Florida Administrative Code requires a minimum of one face-to-face contact every 30 days with the custodial parent of any child under in-home supervision, and with any parent that has a case plan goal of maintain and strengthen (M&S) or reunification.
The primary focus of out-of-home care case management services is an on-going assessment of safety, outstanding needs, and the efforts made to reduce current risk and meet identified needs. In order to accomplish this, a regular discussion about what obstacles have been overcome and what obstacles still need to be resolved (to increase the safety of the home from which the child was removed in order to allow for reunification) must occur. When case managers make regular phone and face-to-face contact and engage with parents, this helps to build and strengthen a professional relationship with the parent. When this type of relationship exists, parents are more likely to open up to case managers and seek out assistance.
Visiting with parents in their home is a critical piece of assessing safety as well as assessing the strengths and needs of the parent. Visiting the home will allow the case manger to see the environment the parent lives in, see who is at the home frequently (or living in the home), and also to run background screens on them as is required per the FL Administrative Code. This requires that information on the new or frequent household members be included in the Judicial Review Reports and be provided to the Court. After assuring there are no serious safety concerns; the case manager is encouraged to conduct supervised visits in the parent’s home and/or an appropriate place in the community near the home. This allows the case manager to observe interactions in the most natural environment for the family.
When the case plan goal is Maintain and Strengthen or Reunification, the requirement to see the parent face-to-face every 30 days remains in effect regardless of where the parent lives (even if they are incarcerated, out-of-county, or out-of-state).
Out of County Services (OCS) must be requested for any parent who lives in (or is incarcerated in) another county within the state of Florida. Case managers must utilize this process to provide services to the parents and make visits with parents every 30 days. Regardless of whether an OCS worker is assigned, the primary worker must communicate with the parent at least once every 30 days to ensure that the parent is kept informed of all health, educational, psychological and other activities as to the child. In addition, the parent must still be provided with information on where to obtain the needed services to reduce the risk factors. This may require the case manager to call other states local social service agencies and inquire about services available. If the parent is incarcerated in another county or state, the primary case manager must contact the jail social services and attempt to establish telephone contact with the parent or communicate with the parent through monthly letters. In addition, FL Admin Code requires the primary case manager to maintain contact with a OCS worker every 30 days or more frequently to obtain updates regarding the family’s progress.
ALL efforts to see the parent face-to-face, ALL incidents of correspondence and communication with the parent, and ALL efforts to provide services to the family must be documented in FSFN within 48 hours of the effort or contact.
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