Incarcerated Parents Case Planning

Statutory changes and new provisions enacted by the 2018 Florida Legislature affect our case management responsibilities for incarcerated parents.  Chapter 39 updates include how to engage incarcerated parents, case plan development including incarcerated parents, and offering available services while incarcerated and are outlined below.  

Changes to F.S. 39.621 include:

• When parents are incarcerated or become incarcerated, the Department shall obtain information from the facility where they reside to determine how they can participate in the preparation and completion of the Case Plan and receive services.

• An incarcerated parent must be given the regulations of the facility where he/she resides and the services available at the facility.

• The Department must attach a list of all services available at the facility to the Case Plan. If the facility does not have a list of available services, the Department must note the unavailability of the list in the Case Plan.

• The incarcerated parent must comply with the facility procedures and policies to access services or maintain contact with his/her children as provided in the Case Plan.

• If a parent becomes incarcerated after a Case Plan has been developed, the parties must move to amend the Case Plan if the incarceration has an impact on permanency for the child including, but not limited to:

           − Modification of provision regarding visitation and contact with the child

           − Identification of services within the facility

           − Changing the permanency goal or establishing a concurrent goal

• A parent’s services must be assessed upon release, if the Case Plan has not expired.

• If the parent was unable to participate in services, the Department must include a full explanation of the circumstances surrounding non-participation and state the nature of the Department’s efforts to secure participation.

Case Management responsibilities:

• Case Managers need to coordinate with Children’s Legal Services and other parties to ensure participation of the incarcerated parent in the development of the Case Plan.

• Upon completing the Family Functioning Assessment-Ongoing and developing the Case Plan Worksheet, Case Managers must send a notification/introduction letter to the parent(s) notifying them of their assignment and contact information.

• Case Managers also must send a letter to the assigned correctional institution introducing themselves and their role and asking the Classification Officer to respond via e-mail with their contact information. The email will be marked “Attention Classification Department”.

• When a parent is incarcerated, Case Managers need to identify the appropriate services and classes for the parent in order to make recommendations to the court regarding tasks that should be included in the parent’s Case Plan. The Florida Department of Correction’s website has information about programs and services that are available, such as mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling, parenting classes, and anger management, and can be accessed at the various correctional institutions by the parent(s).

• Upon obtaining a verified list of available services, Case Managers need to ensure the list is attached to the copy of the Case Plan filed with the courts.

• A copy of the Case Plan must be provided to the incarcerated parent. A copy can be provided via mail, e-mail, or provided through the assigned attorney.

• Case Managers need to familiarize themselves with s. 39.6011 (1)(a), F.S. and HB 281.


The incarcerated parent’s information can be located on the Florida Department of Correction’s website: Click on “Offender Search” to locate their Department of Corrections’ number and the address of the assigned correctional institution.

Information on parents incarcerated outside of the state of Florida can be found using Vinelink at

Suicide Prevention

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), every 15 minutes someone in the U.S. dies by suicide. Suicide is not inevitable for anyone. By starting the conversation, providing support, and directing help to those who need it, we can prevent suicides and save lives.

Evidence shows that providing support services, talking about suicide, reducing access to means of self-harm, and following up with loved ones are some of the actions we can all take to help others. By offering immediate counseling to everyone that may need it, local crisis centers provide invaluable support at critical times and connect individuals to local services.  

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. More information on symptoms can be found at or

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Some warning signs may help you determine if someone one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help.

·         Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves

·         Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun

·         Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live

·         Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

·         Talking about being a burden to others

·         Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

·         Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly

·         Sleeping too little or too much

·         Withdrawing or isolating themselves

·         Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

·         Extreme mood swings

Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. They can't cause or predict a suicide attempt, but they're important to be aware of.

·         Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders

·         Alcohol and other substance use disorders

·         Hopelessness

·         Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies

·         History of trauma or abuse

·         Major physical illnesses

·         Previous suicide attempt(s)

·         Family history of suicide

·        Job or financial loss

·      Loss of relationship(s)

·      Easy access to lethal means

·      Local clusters of suicide

·      Lack of social support and sense of isolation

·      Stigma associated with asking for help

·      Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment

·      Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma

·     Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)

90% of the people who commit suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death, most often depression or bipolar disorder.  It is CRITICAL that consistent helpful counseling services are engaged in when someone indicates symptoms of depression or other mental health disorder.

Infant Safe Sleep

Infant Sleep Safety

Making sure a baby is safe when they sleep is important. Babies can suffocate if their airways become blocked by soft objects like blankets, pillows, or other objects. They are also at risk if someone rolls onto them.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep alone, on their backs and in a crib or bassinet that is clear of everything else.

Parents provide many reasons for co-sleeping. It is important to know that co-sleeping is not safe!. Every year many children die due to co-sleeping

Reasons parents give for bed sharing/co-sleeping:

  • ·Lack of separate room

  • ·Lack of crib

  • Convenience – easier to feed baby, easier to check on baby during night

  • Safety – want to be able to see to keep safe

  • Parental comfort – bonding with baby due to lack of time for working parents

  • Depression - mom's suffering from depression increased bed sharing

What does a safe sleep environment look like?

  • Baby asleep alone and on their back

  • In the same room where their parents sleep

  • In an approved crib or bassinet with a firm surface

  • With tightly fitted sheets

  • No bumpers, pillows, blankets, loose bedding, or toys

  • No cords or other objects within baby's reach

What are other safety recommendations?

  • No smoking - during pregnancy or around the baby.

  • Each sleep counts - the same safety rules should be followed during naps as well as bedtime.

  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SUIDS (Sudden Unexpected  Infant Death Syndrome).

  • Couches, recliners, chairs, and other non-approved surfaces should never be used for a baby to sleep or nap - especially if they are sleeping with a caregiver.

  • Offer a pacifier at each nap and at bedtime. For breastfeeding babies, wait to offer the pacifier until breastfeeding is well-established (at about 4 weeks). Pacifiers should NOT be forced or attached to a baby or a baby's clothing.

  • Don't let baby get too hot during sleep - no more than one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear to be comfortable. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.

  • Follow your health care provider's guidance on vaccines and checkups

  • Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SUID.

  • Products such as wedges, positioners, monitors, etc. - have not been tested for safety or effectiveness and could possibly cause harm.

  • Give baby plenty of tummy time when baby is awake and supervised.


FL Dept of Children & Families                                                 American Academy of Pediatrics                                                                               National Institute for Child and Human Development Back to Sleep Campaign (Order free educational materials)

Independent Living – Age 13 to 17

The primary case manager in coordination with the caregiver is responsible for ensuring youth receives Independent Living (IL) services from age 13 to the child’s 18th birthday.

All teens age 13 or older from the time of placement in shelter status with the Department are eligible and must receive IL Services through their CM.

  • Foster care youth are eligible to receive IL Services.

  • The Primary CM must ensure an IL Referral is completed in FSFN for all children age 13 or older in licensed out of home care.

  • Each youth, if selected, must complete the NYTD survey twice a year.

The CM is responsible for ensuring the youth completes the Daniel Memorial Skills Assessment (DMA) at the required ages.

  • The youth will complete a DMA. CM will submit it to Programs for scoring.

  • The short form DMA shall be completed at ages 13/14 or 15/16 depending on the age upon entering licensed care.

  • The DMA will generate the Life Skills Plan. This plan must be shared the caregiver and youth. DMA will also generate a Life Skills Information Attestation that the youth must sign.

  • The DMA, Life Skills Plan, and Attestation must be filed with the Court each time it is completed.

  • CM will provide the Caregiver with the Independent Living Trainings/Progress Report for the Court form. Caregiver will track the Life Skills Plan trainings provided to the youth. CM will collect this form quarterly for purposes of reporting to the court.

  • The CM shall have monthly discussions with the youth and caregiver as to life skill needs and the Caregiver's responsibility to provide for life skill needs. This discussion shall be documented in FSFN.

Case Plans:  When appropriate, for a child who is 13 years of age or older in Out of Home Care, a written description of the programs and services that will help the child prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living. For youth 14 years of age and older in Out of Home Care, Case Plan will be developed in consultation with the child.  Child may choose up to two members of the case planning team who are not the foster parent or caregiver.  FSFN documentation must include notification to child regarding choice to choose two members of the case planning team and that child's caregiver was included in the development/implementation of the case plan.

  • The youth must be aware of their case plan tasks and must receive copies of all case plan and judicial review documents.

  • DMA areas of identified needs, school staffing outcomes/educational and career plans as well as Staffing recommendations are incorporated into the youth’s Case Plan.

  • The Case Plan is reviewed and updated at least annually and it includes specific tasks that describe the youth’s “Life Skills Plan” to learn and acquire the needed skills identified in the DMA.

  • Document services needed and who/where they will be obtained from, along with a timeframe to initiate the services, the frequency of the services and the timeframe to complete the services.

  • Describe positive behaviors the youth has exhibited that reflect the youth’s abilities.

  • Document the consequences for non-compliance with the IL agreed upon services and of the youth’s misconduct if it should occur.

  • Document a plan for developing and maintaining relationships with appropriate supports for the youth within the family or community.

Judicial Reviews:  All youth 13 years of age or older must have their IL progress documented in the JRSSR. 

  • The JRSSR should cover all of the areas outlined in the case plan and contain the key elements required by Florida Statute 39.701.

  • All DMA and other IL service related documents must be attached to the JRSSR.

Credit Checks: Annual credit check must be completed on all children in Out of Home Care 14 years of age and older. 

Education:  CM is responsible for monitoring the youth’s academic status, referring youth for needed educational services, and documenting youth’s progress and educations changes in FSFN. 

Placement Factors to Consider

Appropriate placement matching begins prior to the child’s placement. When a child is unable to be safely placed with a parent, the most appropriate available out-of-home placement must be chosen after considering a variety of factors.

Factors that MUST be considered for placement:

§  Age

§  Gender

§  Gender expression

§  Sexual orientation

§  Sibling status

§  Special physical, educational, or developmental needs

§  Alleged type of abuse, neglect, or abandonment

§  Community Ties

§  School Placement

§  Ability for potential caregivers to meet the child’s needs

The Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 and the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, P.L. 104-188, require that every placement decision for children in the care or custody of the department be made without regard to the race, ethnicity, color, or national origin of the child or the adult with whom the child is to be placed.

A child-placing agency has the obligation to place each child in the most suitable setting according to that child’s individual needs, taking into account maintenance of the child’s school stability and the capacity of the placement to meet the child’s needs, and the needs of any other children already placed in that setting. No child shall be denied services by any child-placing agency or out-of-home caregiver based on race, religion, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation.

A Placement Assessment must be completed when a child is initially removed.  Additional Placement Assessments should be completed as determined by the Community Based Care (CBC) Lead Agency. The Placement Assessment helps determine the level of care needed for each child placed in out-of-home care to ensure the most appropriate placement is selected on behalf of the child. When the needs and preferences of the child are assessed, Child Welfare Professionals are then able to make the BEST possible match for the child.

In determining the best placement setting, assess if the child has any:

─ Medical, developmental, and/or mental health needs

─ DJJ involvement

─ Court order placement requirements

─ Siblings

─ Educational needs

─ Placement preference and activities, hobbies, etc., that the child is involved with

The Placement Assessment is designed to determine the level of care, not to determine if the child should be placed with a specific individual. For example, it helps determine if the child can be in a relative/non-relative setting, but it does not determine if a specific relative/non-relative is appropriate. It is the Unified Home Study that assesses if an identified potential caregiver has the ability to safely care and meet the identified needs of the child.

Incident Reporting

All employees of Safe Children Coalition Agencies and contracted vendors are to comply with CBC Policy 100.005a – Incident Reporting, for incidents involving CBC employees and clients.  The incident report does not replace existing abuse, neglect and/or exploitation reporting requirements through the Florida Abuse hotline at 1-800-96ABUSE (1-800-962-2873).  Incident Reports must be submitted within 1 business day of gaining knowledge of the event.  Information can be updated in a subsequent report if additional information is obtained.  Case Managers are responsible for entering a FSFN note documenting the completion of the incident report, details of the incident, notifications and needed follow up within 2 business days of incident report.

Reportable Incidents:

·         Altercation/Fight/Disruptive Behavior – A physical confrontation occurring between a client under supervision and another individual, resulting in one or more clients or employees receiving medical attention by a licensed health care professional.

·         Runaway/ Elopement – The unauthorized absence beyond 4 hours for a child under supervision.

·         Theft/Vandalism/Damage – The loss of property due to damage that is significant and non-accidental.

·         *Client Injury or Illness – A serious illness of a client that is determined to be life threatening by a licensed health care professional or is the result of apparent abuse and/or neglect or a serious medical condition of a client requiring medical treatment by a licensed health care professional (i.e. surgery, stitches, dog bite, hospitalization).

·         Disease Epidemic – Any occurrence of disease that fits the definition of "outbreak" or other health occurrence likely to result in a high level of public interest (this includes environmental threats, as well as actual disease).

·         *Client Death – A person whose life ends who is under supervision (adult or child).

·         *Suicide Attempt – The physical attempt by a client under supervision to cause his or her own death, which results in serious bodily injury requiring medical treatment by a physician.

·         Suicide Threat /Self Injury - The self injurious behavior by a client under supervision to cause harm to his or her own person, which results in superficial bodily injury which may not require medical attention or the verbal threat to cause harm to self.

·         Criminal Activity – Criminal conduct perpetrated by an employee or client which results in an arrest.  With regard to employees, criminal activity is reportable when it occurs while on CBC property or while the employee is representing CBC, which results in an arrest. (ie falsifying records)

·         Child on Child Sexual Battery - Sexual battery by a client on a client or child-on-child alleged incident and ALSO requires a report to the Florida Abuse Hotline.

·         Sexual Assault or Battery – A sexual assault or battery on a client under supervision as evidenced by allegations being made or criminal charges being filed against the perpetrator.

·         Abuse/Neglect/Abandonment/Threat of Harm - Allegations that justify and ALSO requires a report to the Florida Abuse Hotline for an open case. This includes allegations made regarding abuse/neglect/threat of harm, both current and past.

·         *Media Coverage or Potential Media Attention – Any event generating or likely to generate media attention or the threat of media involvement or social media.

·         Other Event – An unusual occurrence or circumstance out of the ordinary such as a tornado, kidnapping, riot, hostage situation, bomb threat or other situation that jeopardizes the health, safety and welfare of clients.

*Critical incidents that must also be reported to DCF no later than 4 hours from discovery.

Steps for Completing an Incident Report:

Incidents should be reported to the agency supervisor immediately upon receiving information.  The incident shall be reviewed with Supervisor and recommendations to ensure child safety shall be discussed with case manager.  The employee shall follow through on all recommendations immediately.

The Incident Report (IR) Form shall be completed electronically the same day as notification or within 24 hours of notification of the incident.  This process may NOT be delayed because the Supervisor is unavailable.

The IR Form should be filled out completely with as much detail regarding the incident as possible. Make sure you indicate the county from which the child is cased, as well as defining relationship (relative care, foster care, vps, etc.)  When incident involves parent or caregiver, make sure child’s name is included in report as that is how IRs are filed, by the child’s name. 

The IR Form should be password protected and saved in the following format: client’s first initial, last name, date of incident and county from which child is receiving services (example: k. steinman 08-07-06 Sarasota).

Copies of the IR Form are transmitted via email to the appropriate distribution list as detailed in the Incident Report Form.




Child Placement Agreements

What are Child Placement Agreements?

•       Child Placement Agreement means that a Caregiver and a Child Welfare Professional have agreed upon specific care expectations for a child in out-of-home care whose behaviors or circumstances require additional supervision or safeguards.

Who needs a Child Placement Agreement?

•       A Child Placement Agreement needs to be created when there are concerns suspected or dependable information that a child has any of the following:

§  Severe self-harm

§  Problematic sexual behavior

§  Victim of sexual abuse

§  Victim of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

§  Juvenile sexual abuse

§  Behavior(s) that are a significant threat to others

What is the difference between the 2 types of Child Placement Agreements?

•       Care Precautions are considered the least restrictive type of agreement. The requirements are intended to be in place for a short period of time until more information is known about the child. Once more information is known, the child’s placement requirements can be modified as necessary.

•       Behavior Management Plans are needed for children who have demonstrated any of the following behaviors within the past twelve months:

§  Juvenile sexual abuse

§  Behaviors that are a significant threat to others

Who creates Child Placement Agreements?

•       CBC Case Manager will create the Child Placement Agreement with the Caregiver and child and complete document in FSFN.

Who are our local qualified assessors?

•       CPT, CPC, Therapist, Psychiatrist, Psychologist

How are Child Placement Agreements monitored?

•       A Lead Agency POC consult is required within 24 hours of determining that a Child Placement Agreement is needed to help determine which type of plan is necessary.

•       Child Placement Agreements will be reviewed by the Lead Agency POC and the Case Manager Supervisor after development to ensure it keeps the child or other children in the home safe. 

•       The Child Placement Agreement will be reviewed in the 90 day staffing(s)with all participants in attendance along with information reported in the Progress Update

•       Discussions will occur during monthly consults/supervision between the Case Manager and the Case Manager Supervisor.

•       Case Manager will monitor during monthly home visits via discussions with the Caregiver and the child (if age appropriate).

•       Lead Agency POC will attend 6 month staffing(s) unless required to attend a staffing sooner.

What is the process for obtaining information from a qualified assessor?

When a Behavioral PLAN is developed

•       A referral will be made by the Case Manager for an assessment to be completed within the 45 days of initial placement or after determination Behavioral Plan is required.

•       If the child is being considered for a modified or terminated plan then a qualified assessor will be used to review the current plan and behaviors to determine if the plan can be terminated. This process will be completed by the Case Manager.

•       A qualified assessor is not needed for Precaution Plan.

What is the protocol for children being placed with respite care provider?

•       The respite care provider will be made aware during the time arrangements are made by placement that the child has a Child Placement Agreement. The plan will be developed/modified to meet the respite home environment by the Case Manager.

•       If there are no changes to the existing plan then the respite provider will be entered into the FSFN system and a new plan will be printed and brought with the Case Manager to be signed at the time of placement.

What is the protocol for terminating a Child Placement Agreement?

•       For previously created SAR’s a discussion will occur between the Case Manager, Case Manager Supervisor, Lead Agency POC and the Caregiver to determine if the plan is still needed.

•       Precautionary Plans require a consult with the Lead Agency POC, Caregiver, Case Manager, and Case Manager Supervisor to review whether the plan can be terminated.

•       Behavioral Plans require a qualified assessor to complete documentation that the Behavioral Plan is no longer required. Upon receipt of the document by the qualified assessor a consult should be held with the Lead Agency POC, Caregiver, Case Manager, and Case Management Supervisor and any other party needed to discuss terminating the Behavioral Plan or developing a Precautionary Plan.

No plan should be terminated without the appropriate documentation and discussions occurring.

Critical Junctures


A Critical Juncture is any change to a family’s circumstances which has the potential to impact the safety of a child. Therefore, a Critical Juncture necessitates a re-assessment of the family.  A new Progress Update will be created in FSFN at a minimum every ninety days from the approval date of the Ongoing Family Functioning Assessment OR the approval date of the last Progress Update. A new Progress Update will be created sooner when fundamental decisions are being made for the children, or when Critical Junctures are occurring that necessitate a formal re-evaluation of protective capacities and child needs. Such times include but are not limited to the following Critical Junctures:

  • When safety management has resulted in a decision to remove a child from home.
  • At the birth or death of a sibling.
  • Upon the addition of a new family member, including intimate partners.
  • Before changing the case plan to include unsupervised visits.
  • Before recommending or implementing reunification as Conditions for Return are met.
  • Before a recommendation for case closure.
  • When case has been dismissed by the court.

The case manager shall seek a supervisory case consultation to review case dynamics when case circumstances include any of the following. The case consultation will determine if a Progress Update should be completed prior to the 90 day period based on the discretion of the supervisor.

  • When significant changes in family members’ and/or family circumstances warrant a

          review and possible revision to the safety plan and/or case plan, such as a change

          to unsupervised visitation.

  • When an emergency change in a child's out-of-home safety plan placement is


  • When the children and/or caregivers are making little or no progress toward the

established outcomes and/or an immediate change in the case plan is needed.

  • After any review (i.e., judicial, administrative, State, or County QA) recommends or

directs that changes be made.

  • At receipt of a new investigation or report of domestic violence in the home.

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 assessments.

Home Visits with Children

What is the purpose of a Home Visit?

The purpose of a home visit is to assess the safety and well- being of the child, as well as, address concerns and needs of the child and/or caregivers, determine appropriateness of the placement, and provide support to the caregivers and inform the progress of the case. 

When must a Home Visit be done?

·         Initial face-to face (FTF) contact with the child and caregiver is to occur within two working days after the case is accepted for services at the child’s current place of residence. 

·         When a child is in Shelter Status FTF contact shall occur every seven days.  (Shelter Status=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 and/or after disposition of the petition for dependency.)

·         Once the child has been Adjudicated Dependant (after Disposition) by the Court, FTF contact is required with each child a minimum of once every twenty five days in the child’s current residence. FTF contacts must occur more frequently when the child’s situation dictates more frequent contact as assessed by the case manager and the case manager supervisor.

·         At least once every three months the case manager will make an unannounced visit to the child’s current residence. 

·         Once a child in run away status returns, a FTF home visit should take place immediately in order to assess the child’s mental/physical state and gain insight into the reason he/she ran away. 

Expectations/Guidelines of a Home Visit:

·         Meet with the child and caregivers in their current residence.

·         Speak with each child individually, alone and away from others, to assess child’s                         adjustment, progress, needs and/or concerns and overall well-being.

·         Examine the child for cleanliness, health, and signs of injury, abuse and/or neglect.

·         Evaluate the home environment for appropriateness and safety.

·         Discuss concerns and/or needs with the caregiver and provide referrals for services.

·         Discuss stages of change and progress and/or concerns with services.

·         Inform the caregiver and child (if age appropriate) of upcoming court hearings, staffings,           etc.

·         Obtain updates and copies of the child’s medical, dental and mental health records,                   appointments, procedures, prescriptions and dosage.

·         Obtain updates and copies of the child’s educational records and progress (if age                       appropriate).

·         Observe interactions between the caregivers/family members and the child.

·         Obtain updated photographs of the child using the Mindshare mobile application.

·         Review the Child Resource Record at each home visit to ensure that information is                     current.

·         Follow up on previous concerns or referrals with caregiver and/or the child.

·         Discuss how visitation is going with parents/siblings.

·         Assess and discuss Safety Plan in effect with the current participants, their role in the                 plan and the safety management techniques being utilized to determine if the current               safety plan is still effective.

·         Document where the child sleeps and who (if applicable) sleeps in the bedroom with the           child.

·         Document home visit information in FSFN or the Mindshare mobile application (which               uploads to FSFN) within 48 hours of the FTF visit occurring.

Photographs of Children for Identification

One of the most important tools for law enforcement to use in the case of a missing child is an up-to-date, good-quality photograph.  For this reason, all children are photographed using the Mindshare Mobile application then uploaded into FSFN. 

F.A.C. 65C-30.004 details who must be photographed and when as follows:

·        All children under in-home supervision within 15 days after the ESI staffing.

·        All children placed in out-of-home care within 72 hours of a removal episode.

·        Immediately upon return to care, any child who has been on runaway status.

·        All children and sibling groups available for adoption who are required to be registered             on the Adoption Exchange System.

Photographs must be taken monthly using the Mindshare Mobile application. Mindshare will also capture GPS coordinates and a date/time stamp of where and when the photo was taken.

If the parent or caregiver refuses to allow access to the child for purpose of obtaining photographs, diligent efforts to obtain the photograph are documented in FSFN and Children’s Legal Services is contacted to request a Court Order to obtain the photographs.

If the child is to be placed out-of-state a photo is taken prior to the child’s placement and a copy must be provided to the receiving state. The Case Manager requests updated photographs to be provided by the ICPC worker, caregivers or courtesy workers at a minimum of every 6 months for children under age 5 and annually for children age 5 and older.

Photo Requirements:

The individual child photograph should be a recent, head-and-shoulders photograph of the child in which the face is clearly seen. It should be of "school-portrait" quality, and the background should be plain or solid so it does not distract from the subject.

The photograph should be an accurate depiction of the child, not overly posed or "glamorized."  Nor should other people, animals, or objects be in the photograph.

The Primary Case Manager ensures the photograph is taken and properly uploaded into FSFN within 48 hours of when it was taken

Home Safety Checklist


§  Are electrical cords intact and away from the reach of children?

§  Are electrical appliances away from a filled tub, sink or running water?

§  Are painted surfaces (including walls and furniture) free from chalking, flaking and peeling, which could indicate the presence of lead-based paint?

§  Are all exterior doors, including pet doors, if applicable, childproofed (latches, high locks or alarms, etc.)?

§  Are all stairways and floor space for walking clear from obstruction and in a non-slippery condition?

§  Is there railing protecting all stairways and elevated landings (top and bottom of stairs)?

§  If there are railing slats greater than 2-3/8 inches apart, are they covered with a piece of wood or hard plastic?

§  Is there a safe place for the child to sleep?

§  If there is a crib, are the gaps between the slats on the crib 2-3/8 inches or less?

§  If there is a child under 1 year of age, is the sleeping area free of soft bedding (including bumper pads), pillows, blankets and stuffed animals?

§  If there is a crib, does the crib sheet and mattress fit tightly to avoid entrapment and suffocation?

§  Are all houseplants out of the reach of children?

§  Are all ashtrays out of the reach of children?

§  Are emergency numbers readily accessible?

§  Are knives and other sharp objects out of the reach of children or in a childproofed drawer?

§  Are plastic bags out of the reach of children?

§  Are sharp edges and corners covered (i.e., fireplace, tables, etc.)?

§  Are there safety plugs in all unused electrical outlets?

§  Are hair dryers and curling irons out of the reach of children?

§  Are the iron and ironing board out of the reach of children?

§  Are all chemicals and cleaning supplies stored in original containers? (Some examples of dangerous products include paint thinner, antifreeze, gasoline, turpentine, bleach, insect spray, fertilizer, poison.)

§  Are all chemicals and cleaning supplies stored out of the reach of children or in a childproofed cabinet?

§  Are all vitamins, over-the-counter and prescription medication stored out of the reach of children or in a childproofed drawer/cabinet?

§  Are all alcoholic beverages stored out of the reach of children or in a childproofed cabinet?

§  Are cosmetics stored out of the reach of children or in a childproofed drawer/cabinet?

§  Are curtain and blind cords kept out of the reach of children?

§  If residence is not on the ground floor, is furniture that a child could climb on away from windows, or are there window guards installed?


§  Are smoke alarm(s) in working order and located on every floor?

§  Are space heaters in good repair and are they at least 4 feet from clothing, curtains/drapes or any flammable material?

§  Are there two unrestricted exits (windows or doors) that can be used in case of fire? 


§  Look at all outdoor areas with water (pool, hot tub, retention pond and/or fountain).

§  If there is a door from the house that leads into an area with water, is there an exit alarm or a lock located at least 54 inches above the floor?

  • If there is a barrier around the pool, are large objects outside of the barrier (such as tables, chairs or ladders) far enough away from the barrier to prevent children from using them to climb over the barrier and into the pool area?
  • Is there a latch on the gate that closes automatically (if there is a gate into the area with water)?
  • Is the latch located on the side with the water? Is the latch located at least 54 inches above the bottom of the gate?
  • If there is a window that is accessible to the area with water, is there an exit alarm and/or is the base of the window at least 48 inches from the interior floor?
  • Are toys and objects that may attract children kept out of the water when not in use?
  • Are there life saving devices near the pool such as a hook, pole or flotation device?
  • Are pool chemicals kept away from heat sources and out of the reach of children?
  • Is the property free from containers of water or other fluid left uncovered or accessible to a child (i.e., inflatable “kiddie pool”, buckets, etc.)?

Baker Act Requirements for a Child or Adolescent

Child welfare professionals have specific responsibilities when a Baker Act is initiated on a child or adolescent during an active investigation or while the family is receiving ongoing services, including post placement supervision.  The placement of a child or adolescent in a mental health treatment facility for involuntary examination as authorized by a Baker Act or voluntary admission warrants a thorough assessment or re-assessment of child functioning and the caregiver’s ability and/or willingness to manage the child’s emotional or behavioral challenges.  In order to assess the significance of the event, determine appropriate interventions and provide the level of support needed, it is essential that child welfare professional receive information from all therapeutic providers.

Upon receiving information that a Baker Act was initiated on a child or child was voluntarily admitted for evaluation, the child welfare professional must contact the treatment facility immediately and request information regarding the child’s discharge status.

Child or Adolescent Discharge Pending

If child has not been discharged from facility, child welfare professional must attend any scheduled discharge planning or multidisciplinary staffing (MDT) on the child and invite any other therapeutic providers working with the child or family such as child or family therapist, behavior analyst, school social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist, etc.  The child welfare professional will request these treatment providers review, discuss, and to the extent possible reach consensus on the following issues:

  1. Factors or circumstances that contributed to or resulted in Baker Act;
  2. Recommendations to address any child safety, permanency or well-being needs identified; and
  3. Develop a plan to ensure ongoing therapeutic and placement needs are met.

If the child welfare professional does not agree with any significant recommendations resulting from the MDT staffing or if the team cannot reach consensus developing a plan to ensure the child’s therapeutic or placement needs, the child welfare professional will consult with his or her supervisor and a second level manager within two business days to determine next steps.

Child or Adolescent Has Been Discharged or Staffing Already Conducted

If the child has already been discharged from the facility or the discharge planning conference or MDT staffing was conducted without the child welfare professional, the child welfare professional will:

  1. Immediately attempt to obtain and review the receiving or treatment facility’s discharge plan and/or MDT staffing notes and any recommendations for aftercare;
  2. Schedule a follow-up MDT staffing with all therapeutic disciplines working with the child or family, as soon as possible, but no later then 72 hours from the child’s discharge from the treatment facility; and review discuss and to the extent possible, reach consensus on the follow issues:

Ø  Factors or circumstances that contributed to or resulted in Baker Act;

Ø  Recommendations to address child safety, permanency or well-being needs identified; and

Ø  Develop a plan to ensure ongoing therapeutic and placement needs are met.

  1. For families under court jurisdiction, the child welfare professional will notify the court of the child’s emergency mental health admission.

If the plan to ensure the child or adolescent’s ongoing therapeutic and placement needs differ significantly from any recommendation or discharge planning developed by the treatment facility, the child welfare professional will consult with supervisor and a second level manager within two business days to determine next steps.

Child protective investigators are responsible for initiating the MDT staffing for an active investigation not opened for case management services.  Case managers are responsible for initiating the MDT staffing for all ongoing services cases including those with an active investigation (the CPI is required to attend and participate in the staffing)

Home Study UHS - Step to Complete

These are the specific steps which a case manager (CM) must follow when completing the Unified Home Study (UHS) in FSFN.

1.      CM completes a Provider Search in FSFN.  If this potential residence is not already a provider in FSFN, CM will submit a SCC Data Portal Edit Request to create a new provider. If a caregiver is already a provider in FSFN, A Miscellaneous Edit Request to assign the provider to CM will be submitted through the SCC Data Portal.  

2.   CM submits Background Screen Request on all adults and children ages 12 and up residing in the home to the Background Screening Unit (BSU).  CM will have all adults residing in the home call and set up an appointment to complete the LiveScan fingerprinting.

3.    CM prints the following documents to take to the home for which the home study is being completed:

·        UHS Job Aid

·        Reference Request Form (once referrals received - uploaded in FSFN)

·        Firearm Safety Requirements Form (provided, reviewed, discussed & documented ONLY            if  safety issues observed/learned)

·        Water Addendum (provided, reviewed, & discussed)

·        Safe sleep information, if appropriate (provided, reviewed, & discussed)

·        Relative/Non-Relative Caregiver Program information (provided, reviewed, discussed &             documented)

·        Consent to release information (if requested then must be signed & uploaded in FSFN)

·        Receipt of rights and responsibilities (provided, discussed & documented)

·        Receipt of grievance brochure (provided, discussed & documented)

·        Any referrals needed (discussed, provided & documented in FSFN)

4.    CM must follow-up to obtain two (2) personal references.

5.    CM launches the home study in FSFN for the provider created or assigned and enters assessment information.

6.    CM prints completed UHS in FSFN and all potential caregivers review completed UHS prior to signing.

7.    CM then recommends outcome in FSFN and submits to Supervisor for review and approval/denial. 

8.    CM must verbally notify the proposed caregiver of the UHS decision if not selected, within three (3) business days of the supervisor’s decision.

9.    Regardless of the Supervisor’s decision, a copy of the completed, signed UHS must be provided to caregiver within five (5) business days.

10.  CM will upload a copy of the signed UHS (including CM & Supervisor signatures) along with all the attachments above including 911call-out results, sexual predator search result, and two (2) personal references within two (2) business days of receiving signatures.

11.     Send a copy of the UHS and all attachments including the criminal history to Children’s Legal Services (CLS) to be filed with the court.

12.  The original UHS with signatures and attachments goes to the records room to be scanned into ASK.

**Note:  National and state criminal records CANNOT be uploaded to FSFN.  Law requires us summarize the results along with our analysis within the UHS narrative field. The results of these criminal histories also CANNOT be copied and pasted into the home study. 

**Note: If updating a previously completed UHS, attach the addendum to a copy of the previous approved UHS along with all the attachments and submit to CLS.  The original goes to ASK.

**Note:  IF there are NO concerns about firearms safety, you must NOT document ANY information that the caregiver owns firearms according to s.790.335, F.S.

All of the steps above must be completed and the UHS must be approved by the court before a child is placed with the potential caregiver.

Home Study UHS - Relative/Non-Relative

Case management will select Planned Placement home study type for all Unified Home Studies (UHS) completed in FSFN including relative/non-relative home studies.

The child welfare professional will complete a relative/non-relative home study in the following situations:

Ø  Within 45 calendar days of the case transfer of an Emergency Placement home study for a relative/non-relative. The child welfare professional responsible may use the copy feature in FSFN to add and edit as necessary to the emergency placement information.

Ø  Prior to any new planned child placement with a relative/non-relative.

Ø  To update the home study when:

§  There are changes in the composition of the household. This includes placement of additional children.

§  The household location changes.

§  There is a change observed by the case manager in the physical environment that is a significant safety concern.

§  There are significant changes or circumstances that affect the ability of the caregivers to care for or protect the children.

§  To re-screen household members every 12 months.

The child welfare professional will conduct interviews with the caregiver(s), the child(ren) and other persons as necessary to complete and/or update the information.

The child welfare professional must advise the caregiver(s) of specific available supports and resources and their rights and responsibilities including:

Ø  Relative caregiver information

Ø  Non-relative caregiver information

The child welfare professional will document their assessment of all information gathered and the discussion of specific supports/resources available to the caregiver(s) on the FSFN UHS page.

The child welfare professional will launch and print the completed UHS in FSFN to obtain signatures from the caregiver(s) upon review of information documented.

The child welfare professional will determine the recommended outcome of the home study and submit it to his/her supervisor for final approval.

The supervisor will review and then give final approval or denial of the home study.

If the proposed caregiver is not selected, they will be verbally advised by the child welfare professional within 3 business days of supervisor’s decision.  Regardless of supervisor’s decision, a copy of signed home study must be provided to caregiver within 5 business days.

CLS and Judicial Requirements:

           ·          The signature page with all signatures (caregivers, case manager, supervisor) must be uploaded to the UHS page in FSFN.  The child welfare professional will submit a copy of the signed home study with the attachments to CLS to file with the court.  CLS will also be provided a copy of any criminal records obtained.

           ·          The UHS must be provided to CLS in conjunction with any request for placement with the relative/non-relative.

           ·          If not for an emergency hearing, UHS must be provided to CLS for review and filing with the court five (5) business days prior to hearing.

           ·          A current home study must be submitted to the court when a child will be remaining with a relative/non-relative at the time of the disposition hearing.

Home Study - UHS Overview

Completing a Unified Home Study (UHS) provides for the formal assessment of a common set of requirements that must be met and documented in FSFN when a child is placed out-of-home, whether relative/non-relative, foster care, licensed, or adoptive home.

The UHS allows for a comprehensive assessment of a residence, family and characteristics of specific participants and is a standardized process of collecting, evaluating, and analyzing information to support the safety of children placed out of the home.  The UHS cannot be used for Other Parent Home Assessments (OPHA) or a Reunification Home Study.

The FSFN enhancements to the UHS were implemented on June 15, 2018.  These changes significantly enhance the UHS to ensure that policy, practice and FSFN are aligned and to bring the UHS into alignment with the Title IV-E requirements.

The UHS has been re-designed in FSFN with more user-friendly functions to meet the needs of all Child Welfare Professionals and has been modified to capture core questions relevant to all types of UHS home studies: Emergency, Relative, Non-Relative, Licensing, Adoption, Addendum, and Adoption Addendum. 

The UHS MUST be completed in FSFN.  Not doing so gives the appearance that children are placed in homes without completed and approved home studies.   Prior to completing a UHS, a Person Provider must be created in FSFN for the residence of the home study.  At SCC, this is completed through an Edit Request via the SCC Data Portal.  Data Entry staff will do a thorough search of FSFN to ensure the Person Provider does not already exist in FSFN and then create the Person Provider if needed. We cannot have duplicate Person Providers in FSFN.  

The FSFN functionality enhancements include:

·         The ability to inactivate non-household members and document if the non-household member is a frequent visitor.

·         The ability to build upon (copy) a previously approved UHS so that it is not necessary to start from the beginning when the provider is already in the system.

·         A redesign of the finance breakdown group box in its entirety.  This will allow for the documentation of multiple employers per household member.

·         Modification of the narrative family assessment including:

Ø  Updates to the labels

Ø  Increased character limits for all narrative fields

Ø  Narrative fields that are required or not required based on the home study type selected

·         Modification of approvals to reflect current practice decisions.

·         The ability to capture common core assessment questions that are relevant to all types of home studies.  The questions are also more descriptive in nature and reflect how caregivers have the capacity to meet the needs of the child.

·         The ability to search for Person Provider inquiries.

·         The ability to answer non-required questions to ensure all possible information is captured, if available.

·         Creation of a Provider File Cabinet and a Provider Licensing Checklist.

All required fields on the home study must have information entered in order to submit a “completed” home study to a supervisor for approval.  If the child is not already in the household where the home study was completed and the proposed out-of-home caregiver is not selected, the proposed caregiver will be verbally advised within three (3) business days of the supervisor’s decision.  Regardless of the supervisor’s decision, a copy of the signed home study must be provided to the caregiver within five (5) business days.  A copy of the UHS signature page with the caregivers, case manager and supervisor  signatures  will be uploaded to FSFN within two (2) business days of receiving the signatures.

Assessing Newborns or Other New Children in the Household

When there is a change to a family’s circumstances which has the potential to impact the safety of a child, it is considered a critical juncture in the case and necessitates a re-assessment of the family.  This includes the birth of a new child or a child joining a focus household in an open case.  There are two types of assessments based upon timing and the situation; Pre-birth Assessment and Post-birth Assessment. The purpose of these assessments is to re-evaluate the protective capacities and child needs.  The child welfare professional also must re-evaluate the current safety plan to determine if new safety plan actions or tasks are needed to protect the new child. 

The child welfare professional must complete an assessment in any of the following circumstances:

  • A child joins a focus household that is under investigation for allegations of abuse, neglect or abandonment or receiving ongoing case management services.
  • A child will be residing in the home of the parent/significant caregiver receiving ongoing case management services. “Resides” means that the child will live in a home on a permanent basis including any time-sharing custody agreements.

When these assessments must occur:

  • The Pre-birth Assessment must be completed within 6 months of the child’s due date. 
  • The Post-birth Assessment should be completed within 14 business days of the birth of a child, or the arrival of a child into the focus home.

The assessment is completed via an FFA-O or Progress Update in FSFN for an ongoing services case. Information must be gathered and assessed in each domain when a:

·         Parent/significant caregiver or a minor in a focus household is pregnant.

·         Baby is born or a new child enters a focus household.

A supervisor consultation must be provided prior to the approval of the FFA-O or Progress Update to determine if a pre-birth assessment, newborn child assessment, or new child assessment has been sufficiently incorporated.

Requirements Before Baby is Born:

ü  Pre-birth assessment, completed within six months of the due date via FFA-O or Progress Update.

ü  Supervisor Consult, to review pre-birth assessment.

ü  Other Parent Home Assessment, if there is a non-maltreating parent to whom the baby will be released.

ü  Multidisciplinary Staffing, with the parents, grandparents (if the parent is a minor), GAL, current caregivers, appropriate others. If one parent is non-offending, their OPHA must be done prior to the staffing.

ü  CLS Staffing, with Case Management (supervisor must be present if CM is not fully certified), GAL, and Lead Agency. Prior to Staffing CM must complete a pre-birth assessment and an OPHA.

Requirements After Baby is Born / New Child Enters the Home:

ü  Re-evaluate the current safety plan to determine any need for changes and implement as necessary. This must be done before a newborn is discharged from the hospital.

ü  CM must inform GAL of any changes made to the safety plan.

ü  CM must complete an edit request so that the baby can be added to the FSFN case.

ü  FFA-O or Progress Update must be completed within 14 business days of the child’s birth or a new child arriving.

ü  Determine need for Child Placement Agreement if there is an out-of-home safety plan in place.

ü  Re-assess In-Home Safety Analysis Questions and update Conditions for Return as appropriate.

ü  CLS Staffing, with Case Management (supervisor must be present if CM is not fully certified), GAL, and Lead Agency. Prior to Staffing CM must complete an FFA-O or Progress Update and an OPHA.

Resources are located on the J Drive: J:\Training Resources and Processes\Tasks in FSFN\New Child In Household


Hyperthermia and Children

Hyperthermia and Children

What is Hyperthermia?

Hyperthermia is the condition of having a body temperature greatly above normal.

Florida is a warm state.  It is one of the characteristics that draw many people to Florida.  It can also be a characteristic that is deadly for children.  Heat stroke occurs when a person’s temperature exceeds 104o F.  The body’s thermoregulatory mechanism becomes overwhelmed and can no longer keep the body at the normal 98.6o F temperature.  A core body temperature of 107 o F is considered lethal.  Children's thermoregulatory systems are not as efficient as an adult's and their body temperatures warm at a rate 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s. 

Five Florida Children Died of Hyperthermia in 2016

Each of the five children died due to being in a hot vehicle for an extended period of time.

When sunlight enters a car, the windows may warm very little however, the objects inside the car can warm up very quickly.  A dark seat or dashboard can reach 180 to 200 o F.  This heat not only warms the object but it warms the air inside the car.  In a vehicle heat study which was conducted, temperatures inside a car were found to rise 19 o F after just 10 minutes.  That means that with an outside temperature of 80 o F the car’s interior temperature climbs to 99 o F after just 10 minutes.  After 30 minutes the interior temperature rose to 114 o and after 60 minutes rose to 123 o degrees!  Cracking the windows of the car had very little effect on the interior temperature.  It would take a relatively short period of time for a child’s body temperature to climb to levels which can cause serious physical problems or even death.

So...what steps can be taken to protect our children from unnecessary harm?

·         Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle (not even for “I’ll only be a minute!”).

·         If a child is missing, always check the pool first, then the car, including the trunk

·         Glance inside cars as you walk past.  If you see a child left unattended in a car, call 911 immediately.

·         Teach children that a car is not a play area.

·         Lock your car and make sure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices.

·         Use a trigger to remind yourself to check the back seat(s).  Put something you have to take with you when you leave the car in the back seat, put a sticky note that says “Check the Back” someplace conspicuous in the front seat, make checking the back seat(s) a routine every time you leave the car.

·         Notify the daycare or school if your child’s drop off or pick up routine changes.

·         If the child is not dropped off as expected and the daycare/school does not hear from the parent, within 15 minutes they call the parent to make sure the child is supposed to be absent.  This can be a critical trigger to check the back seats of the vehicle

Awareness is the key to keeping our children safe!

Safety Plans - Modifying

Once a case has been transferred from Investigations to Case Management, it is the Case Manager’s responsibility for developing and implementing modifications to the Safety Plan based on the Case Manager’s ongoing assessment of Safety Plan sufficiency within 5 days of case assignment. The Safety Plan should consist of the least intrusive actions necessary to protect the child consistent with diminished caregiver protective capacities and danger threats.  The Case Manager will exercise due diligence to modify Safety Plans in response to changing family dynamics, including when Conditions for Return are achieved.

A Safety Plan must be modified when any of the following changes occur:

  • A new danger threat has been identified
  • Danger threats have been eliminated

·         A child is released to the other parent, relocated in a family arrangement, or sheltered

·         Parent/legal guardian meets the Conditions for Return

·         There are changes in family dynamics or conditions which change the types and or level of safety services needed, including but not limited to:

Ø  A new child is born or comes into the home

Ø  A parent/legal guardian becomes involved with a new intimate partner relationship

Ø  There are significant changes to the household composition

Ø  There are changes in the availability of a physical location in which the Safety Plan can be implemented

Ø  The Safety Plan needs to become an out-of-home plan

Actions for modifying Safety Plans: 

The primary Case Manager will take the following actions to create a new Safety Plan.

  • Take protective actions immediately in order to keep the child from being harmed
  • To the extent possible, the Case Manager, the parent/legal guardian and any provider involved in the formulation of the original Safety Plan will collaborate to revise the Safety Plan.

Ø  Adhere to special considerations involving domestic violence

Ø  Review and discuss current family dynamics and conditions relative to criteria for an in-home Safety Plan or Conditions for Return

Ø  Review each specific component of the Safety Plan and whether any modifications are necessary

Ø  Identify options for plan modifications needed, eliciting family resources

Ø  Agree on modifications

Ø  Follow up with CLS when a Safety Plan is part of the court order

  • Identify whether there are ways to manage the identified danger threat with the child in the home; and if yes contact safety services providers who will participate in ongoing Safety Plan
  • Consult with your supervisor if assistance is needed in developing a sufficient ongoing Safety Plan.
  • The Case Manager should revise the ongoing Safety Plan and obtain signatures of the parents and any informal Safety Plan providers and file with the court.

FSFN/Documentation for Modifying Safety Plans:

  • Document any safety plan monitoring activity within 2 business days of any assessment information or action related to the assessment of the Safety Plan sufficiency.
  • Document modifications to any existing Safety Plan by terminating the current safety plan in FSFN and create a new version.  The date needs to be changed to capture the date of the modification.  This will allow for a complete history to the Safety Plans. Upload a signed version within 2 business days of creation.
  • The Case Manager will formally document an updated safety analysis when completing the FFA and any Progress Updates.
  • Supervisor or Case Manager will record supervisor case consultations about Safety Plans within 2 business days using supervisory case consultation functionality in FSFN.

Safety Planning Requirements

Florida Administrative Code defines “Safety Plan” as the specific course of action necessary to control threats of serious harm or supplement a family’s protective capacities implemented immediately when a family’s protective capacities are not sufficient to manage immediate or serious harm threats.” 

A safety plan addresses a specific parent behavior, emotion or condition that results in a child being unsafe.  A safety plan controls and manages danger threats to a child when a parent/legal guardian is unavailable, unable, or unwilling to protect their child.  A safety plan will be in effect as long as a case remains open and parents/legal guardians do not have the protective capacity necessary to protect the child from identified danger threats. 

Safety planning is an ongoing process, not an event and should be developed jointly between the case manager and the family.  The child welfare professional responsible for the case has primary responsibility for developing, monitoring and managing the safety plan. As individual and family circumstances change, safety plans require updates based on the changes.  

In order to have confidence in the sufficiency of the safety plan we must analyze danger threats, family functioning, and family and community resources. This depends on having collected sufficient, pertinent, relevant information. The intention is to arrive at a decision regarding the most appropriate and least restrictive means for controlling and managing identified danger threats and therefore assuring child safety.

The child welfare professional creating, monitoring or modifying the safety plan will:

·         Ensure the safety plan controls the behavior, emotion or condition that results in the child being unsafe

  • Review safety plan for sufficiency within 5 business days of initial case transfer or new assignment and have a Supervisor Consult completed and documented to reflect review and sufficiency of plan

·         Ensure the effect of a safety plan is immediate, and/or continues to protect the child every day

·         Ensure the safety plan describes each specific action necessary to keep the child safe, including:

Ø  The person responsible for each specific action

Ø  Resources or people who will help with each action

Ø  The frequency of the action, including times and days of the week

·         Confirm that the person responsible for each action is occurring as planned at least monthly

·         Ensure the sufficiency of the safety plan as either an in-home, out-of-home, or a combination of both

·         Develop separate safety plans with the perpetrator of domestic violence and the parent/legal guardian who is a survivor of domestic violence

·         NOT include promissory commitments by the parent/legal guardian who is currently not able to protect the child. Example of INAPPROPRIATE safety plan actions include, but are not limited to:

Ø  Mom will not spank

Ø  Parents will remain sober

Ø  Mom will file an injunction and not let the batterer back in the home

Ø  Dad will not use drugs

All new or updated safety plans must be signed by all participants and uploaded into FSFN

within two business days of its creation or modification.

A discussion about the safety plan and specific actions safety plan providers

are responsible for must be documented in FSFN.



LGBTQIA Group Home Rules FAC, Chapter 65C-14

In December, 2016, Florida Administrative Code (FAC) was amended to support and protect our LGBTQ+ youth in care, specifically those in group homes. We are only the 14th state to have anti-discrimination laws that protect youth based on sexual orientation AND gender identity. Some states have anti-discrimination laws for only sexual orientation; others have nothing in place for this population.


Sexual orientation: a person’s sexual, emotional or physical attraction to members of the same gender, different gender, or any gender. Heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and pansexual are examples.
Gender identity: a person’s perception of having a particular gender, or none at all. May or may not match the gender they were assigned at birth.
Transgender: a person whose gender identity is different than what is listed on their birth certificate.
Gender expression: the way people express their gender through mannerisms, behaviors, expressions, or physical appearance (clothing, hairstyle, etc.). Also may or may not match the gender they were assigned at birth.

FAC pertinent to the LGBTQ population

65C-14.021 Discipline and Behavior Management

  • Group Home staff cannot engage in discriminatory treatment or harassment based on gender expression or sexual orientation.
  • Group Home staff cannot permit harassment or bullying of children by staff or other youth based on gender expression or sexual orientation.

65C-14.018 Individual Needs for Children in Care

  • Group Home staff cannot restrict access to hygiene, grooming and personal care items based on the child’s gender identity or expression.

65C-14.040 Admission, Placement, and Ongoing Services

  • For transgender youth, a decision will need to be made whether that child should be placed with their gender on the birth certificate, or their identified gender.
  • Factors to include while making the decision: physical safety, emotional well-being, youth preference, and opinions of case manager, GAL, parent (if rights aren’t terminated) and therapist.
  • Child placing agency must take into account the capacity of the placement to meet the child’s needs, and the needs of the other children already placed in that setting.

65C-14.023 Personnel and Staffing Requirements

  • Direct child care staff must obtain training within their first full year of employment in the area of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

This information is ever-changing.