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Frequently Asked Questions By Child Welfare Professionals

Assessments (CBHA, other medical/mental health assessments, family assessment) 

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

    The child's DCM will ensure that all behavioral health services that are identified in behavioral health assessments or prescribed by a medical or mental health professional have been integrated into the families dependency case plan and are referred for within seven business days of being identified. If all behavioral health services that are identified in behavioral health assessments or prescribed by a medical or mental health professional are not included in the family's dependency case plan the reasons will be documented in the child's case file. Additionally, The child welfare professional responsible for the case shall ensure the CBHA is filed with the court.

    Date Answered:  8/6/07 

    Date Updated/Reviewed: 10/30/12; 1/22/14; 5/8/16; 12/13/19; 9/24/2020

    Reference: CFOP 170-18, Ch. 1

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

    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; 12/13/19

    Reference: 65C-29.008 F.A.C.

    What should occur if a paramour and his/her children move into a focus household and assumes a significant caregiver responsibility of the focus children?

    The family assessment must include descriptions of all family members and persons in the family household and resource network including minors, whether or not they will be identified as participants in the case plan. The descriptions should be included in the most appropriate information domain for the parent or significant caregiver, whichever is most relevant, as to:

    (a) Other person's relationship to the parent and reason for presence in the home, including family members of any family unit residing in same household.

    (b) Impact of other person's presence as to child functioning, adult functioning, parenting and discipline/behavior management.

    (c) Assessment of other person's background history information gathered and whether there are patterns of behavior which present safety concerns.

    (d) Assessment of risk and safety for all minor children residing in the household and any family household needs including documentation of any unmet need such as food, clothing, or services not included in the case plan.

    The child will be added to the case shell and will be included as a participant in the FFA-Ongoing or progress update. The case manager will provide information about the child's parent, why they are in the new home and if they have any special needs or behaviors that will require special care, including any need for a Child Placement Agreement.

    The purpose of the FFA-Investigation, FFA-Ongoing and Progress Updates is to evaluate and describe how the household functions, including a clear understanding as to who provides any care, parenting, quality time, and/or discipline for the children.Every type of assessment serves the purpose of identifying family conditions, how the children are vulnerable to those conditions, and whether the parent/legal guardian and other significant caregiver(s) in the household are able to care for and protect the children (caregiver protective capacities).The difference is the fact that the new family moving in is the paramour to the focus family. If it were a new family with no relationship to the existing family and not a paramour and not sharing caregiving responsibilities, then the new family members would not be identified as participants.

    Date Answered:7/20/18

    Date Reviewed: 12/13/19, 10/20/20

    Reference: CFOP 170-1,Ch. 2; CFOP 170-1, Ch. 9; CFOP 170-9, Ch. 6; CFOP 170-9, Ch. 7; 65C-30.007 F.A.C.

    Background Screening (non-licensed placements, visitation, reunification)

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

      Answer: Prior to reunification with the removal parent, the CWP will update the local criminal background checks of the parent. For all other household members, there will be updated state and local criminal checks and fingerprint submission.

      Date Answered: 7/11/08

      Date Updated/ Reviewed:  7/28/10; 3/3/14; 5/8/16; 10/23/18; 12/13/19

      Reference: CFOP 170-1, Ch. 6CFOP 170-7, Ch. 12; 65C-28.011(6) F.A.C.;

      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; 9/27/19, 10/30/20

      Reference: 65C-28.011(7)(b) F.A.C.; F.S. 39.0138

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

      Answer: Household members, excluding current and potential caregivers, 18 years of age and older, who have a physical, developmental, or cognitive disability that prevents that person from safely submitting fingerprints can request an exemption from the fingerprinting requirements. Individuals seeking the exemption must provide supportive documentation from a licensed health professional outlining justification that the individual is unable to submit fingerprints safely due to a disability, and that the disability does not present a safety concern for children in the home.

      Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 1/28/15; 9/26/19

      Reference: 65C-28.020 F.A.C.

      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 perpetrator, 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, 7/1/2018; 12/13/19, 10/30/20

      Reference:  39.0138(1) F.S.; 39.521(2) F.S.; 65C-29.003 F.A.C; 65C-29.009 F.A.C.; CFOP 170-1, Ch. 6

      What are the 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; 12/13/19

      References/Resource: 39.521 F.S.; 65C-28.011 F.A.C.; CFOP 170-1, Ch. 6

      Is it 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.

      Date Answered:  7/5/10

      Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 9/27/19

      Reference:   CFOP 170-11, Ch. 7

      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; 9/27/19

      Reference: CFOP 170-1, Ch. 6-10

      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; 9/30/19

      Reference:  CFOP 170-1, Ch.6, 65C-28.011 F.A.C.

      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: 12/13/19

      Reference: CFOP 50-1

      Regarding informal safety providers, what exactly does “Criminal history checks entail?

      Answer: Prior to approval of a relative or nonrelative who agrees to provide informal safety management services, including family-made arrangements, the child welfare professional will conduct background screening to include child abuse history, a Florida Sexual Offenders and Predators registration check and local criminal history check.

      Date Answered:  3/21/16

      Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/22/16, 8/16/17; 4/12/18; 12/13/19

      Reference: 65C-28.011 F.A.C.

      When requesting background screenings through FSFN do the results include Department of Corrections, DJJ, and sexual offender information?

      Answer: The hotline CIU was created to assist child welfare professionals in obtaining criminal and other background information to support investigation, emergency and planned background checks. The Department must ensure that information is accessed and used in accordance with a user agreement that the Department has executed with the agency responsible for the data base. The database includes National Crime Information Center (NCIC), administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC), administered by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).; Driver and Vehicle Information Data Base (DAVID), administered by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).; Department of Corrections (DOC) data source, administered by the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC),; Juvenile Justice Information System (JJIS), administered by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), and Jail Booking System (APPRISS)

      Date Answered:  8/31/16

      Date Updated/Reviewed: 9/30/19, 10/30/20

      Reference: CFOP 170-1, Ch.6; 65C-28.009 F.A.C.; 39.0138 F.S.

      On a reactivated pro se motion, would we need backgrounds for the parent the child was placed with?

      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: 12/13/19

      Reference: CFOP 170-7, Ch. 5-3

      Case Management (includes worker contacts/supervision, staffings)

        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:65C-28.017 F.A.C.

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

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

        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:65C-30.007 F.A.C.

        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:65C-30.007(1)(f)2 F.A.C.

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

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

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

        Answer:  When a baby is born or a new child enters the home, the case manager will immediately contact their supervisor and visit the home where the child is or will reside. The case manager will reevaluate the current safety plan to determine if new safety plan actions or tasks are needed to protect the new child. The case manager must modify or create a safety plan for a newborn prior to the child's release from the hospital.Visit the home and conduct an assessment to determine safety of new child. The case manager should generate a new report to the Hotline only if he/she suspects the new child was abused, abandoned, or neglected. Immediately, in all cases, enter new child's name and demographics into FSFN as part of existing case. The case manager will include the new child as a participant in the FFA-O or Progress Update, whichever is due next. Per 39.701 (1)(h)1, F.S., the assessment must be completed as follows:

        (1) At least 30 days before a newborn or new child moves into the home; or,
        (2) Within 72 hours after learning the child will be moving into the home in less than 30 days.

        Date Answered:  6-29-07

        Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/10/13; 1/21/15; 2/25/16, 4/4/16; 9/24/2020

        Reference: 65C-30.016 F.A.C.; CFOP 170-1, Ch. 9

        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:65C-30.007(1)(b) F.A.C.

        How many contacts must a counselor have with a child in shelter status?

        Answer: Initial face-to-face contacts with the child and caregiver will 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; 7/6/2020

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

        How long must supervision continue after reunification?

        Answer: CFOP 170-7, Ch. 12 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: 65C-30.014 F.A.C.; CFOP 170-7, Ch. 12

        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; 10/25/18; 10/9/19

        Reference:CFOP 39.6012(3) F.S.; 39.6221(2)(e) F.S.; 39.811 7(b)F.S.; 65C-30.006 F.A.C. (4)(c); CFOP 170-7, Ch. 10

        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: CFOP 170-9, Ch. 10; Mentoring Through Qualitative Discussion (Training for Child Welfare Supervisors); Case Management (Summary of Supervisory Case Consultation and Review Requirements),

        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 related information can be located below:
        DCF Missing Children Guide

        Date Answered:  1/5/16

        Date Updated/Reviewed:

        Reference: DCF Missing Children 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"?

        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: Office of Child Welfare

        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:

        • Release of child to another parent/legal guardian after approval of an Other Parent Home Assessment is generally the preferred placement.
        • Child temporarily lives with someone in the family network, known as a “family-made arrangement".
        • Child is placed with a relative/non-relative after background checks are completed and the home study initiated.
        • Child placed with the adoptive parent of the child's sibling after an approved relative/non-relative home study unless the home is a licensed foster care setting.
        • 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; 8/12/21

        Reference: CFOP 170-7

        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

        Date Updated/Reviewed: 8/12/21

        Reference: CFOP 170-7 Ch 5 & 11

        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: Should the child who is missing be involved in an active child protective investigation or receiving judicial or non-judicial in-home services, the child welfare professional shall immediately staff the case with his or her direct supervisor to ascertain if present or impending danger exists. If present or impending danger is identified, the child welfare professional will staff the case with Children's Legal Services or the contracted legal provider within 24 hours of determining that the child is missing to obtain a Pickup or Take Into Custody Order if one or more of the following conditions exist: (1) Law enforcement will not initiate efforts to locate the child without a court order. (2) The caregiver or legal guardian of a child in an active child protective investigation or receiving judicial or non-judicial in-home services is refusing to cooperate with efforts to locate the child, including: (a) Has not reported the child as missing to local law enforcement within the timeframes set forth in paragraphs 7a-c of this operating procedure and continues to refuse to do so after being informed of the need to do so. (b) There is reason to believe the child's whereabouts are known by the caregiver or legal guardian and the lack of cooperation is for the purpose of denying the child welfare professional access to the child, or the family has or is about to flee to avoid further agency intervention. Once determined that the child is missing, the MCR will be completed  

        Date Answered: 7/18/16

        Date Updated/Reviewed: 8/12/21

        Reference: 65-C 30.019 F.A.C.; CFOP 170-3

        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

        Date Updated/Reviewed: 8/12/21

        Reference: 65C-30.007 F.A.C.; CFOP 170-7, Ch 11 & 12

        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: Office of Child Welfare

        Can you provide guidance on the current process for assessing and providing services for mothers who are pregnant on open services cases?

        Answer: 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. The Case Manager is responsible for completing a pre-birth assessment as part of the FFA-O or Progress Update, whichever is due after learning of the pregnancy. The assessment must be completed at least 30 days before a child is expected to be born; or within 72 hours after learning of the pregnancy, if the child is expected to be born in less than 30 days. The case manager must convene a multidisciplinary staffing or family team meeting to determine prenatal care and pre-birth needs, identify the anticipated needs of both mother and father to care for the child and identify the services and supports to address family needs when the child is born. In a non-judicial case, a CLS staffing for judicial action must be requested if there are concerns that the criteria for an in-home safety plan are not met. In a judicial case, a CLS staffing must be requested prior to the birth of a child. If the child is already born the staffing should be scheduled as soon as posible to determine any legal actions necessary.

        Date Answered:  8/9/16 

        Date Updated/Reviewed:  10/15/20

        Reference: CFOP 170-1, Ch. 9; 65C-30.016 F.A.C.

        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: CFOP 170-7 ; 65-C 30.007 F.A.C.

        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: Office of Child Welfare

        Case Plan

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

          Answer: The case plan must be developed in a face-to-face conference with the parent of the child, any court-appointed guardian ad litem, and, if appropriate, the child and the temporary custodian of the child. The parent may receive assistance from any person or social service agency in preparing the case plan. The social service agency, the department, and the court, when applicable, shall inform the parent of the right to receive such assistance, including the right to assistance of counsel.

          Date Answered:  6/29/07

          Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13; 2/29/16; 6/27/16; 10/4/19, 11/2/20

          Reference:  39.6011(1)(a) and (c) F.S.; CFOP 170-9, Ch. 5

          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-maltreating parents living in separate households will not be added to the FFA-I or FFA-O, however, information about them should be included in the child functioning domain. The information will describe the child's relationship with the non-maltreating parent. If the child has on-going contact with the non-maltreating parent, then pertinent information may be included in the parenting and discipline domains for the parent of the focus HH. If an out-of-home plan is necessary, then the non-maltreating parent may be assessed using the “Other Parent Home Assessment (OPHA). If tasks are needed for a non-custodial parent, the case plan has the flexibility to add these tasks. The OPHA is not required if it is known that placement or visitation would be detrimental to the child due to the non-maltreating parent's incarceration for a significant portion of the child's minority years; or if they have verified findings of sexual abuse or guilty of crimes listed in 39.0139, F.S.

          The child welfare professional responsible for a child released to another parent/legal guardian will continually assess for safety and child needs.

          Date Answered:  12/31/13 

          Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/18/19, 10/20/20

          Reference: CFOP 170-1, Ch. 2; CFOP 170-7

          Can referrals be made prior to the case plan?

          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. In most cases the worker should 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:  10/21/20

          Reference: CFOP 170-1, Ch. 2

          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:  5/9/09

          Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13, 7/5/16, 10/9/19

          References: 39.01(10), (40), (56), (68) F.S.

          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:  11/1/10

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

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

          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; 10/4/19

          References:   65C-30.011 (4) F.A.C.

          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 and the child. 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:  6/21/18; 9/26/19

          Reference: CFOP 170-7 Ch 9;39.01 (11) (58) F.S.; 39.6012 F.S.

          At what age should a child be involved in case planning?

          Answer:  Beginning at age 14, any case plan development must be in consultation with the child or young adult. CBCs must ensure the case plan includes a document regarding the rights of the child or young adult to education, health, visitation, court participation, and safety. If the child is younger than 14 and appropriate there is nothing to prelude the worker from including the child in the case planning process.

          Date Answered: 10/31/19    

          Date Updated/Reviewed:11/2/20  

          Reference: 39.6011 F.S.; CFOP 170-9 Ch. 5-3

          Child Placement Agreement (CPA)

            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: 8/27/18

            Reference: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4 Child Placing Agreement

            Can we use a LMHC or LCSW as a Qualified Assessor?

            Answer: CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4, Section 4.3a defines a Qualified Assessor as a clinical professional with specific training and expertise to assess the child's symptoms or behaviors and make recommendations for treatment, care, supervision or other specialized services. The CBC Lead agency may determine that a child's treatment provider is a Qualified Assessor.

            Date Answered:  9/20/16 

            Date Updated/Reviewed: 8/27/18

            Reference: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4, Child Placing Agreement

            What should occur if behaviors that may require a Child Placement Agreement are exhibited after placement has been made.

            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:8/27/18

            Reference: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4, Child Placing Agreement

            Is a Child Placement Agreement plan optional for therapeutic foster homes?

            Answer: The current policy allows the CBC Lead Agency to determine whether an agreement is necessary when a child is placed in a facility that is licensed to provide specialized treatment and protection for children associated with child sexual abuse or children's mental health. Additionally, the CBC has the discretion to determine the necessity if a child's behaviors are being addressed through a treatment provider or via Behavioral Health Overlay Services (BHOS) in the home and the provider does not recommend care precautions of a behavior management plan.

            Date Answered: 9/20/16

            Date Updated/Reviewed:8/27/18

            Reference: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4, Child Placing Agreement

            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:8/27/18

            Reference: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4, Child Placing Agreement

            Are there provisions to have community partners participate in the development of Child Placement Agreement such as the GAL's?

            Answer: Once 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.?

            Date Answered:9/20/16 

            Date Updated/Reviewed:8/27/18

            Reference: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4

            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 Rules that apply to all Child Placement Agreements. "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:8/27/18

            Reference: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4

            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:8/27/18

            Reference: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4, Child Placing Agreement

            Which agency is responsible for establishing Care Precautions? 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: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4, Child Placing Agreement

            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: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4 Child Placing Agreement

            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:

            Date Updated/Reviewed:

            Reference: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4, Child Placing Agreement

            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: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4, Child Placing Agreement

            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?

            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: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4, Child Placing Agreement

            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: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4 Child Placing Agreement

            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: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4, Child Placing Agreement

            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: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4 Child Placing Agreement

            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 Updated/Reviewed:

            Reference: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4, Child Placing Agreement

            How does the CPA 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: The local CBC Lead agency will determine whether agreements are necessary for certain facilities. If the child is in group care and an agreement is necessary, the case manager will assess whether the current Agreement is working dependably and whether any changes are needed. During contacts, 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:4/13/18

            Reference: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4 Child Placing Agreement

            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 locally established protocols, a new plan is not needed solely because the child moves to a different setting.

            Date Answered: 9/20/16 

            Date Updated/Reviewed:4/13/18

            Reference: Office of Child Welfare, CFOP 170-11 Ch. 4, Child Placing Agreement

            Child Protection Investigations

              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
              • A child who does not live in this state who is currently being evaluated in a medical facility in this state.

              Date Answered:  6/5/07

              Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13, 4/4/16, 10/1/19, 9/24/2020, 10/30/20

              Reference: 39.303(4)(1-i) F.S.; CFOP 170-5

              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 39.01 F.S. (27)).  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: 39.205 F.S.

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

              Answer: The protective investigator shall complete its investigation within 60 days after receiving the initial report, unless:

              (a) There is also an active, concurrent criminal investigation that is continuing beyond the 60-day period and the closure of the protective investigation may compromise successful criminal prosecution of the child abuse or neglect case, in which case the closure date shall coincide with the closure date of the criminal investigation and any resulting legal action.

              (b) In child death cases, the final report of the medical examiner is necessary for the department to close its investigation and the report has not been received within the 60-day period, in which case the report closure date shall be extended to accommodate the report.

              (c) A child who is necessary to an investigation has been declared missing by the department, a law enforcement agency, or a court, in which case the 60-day period shall be extended until the child has been located or until sufficient information exists to close the investigation despite the unknown location of the child.

              Date Answered:  6/5/07

              Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13, 10/30/20

              Reference: 39.301(16) F.S.

              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; 9/26/19, 10/30/20

              Reference: 65C-29.003(2)(a) F.A.C.; 39.301(6) F.S.; 39.201 F.S.

              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; and

              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, 10/30/20

              Reference: 39.301(18) F.S.

              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, 9/24/2020, 10/30/20

              Reference: 39.301(9)(a)(2) F.S.; 39.301(13) F.S.; CFOP 170-5, Ch.14-2(b)

              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: 65C-30.001(26) F.A.C.

              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: CFOP 170-7

              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:   F.S 914.16

              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 and that the duty to report continues until the investigation is closed.

              Date Answered:  6/5/07

              Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/12/13; 1/22/15, 10/30/20

              Reference: 39.301(5)(a)(6) F.S.

              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: 65C-30.015 F.A.C.

              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 "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: 65C-30.001 (58) F.A.C.

              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: 65C-30.020 (5)(b) F.A.C.

              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; F.A.C. 30.007

              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?

              Answer: Patently Unfounded reports are incidents reported in good faith to the Hotline that are subsequently determined to have no basis in fact as demonstrated by compelling evidence which directly refutes the allegation. Patently unfounded closures are distinct and separate from False Reports made for harassment purposes as defined in 39.01 (27) F.S. because with patently unfounded reports the investigator is able to determine or at least understand why the allegation was made in good faith, however, erroneously. 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.

              Date Answered:3/31/16

              Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/27/16; 8/27/18; 9/24/2020

              Reference/ Resource:   CFOP 170-5, Ch. 23; 65C-30.001 (83) F.A.C.

              What are the requirements for "other" investigations (when a person not responsible for care of child is alleged perpetrator)?

              Answer: An “Other” investigation does not require a Family Functioning Assessment (FFA)- Investigation, but does require a Present Danger Assessment. The investigator's responsibility in this type of investigation is to determine the appropriate maltreatment findings and assess whether or not the parent or legal guardian will take appropriate protective actions if the maltreatment is verified (i.e., change babysitter, not allow the relative to be in a caregiver role in the future, etc.).

              Date Answered:  12/31/13 

              Date Updated/Reviewed:  9/15/2017; 12/11/19; 9/24/2020

              Reference: CFOP 170-5, Ch. 4

              Child Identification (child photos, birth certificates, and social security cards)

                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; 5/31/18; 12/11/19

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

                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; 5/31/18; 12/11/19

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

                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; 5/31/18; 12/11/19

                Reference: 65C-30.004 F.A.C.

                Confidentiality and Sharing Information (sharing of records, HIPPA)

                  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?

                  Answer:  Case notes shall not contain any reference to the child's or any other family member's HIV infection or AIDS. A general reference may be used such as the child's “chronic illness.”

                  Date Answered:  4/22/09

                  Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/14/19; 12/11/19

                  Reference/Resource:  CFOP 170-1, Ch. 13

                  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; 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; 10/10/19

                  Reference: 409.175 (16)(b) F.S.

                  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; 9/26/19, 10/30/20

                  Reference: 39.202 (4)(3) F.S.; CFOP 170-11, Ch. 6

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

                  Answer:  All clients, parents or guardians of the client, caregivers, foster and adoptive parents, with the exception of forensic clients, will receive the Notice of Privacy Practices Statement at the time of initial face-to-face contact with the Department.

                  Date: 1/19/11 

                  Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 12/11/19

                  Reference: CFOP 60-17

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

                  Answer: Criminal justice information obtained from FCIC, NCIC, and/or CJNet to include criminal history and Hot File records shall only be disseminated to and received by authorized agencies and personnel.Criminal justice information to include criminal history and Hot File records must not be transmitted via unencrypted email. Agencies must meet the FBI CJIS Security Policy requirements prior to cutting, copying or pasting FCIC AND/OR NCIC response data into a local system for the purpose of documentation which includes email.

                  Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 9/26/19; 9/24/2020

                  Reference: CFOP 50-1, Ch. 1-8

                  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: 7/29/09

                  Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13, 4/4/16, 7/7/16, 10/1/19, 10/30/20

                  Reference: 39.202(2)(o) and (6) F.S.; CFOP 15-12; CFOP 175-17

                  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: 9/3/13

                  Date Updated/Reviewed: 10/1/19

                  Reference: 39.402 (11)(b) F.S.

                  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 (including known sexual abuse victim and/or aggressor history). 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:8/27/18; 12/11/19; 09/15/21

                  Reference: FAC 65C-28.004; FS 39.00145; FS 409.1415 CFOP 170-11, Ch. 4

                  Definitions (commonly used terms)

                    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, 10/1/19, 9/24/2020

                    Reference: 39.303 F.S.; 39.01 (13) F.S.; CFOP 170-5, Ch. 9

                    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; 12/11/19

                    Reference: 65C-30.001 (111) F.A.C.

                    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: 39.01 (12) F.S.

                    What are some examples of Critical Junctures in a case?

                    Answer:  Critical junctures may include the following: When safety analysis has resulted in a decision to remove a child from home; 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; Before a child is returned home from substitute care; Before the case is closed or dismissal of court jurisdiction is recommended.

                    Date Answered:   9/27/07

                    Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 12/11/19

                    Reference:  65C-30.001(38) F.A.C.; CFOP 170-5, Ch. 10

                    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; 10/10/19

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

                    What are "reasonable efforts"?

                    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:

                    • If the first contact of the department with the family occurs during an emergency
                    • Or 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
                    • Or 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, 10/1/19

                    Reference: 65C-29.003(3) F.A.C.; 39.402 (8)(h)5

                    What are "foster care referrals"?

                    Answer:  Foster care referrals involve concerns about possible licensing violations and regulatory infractions for children in an emergency shelter or out-of-home placement, or placement disruptions, case plan, and safety plan violations for children under the supervision of the Department or its authorized agents. Foster care referrals do not contain allegations of abuse, neglect or abandonment. If child maltreatment is identified or suspected during assessment of the foster care referral, the responder shall contact the Florida Abuse Hotline for the purpose of reporting the maltreatment and initiating a separate child protective investigation.

                    Date Answered:  6/7/07

                    Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/13/13; 5/21/14; 2/29/16; 12/11/19, 7/9/21; 8/12/21

                    Reference:65C-29.002 F.A.C.; 65C-45.017 F.A.C.; 65C-29.006 F.A.C.; 65C-30.001 (52) F.A.C.

                    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; 12/11/19

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

                    What is the Multiethnic Placement Act and its intent (MEPA)?

                    Answer:  Title IV of the Social Security Act has always prohibited discrimination based on race, color, or national origin. The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 and the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996 (collectively known as MEPA-IEP) focus attention on similar aspects of foster and adoptive placements. The ultimate goal of MEPA is to decrease the length of time that children wait to be adopted and to ensure that children are expeditiously placed in permanent and safe homes.
                    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; 12/11/19

                    Reference: CFOP 170-15, Ch. 4

                    Where would one find the "positions designated by law as positions of trust or responsibility" as referenced in Section 435.04(1), Florida Statutes?

                    Answer: For residential Child-Caring Agencies, Child-Placing Agencies and Foster/Shelter Homes (licensed out-of-home care), this term includes directors and employees who have direct contact with clients and every household member age 12 years and older residing in the home. (ss. 409.175, and 409.176, F.S.)
                    For providers of contracted programs for children, this term includes all personnel.
                    A volunteer who assists on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month need not be screened if a person who meets the screening requirement of this section is always present and has the volunteer within his or her line of sight.

                    Date Answered: 6/13/08

                    Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13; 12/11/19

                    Reference: FS 39.001;F.S. Chapters 110 and 435; CFOP 60-19

                    Dependency Court/Legal (includes Judicial Reviews, Time Frames, Etc.)

                      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; 10/4/19,11/2/20

                      Reference:  39.6011(7)(c)2 F.S.; F.A.C., 65C-30.014(2)

                      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 department shall maintain a single, standard electronic child welfare case file for each investigation and case. 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). 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; 12/11/19, 10/30/20

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

                      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, 6/21/18; 10/10/19

                      Reference:  F.S. 39.701(1)(d)

                      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.

                      Date Answered: 2/9/09

                      Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/14/13; 2/29/16, 7/11/6, 6/21/18; 10/10/19

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

                      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; 10/10/19

                      Reference: FS 39.806; FS 39.521(1)(g)

                      If a Dependent child is legally the child is in the parent's custody, is a Court order still required to place that child in a residential treatment 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, 10/1/19, 10/30/20

                      Reference: 39. 407 F.S. also confirmation with DCF Children Legal Services, Counsel for Quality Assurance

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

                      Answer:  All Judicial Review hearings, including review hearings for children 17 years of age, are to be conducted for any child that is under the jurisdiction of the court.

                      Date Answered: 8/11/16

                      Date Updated/Reviewed: 12/11/19

                      Reference: FS 39.701

                      At what point in the legal proceedings is the putative father registry required?

                      Answer:  To provide notice to the parents of dependency and termination of parental rights proceedings a search of the Putative Father Registry shall occur prior to the child being found dependent and prior to the termination of parental rights.

                      Date Answered: 6/27/19    

                      Date Updated/Reviewed: 12/11/19

                      Reference: CFOP 170-1, Ch. 14; F.S. 63.054; FS 39.801

                      Family Functioning Assessment (FFA)

                        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 named after the mother.

                        Date Answered:  12/31/15 

                        Date Updated/Reviewed: 12/2/19, 10/20/20

                        Reference: CFOP 170-1, Ch. 2; CFOP 170-1, Ch. 3

                        What are the time frames for completing the FFA when present danger is identified?

                        Answer: The investigator will complete the FFA - Investigation within 14 business days of identifying present danger.

                        Date Answered:  12/31/13 

                        Date Updated/Reviewed: 12/2/19 

                        Reference: CFOP 170-5, Ch. 20; 65C-29 F.A.C.

                        Do we stop doing the FFA-Ongoing when the goal of reunification is eliminated? What does this process look like?

                        Answer: The case manager is responsible for assessing child functioning which includes the specific indicators of child well-being. The child well-being indicators, referred to as “Strengths and Needs,” are a core component of the FFA-O and Progress Updates. The child's strengths and needs will be assessed throughout the child's involvement with the child welfare system, establishing what must be addressed in a child's case plan. For a child who needs out-of-home placement, assessment of child functioning also includes the comprehensive information necessary to determine the most appropriate least restrictive placement match, or to stabilize a child already in a placement.

                        Date Answered: 12/31/13 

                        Date Updated/Reviewed:12/11/19

                        Reference: CFOP 170-9, Ch. 3

                        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: 12/11/19

                        Reference: CFOP 170-1, Ch. 2CFOP 170-1, Ch. 3

                        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.Every type of family assessment must include descriptions of all family members and persons in the family household and resource network including minors, whether or not they will be identified as participants in the case plan. The descriptions should be included in the most appropriate information domain for the parent or significant caregiver, whichever is most relevant, as to:

                        (a) Other person's relationship to the parent and reason for presence in the home, including family members of any family unit residing in same household.

                        (b) Impact of other person's presence as to child functioning, adult functioning, parenting and discipline/behavior management.

                        (c) Assessment of other person's background history information gathered and whether there are patterns of behavior which present safety concerns.

                        (d) Assessment of risk and safety for all minor children residing in the household and any family household needs including documentation of any unmet need such as food, clothing, or services not included in the case plan.

                         

                        Date Answered: 12/31/13  

                        Date Updated/Reviewed: 12/11/19, 10/20/20

                        Reference: CFOP 170-1, Ch. 2CFOP 170-1, Ch. 3

                        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 capacities on subjects who are in a significant caregiver role for the child; however family assessments must include descriptions of all family members and persons in the family household and resource network including minors, whether or not they will be identified as participants in the case plan.

                        Date Answered: 12/31/13 

                        Date Updated/Reviewed: 12/11/19, 10/20/20

                        Reference: CFOP 170-1, Ch. 2

                        Funding & Eligibility

                          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:    6/10/09

                          Date Updated/Reviewed: 6/17/13; 12/11/19

                          Reference:  65C-17.002 (6) & (9) F.A.C.

                          FSFN Eligibility Enhancement Project Questions and Answers

                          Home Studies (non-licensed placements, visitation, reunification)

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

                            Answer: The child welfare professional will update the relative/non-relative home study when there are changes in the composition of the household, the household location changes, there is a change in the physical environment that is a significant safety concern, there are significant changes or circumstances that affect the ability of the care for and/or protect the child.

                            Additionally, Persons who are approved relative/non-relative caregivers and any adult household members 18 years old or older shall be re-screened through fingerprints every 12 months. For household members 12 years old and older, annual screening shall be limited to a local criminal records check, an abuse record check, and national and state Sexual Offenders and Predators registration check. This may include records of any responses to the home by law enforcement that did not result in criminal charges, and any calls for service to the home.

                            NOTE: Florida Statute, Florida Administrative Code, and Department of Children and Families Policy does not preclude additional steps and processes 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; 11/14/19

                            Reference: 39.521(2) (o) F.S.; 65C-28.012 (9) F.A.C.; CFOP 170-1, Ch. 5 CFOP 170-1, Ch. 6

                            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 placing the child with a relative/non-relative in an emergency situation, the child welfare professional must gather child information to the extent possible to address information in the unified home study such as child-specific information; caregiver demographics; the financial situation of the caregiver and their child care needs; a narrative assessment of the caregiver, their motivation, education and employment, and physical environment. The CWP will also Interview the prospective caregiver(s) to discuss danger threats creating the child(ren)'s need for out-of-home care; special medical of the child has, including current medications; ability and willingness of the caregiver(s) to protect and care for the child; the shelter process; and conduct a walk-through of the home and discuss the child's sleeping arrangements. Additionally, the CWP will obtain and assess background checks including the computerized criminal history from the hotline's CIU, local law enforcement records including call-outs, FSFN history, and out of state abuse history check if the family lived ut of state within the last 5 years.

                            Date Answered: 9/18/2007

                            Date Updated:1/23/14; 2/29/16; 5/8/16; 11/14/19, 10/20/20

                            References/Resource: 65C-28.012(1) F.A.C.; 65C-30.009 (4) F.A.C.; CFOP 170-1, Ch. 5 CFOP 170-1, Ch. 6

                            What is included in the home study?

                            Answer: At a minimum:

                            The child welfare professional will collect and assess information to determine if the potential caregiver(s) will be able to care for and protect a child placed in their care. Care and supervision includes meeting a child's education, medical, mental health and special needs. Using the Unified Home Study form, the child welfare professional will gather information such as child specific information, caregiver demographics, financial security resources and child care arrangements, assessment of caregivers, caregiver motivation, education and employment, family life, physical environment and references and reviews.

                            Date Answered: 9/21/07

                            Date Updated: 9/21/09; 1/23/14; 5/18/16, 7/7/16; 11/14/19

                            References/Resource: 39.521, F.S.; 65C-28.012 ; CFOP 170-1, Ch. 5

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

                            Answer: No, a new Progress Update will be completed to document that the specific Conditions for Return have been met, and an in-home safety plan can be established. Additionally, the Progress Update will contain documentation that the parent(s) have a physical location that has been assessed and determine to be safe for the child. Additionally, the Progress Update will contain documentation of the criminal history check analysis. 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: 11/25/19

                            Reference: CFOP 170-7, Ch 12

                            How often should the Other Parent Home Assessment (OPHA) be updated?

                            Answer: When a non-maltreating parent/legal guardian is involved with any tasks in a case plan, the child welfare professional will update the Other Parent Home Assessment at the same time as any Progress Update required in CFOP 170-9, Chapter 6, Evaluating Family Progress.

                            Date Answered: 11/1/18

                            Date Reviewed/Updated: 11/25/19

                            Reference:CFOP 170-7, Ch.5CFOP 170-9, Ch.4

                            ICPC

                              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; 11/25/19

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

                              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; 11/25/19

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

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

                              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 Family Functioning Assessment-Ongoing. Parents should not be created as providers in FSFN.

                              Date Answered: 6/9/16

                              Date Reviewed/Updated: 11/2/18

                              Reference: DCF Office of Child Welfare, ICPC Compact Administrator

                              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:  DCF Office of Child Welfare, ICPC Compact Administrator

                              Does DCF allow private home studies in lieu of an ICPC home study?

                              Answer: Private home studies are not allowed in lieu of ICPC approved home study. There are times when a state will contract privately for a home study and/or supervision, but those cases are rare and still require ICPC approval.

                              Date Answered:  6/4/18           

                              Reference:  ICPC Compact Administrator

                              Independent Living

                                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; 10/10/19

                                Reference:  409.1451(2)(a)1 F.S.

                                What should occur if a young adult applies for readmission into Extended Foster Care (EFC) and is not in a qualifying activity?

                                Answer: Young adults applying for readmission to foster care must complete an Extended Foster Care Voluntary Placement Agreement (EFC VPA). If while assisting it is determined that the potentially eligible young adult is not in a qualifying activity and/or not residing in an approved living arrangement, designated staff shall assess whether the young adult is eligible for continued assistance through either Postsecondary Education Services and Support (PESS) or Aftercare Services. Aftercare Services may be used to bridge the young adult into EFC.

                                Date Answered:1/28/16

                                Date Reviewed/Updated: 10/16/19

                                Reference: CFOP 170-17, Ch. 3

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

                                Answer: Youth and young adults that reside outside of their county of jurisdiction shall adhere to the same requirements for other out of county requests. Requests can include providing and coordinating supervision and/or services to children and young adults receiving Independent Living Services to include Postsecondary Education Services and Support (PESS), Extended Foster Care and Aftercare Services.

                                too!

                                Date Answered/Reviewed: 1/28/16; 10/11/17; 10/16/19

                                Reference: 65C-41 F.A.C.; 65C-30.018 F.A.C.; CFOP 170-17

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

                                Answer: A child who is living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday and who has not achieved permanency under s. 39.621 is eligible to remain in licensed care under the jurisdiction of the court and in the care of the department. There are also certain other requirements that the child must meet to

                                Date Answered: 2/27/17; 10/10/19

                                Reference: 39.6251 F.S; 65C-41.003(2) F.A.C.

                                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; 10/10/19

                                Reference: Office of Child Welfare, 39.6251 F.S.; 65C-41.003 F.A.C.

                                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; 10/10/19

                                Reference: Office of Child Welfare, 39.6251 F.S.; 1009.25 F.S.

                                Does program eligibility need to be redetermined for existing young adult participants in EFC?

                                Answer: Formal redeterminations of program eligibility shall occur annually. During ongoing contacts, designated staff shall observe the home environment and, at minimum, discuss the transition plan and shared living plan. If the young adult does not appear to be participating in the agreed upon qualifying activity, designated staff shall meet the young adult and reassess the transition plan and assist in identifying another qualifying activity.

                                Date Answered: 1/11/19

                                Date Reviewed: 10/16/19

                                Reference: CFOP 170-7 Ch. 3

                                How should a youth who ages out on runaway or is involuntarily committed to a program such as DJJ be processed upon their 18th birthday?

                                Answer: If the youth was in the legal custody of the Department, the youth is categorically eligible for EFC. Youth in the legal custody of the Department that are identified during the 90-day period immediately prior to the date on which the youth will attain 18 years of age must be provided an Extended Foster Care (EFC) Agreement. If the youth is missing or on runaway status then, designated staff shall document the inability by writing “unable to sign” on the form itself. Failure to sign the EFC Agreement by the transitioning youth does not prevent continued program eligibility nor the ability for the court to retain jurisdiction. Living environments in which young adults are involuntary placed do not meet the conditions of an appropriate supervised independent living setting unless consent for placement is through a court appointed guardian.

                                With regards to FSFN placement data entry, the youth's out-of-home placement shall remain the same until the appeal period ends or until circumstances change within that period in which the young adult becomes eligible; e.g. return from runaway or release from commitment program. Therefore, upon the young adult's 18th birthday, do NOT immediately process a placement change to a Supervised Living Arrangement (SLA) Service Type/Supervised Independent Living Placement Setting, because the young adult is not residing in an approved SLA. Rather, await the appeal period, discharging the placement when the end date of the appeal period is confirmed. If the young adult complies with program requirements prior to the end of the appeal period, meaning they are determined to meet all EFC program requirements; then, the placement change shall be processed as of the date the EFC program requirements are met.

                                Date Answered: 1/11/19

                                Date Reviewed: 10/16/19

                                Reference: 65C-41 F.A.C.; CFOP 170-7 Ch. 3

                                Medication

                                  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 or psychiatric nurses for any reason, the receiving physician or psychiatric nurse must provide an updated Medical Report to the child welfare professional within three business days of taking over the child's treatment. If the receiving physician or psychiatric nurse 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. If parental/legal guardian express and informed consent has not been obtained by the receiving physician or psychiatric nurse, the child welfare professional will provide the new Medical Report to Children's Legal Services 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; 6/4/18; 10/4/19, 9/24/20, 10/30/20

                                  Reference: CFOP 170-18 Ch. 3

                                  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 or psychiatric nurse 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 or psychiatric nurse and administration instructions. 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; 6/4/18; 10/11/19; 9/24/2020

                                  Reference: CFOP 170-18 Ch. 3

                                  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 the Judicial Review, 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.

                                  Date of Response:  5/2/13

                                  Date Updated/Reviewed: 1/30/14, 7/5/16; 10/11/17; 6/4/18; 10/4/19, 9/24/20, 10/30/20

                                  Reference:   39.407 (3)(f) F.S.; CFOP 170-18 Ch. 3

                                  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; 6/4/18; 10/4/19, 10/30/20

                                  Reference:  65C-30.001 (43), (78), (94) F.A.C.; 39. 407(3)(a) F.S.

                                  Who is permitted to sign the Medical Report (Form 5339)?

                                  Answer:  The prescribing physician or psychiatric nurse must sign the Medical Report form .

                                  Date of Response:  10/30/19

                                  Date Reviewed/Updated: 

                                  Reference: 39.407 F.S.

                                  If a child that is sheltered and placed into out-of-home care is arrested and placed in a DJJ facility, who is responsible for tracking the child's medications (securing 5339, medication logs, informed consent and continued involvement of the parent(s) in the child's medication management)?

                                  Answer:  For all children who are also served by the Department of Juvenile Justice (and others), child specific planning and service delivery will be coordinated between the agency(ies) and the Department and their contracted providers. The case manager should be in contact with the child's DJJ contact to gather and share any information pertaining to the child's medication and ongoing treatment. The case manager is still responsible for ensuring that the appropriate information is documented and uploaded into FSFN for the child on their caseload.

                                  Date of Response:  6/14/19

                                  Date Reviewed/Updated: 

                                  Reference:   CFOP 170-10 Ch. 2

                                  Normalcy

                                    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; 10/10/19

                                    Reference: FS 39.4091; 409.145(3)d F.S.

                                    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.  “Reasonable and prudent parent” standard means 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.

                                    Date Answered:  September 11, 2009

                                    Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/21/14; 10/11/17; 10/11/19

                                    Reference: FS 409.175

                                    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. Beginning at age 15, children and young adults shall be provided the opportunity to obtain a driver's license or learner's permit. CBCs must ensure that efforts to assist the youth in obtaining a driver's license or learners permit are reported to the court.

                                    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 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; 10/11/19

                                    Reference: 65C 28.009 (4); FS 409.1454

                                    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. 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'.

                                    Date Answered: May 19, 2011

                                    Date Updated/Reviewed: 1/31/14; 10/11/17; 10/10/19; 8/12/21

                                    References: FAC 65C 46.011; 409.145(3) F.S.

                                    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; 10/11/19

                                    References: 409.145 F.S.

                                    Out of County Services

                                      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:   8/25/08;

                                      Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/4/14; 8/7/19

                                      Reference:  65C-30.018 (9) F.A.C.; Working Agreement for Out of County Services, pg 25
                                      (click on the following link to view the agreement: Out of County Services Working Agreement

                                      If a child receiving out of county services ran 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. If the child is gone more than 72 hours and not recovered the OCS case worker will continue to be assigned as secondary in FSFN for an additional 30 days in FSFN and should still attempt to assist the primary worker when applicable, with attempts to locate the child.

                                      Date Answered:  8/20/08

                                      Date Updated/Reviewed:    10/27/10; 2/4/14; 8/7/19

                                      Reference:   Working Agreement for Out of County Services, pg 14, pg 20
                                      (click on the following link to view the agreement: Out of County Services Working Agreement

                                      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:  8/20/08

                                      Date Updated/Reviewed:   10/27/10; 2/4/14; 8/7/19

                                      Reference: Working Agreement for Out of County Services, pg 19
                                      (click on the following link to view the agreement: Out of County Services Working Agreement

                                      Could an out of county request 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:  8/20/08

                                      Date Updated/Reviewed: 12/12/08; 2/5/14; 8/7/19

                                      Reference:  65C-30.018 F.A.C.; Working Agreement for Out of County Services, pg 5
                                      (click on the following link to view the agreement: Out of County Services Working Agreement

                                      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: 8/20/08

                                      Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/5/14; 8/7/19

                                      Reference: Working Agreement for Out of County Services, pg 4
                                      (click on the following link to view the agreement: Out of County Services Working Agreement

                                      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 caregiver should specify individuals who are authorized to consent to ordinary medical treatment.

                                      Date Answered: A8/20/08

                                      Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/5/14; 8/7/19

                                      Reference: 5C-28.003 F.A.C.

                                      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. The appropriate liaison in the receiving county must be notified and provide permission.

                                      Date Answered: 8/25/08

                                      Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/5/14; 8/7/19

                                      Reference: 65C-C 30.018(3) F.A.C.; CBC Out of County Services Working Agreement

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

                                      Answer: Detailed quarterly supervisory reports should be documented in FSFN by the receiving county's assigned supervisor.

                                      Date Answered:  9/15/09

                                      Date Updated/Reviewed:   10/27/12; 2/5/14; 8/7/19

                                      Reference:  CBC Working Agreement for Out of county Services, pg 19
                                      (click on the following link to view the agreement: Out of County Services Working Agreement

                                      How should the Unified Home Study be completed when the caregiver lives in a different county?

                                      Answer: With the exception of parent or reunification home studies; when a family is identified, the Primary Case Manager should contact the family to verify they are interested in being a resource for the child. The Primary Case Manager should obtain information on all household members and have a provider number created for all home study requests that do not involve a parent.

                                      Date of Response:  6/29/18

                                      Date Updated/Reviewed: 8/7/19

                                      Reference:  CBC Working Agreement for Out of county Services, pg 9
                                      (click on the following link to view the agreement: Out of County Services Working Agreement

                                      Out of Home Licensed Care (licensing requirements, licensed caregivers, and children in licensed care)

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

                                        Answer:  Licensing of employees of the Department, county sheriff's offices, community-based care lead agencies and their subcontracted providers or their relatives who desire to become out-of-home caregivers is allowable if the following conditions are met:
                                        (1) No actual or perceived conflict of interest exists that could result in preferential treatment concerning the licensing process or the placement and movement of children placed in the potential licensed family foster home.
                                        (2) All initial, relicensing, and ongoing maintenance of the licensed foster home activities shall be completed by a licensed child-placing agency outside of the employee's service area and submitted to the Regional Licensing Authority for approval.
                                        (3) The executive director or designee in upper level management of the community-based care lead agency or supervising agency responsible for submitting the employee, relative, or subcontractor licensing file to the Department has reviewed and approved the submission of the application to the Department.
                                        (4) The Regional Licensing Authority obtains approval of the application from the Regional Managing Director or designee prior to issuing a family foster care license for an employee, relative, or subcontractor.

                                        Date Answered:  5/18/08

                                        Date Updated/ Reviewed: 5/20/14; 7/22/19, 4/24/20

                                        Reference: 65C-45.013 F.A.C.

                                        What is the current foster care board rate?

                                        Answer: Effective January 1, 2021, the current Board Rate/Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) is as follows: ages 0-5 years old $484.06, ages 6-12 years old $496.46, and ages 13-21 $581.09 (2021 Foster Parent Cost of Living Allowance Increase Memo)

                                        Date Answered:  11/13/07

                                        Date Updated:   9/12/13; 1/21/15; 7/22/19, 1/5/21

                                        Reference: 409.145(4) F.S.

                                        What is the guidance on providing children in licensed out of home care with an allowance?

                                        Answer:  "Foster care allowance" means a monthly stipend which is included in the foster care board payment sent to the foster parent/Shelter/Group home for the personal needs of each foster child living in the home. 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.Neither Florida Statute nor Administrative Code dictates a specific allowance amount.

                                        Date Answered:  11/13/07

                                        Date Updated/Reviewed: 5/16/14; 2/29/16; 7/22/19; 8/12/21

                                        References/Resources:  F.A.C. 65C-46.008 (15), 65C-17.02(6)

                                        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

                                        Date Answered:  9/23/08

                                        Date Updated/Reviewed:   2/18/14; 8/24/16; 7/22/19; 8/12/21   

                                        Reference:  65C-46.011 (11)1

                                        What, if any, are the guidelines to follow when a child in foster care wants to have an abortion or be placed on birth control?

                                        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; 7/22/19, 10/1/19

                                        References/Resources: 39. 407 F.S.; 39.304 F.S.

                                        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:  5/20/08

                                        Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/18/14; 5/19/14; 7/23/19; 4/24/20

                                        Reference: 65C-45.010 (4)(d)

                                        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:5/20/08

                                        Date Updated/Reviewed:  2/18/14; 5/19/14; 7/23/19

                                        Reference: 409.145(2) F.S.; 65C-28.019 F.A.C.

                                        How many children can be placed in a foster home?

                                        Answer:    Generally, there should be no more than 5 children in a home including the out-of-home caregiver's own children, unless an assessment was completed, and approval was given pursuant to Section 409.175(3)(b), F.S. An assessment and approval is also needed for more than 2 infants under 24 months to reside in a licensed home. Over capacity approvals can be given to accommodate a sibling group. Assessment approvals shall be given by the supervisor in writing or via electronic method prior to placement and shall be approved personally and in writing the next business day.

                                        Date Answered: 5/20/08

                                        Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/18/14; 5/19/14; 7/2/19; 4/24/20

                                        Reference: 65C-45.015 (1)(B)(C)F.A.C.

                                        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 that shall not have drop sides or be placed close to windows with curtains or cords in which the child might become entangled. Children may never share a bed with an adult, regardless of age; Children over 36 months of age shall not share a bedroom with a child of the opposite gender unless efforts are being made to maintain a sibling group. Children over the age of 12 months shall not share a bedroom with an adult, except in the following circumstances:
                                        a. When one of the children sharing a bedroom reaches his or her 18th birthday and the out-of-home caregiver and the supervising agency approve the sleeping arrangement;
                                        b. When it is deemed to be medically necessary as documented by a health care provider; c. When a teen parent is sharing a bedroom with his or her child;
                                        d. When a child is transitioning past his or her first birthday; or
                                        e. When the adult is a former dependent child who is sharing a room with a sibling.

                                        Date Answered: 5/20/08

                                        Date Updated/Reviewed: 2/19/14; 5/19/14; 7/23/19

                                        Reference: 65C-45.010 2(f)(1-5) F.A.C.; 65C-45.005 F.A.C. 1(e) 6-13

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

                                        Answer:   Yes, the licensed out-of-home caregiver is responsible for ensuring that individuals providing babysitting are suitable for the age, developmental level and behaviors of the children. The licensed out-of-home caregiver shall use a reasonable and prudent parent standard, as defined in Section 39.4091(2)(c), F.S., in choosing the babysitters or assessing a child's ability to stay home alone. The licensed out-of-home caregiver is responsible for ensuring babysitters receive instructions that cover 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.

                                        Date Answered: 5/20/08

                                        Date Updated: 5/19/14; 7/23/19; 4/24/20

                                        Reference:  65C-45.016 F.A.C.

                                        What is the current DCF regulation on guns in a foster home?

                                        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 prospective licensed out-of-home caregivers must complete the "Acknowledgement of Firearms Safety Requirements," form CF-FSP 5343, July 2017 (Click here for the acknowledgement form)

                                        Date Answered: 10-18-11

                                        Date Updated/Reviewed: 2-19-14; 5/20/14; 7/23/19; 4/24/20

                                        Reference: 65C-45.004 (2)(b)(11); 65C-45.010 (2)(g)(5)

                                        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:  1/27/12

                                        Date Updated/Reviewed:  5/20/14; 2/29/16; 7/23/19; 4/24/20

                                        Reference: 65C-45.016 F.A.C.

                                        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 child-placing agency completing the Unified Home Study shall, at a minimum, conduct one (1) visit to the applicant's home, inspect