessors are qualified: “Assessment by Qualified Assessor? means the gathering of information by a clinical professional with specific training and expertise to assess the symptoms or behaviors that the child is displaying and recommend interventions or treatment, including care, supervision and other specialized services. A LMHC or LCSW could be identified by the Lead Agency/CBC as meeting the definition provided.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Can the qualified assessor discussed in CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placement Agreement be asked to contact the GAL if one is involved with the child?

    Answer: Yes. GALs are responsible for understanding the child’s identified needs while in care (section 39.6012(2)(a) Florida Statutes) and whether the child receives safe and proper care. It might be quite beneficial for the GAL to have a direct conversation with the assessor.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: In CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placement Agreement, communicable diseases could include flu and many other types of illnesses. Which ones are covered in this definition?

    Answer: In the context of this CFOP and the definition of a behavior that is a significant threat to others, it would mean a child with HIV/AIDS who displays the behaviors of biting, spitting or exhange of blood or semen. It would be a "significant threat" as it is a life-threatening disease that can't be cured like other types of more common communicable diseases. Any caregiver should be informed when any child being placed has other types of contagious or communicable diseases and trained when needed as to the protocols that should be used to protect other children in the setting; these situations are not required to have a Child Placement Agreement.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Is there still a requirement to inform the foster parent/provider of the known sexual abuse victim/aggressor history?

    Answer: Yes, in CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4-4, Paragraph 4-4 outlines full disclosure requirements. This aligns with requirements in F.A.C. 65C-28.004.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: What about timeframes when discovery (of behaviors that will necessitate a Child Placement Agreement) happens after placement by caregiver, and caregiver notifies a case manager?

    Answer: The case manager should work with caregiver as soon as the notification occurs to develop agreement about the requirements that should immediately go into effect to ensure the safety of all children in the placement. Based on the information provided by the caregiver, the case manager should determine whether Care Precautions or a Behavior Management Plan is necessary. An agreement may be worked out over the phone when necessary and documented in a Case Note. If the child has a treatment professional already involved or a CBHA is already underway, the providers should be informed as to what the caregiver has learned. Requirements for supervisor exceptions to requirements should be followed. Within 5 days of a verbal agreement, a Child Placement Agreement should be completed and signed by the persons required in 4-5j.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Is a plan optional for therapeutic foster homes? The policy states a “Child Placement Agreement is optional when a child is placed in a facility that is licensed for the specialized treatment, behavior management and protections for other children associated with juvenile sexual abuse, child sexual abuse victims or children’s mental health treatment.

    Answer: This language allows the CBC/Lead Agency the discretion to determine when a Child Placement Agreement would serve the best interests of the child and other children in a therapeutic foster home placement.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Is a facility required to be licensed specifically for the treatment of the special need of the children placed? Where does BHOS fall?

    Answer: The licensure should relate to expertise the facility provides which addresses the primary special needs of the child being placed. The treatment team that develops the "resident specific plan" for BHOS services should determine whether a Child Placement Agreement is necessary.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: What is the basis for not needing a child placement agreement in a therapeutic foster home or other specialized treatment facility? Is the assumption that the foster parent or provider would know what to do to prevent any ongoing issues with respect to child behavior/concerns that are known?

    Answer: Yes, that is the assumption. Note that the CFOP 4-5c states that the Agreement is “optional? when a child is placed in in a facility that is licensed for the specialized treatment, behavior management and protections for other children associated with juvenile sexual abuse, child sexual abuse victims or children’s mental health treatment.? This language allows the CBC/Lead Agency the discretion to determine when a Child Placement Agreement would serve the best interests of the child and other children in a placement.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Are there provisions to have community partners participate in the development of Child Placement Agreement such as the GAL's?

    Answer: Section 4-5(d) of CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4 establishes the minimum expectation for teamwork in developing the initial placement agreement. Once more information is known about the child and the case manager is ready to modify the Agreement, any persons with knowledge about the child and/or expertise about the child’s circumstances or the dynamics might be excellent resources to also include in a planning meeting. “The child welfare professional responsible for the child’s placement will develop the Child Placement Agreement in collaboration with the caregiver(s) and to the fullest extent possible will include all persons who will be in a caretaking role, including any respite providers. As appropriate, the child will be included in the development of the plan to provide input as to what house rules will make him/her feel safe and/or help him/her with expressing feelings.? (4-5d.)

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Has there been consideration for the need for a dress code in the child placement agreement?

    Answer: Yes, a dress code is included in the Prevention House Rules that apply to all Child Placement Agreements. “4-5 f. (6) Caregivers will establish a dress code which outlines the type of clothing that is acceptable and under what circumstances.?

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: For Care Precautions for a child who is an alleged victim of sexual abuse, is an agreement needed if there were no findings in an investigation of sexual abuse?

    Answer: Paragraph 4-6 c states that "Care Precautions may be terminated based on an evaluation by a qualified assessor and the absence of concerning behaviors which threaten the safety of other children in the home or the child." A CBHA assessor may be determined by the Lead Agency/CBC to have the qualifications necessary to determine whether an alleged child victim of sexual abuse needs care precautions in their placement.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Child on Child, Special Condition report does not have a clear ‘verified’ finding so if it’s a child on child incident – do they require a Child Placement Agreement?

    Answer: When the Special Condition report resulted from an incident of juvenile sexual abuse or problematic sexual behavior in a relative/non-relative or licensed foster care setting, a Child Placement Agreement should be established based upon the information known at the time (care precautions or a behavior management plan). The assessment completed by the investigator should provide further details about the "offense characteristics" and the child's "sexual knowledge and experience." This information should be used to inform whether Care Precautions or a Behavior Management Plan is necessary to protect other children in the same setting.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Section 4-6 states ‘the child welfare professional responsible for placing the child shall establish Care Precautions. Is the agency responsible the agency that makes a placement match or the agency that takes the child for placement in the home?

    Answer: There will be times when a Child Placement Agency completes initial placement selection and matching based on information provided by the CPI or case manager. When a child is placed during a child protection investigation, the CPI is responsible for the information gathered about the child’s behaviors or conditions that necessitate and Agreement, the child’s physical placement in a relative/non-relative home or a licensed home identified by a Child Placement Agency and the completion of the Child Placement Agreement. During ongoing services, the case manager who has primary responsibility for the case is the person responsible to ensure that the on-going Agreement is relevant, current and least restrictive necessary. If a placement change is necessary, even though a Child Placement Agency may identify a new placement resource, the case manager is responsible for the information gathered about the child, the physical placement of the child, and completion of the Child Placement Agreement.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Some current CBC policies identify a victim of sexual abuse as a child that has verified or not substantiated finding of sexual abuse by CPT, verified finding of sexual abuse by a DCF investigation or conviction of the alleged perpetrator for sexually related charges perpetrated against the child. Is this definition appropriate given the requirements in the new CFOP?

    Answer: The new CFOP requires a Child Placement Agreement (care precautions) for children with allegations or known victims, as well as Problematic Sexual Behavior. The definition for "known victims" is a relevant interpretation. When care precautions have been established for an alleged victim, and at the conclusion of the investigation there are "No Indicators" and no problematic sexual behaviors, care precautions would be discontinued without the need for an evaluation by a qualified assessor.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: If the child discloses sexual abuse, or someone discloses on the child’s behalf do they automatically go on a plan?

    Answer: If the child is known to the caregiver at the time of disclosure and has not demonstrated any problematic sexual behavior that would be the basis for care precautions, there is not a need for a Child Placement Agreement for Care Precautions. The reason for creating care precautions for alleged and/or known victims is to ensure that until more is known about potentially reactive behaviors, other children in the home are protected.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Once we identify a child with a current Sexual Safety Plan who will continue to need a Behavior Management Plan, do they need to have an assessment within 30 days?

    Answer: A new assessment would not be necessary when:

    There is already information from a child's treatment provider or other qualified evaluator to support that the child does not display any behaviors that are a concern for other children in the placement setting and

    Caregivers for the child have not observed or learned of any behaviors which would require care precautions or a behavior management plan

    Such information is documented in the child's FSFN record

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Does sight and sound mean 24 hours? Does this apply to a foster home, or does it mean awake hours for a foster home?

    Answer: Sight and sound pertains to the child's "awake" hours. As most licensed foster care providers do not have awake staff during the nighttime, the operating procedure requirement states that there needs to be "an alarm or other alerting device for the door when there are concerns for the safety of the child or other children in the home during the times when caregivers are sleeping."

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4-7 (b) does not specifically address terminating a behavior management plan based on an evaluation by a qualified assessor and the absence of concerning behaviors which threaten the safety of other children in the home or the child but you are saying a behavior management plan can be terminated, is that correct?

    Answer: Yes, the exceptions process should be used to terminate a Child Placement Agreement for Care Precautions or a Behavior Management Plan

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: If it is determined that a sibling group can be maintained safely in the same placement, does the requirement for the child (with the behaviors that require a behavior management plan) to be the youngest child in the home still apply?

    Answer: When a sibling group is being placed together, there must be a determination of what is necessary to ensure safety among the members of the sibling group, regardless of their ages. When the safety of a sibling group can be maintained in the same setting, the child with the behaviors of concern does not need to be the youngest.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Section 4-7 (3)(b). When a child requires a Child Placement Agreement Behavior Management Plan, the policy states the child must be the “youngest child living in the home.? Is this meant to require that the child is the youngest child placed in a room? Can a differentiation be made for sexual abuse vs. behavior?

    Answer: The requirement is for the child to be the youngest in the home. This specific requirement does not apply to children who need care precautions, only a behavior management plan.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: If a relative caregiver wants to provide a placement for a child who needs a behavior management plan, must the child be the youngest in the home?

    Answer: If there has been full disclosure to a relative about the behaviors of the child that are a concern, and the relative believes that the safety of the other children in the home can be provided through reasonable supervision measures, the child should be placed. The Agreement should be established with the caregiver and should note how the caregiver will achieve supervision and safety needs of children in the home.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: If a child has a new incident during placement, does CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Section 4-9 apply to children on a pre-existing Child Placement Agreement?

    Answer: Yes, The reason for seeking an evaluation or recommendations from a treatment provider is that the current plan failed to protect other children in the setting from "a new incident of harm."

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: How does the following requirement work for children placed in group care: “When a new child is placed in the home, a review of any current Agreements will be conducted to determine if any changes are necessary.? There may be multiple residents moving in and out of group care which the case manager may not be aware of or not know about until the next home visit.

    Answer: Paragraph 4-10 in CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, describes expectations for case managers to determine during routine contacts whether the current Agreement is working dependably and whether any changes are needed. During monthly contacts, the case manager is expected to gather "information from separate interviews with the child, the caregiver(s) and staff." During these interviews, the case manager should explore with the child whether they feel safe in the setting, what rules in the house are keeping them safe, and if any new rules are needed to increase their safety. Interviews with staff should determine whether there are any changes in the home, including any new children placed that impact the current Agreement. The initial Agreement and any modifications necessary should be developed "in collaboration with the caregiver(s) and to the fullest extent possible all persons who will be in a caretaking role… As appropriate the child will be included in the development of the plan to provide input as to what house rules will make him/her feel safe…"

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: If a Child Placement Agreement plan has been terminated and subsequently the child experiences a placement change is a new plan automatically required?

    Answer: If an Agreement has been terminated in accordance with Paragraph 4-11 a new plan is not needed when the child moves to a different setting.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: When a Child Placement Agency is responsible for identifying the placement match, which supervisor is responsible for approving the Child Placement Agreement?

    Answer: The certified child welfare professional responsible for supervision of the child is responsible for the child placement (either a CPI or case manager) and establishing a Child Placement Agreement. The supervisor of the CPI or the case manager responsible for supervising the placement is responsible for approving the Child Placement Agreement.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: If the out-of-home provider does not have access to FSFN, how would we ensure that the Child Placement Agreement is uploaded?

    Answer: It is the responsibility of the primary child welfare professional responsible for the case to ensure that the most recent Child Placement Agreement has been uploaded to FSFN Participant Documents for the child.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Currently, the GAL has limited access to FSFN. Will the GAL have access to these agreements in FSFN?

    Answer: Yes, the signed Child Placement Agreement should be scanned into the Participant Documents section of the FSFN file cabinet. Note that any professional assessments or recommendations received will be scanned into the Medical/Mental Health section of the File Cabinet which has limited security access due to HIPPA requirements. Case Coordinators for the GAL program can print the Child Placement Agreement in FSFN and share a copy with the GAL volunteer assigned to the case. The GAL Case Coordinator would not be able to view or print information in the child’s Medical/Mental Health tab, however they may receive copies of any evaluations performed.

    Date Answered:  9/20/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Child Placing Agreement

    Question: Can you clarify what is required of the services supervisor when a case is transferred to them from a CPI with a child in a family-made arrangement; how does CFOP 170-7, Chapter 6, Section 6-2, Requirements, subsection b. paragraphs (2) & (3) apply?

    Answer: Family made arrangements should be short term. Chapter 6-4. Closing Cases with Family-Made Arrangement states an investigation involving a safety plan with a family arrangement cannot be closed until the child(ren) are able to safely reside in their own home or permanency has been achieved under either of the following:

    a. Temporary custody pursuant to Chapter 751, Florida Statutes.

    b. Permanency options through section 39.621, Florida Statutes.

    Ideally a family made arrangement would not be in place at the time a case is transferred to services. However, if the family made arrangement has been in effect for more than 14 days at the time of the case transfer, Supervisor Consultations should occur every 7 days while the family made arrangement is in effect. These Supervisor Consultations should focus on how the family made caregivers are managing the danger threat(s) and progress made toward the parents assuming responsibly for the child(ren)

    Date Answered:  12/5/16 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-7, Chapter 6

    Question: If a minor mother gives birth, is the FFA progress update required in both the minor mother and major mother's case? Is it the same FFA or would it be different?

    Answer: Yes, when there are allegations of maltreatment against minor parent, a separate FFA must be created for the minor parent and his/her child(ren) and the other parent/legal guardians in the home and their respective children. One FFA will include and describe the minor parent as a child victim and the other will include and describe the minor parent as an alleged perpetrator.

    Date Answered:  9/28/17 

    Date Updated/Reviewed:  

    Reference/Resources: CFOP 170-2, Ch.2 (paragraph 2-3)

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    Question: What are the recommended caseload sizes for CBC Case Managers; number of cases vs. number of children?

    Answer:   According to the Council On Accreditation (COA) it is recommended that caseloads are sufficiently small to permit case managers to respond flexibly to differing service needs of individuals and families, including frequency of contact (a specific number is no longer provided).

    Date Answered:  09/10/07    

    Date Updated/Reviewed:   10/29/10; 11/18/13

    Reference/Resources:

    Council on Accreditation (http://coanet.org/standard/cm/10/)

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    Question: What are the recommended caseload sizes for Adoption Workers?

    Answer:  According to the Council On Accreditation (COA) suggests that Adoption Worker caseloads do not exceed 12-25 families.  COA does not distinguish between the number of children vs. number of families; however, they do consider a 'case' to be an individual child.

    Date Answered: 09/10/07     

    Date Updated/Reviewed: 10/29/10; 11/18/13

    Reference/Resources:

    Council on Accreditation: http://coanet.org/standard/as/14/

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    Question:  What are the recommended caseload sizes for Protective Investigations; number of cases vs. number of children?

    Answer:   According to the Council On Accreditation (COA) suggests that the caseload for Investigators should not exceed 15 investigations or 15-30 open cases. 

    Date Answered:  09/10/07    

    Date Updated/Reviewed:   10/29/10; 11/18/13

    Reference/Resources:

    Council on Accreditation: http://coanet.org/standard/cps/14/

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    Question: What are the current requirements (course selection, etc.) for child welfare workers seeking re-certification?

    Answer:   In 2011, legislation was approved to ensure that each person providing child welfare services in Florida earns and maintains a professional certification from a professional credentialing entity that is approved by the Department of Children and Family Services. Currently the only DCF approved certification provider is the Florida Certification Board (FCB). Currently, in order to maintain active certification through the FCB, child welfare professionals must complete 40 hours of training from an approved provider every two years as well as comply with other renewal requirements. Additional information is provided at the FCB website: http://www.flcertificationboard.org/Certifications_Child-Welfare-Case-Manager.cfm

    Reference/Resource:  FS 402.40; FS 402.731 F.A.C.

    Date Answered: 7-18-08

    Date Updated/Reviewed:   11/18/13

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    Question: How can I access the field based performance assessment evaluators guide for a family services counselor?

    Answer: Due the changes that have taken place regarding the training system, DCF and each CBC agency is responsible for the development and implementation of a field assessment (FBPA) process to address Phase II requirements.  Each agency was required to submit a plan to DCF.  Therefore the FBPA books that were used under the old PDC system are no longer required.

    Date Answered: November 10, 2008

    Date Updated/Reviewed:

    References/Resources: Training Consortium

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    Question:Is there a requirement that trainers of the pre-service curriculum be certified?

    Answer:No, Florida statutes 402.40 specifies who must be certified in order to provide child welfare services. Child welfare trainers are not included in the definition of those providing ‘child welfare services’.

    Date Answered:April 4, 2014

    Date Updated/Reviewed:

    References/Resources:FS 402.40; DCF correspondence

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    Question: At what point after hire can a new employee independently complete contacts/home visits with families?

    Answer: Prior to successfully completing the waiver or post-test, the individual is considered to be a trainee, and, as such, under no circumstances shall he or she carry a caseload, be assigned responsibility for any cases, conduct any unaccompanied or unsupervised home visits, perform any unsupervised home studies or interviews of children or adults, be ultimately responsible for any assessment of risk, or otherwise have primary responsibility for any investigation, child, family or case.

    Date Answered: 8/18/15

    Date Updated/Reviewed:

    References/Resources: FAC 65C-33.002 (11)(b)

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